Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turkey Pants, Revisited

Tonight was DS#2's football banquet, signaling the official end of the high school football season for us. His team did make it to the playoffs, but lost in the first round. We blame the weather. It was incredibly cold, even by northern standards. Around 45 degrees with a strong wind. Wind Chill Factor is not usually a term heard in Central Florida, but OMG ... we were miserable, and sorely underdressed. Thankfully, we were able to borrow an extra blanket from people we knew and were slightly more comfortable. The boys on the field had no such luxuries and it showed. The final score was 14-7, so it was close and a nail-biter the whole time.

Anyway, DS got his Varsity letter tonight and Santa is bringing the letterman jacket to go with it. I wore my Turkey Pants to the banquet and actually thought to snap a pic when we got home. The jacket is the one from Burda WOF that I blogged about last year and the blouse is the re-drafted Ottobre Woman "vintage blouse" I made for my (now unneeded) office wardrobe. Sorry, I'm too lazy to link to the older posts. I still love this jacket and I was even glad it was cold enough to wear it tonight.

Wrestling season is up next.

Monday, December 1, 2008

TNT, or is it?

Today, TNT means not Tried-N-True, but Tried-N-Trash. I'm glad I used an unloved fabric for a muslin before committing to it.

The drawing of View C (tie front) looks cute, doesn't it? I thought so. But I didn't read the fine print mentioning that the neck edge was unfinished. With Views A and B, you can always add a binding for a finished edge. Not so easy with View C. Yes, it can be done if I round the corners of the ties and then bind everything all the way around, but I don't know if I want to be bothered. I'm just not feeling the love for this top right now. I'll let it sit on Zillie for a couple of days before I make a final decision.

It came out incredibly long. Like 8 inches or so. Easily fixed if I do decide to try it again.

Here's a close-up of the neckline. I didn't do the topstitching around the raw edges per the pattern, but it wouldn't make any difference. Raw edge is still raw edge.

Here's the neckline with the "ties" hanging. They aren't really ties though. Instead, the tails are slipped through a loop (also raw-edged) that's sewn into the yoke seam and just pulled into a tie-like shape.

Here's the top on me. The fit needs a little adjustment. The sleeves are too tight and I would prefer a little bit more ease throughout. But overall, not bad. Especially since I did not make any adjustments besides to blend between sizes. That's right. No FBA. The darts are even in the right place.

I also eliminated the CB seam for both speed and style. If possible (and it was with this), I prefer tees to be cut on the fold in the back.

I could fix this one into a PJ top if I rip the sideseams and overarm seams and sew them at 1/4" instead of 5/8" in the places that need more ease. I'm not sure if I'm going to be bothered though. But I might ... I don't have very many long-sleeved PJ tops and the temps are going to drop again at the end of the week. (Uh oh. It's the next morning and I'm already mellowing.)

Oh, one more thing I don't like about this pattern — it takes 2.5 yards of 60" fabric. The top front piece has the sleeve front attached and has to be laid out in such a way that it sucks up way too much fabric. The short-sleeve version would be much more economic.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Pants

Yes. Turkey pants.

You know ... pants with an expanding waist to wear on Thanksgiving so you don't have to unbutton the regular jeans after The Big Meal. ;-)

The pattern is my TNT capris pattern, Simplicity 4605, lengthened to full length. I just wanted easy-wear jeans, nothing fancy. These sewed up in about 2 hours and I was comfortable all day. Besides, since I don't wear tops tucked in, no one but us knows they're pull-on jeans anyway. And you won't tell, right? ;-)

They look boring laying here on the cutting table, and I guess they *are* boring. But I'm boring. So these are perfect for most of my days. Nicer than sweats and PJ pants too.

Nothing fancy back here either. But I did use one of my machine's deco stitches just to do *something* on the pockets. I was all about speed this morning and this is a fast stitch.

Parting Shot

I hope my American readers had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was pretty quiet and relaxing. A few friends, classic T-day food, and football all day long. (Too bad NONE of the games were really worth watching!)

