Thursday, August 30, 2007
I am fighting a mean viral throat infection right now so sewing is in short bouts as I stop to take meds and drink huge amounts of fluids to keep the rawness at bay. Tomorrow is going to be a heavy sewing day. The capris will be finished and then the lining will be started for my friend's dress. I should be able to get that done by supper as the fitting is finished in the muslin already. I need to throw together a top for the Pilot's office BBQ on Sunday to go with the capris. Do I maintain my HP obsession and go with the Princess Top or the Great White Shirt or do I go in another direction altogether? That remains to be seen according to time available, I think! I would like to go get a few things for the kids for school tomorrow aft as well. They go back on Tuesday ...
I have applications out for 3 positions that interest me and suit my desires for schedules and pay. Today's job interview went well. It was actually a call back for a position I didn't get last spring but now have the opportunity to try for again. They were willing to check to see if they could match the pay of one other job I applied for, so that is a good sign. I'll know Tuesday afternoon.
If I get this position, I may have to rethink all my sewing projects wrt jackets. The dress is business casual, so making a bunch of tailored jackets may be overkill. I am OK with my pant plan, but may have to reconsider the jackets. I'll still do the Kensington Jacket to go with the skirt, but I am now on the look out for other options along the line of the Sportive Skirt Suit jacket. I have this Peggy Sagers' pattern on hand that I could dress down with the right fabric ... maybe alter it for a zip instead of that ribbon. There were a couple of nice Marfy's in the latest catalogue that I like. But that is another post altogether! That requires batteries to show the photos of my wishlist!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Now, back to those fast capris ... I added a cut on front fly as side zips tend not to lie flat on my curves. I have a job interview on Thursday morning (after coffee with the girls, of course!), so I want to get these done for then. I am thinking a fast wrap front/twist top to coord with it. Somebody posted a RTW one over at PR a week or so ago. I can't find the link right now, but if I get the top done, I'm sure I'll find it for my review. Basically the top is a faux wrap with a side twist to it. The twist is about midway between CF and the s.s. and is below the bustline, around waist level. As my belly is not for public consumption, I will be making a full wrap under. I am going to start with the Jalie wrap top as it has a nice cut line for the under panel already. I am going to use that as a seamline vice a cut line.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
A dear friend of mine from University days has a wedding to attend on the long weekend. I am working on her dress right now. We have settled on the shorter length and the sleeve is still in limbo. The longer sleeve doesn't suit her and would be impractical seeing as her 18 month old would only swing on it. The cap sleeve I think is too short on her. She is fairly even in her measurements (almost a rectangle), but has a very broad upper back and a wide ribcage. I think that if I shorten the longer sleeve it can be quite flirty and still be stylish. We are trying to decide on whether or not she gets the front tie or not. I am thinking no, she is hopeful for a yes. We'll see what the mirror says. The muslin is cut and will be put together tonight.
The other project I have on the table is a pair of pants. Yup, another one! I am a sucker for punishment. I am determined to get through all the pant patterns I have at least once. This pair is the HP Plain and Simple Everyday Pant. I threw together a trial pair in some mystery fabric from my Mother's stash. I cut a 16 and took a 1/2" deep dart tuck from CB to nothing at the s.s. and then added that 1" back to the top of the pant. The back drape is beautiful with 3/8" s.s. and 5/8" CB/CF! It needs some minor reshaping at the hip curve and most likely the darts will disappear in the front. It is still a bit short in crotch depth, but I figure that I can add that in easy enough. I have something buried in my construction files about that in HP patterns. I'll look later.
I broke the moratorium on shopping today to spend my birthday $ from the DMIL. I had hoped to find some nice mmidweight fabric for a pair of casual capris from the above pattern, but other than wrinkle prone linen, I was out of luck. So, I picked up some nice wools instead! I found a beautiful wool/rayon flannel in a navy (perfect for a skirt to match to a black and navy tweed destined for a jacket already in the stash), a wool/silk boucle type in a deep purple that will be prefect for a fall jacket if the cashmere one from last year doesn't work out with new tinkering this year. I also picked up some nice brown wool/rayon as well for the HP pants. I also picked up some heavier cotton for a few shirts for the Pilot and I and some nice navy twill with border embroidery for Monkey Girl for school. I see a jumper and a skirt for her and then with the plain, maybe some pants.
I now have the makings of a very nice work wardrobe. I will have the green wool 3 piece suit (skirt, pants & jacket), the navy skirt and jacket and then there is the (I almost forgot!) black wool pinstripe in the stash that will be an as of yet to be determined dress/suit? Have to think about that ... I have a couple of nice dress and jacket patterns from Vogue in the stash that will do. Then there will be all the shirts/ blouses and tops I need to do as well! Now all I have to do is get a job! LOL!
