Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pants Pizazz!

I took a big step last week-end ... I cut out a pair of pants in a brown wool that has aged nicely in the stash for 2 years. Why the nerves over something I have successfully cut and fitted before? Because of the new fit. You see, I have been working with a trainer at work for the past six months (if you count the almost 5 weeks we were "paused" due to vacation and work load) and as a result, I have lost some inches. I was not sure how much this would matter until the Liz Claiborn pants I had purchased last fall began to actually fall off! So, I took a deep breath and decided that I would take a risk and go down a whole size on the pattern.

I pulled out the HP Razor Sharp pants pattern and cut out a size 14. Something I haven't done on pants since my early years of sewing (and those didn't even fit right!). Rather than make up muslin, I pulled out the brown wool and just went at it! I cut it out as a 14 as is with out any additions to the s.a. at all. When sewing, I did hedge and only use 3/8" s.a. on the s.s and the inseam, however, I did use the full 5/8" at CB&CF. I also did my standard curve adjustment (I lower the J into more of an L) as that is something that is standard for my figure. By eliminating the darts at the front and back, I have that little bit of ease that I need at the waist.

I gave them a quick try on a minute ago and held my breath while I turned into my corner mirrors ... WAHOOO!!!! IT WORKED!!!! The back looks AMAZING! I now have quite the nice butt in these pants! So, now all I have to do is to cut out the silk organza that I want to use as a lining and I will have a new pair of trousers for parent teacher night at the end of the week. The even better news is that now I can breathe easier and cut out another pair in the cashmere wool (lined again with the silk organza) as I now am certain of the fit!

I would show photos but I need to get to bed as we are expecting snow and freezing rain over night, so I will have to shovel in the morning. That means getting up early ...

This will really motivate me to continue on with the training as I definitely see a difference in the body shape even if the pounds are not dropping much! Who needs scales when you have a measuring tape???

I will post back tomorrow night after I come back from the Beaver meeting with Monkey Girl and have the lining cut out. Then I may have a photo to share as well. I will start to draft my review of the pattern as I go, but that will be posted much later in the week.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Update from the prodigal sewer ...

Hello all! I am considering renaming the Needle the Prodigal Sewer as I have been so busy that I have been neglecting the machines. In return for this extended vacation, they have nicely managed to pull lots of fluff bunnies out of thin air and leave them around the carpet. The Pattern pile has grown (Thanks, Trudy and Jeremy!) a bit as has the pile of new luscious fabrics on hand (thanks to Darrell and Ressy!). So, in an attempt to refocus my energies on something other than Scout neck scarves (a record 45 were sewn and I have 15 more to go by Monday - argh!), I want to reorg the work shop. I wanted to start last weekend but it was plastic week not paper on our recycle run. As I don't have the space in the Pilot's shop (otherwise known as the GARAGE) for that much paper (loads of scraps of paper and patterns that I really won't sew again), I waited until this weekend ... then I can start sewing in earnest!

Rather than focus on the patterns, I am going to list the fabrics and muse about the choices available to them. Maybe they will tell me which they prefer (assuming they forgive me for ignoring them). Maybe I will actually have to make a decision on my own ... sigh.

This fall I am focussing on quality fabrics for work. I figure it is an investment, so why scrimp? The only limit for work is that it must be black. No choice ... I do get a "nice" buttercup yellow shirt to wear with it, though. Too bad it is designed poorly! I have a wool suiting with a white pin stripe. That is spoken for as a Marfy pencil skirt with a back bias godet and a matching blazer. Then there is the black wool/cashmere herringbone that will either become a sleeveless wrap dress or an almost tunic length vest. The medium weight would be welcome in the winter air conditioning of the gym! The pinnacle of the pile is another cashmere wool (yup! there is a trend to my shopping these days! I am determined that basic black will not be boring at my gym!). This one is a black with a royal blue pinstripe to it. This one is screaming at me to become a princess sheath style dress that I can wear with my nice yellow ... Darrell says it would be a very "Nautica" look. THEN there is the long lengths of the Rayon Linen that I bought from Ressy last year that could also be used up for now. I see a nice looser fitting twist shirt that will go over the yellow nicely out of that. Then there is the black RPL as well that keeps fighting to the top of the pile of RPL in a box on the floor.