The aftermath:

Hmmm. Time for a turkey sandwich. ;-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Jalie Winner

As I mentioned, we've had a bit of cool snap here in West Central Florida, and after living here for 20 years, I'm a wimp with anything that falls below 70 degrees. Pitiful, I know, especially for an ex-New Englander who grew up with two-foot snowfalls regularly. So as the thermometer plunged to the 50s and even 40s, my need for longer sleeves rose. (As did my need for thick socks and another blanket for my bed!) Enter another Jalie 2806.

Nothing technically new to add since my first post on this pattern, but it's definitely become one of my favorite patterns of 2008. I did get a little creative with the bindings. I could've gone for solid brown, or even self-fabric, but I really wanted a bit of color contrast too.

Both fabrics are from Fabric.com. This, below, is the print used for the binding. A little fussy cutting and the yellow/brown print takes on a whole new look.

I'm pretty darn happy with this one. I love the splash of yellow, and the browns of both fabrics are a near-perfect match.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Test Pattern

Don't stare at it too long or your eyes will bug out. ;-)

Just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean I haven't been adding to the stash. What am I working for after all? Fabric.com recently had a bunch of geometric knit prints and this one had DS#2's name all over it. I liked it even more in person. For him, that is.

So he got another make of Simplicity 4287. But this time, I overlapped the seamed front sections before cutting for 1-piece fronts. Easy to do since there's no bust shaping in those seams.

(Shame on Simplicity for taking this one out of the catalog. I really think they could've lost one of the myriad scoop-neck tunic clones instead and no one would've been the wiser.)

And the result … ignore the goofy smile. The print is moire-like, it almost moves on its own. Very cool to a 16-year old. He's worn it every week since I finished it. I think it's a hit. And I love using knits for this pattern. He looks a little nicer with a collared shirt but there's nothing added to the ironing pile after it goes through the laundry.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two Years Later

No, it hasn't been THAT long since I last posted. ;-)

I've been wanting to make View A of this jacket (Kwik Sew 3369) for at least two years now, but I never seemed to get started. Well the planets somehow aligned and slowly but surely I've finally got the jacket out of the fabric stage and into the closet. And not a moment too soon as the temps plummeted a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, I couldn't just make it as is. No, that would be too easy and too fast, right? Instead, I decided I needed to add a lining and also a pocket to one of the front panel seams. The problem with adding a lining is that the front placket/facing for this jacket is supposed to be one piece, folded over. That meant tracing the original pattern and making new pattern pieces because, of course, I wanted to make it still more difficult and use a contrast fabric, which meant it couldn't fold over.

It took me more than a week to trace this pattern and make those changes, working in stolen bits of time. (Remind me again that I like my paycheck because I really miss sewing all day long and I'm so behind on life in general.) But I finally finished tracing and editing the pattern and was able to cut a muslin. I had first traced the pattern pretty much as-is — just a little blending between sizes at bust level and the seaming changes already mentioned — because KS Plus patterns are already cut for fuller busts and I didn't think this jacket would be extremely fitted, judging by the photo and other KS patterns I've made.

I was right. The muslin was hanging off me. Except at my butt, of course. ;-) All these months sitting on it while working hasn't improved that situation. Out came the pins to hold in the tucks and this is what I ended up with:

I tucked a full inch out of the front and back yokes (faster than tucking the panels and it will make the pocket flaps not hit right at bust level) and across the sleeve. KS patterns are always too low in the armhole on me and their Plus patterns are twice as bad. I also tucked 1/4" out of the center front edge so the jacket will hang vertical when open instead of swinging outward and I narrowed the shoulders about an inch. Here are all the tucks close-up:

I transferred those changes to the pattern pieces, plus added to the back seams at butt level, and cut the real fabric, which is a canvas-like home dec fabric (from Joann's of all places!). The piece of white muslin sticking out in the pic below shows where I added the pocket to the front panel seam. I can't possibly have a jacket without pockets and the upper pockets are faux on my jacket since I don't need a pocket bag in that location, both utility-wise and flattery-wise. The poor jacket sat like this for a week, taunting me, until I could steal some more sewing time.

But I finally did manage to finish it and I've been wearing it like crazy. And I think I need another one!