Oh I almost forgot ... I took the plunge and ordered the Marfy catalogue tonight. I was drooling over Maria's copy at Darrell's the other night. She is going to put in an order soon that I was going to tag along with, but I think I will wait until mine comes in so that I can take my time choosing! There was an amazing jacket in there that I fell in love with that would be amazing with in that purple wool/silk!
Monday, August 20, 2007
So, I may have another client here ... kismet. Who have you met today?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The contrast tweed is really nice to work with, but is a looser weave than I thought it was. Hindsight says that maybe I should have interfaced it in the waistband. When I make the jacket, I will have to interface the body and stabilize ... a perfect opportunity to open up my Palmer Pletsch Jackets for Real People book and use it, start to finish! I plan on making the matching jacket from the HP Sportive Suit in a brown Ottoman that I have in the stash, maybe with some accents from the tweed. For a dressier look I will go for the now OOP HP pattern, the Moneypenny Kensington Jacket. It is a tailored jacket with soft shaping that will be perfect for this tweed. Once those are complete, I will actually have the basis for a SWAP capsule, I think. I will have a pair of pants (already in the Closet, made in the same green wool as the skirt), 2 jackets and the skirt. If I make another pair of pants and maybe half a dozen tops, then I am done, if I have the concept right.
For fun last night, I pinned out the back of the Chilled Out Sweatsuit pants. I pinned out a horizontal dart of about 3/4" above the crotch curve and them pesky wrinkles went away. I may baste it in and take a pic to make sure I am right. I'll add the note to my review for next time. The next pair of pants will be another HP pattern. I have the Razor Sharp Pant that could be up next, I think. I have a nice narrow wale brown cord in a tweed pattern that will be great for those ... or maybe another pair of HP Skinny Jeans.
The next up in line will be a dual track project. School starts soon and Hamster Boy needs/wants jeans. Good thing is the weather will still be warm and he can wear his shorts for at least another few weeks. So, I have 2 lengths of stretch denim in the stash, one goes for jeans, the other for his jean jacket. That will be my evenings. Days will be this dress. A dear friend has a wedding to attend in the fall and needs a dress. She is a Registered Massage Therapist and we have worked out a swap of skills. Gotta love a full body massage ...
Monday, August 13, 2007
One thing I was not sure of, is when to attach the flounces. I am assuming that since the hem would be done after hanging, then anything stitched to the hem (like a flounce) would also be done after. Was I right? We'll see tomorrow ...
The other change I made was to increase the depth of the flounce. I added an extra 2" to it. Yardage restrictions gave me the opportunity to use the wool tweed that coords with the solid green for the flounce. I also used it for the waist bands. Should the bias panels not work out, I may just use the tweed for the side panels (on grain) and have the CF/CB panels and waist as the solid green and the rest in the tweed. I have options. Either way, this will be a nice touch for the jacket when it is made up. It will show them as a pair, while still leaving the skirt to stand on it's own.
So, the sides of the skirt are hanging and the flounces are stitched together (using French seams) and awaiting tomorrow's race to the finish. I may lose Wed afternoon to mini golf with the kids, so I have to get at it tomorrow as soon as I get back from the gym.
I must say that I like how easy this skirt is to work with so far, even with all the changes I made to it.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Next step? Take the panel off of Mindy and work the pleats on the ironing board. After a few attempts at a variety of widths, nothing seemed to work. I couldn't seem to get the pleats straight all the way down ... so I grabbed my metal yard stick and used that as a straight edge. Then I had a light bulb moment ... there is a line in the middle of the yardstick. All the way down ... Next attempt, I used the yard stick as a spacer and used the mid line as the depth marker. Easy! Perfect sizing of the pleats to get the back panel down to the correct size. I stitched the pleats flat for about 9" from the waist and then stitched the panels to the skirt and tried it on. MWA! I almost kissed my reflection! I need a smidge more room around the hips (surprise, surprise there!), but that is doable. Tomorrow I draft the facings from the pattern and then refine the width of the flounce. Then I can cut the skirt out tomorrow night as well. I am living this project!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I am still debating whether or not to add the yoke to the skirt. The prototype is sewn in the panels as per the pattern, so I can just add a facing to it and leave it as is. The plan was to get the flounce and the pleats sorted out and then trace off the shape of the yoke and then go cut it off and recut the yoke and facings in 3 pieces vice the 4 I have now (allowing for a CB zip). But that would ruin the strong vertical element I am trying to out in with the pleating. I am going to have to play a bit, I think. If I can play tomorrow, then by tomorrow night I can redo the patterns as per the changes and then sew it on Monday and Tuesday.