The navy pinstripe is screaming the loudest, but I can't bring myself to cut it first. The commotion the other fabrics will make would be unbearable! So, my thought is to pull off the twist top first out of the rayon linen and then head on over to something else! I could use some more trousers, but I think that this weave will pill at the crotch line and I don't want that. Maybe a jumper type dress?

One very important thing I do have to do before I start anything new is to re-measure myself. For the past 5 months I have been working with a trainer twice a week (OK, trying to make it twice a week, not always successful!) and have managed to dorp some more inches. Just this morning, I pulled on a tank top at the gym proshop and bought it. The clincher? It was a size MEDIUM!!! And it FIT!!!! I am now down a size on the rack so I have to see what that equates to (if anything) on the machine!

Oh, and I almost forgot ... I finally finished the HP Cheery Blossom coat from way last year! The temps got cold last week and I needed something for work, so I moved the buttons over towards the sideseam a bit and then hemmed it. I did a rush job on the sleeve hems, so I need to rip and redo it as it is not a nice as I like. I kept the lining and interlining hanging loose so it needs a bit of a trim at one or two places as well. I removed the pockets and am going to use that fabric for belt loops for the belt. I am certain that I will lose that belt without it loops or it being stitched on somehow (maybe with extra buttons in the back?). I will provide pics when the final touches are done.

I wish I was as prolific as my friend Julia over at her blog. She does such a wonderful job at her sewing and her writing and posting that I often feel jealous!

The Pilot just came home, so we are now off to see Madagasacar 2! Time spent laughing with the family is priceless!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


During my morning read of the online local paper, I found this little gem about how my country's bureaucrats are trying to have those "wonderful" labels found on mattresses, pillows, sofas, etc. added to (get ready for the laugh, so put your cups down!) padded BRAS, shoulder pads and other various items. Yup, I kid you not ... read on ...

Tempest in a D cup: Garment makers cry foul over padding rules

Cassandra Drudi
The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

OTTAWA - Canadian garment manufacturers are seething over changes to Ontario regulations governing upholstered and stuffed articles that would see such items as bras and shoulder pads treated the same as mattresses and comforters.

These businesses have one message for the government -- stuff your rules.

"There's nowhere in the world that this exists -- in the world," said Elliot Lifson, president of the Canadian Apparel Federation, an Ottawa-based association that represents hundreds of companies within the garment industry.

The Ontario Upholstered and Stuffed Articles Regulation, which is enforced by the provincial Technical Standards and Safety Authority, requires that "all upholstered and stuffed articles offered for sale in Ontario must bear a label in the prescribed format."

The regulation aims to "protect the public from the use of unclean or used fillings."

But the safety authority has failed to make clear what the health concerns regarding shoulder pads -- which don't usually come directly into contact with the body -- are, Mr. Lifson said.

"I don't know where the risk is," said Mr. Lifson, who is also the vice-chairman of Montreal-based Peerless Clothing, a tailored menswear producer. "Where's the relation to safety?"

It's a good question, said Dr. Jason Rivers, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of British Columbia and a practising dermatologist in Vancouver.

"There should really be no issues with this. The padded material's usually sealed in, anyway," he said, adding that in "20-odd" years of dermatology practice, he's never encountered patients with bra- or shoulder-pad-related problems.

Under the changes, which come into effect next year, bras and shoulder pads must be affixed with 2.5-centimetre-by-seven-centimetre labels, similar to those required on stuffed toys, that state the items are filled with "new material only."

Producers of padded items will have to register with the safety authority and pay an annual registration fee: $400 for manufacturers and $20 for hobbyists and crafters who work from home.

"All padded undergarments and those involved in their manufacture, importation, distribution or retailing" are expected to comply, the safety authority regulations state.

It's all a bit much for people in the industry.

"Why should we have to have a registry of the manufacturers of padded undergarments?" asked Bob Kirke, executive director of the apparel federation.

Dara Vorkapic, the safety authority's pointwoman on the regulations, was not available for comment yesterday.

In the document advising of the regulatory changes on the authority's website, Ms. Vorkapic said that the safety authority is "continually creating greater ways to serve public safety, and protect consumers against unsafe materials."