Front view (see the pocket?):

Back view:

Close up (with more of Carolyn's buttons):

Lining (wonderful solid rayon bargain from Fabric.com):


Thursday, October 9, 2008


Alternate titles for this post:

1. What I Did This Afternoon Instead of Working

2. How Spoiled Is My Son?

3. Why I'm Glad I Have An Embroidery Machine and Software, Even Though I Don't Use It Much

- - - - - - - - - -

Apparently the football coach sent home order forms during summer workouts. Equally as apparent — none of them made it to our house. Typical teenage brain fade, I suppose.

The coach decided this year that instead of wearing game jerseys on game days during school hours, he'd have all the players buy "kits" of various game day paraphernalia. (I'm sure there were some profits that made it into the football slush fund too!) DS wasn't really paying close attention. He knew he didn't want or need the cleats or the shorts or most of the other things in the kit. And by the time he realized he actually *did* want and need the polo shirt (read: the coach expected him to be wearing it), it was too late.

Last week, we bought a navy polo shirt so he could at least look similar to his teammates. He tried to describe the embroidery on the official shirt, but we just weren't connecting with the description. I told him I needed to actually see one. So, last night he brought home his friend's shirt and then expected me to perform digitizing magic today so he'd have a "real" shirt tomorrow.


I only use my digitizing software about 3 times a year so I always end up fumbling around before I remember what I'm doing. But a couple of hours later, I actually had a workable design. And even though I really didn't have the extra time, I forced myself to also make a couple of tests. I'm glad I did, because a few adjustments were then made and the final stitch-out is nearly perfect. (See, "muslins" are necessary for all types of "sewing!")

My tests:

The friend's original shirt:

DS' new knock-off:

It's pretty darn close, DS is happy, and there's no way a bunch of teenage boys and/or football coaches will ever notice the differences. I think I'll keep my mouth shut.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Night Lights

We just got back from DS#2's football game (they won!) and I was very happy to have been able to take an hour today and re-make my tee. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but at least I was done in plenty of time. And once again, I'm SO glad I sew.



I cut apart the man's 2X tee, laid my handy-dandy 1 billion times TNT Ottobre tee over the pieces and cut. A quick stitching of one shoulder seam, then running the neckline through the binder on the CS machine, then the other shoulder seam, sleeves, sideseams and hem, and I was D-O-N-E. I didn't even have to hem the sleeves since I cut them to keep the original hem stitching in place.

On the job front — I got a gigantic raise today (I'm now salaried) and I'm on Cloud 9. I will also be hiring and training 1 or 2 assistants in the next month to help with the workload so mine will decrease overall, keeping the parts I like best and delegating the other parts to my new assistants. What this really means is that I'll have more time for sewing, and my non-work life in general.

I've missed my blog and my sewing room terribly, but come the end of the day the last thing I want to be doing is staring at the computer screen some more so I've been vegging in front of DVR'd shows. I've become a huge fan of Mad Men. Survivor, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice and other fav shows are back with new episodes, and of course Sundays are spent watching football all day long. What I need to do is slow down for a minute and get a DVR for the TV in my sewing room so I can "watch" the recordings while I cut and/or sew. I really do prefer to multi-task and not just veg out with the tube.

Except for the "waste" of the office wardrobe now gathering dust, this job has been a real blessing. The work is tedious but I actually like it. The hours are whatever I want them to be, the pay was good before and is now outstanding, and the commute is non-existent. I never have to spend gas money to get to work or wonder what my pups are tearing up in the house.

Speaking of the pups, the weather has been cooling down enough to be bearable and we've all been spending more time outside during breaks in my day. Chili thinks his job is to hunt and catch all the lizards in the immediate vicinity and he's seriously not fulfilled unless he catches at least 1 a day. He plays with them for a while and then Dani comes along and eats them. "Tastes like chicken!" she says. ;-)

Our kitty Gizmo left us last month. He was close to 18 years old so he had a good run. It's still strange that he's not following me and the dogs around when we're outside like he always did. But he was getting incredibly weak and fragile at the end and I know it was just his time.

I'm hoping to squeeze in a trip to Joann's tomorrow around other errands. I'm nearly out of white and brown thread, for both sewing machine and serger. I can't believe it. I always have tons of the basics. I wonder if there will be anything else that catches my eye. I've been so busy I haven't even really had time to buy fabric. I know!