I must say thanks to Maria for loaning me the Roberta Carr book and for Els for sending me the scanned shots of the flounce pages. It really is great to have such resources at hand for projects like this. What a great place the sewing world is ...
On a family note, Hamster Boy came home from camp this afternoon. He went away to Cub Camp for the past 7 days. This is the longest he has been away from us so far. He spent 4 days at his aunt's when I went to bring the Pilot home, but that was with family, so it was a bit different. And he had Monkey Girl with him then. This time he was only with his fellow Cubs Scouts. He had loads of fun and is exhausted, but he missed us at bedtime. He is a boy who hates being away from his own bed, even if we are with him. He likes being home at bedtime. Sleepovers with friends are OK, but home is best. I sense a new aura of self confidence in him, though. My little boy is taller and seems to be a bit older now. I am glad he went, it was worth the expense. But I am so glad he is home!
School starts here in 3 weeks. This is a big thing for me this year as Monkey Girl will be going for full days this year. That means that I can go back to work! It has been requested by the kids that whatever job I get, can I be home when they get home from school. They don't like the idea of a babysitter. I think that the job I am looking at will make that possible. Remember that position at the gym from the spring? They are hiring again ... I applied for a different position, but have been told that they want to talk to me about a couple of positions, so I may be gainfully employed come Labour Day. Seeing as I really would love new kitchen cupboards, this will be a great thing for us if I get the job. Stay tuned for news next week ...
Friday, August 10, 2007
Now, I have to be honest here. I do believe that there is a huge gender double standard out there. Us women have been suing for access to all programs on the grounds of gender discrimination, but we have no qualms in denying access to males who want to enter our domains on the grounds of needing our own space. My question, when do men get their own space? So, my problem with this whole incident is that there was no middle ground option for camp. You were either in the boy camp or the girl one. Easy solution? Offer the program in a coed option or a male only option. That way there is pure choice.
Still on the subject of camps, I came across this little story in the National Post, a newspaper up here. It is a design camp, only without all the PR drama. The kids get to design, sew and then show their creations at a fashion show at the end of the session.
Think Canada's Next Top Model Meets Camp. This is a week-long fashion camp, hosted by the Design Exchange, an organization devoted to promoting Canadian design
One of the 12 year old campers has this to say:
"That's another [thing] with people who are buying clothes," she sighs. "They don't realize all the hard work that goes into them."She doesn't get a chance to finish. The day is winding down and cleanup is beginning. As the girls clean the scraps off the table, Cate reflects on her experiences at the camp.
"I'd rather be here than anywhere else in the summer," she says. "This is funner because you get to do your passion."
What a great camp idea ... I wonder if it is Coed?
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The idea for the pleating came from this discontinued Folkwear pattern that I have in the stash. This pattern has the pleating at the sides going all the way to the waist. This pleating would be great on the side panels and if I only pleat below the yoke, then I would not have to worry about adding bulk at the hips. There would be no need for the flounce in this option, but I would still be one element short for The Challenge requirements.
If I pleated the CB panel only, that would still give me the walking room I need and I could still have the flounce on the bottom 4" or so of the side panels. That would allow some of the visual interest to carry around to the front. I would leave the CF panel on grain as per the pattern. This option would also give me the three elements I need.
What do you think?
There was a little stall in my process, however, in that I had no source material in my reference collection (limited as it is) to calculate how many circles I would need for this skirt. The instructions in Armstrong deal with how to make a circle, half or quarter circle skirt, but not what I wanted (if I am worng somebody PLEASE tell me what page to use ... I have the latest edition!). Diva Els refers to Roberta Carr's book Couture: The Art of Fine Sewing, which I don't have (insert a not nice word here!) and the library does not have it either (I love online library catalogues!). So, I have e-mailed two local PR members to see if either of them have it for me to borrow. Not wanting to stop my efforts on this skirt so soon, I turned to Google and took a wild guess.
I typed in "drafting circular ruffles" and found not only El's post over at The Sewing Divas, but also this lovely site that actually has a calculator that does all the math for you and actually tells you how many circles you need and how big to make them and how much fabric you will need to cut them! How easy is that?! I LOVE IT ... but I am still going to hunt down that book and buy it for myself for my birthday! The tradition continues ... a new sewing book each year!