Chris Piper, an associate professor of operations at the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business, said changing safety regulations are not uncommon. "It's the cost of doing business," he said. "I don't see it as a particularly unique or unusual event."

But importers may encounter problems complying with the regulations, since factories abroad typically produce garments for more than the Ontario market, he said.

Members of the Canadian Apparel Federation hope to meet with the safety authority's upholstered and stuffed articles arm to discuss the changes.

"I hope common sense will prevail," Mr. Lifson said.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2008

Don't we have other things to worry about?

Friday, July 25, 2008

PD project photos

First off I apologize for the quality and angle of the shots. The tripod seems to have acquired the ability to leave the workshop unaided, so the nightie shots are not the most flattering of me ... they make my head look so tiny compared to everything else! Once we get back from the vacation I will re-shoot with the tripod (or take over the kids' bathroom for re-takes as it has the best light!

So, without further excuses, here they are

This is another one of my TNT princess T's made in a Nomex Power Dry with silkweight PD piping and neck band. Note to self, when using PD for neckbands, don't just fold and stitch. Use a two piece band so that you have two layers of the wicking surface on top of each other. That way the wicking surface is against the skin. Trust me, when you are working out, if the neck sticks to you, you ARE NOT comfortable!

Next up, a new version of the HP Cadeaux T. I love this pattern and not just because of it having been free! This one is in a poly/lycra knit. I love the print as it is takes me through all seasons thanks to the green and ivory in it! I added some fullness at the CF of the neckline to give some gathering interest.

The next top is made with some beautiful stretch cotton lace underlined with PD. Yup, I am heading to the Pacific coast for 2 weeks, so I need that PD! The first one is a version of a Palmer Pletsch pattern where I decided I wanted to leave off the sleeves. The armscye was a little low, so I added elastic to the seamline to pull it in a bit.

Last but not least, here is one of the two nighties I made up, again using PD. They are from a custom colour run from Ressy last year. The pattern is a vintage one that I bought from Lanetz Living, a wonderful little webstore with plenty of nice surprises hiding in there! I wanted to have something feminine but not frou frou and still be slightly sexy. So, I chose view C.
The first version eliminated the tie opening as I will be staying at the DMIL's house for the next week! So, I simply filled in the void from the opening and then gathered it all in. I love the fit of the skirt! The second one (for home use only) has the tie opening and is in a nice dark raspberry pink. It fits a bit more snug without the extra fabric at CF, but it fills the bill as a "birthday present" for the Pilot!

That is all for now ... I have to go do that last minute laundry and get the kids packed (not to mention me and the Pilot), book the cab for tomorrow, oh yeah and finish adding neck bands to Monkey Boy's T's ... do you think I can squeeze in another simple T for myself? grin ... you never know! I am in the groove to be sure!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Project Runway tidbits

Last week or so, I was reading Tom & Lorenzo over at Project Rungay and saw the listing of contestants for PR5 in the US. I saw that there was a contestant who says she trained in OTTAWA CANADA! COOL ... a local type gal to root for! So, I quickly sent a note to my pal Darrell Thomas and sent him the link. Turns out he knows her from school, she was the year behind him. That is two seasons in a row he has known a contestant!

Darrell also mentioned that the producers had dropped into the shop to see if it was suitable for the show. Turns out that he is a little too small, although they did like his selection! "Darrell," I told him, "time to get a new building that is bigger and better for next season!" "Already looking" he sent back! I thought that this was going to be a single episode for PR Canada until I read today's local paper ... read on! PR Canada is coming to my home town! YUP! Ottawa is getting IMAN for the summer ... too bad I no longer work downtown and can't stalk the fabric shop where I (and Darrell) suspect they will be shopping and working!

I am trying really hard not to read PRungay right now as I want to wait until the show airs up on our side of the border ... but seeing as PR Canada will be starting to shoot locally soon, I guess I can't complain!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Catch up & Contracts!

WOW! Has it really been almost two months since I last posted??!!! I know I had taken a break, but I didn't realize how long it had been until I signed in today! Time to make up for some lost time, I think! I have been extremely busy with work as I organized a charity BBQ and then finished the Scouting year and had birthdays, and also, I bought myself some time with a trainer at the gym where I work (staff discounts are amazing!). So, 2 days a week, this wonderful young woman puts me through my paces. As a result, in the past 13 sessions, I have managed to drop one. whole. inch! off my thighs and about the same off my upper chest. Now that summer is here, I am going to work earlier so that I can have the afternoons with the kids. THERE is where a lot of my time is being spent!

Sewing wise, I have actually been making some headway ... I took that jacket tailoring class with Darrell, started a skirt, sewn a bra, designed and finished a skort for the gym, a PD T w/piping (also for the gym), made one spectacular PD nightie (according to the Pilot, that is) and have the obligatory T's for Monkey Boy on the table sitting next to a second nightie.

Now for the details, the jacket is unfinished. Partially because I stalled on the armscye fit. It was beautiful in the muslin, but the wool has a different hand, so it fits differently. At least that was the initial reason. Now, it lies in stasis due to the fact that I am in a massive flux of measurements. So, that bra that I made? IT now needs me to adjust the cups. The jacket, it needs some taking in at the back and hips. The PD T formerly known as a TNT? IT needs some serious taking in at the seams. You really know you are losing inches when you sew even though the scale isn't varying much!

So, as you can probably guess, I am really pumped about this training program! The real proof of the success came over the weekend when I attempted to attack the mending pile. In there were the green wool pants that I made at Darrell's class two winters ago. They fit oh so perfectly ... then. Time (and split seams) had relegated them to the mending pile until they fit once again. Well, my little voice dared me to fix the seam and try them on. So, I restitched the CB seam, needing to take it in about 1/4" (there was a weak spot I needed to avoid) and then pressed and tried them on. WOWSERS! They fit as beautifully as they did when I made them! So, what were my skinny pants weren't skinny enough! How cool is that? To top it all off, that little nightie that I made up, is in a 10-12! I usually sew a 12-14 w/FBA, and this is for a knot, so I didn't really bother with it other than to lengthen the upper bodice and use 3/8" s.a. at the s.s., so I was prepped for some snugness, but the fit is dreamy! There is a second one on the table now, only this one has the drawstring keyhole opening at CF ... this is the one that doesn't get worn at the DMIL's next week when we arrive! It is reserved for the cabin at the beach!

Here is a little tidbit that a friend sent along to me the other day. If this photo isn't a scream for help in sewing, I don't know what is! Look closely and see what you think ...
This was taken in front of the Walmart in Gardendale, Alabama. This is hysterical! Look at it closely. Now I ask you... Who sits and looks at a pair of men's briefs and says hmmmm...I can make a nice summer top from these!! On the other hand...$6 for a three pack is a good price!! Now that this person knows what the scissors are for, maybe they can try sewing something??? PLEASE????!!!

I am now off to work! I will post photos tonight (I PROMISE, MB! Mt Laundry consumed me last night ...).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

First off I want to thank Mary Beth for nominating my site as an excellent blog site. I am reserving the right to tag people at a later time. I only read a few blogs, you see and am nowhere near the required 10, so I am not going to post the award. In this case, it really is great to be nominated! I love the history of this blog award (and I shamelessly quote Mary Beth quote here):
it’s wound it’s way through blog communities interested in child rearing, homeschooling, literary arts, and spiritual life, to name a few, landing here in the sewing community just lately
I love the fact that it is not restricted to one topic. I started Newman's Needle as a place to put my swing projects out there for reflection and assistance and as a means of putting more info out there than would normally be in my reviews that I post at Pattern Review . It has since developed into a bit more, encompassing the kids, the Pilot, the Job and Scouting as well since everything in my life tends to veer towards sewing once way or another, I see this as a positive evolution in my blogging, however I am trying to stick to more sewing content and leave the personal info to private e-mails.

So, in that spirit, I want to introduce you to a new blog I found. It is written by a lady who exercises at the gym where I work. I was directed to her site by my dear friend Darrell Thomas who thought we might get along. Imagine my surprise when I saw her picture on the blog and realized she is a lady I see almost every day and whom I also work out with on occasion (OK we are training partners for 6 weeks of "Boot Camp" run by one of the trainers on staff). She is a wonderful person and I love the detail she is putting into her work and her blog. Right now, she is finishing off a Chanel styled jacket out of a pink silk, complete with bound buttons and piped seams. So, go get a cuppa and sit a spell and read along with at Julia's sewing blog.