I can proudly (and honestly) say that today I celebrated the 39th anniversary of my birth. Yup, that means that as of today I began my first day of my 40th. To my husband, when I pulled this logic on him some 6 years ago (the Pilot turned 46 this month, you see), he gave me a weird look and then said quite firmly "I am not 40! Not for another 3 hours ...". It was a challenging year for him and the only good thing about it was the fact that he was in his fortieth year and could laugh about it. You see, we both believe that if you don't have a sense of humour, DO NOT let us know when your birthday is. We are known in his family and amongst our friends for placing penguins, cows, buzzards, storks, or whatever tacky lawn ornament we can rent on lawns for significant days. We laugh at birthdays, not stress out over them. So, today, as I stare 40 in the face, I am laughing.
No midlife crisis for me! Why suffer through midlife, I ask, when there are so many little crises throughout your life already! Spread the pain out and laugh more! And who says this is the middle of your life? I personally would love to live beyond 80, so I have yet to reach the middle of my life! When I do decide on an end date, then I'll be able to decide what the midlife date is!
Time was when older women were respected and revered for their wisdom. The old crone was usually a woman of some status and respect in the village of yore, somebody who had seen life at its best and worse and survived to tell the tale. She was somebody who had answers, but knew when it was best to be a silent supporter to allow the youngsters to figure things out on their own. I am not a crone, but that is something that I aspire to. I see women who are double my age and they are out dancing through life and laughing a mile a minute, regardless of the wrinkles each laugh makes. Badges of honour, each and every one.
So, I am going to enjoy 39 and view it as a training ground for my 40's. May I have the grace of my sister in law who accepted our Stonehenge card with the caption "See? There is something older than you!", the practicality of my lovely mother who sent me a card that doubles as a fan for the hot flashes that are to come (a good German woman who believes that preparation is everything!) and the sense of humour of my friend who gave me a card at the coffee shop this morning wishing that my year (and coffee cup) "runneth over" with good things, may I keep the whimsy of my daughter who took me to Timmy's tonight for a birthday doughnut. Because life doesn't end at 40 ... it is just beginning!
Signing off as I descend to the workshop for a night of caffeine induced sewing thanks to my daughter, husband and dear friend!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
So, I am glad I finished this top, even though the initial reaction was not very good. So, sometimes it pays to keep going even though you really don't want to!
Next up is a skirt project for the monthly S&B at Darrell's. A simple skirt with 3 original elements added. Lots of leeway there. I have decided to use the Hot Patterns Sportive Skirt as a base. I had initially planned on taking a pencil skirt and adding panels and a curved waistband on my own. But then my thought process was interrupted by the screaming from the Workshop Closet. Turns out I had a pattern already there with some of the elements I wanted already there! Amazing what you can hear when you actually listen to the Closet ...
I am going to use a medium weight dark green wool in the stash that was always intended to be a skirt. That way, I can later progress into a tailored jacket out of a coord checked wool. This is something that I have been wanting to do for some time, and since I am now seriously trying to re-enter the workforce, I now need that interview suit. So the question now is, what other elements to add. If I remove the box pleat from the back, I can then add a flounce to the bottom or a block of Hemline pleats in the side panels, or even just switch the box pleat to a set of narrower pleats. I plan to eliminate the waistband and instead use a deep curved faced yoke with belt loops. But I need one more element ... Maybe a welt pocket somewhere? I will have to see where the seams are when I muslin this up later on tonight. If the panel seams lie in the right place, maybe I can do a vertical pocket there. If not then I may have to do an angled pair in the side panel.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
This is where I am at. The fabric is a cotton paisley print from a surprise bundle last summer. I thought this would be an easy project for a nice summer top, but it isn't forming up that way. The fabric is light enough, but there is not enough of it and I think I really should have done an FBA even though the numbers said I didn't have to. I think I am getting too complacent in my sewing. So, I am really not sure this will work out in the chosen fabric for fit issues. But I really don't seem to mind at all. I think I will finish and then re-eval as to whether or not I re-start in a different print. I have some nice summer calicos and florals in the stash that would suit this. I will have to see whether or not the kimono style sleeve suits me body or not, though. This is a new one on me. Either way, at least I am sewing again!
There is a new challenge at the S&B at Darrell's for August. A simple skirt with 3 differnent elements to it. I think that my mind is on that project right now and that is why I am not crazy about this top right now. I have till the 3rd week to get the skirt done. MB and I are brainstorming design ideas ... I hope to start the pattern once the Pilot is back to work on Tuesday. Whether I start from a ready project or I draft my own is something I am still trying to decide on.