So, what is new here? I started my tailored jacket class at Darrell's two weeks ago. We are using Burda 8300 for the class. Darrell is making us use bound buttonholes, welt pockets and by unanimous decision, we are all leaving out the back vent. We are using industrial techniques otherwise. Last week we had our muslins fitted and then watched him put the main body together. Nothing surprising there so far. But it is nice to be with others in a group; like a directed sew along combined with the humour of the stitch and bitch we tried last year.

So, I went along with my muslin and realized as I was sewing the fronts together that I had way too much fabric in the side panel compared to the front. Turns out I forgot to lengthen the front panel when I did my FBA on the side. DOH! So, when Darrell fitted my muslin, he tucked out the gap at the armhole and removed all that "extra fabric" that really wasn't extra. But he couldn't know that as he hadn't seen my pattern. So, today I redid one side and front panel and will see if it fits better tonight.

Another issue I had with the muslin was there didn't seem to be enough ease for me. I cut a 14, did my usual FBA of 1 1/2" but it seemed tight for a jacket. So, I went back and did 3/8" s.a. on all the vertical seams. Darrell kept them that way for almost all but the CB. That one he put back at 5/8", and the front seam above the bust apex he also took back into 5/8". I will play with that tonight as well. I have to have the fabric cut and the bodice fused and put together by Wednesday night's session. That is when we deal with the sleeves.

Don't ask me about what fabric I am using. What I intended to do and what I actually am doing may be two different things. I have a number of options in the stash, but most are spoken for other jacket projects. I had planned on using a silk wool blend that I bought with my DMIL's annual GC from Fabricland. I did not want this to be dryclean only, so I put it in the washer on delicate in cold with Woolite. I am not sure if the results are a quality issue or just ignorance on my part, but there was so much fuzz in the washer after that it took me 5 minutes to clear it all out and clear the floor of it! It really changed the hand of the blend. It is much more fluffy and thick despite no dryer time. Careful pressing has improved it somewhat, but I am not quite satisfied yet. I will try again when it is completely dry. I might have to swap fabrics and projects. I have some nice wool flannel that is a perfect weight and have more than enough for this project as well as a HP Sportive Suit jacket and maybe even a skirt ... I'll let you know when the decision is made!

It is bedtime for the kids and almost time for me to head downstairs, so I will be saying g'night for now. Enjoy reading Julia's musings and if you post, tell her Lorna sent you! I'd love to hear how many new readers she will gain between now and our next work out!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bunnies In Betsy

Well, I am finished. I just spent an hour taking apart Betsy and entering into areas I have not ventured into before. She is an older Singer machine, so there is not much to do. There is still lots of goop on the gears and I added some oil where needed. When I took the base off (something I had never done before) I realized that there was MUCH more lint hiding under there in places I was not reaching with my previous cleans. I think there was a whole bunnie in there, there was so much lint ... it was almost frightening to see how much I missed. I then removed the top and took a close look in there as well. Not as much lint, but I did give a good run through adding oil where needed. I then took a piece of scrap silk and ran it behind the tension plates and then around them. If that didn't work it was going to be dental floss next! Test run with no tension then ratcheting it up to where my normal 3 proved Betsy to be in perfect condition once more! Yippee!!

When we get back from Mass this afternoon I am going to do some fast work on some Easter clothes for Monkey Girl and I. Due to the snow amounts still on the ground up here, dresses are out of the question. So, now I need to decide what I can pull off in 2 days and what fabric to choose ... Life could be a lot worse right now, methinks!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Betsy and Bunnies ...

I have not managed to take Betsy in yet. Tuesday night was a flurry of post Report card activity here. We always take the kids out for dinner on report card day. This term, they managed to keep the arrival date a secret until they came home, so I was TOTALLY unprepared schedule wise. Going out made for a perfect solution considering I had a meeting to go to afterwards. No dishes! Yippee for Wendy's! Last night was a quiet night as the Pilot had to work late and we had planned on celebrating being able to see the deck again by having our second BBQ this week. The fact that it was snowing lightly (again/still) while we were doing it and that there is still a whack of snow is irrelevant. I. NEED. BBQ! So, I got me some BBQ. YUMMY pork chops ... but still no Betsy in the shop. Am I in denial or just afraid of what I might hear ... Tomorrow I am going to play with Betsy some more and see if I can get her working. As much as I want a new machine, it isn't in the budget yet. Betsy it is for now! I did manage to get the green T shirt done on the serger, though. I almost kissed that machine ... after I stopped cursing the wooly nylon that kept breaking on me. I think it has gone rotten on me. It was breaking as I was pulling on it straight off the spool. Not too happy about that, but I am not surprised, really. It had been sitting for a while. I just hope I can get the old gal working, I want some new Easter clothes! I really want to use up some of that Rayon knit from Ressy ... which means I can use the serger, but that I will have to hand hem. ick.

Tonight is the start of Holy Week for us. Hamster Boy served his first Holy Thursday Mass tonight. He didn't get his feet washed, but he did get to ring them bells throughout the litany of the saints. His arm is a bit sore, he says now ... but he enjoys being up on the altar. He says that being part of the Mass is easier when you get to "do stuff". I am not going to argue him on that one! He has declared that he knows that the "idea of a human sized rabbit travelling the world dropping chocolate and eggs in one night is highly unrealistic" but that he won't ruin it for Monkey Girl. Hoping he could pull it off, I hugged him and invited him to come along with me when I go get the last minute items (like the afore mentioned chocolates). He gleefully said yes. Which means he wants to pick his own chocolate, I think! Smart boy! How smart? Well, when playing on the computer the other day, he stopped his work, turned to his little sister and related the following (with a straight face I might add) WARNING: If you are drinking coffee, tea, wine or other liquids, swallow now and put the cup down! giggle alert ...
One of my friends at school brought in a really neat article from the news today in class. It was about the Easter Bunny. Last year, somebody tested the Easter Chocolate that had been left behind on Easter and guess what? They found RABBIT DNA on the eggs and candy wrappers. So that just proves that the Easter Bunny is real!
Those of you who don't know my kids won't realize that Hamster Boy is quite the science sponge. He absorbs anything paleontology related and loves history and science. Mythbusters is one of his fave shows. So, the discussions around our house are often laden with words like DNA and evolution, laws of motion and the like. So, to hear her big brother come out with a statement about Bunny DNA on Easter candy would make complete rational sense to her. After all, this is the same person who explains how birds, turtles and alligators are "actually living dinosaurs who have not needed to evolve past their present state." There, now, my friends, take a moment and breathe a bit. Laughter is great, but oxygen is also needed! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fate or Folly?

So, at Sunday supper, the kids tell me Sunday night (after having a week off for Spring Break) that they need green for St Patrick's Day at school. Hamster Boy has decided that he doesn't want anything special, so I am off the hook for sewing new. "I'll just wear what is in my closet" he proclaimed. Monkey Girl, however, declared that she had no green and needed to wear green. She is so confident in my ability to do this that she kisses me good night later and asks me to leave the top and cardigan on the bed when I am done. She'll "get dressed when I get up" ... YIKES! I manage to piece out a raglan sleeve T with lettuced hems out of remnant green powerdry. I went to sleep, knowing that a simple T takes 40 mins to put together come morning.

So, Monday morning comes along, I have showered and changed and have lunches packed (I LOVE LEFTOVERS!) and I am in the Shop, staring at my machine, Betsy. The tension is so whacked that a setting of 0 allows no movement at all of the needle. Wassup????!!!! I think that the gremlins have gotten inside between projects. The problem is, I need to start working on my jacket muslin this weekend. So, I need to take it to the local shop to get repaired. I have a local vaccuum shop that is also a licensed Brother techie, so I am lucky I don't have to go far (even though it is a 20 year old Singer).

My secret fear/hope is that it will be bad news for Betsy. She is worked so hard, that it is a fear of mine that one day she will just stop and not be able to start again. So, tonight, I will take her apart as best I can and clean her up a bit. Maybe she is just having a dust bunnie induced nap? I hear that the Bunnies give off a soothing hum when they are hibernating inside a nice warm place like a sewing machine. Betsy is not the type of machine who can turn anybody away (as shown by the many last minute projects the kids ask for and get), so it wouldn't surprise me. But I must admit, that after 20 years, I am lusting for a new machine. But don't tell Betsy, she'll have a hissy fit!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

PJ Day

It is almost midnight and I am smiling! I just finished a pair of PJ's for Monkey Girl and it is almost bittersweet. You see, she loved raglan style T shirts (sound like anybody else we know?), especially since those are the basis of the nighties that her Nannie made for her in past years and since Hamster Boy practically lives in his. Today, as I was searching through the patterns, I found that the only one I had for her was too small. She now fits into the same pattern range as her big brother. Yup, no more of the little kids patterns, she is now into the big kids sizes. The baby is growing up and growing up tall!

The jammies are very cute and feminine without being over girlie, I think. The lavender powerdry (from a wazoodle grab bag) coords great with a white and lavender stripe jersey. I used the jersey to extend the legs (I ran out of PD) and for the sleeves of the night shirt. I used some FOE for the neckline and then added some lace to the bottom hemline for an added touch (OK, for added length for those nights when she will refuse to wear the matching pants). The seamline I covered with an iridescent pink ribbon. I echoed this treatment (minus the lace) on the legs where I added the striped portion. I think they look really nice ... we'll see what she thinks in the morning.

Hamster Boy didn't want new ones. He'd rather I trim up the camo knit bottoms I made before Christmas and wash them for tomorrow. When I made those up, I used an XL width and a L length in the KS pattern. Turns out he really only needed the L length in the leg, not the body. He is short waisted and long legged (for now, anyway). So, rather than trim and lose the growth room, I merely turned the elastic casing in once more and took in the crotch seam to narrow them down a bit. We'll have to see if that is enough tomorrow. If not, then he will wear his second choice ... the dragons from last year.

Tomorrow night, I am going to take in those cords a bit. Then, on the weekend, I will prep the pattern for the jacket. This is one project where I will post progress step by step. Not a tutorial by any means, but a way of welcoming you all into my class with Darrell. Now if only you all could hear what goes on in that work room when we are all there at once! You'll just have to come north for a visit, is all. Just make sure to bring snow gear ... March came in like a lion and is determined to stay that way!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Sunnier Side of life

For those of you who are also in Ontario's snow belt, you'll be thinking I am about to say I am off for Spring Break to sunnier climes. Not so ... I am enjoying the fact that I now have more time on my hands to sew. I no longer have to stress out about the Scout event. A variety of events have all conjoined to result in me leaving the committee. I am much happier for it and slept well last night for the first time in a month.

I now have the pattern for the jacket. This weekend will see me starting the muslin. First off, I know I will have to do my standard FBA and some back work. I will probably end up shortening the sleeves a mite. I usually have to for my shirts, so I won't be surprised if Darrell will tell me to lop them off a bit.

Tomorrow, I will have some fast projects to do. It is winter carnival at their school and Friday is PJ and Teddy Bear day. I always make them up new PJ's for this event. This year, I didn't get them new PJ's at Christmas, so I am going to make sure I get them done for Friday. I have some nice camo flannel with glow in the dark dino skeletons for Hamster Boy and will use some lavender powerdry for Monkey Girl. Silky and smooth, she'll love it!

Until later ... sleep well and rest up: more snow coming on the weekend!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Breaking Blog Silence

For those who have been sending me the subtle (and the not so subtle) hints, I am taking a scant moment or two to update the silliness in my life at the moment.

First and foremost: I am back sewing again! Granted it is only a pair of pants, but it is a new garment in the closet! I took the HP Everyday pant and made them in some stretch cord, so I have to take them in a bit more than originally planned. Even with the darts in, the lycra gives too much room at the waist. Granted, in the name of speed, I omitted a stay at the waistband seams, so it is a deserved looseness, so to speak. Also, I finally took apart those HP Chilled Out Sweat Suit pants that I threw together a ways back. I have to do a simple alteration to the HP pants. I simply drop the joint part of the L curve a certain amount and then voila ... I Have a nice butt! I think that the rayon knit was a bit too lightweight for them, but they are super comfy around the house and they look good, too!

In order for me to have the time to sew, I have to be out of the house with major motivation. So, I signed up for a class at Darrell's. He is offering a Tailored jacket class using some couture finishes and some industrial techniques (meaning no pad stitching, but bound buttonholes and welt pockets). I have been meaning to try my hand at this but have been a bit intimidated by the whole prospect of the interlining, lining and so on. Darrell's is the place to get over that, for sure! We are using Burda 8300 for the jacket. I am hoping to use a back and royal blue wool from the Wool House that I bought a few years ago. I have some nice wool flannel that will coord well with it for a skirt or pants, depending on shrinkage amounts. I can't wait ... I have to prep the muslin for the 26th of this month and then every Wed I go to Darrell's for some fun and relaxation!

Work wise, I am very busy ... so much so that despite working in a gym, I haven't been able to work out! Part of that is due to the fact that I only work the same hours as my kids school day, so I can't stay late or go in early. So, I bought into a specialty training sessions done by one of the trainers. One hour each Saturday afternoon. That will get me some time exercising.

What is keeping me from all that I love to do? Planning a regional day event for the Beavers in May. It takes a lot of time reading all the e-mails and playing phone tag with the powers that be for our chosen location. Then there is the normal Beaver stuff, like the Spring sleepover we always do and our normal weekly meetings.

On top of that is the occasional research into what may quite possibly be a posting for us next year. Yup, we may be hitting the road over summer 09 ... for those of you who know, keep them fingers crossed and know that you'll always be welcome during ski or hiking season! We will have a spare room ready as long as you bring some sewing stuff for us to do together!

I am off for now ... I have supper to prep for and then a family chore meeting. Not gonna be fun, no way no how.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Reading Material

I received my first issue of Current Archaeology today. This was an indulgence brought about by the kids; annual magazine fundraiser campaign at school this past fall. I always use this as an opportunity to try magazines that I wouldn't otherwise try. Anthropology is another one of my passions, you see, so this was a natural fit for me. What makes it even more exciting is a book that was reviewed in this issue: Findings: The Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing by Mary Beaudry.

I can't wait to read it ... I ordered it right away, you see. How could I not? The title grabs me with the double entendre in the word "Findings". To the non sewer, this would refer to the "findings" of a scientific study ... to those of us who sew, the tools of our trade/hobby/obsession! This book covers archaeological finds and provides a context that goes beyond the mending basket. I'll let you all know what I think of the book once it arrives and I start reading it. And yes, MB, I will loan it out when I am done!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Patchoulli 2

Well, it is done! I even wore it to work on Friday. A week later than planned, but I am happy with it all the same. The neckband came out quite nicely, I think. The raised effect is purely a design accident as I managed to ignore the fact that when I copied the neckline edge shape of my new wrap bodice piece, I copied the outer edge as the inner seamline rather than making it the outer facing seam. Oh well, I now have a wonderful convertible neckband!

I am satisfied with what the final result is, but realize that there is some work to do with the drafting of the overlay as it currently lies at the dart point, causing some troubles there. That is for the next version ... whatever that will become! My full review is over at PR, so I am not going to repeat it here. It is too late at night to do that and I am back at work and Scouting tomorrow!

Tomorrow I start a one month theme on Canada with the wee ones. We are going to embark on a cross country trip, doing a different region each week, ending on Flag Day in February. Tomorrow night we make lighthouses, next week we have a mini winter carnival to echo the celebrations of at the 400th anniversary of the settlement of what is now Quebec City. After that, we hit the Prairie plains with the buffalo (yup, we still have them up here!) and then move into Beautiful British Columbia where we will all make mini totem poles. Then we head north into the Territories. Revisit the Yukon gold rush, and maybe even make an Inukshuk with a special guest (if I can arrange it!). Then we finish it off in the last week with a flag cake and badge presentation. What is not to like?

Tuesday I start the muslin on the CS pants. I really want to get those done so I can start on my Marfy patterns. The latest issue of Threads has really answered a lot of my basic questions regarding hand stitches, under/inter-linings and thread tracing. It is heaven sent for what I want to do next in my sewing journey. Who knows, if I get something finished in time, I might even enter it into the wool contest over at PR.

g'night all ...