I also hope to have something new from the sewing room to show off next week. Fingers crossed!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finished (and it's still early in the week!)

The top is done! And even better, I like it. Here it is with the brown capris I recently made. This will be tomorrow's outfit.

Here's just the top:

And a close-up of the front:

I can't take any credit for putting the fabrics together. They are both from the same piece of border-edged fabric.

I used an Ottobre sleeve, which is gathered top and bottom, and then added a band from the contrast fabric.

Here's the final back view:

And what it looked like before I realized my cutting goof. I really should look out for these things more carefully. This was completely accidental, but glaring once I saw the pics I took on Sunday.

It didn't take too long to rip out the old bottom, cut a new one and sew everything back together. It would've been a lot worse if I had noticed *after* I had sewn the sideseams.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Little Sunday Sewing

My sewing weekend was shorter than I had planned since the construction workers putting in a new sidewalk on our road cut my telephone and internet lines Friday morning and I wasn't back up and running until late Friday afternoon. Grrr.

The telephone company had to run brand new lines from the street to our house, which is more than 1,000 feet of line. Apparently the construction workers have been doing this all week up and down my road but the bright side of their incompetence is at least they now have a direct line to who to call to get it fixed fast and the technician was at my house within an hour. No internet gave me a chance to catch up on some non-crucial paperwork for work but it also put me a day behind on the more important stuff, which meant working Saturday too.

The telephone company still has to come back out and bury the new line and the construction company owes me a new mailbox since they totalled that too. More fun stuff to deal with tomorrow.

But I did finally get into the sewing room this afternoon. I putzed around with the Vogue Betzina jeans pattern, comparing it to a TNT BWOF pattern and sorting out pieces from the Vogue pattern that I want to morph onto the BWOF pattern. But then I decided I really wanted to actually finish something so I rolled those patterns up, stuck them on a shelf on my cutting table, and decided to return to them later in the week.

Unfortunately, I didn't actually finish this top either. I couldn't let well enough alone and had to make design changes to my TNT pattern (BWOF 05-2006-111) by adding the pieced-in waistband front and back, and then I fought with neck binding for probably an hour. The binding strip kept wanting to curl off the edge of the neckline and also twist as it fed into the binder. I really needed 3 hands for this one, but settled for 2 hands and a mouth. It was quite a sight to see, I'm sure, but I did finally get it done evenly and to my satisfaction. I really didn't want to have to settle for "almost" so I kept re-doing it.

I haven't pressed the waistband so it's looking very puckery in this pic, the sleeves aren't in yet, and the sideseams are just pinned to Zillie. But I'll do all of that in the morning, plus hems, and then it will be done. This is one of my favorite patterns and I've been meaning to make it again all summer long. Today being the official last day of summer means nothing here in Florida. It will still be summer for at least 2 more months, although thankfully the humidity is starting to subside a little.

BTW, the crotch towels were a big hit, although DS' team still lost the game. The comments some of you left just cracked me up. But then how often do you get to comment on crotch towels? ;-)

Have a good week! Hopefully, I'll check in before next weekend to show you the finished top.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Is All I Got

Yep. That's my most recent sewing. Pathetic, isn't it?

DS#2 is the Center for the high school football team. When he plays wearing the hot game day jersey, he gets sweaty hands. (When I watch from the stands, I have hot flashes but I think that's something different!) He had cut up a school towel to make what we've … er … affectionately dubbed "crotch towels." In other words, small towels he can stick down the front of his pants so a flap hangs out over his crotch and he can wipe his hands dry before he snaps the ball. That worked OK for Week 1. Until they went through the school laundry and, well, you know what happened to a bunch of rough-cut, unfinished towel pieces. I'm just glad it wasn't MY washer. Although in a way, as taxpayers, I guess it was.

So last night, he took himself up to Walmart and bought a pack of cheap white terry face cloths, 18 to the pack. Tonight I rotary cut them in half to make 36 "crotch towels," and then serge-finished the 36 raw edges. Voila. The extent of my sewing. You can't stand the excitement, can you? ;-) But at least it was useful sewing and it made DS happy.

In other sewing room news …

The Vogue Betzina jeans made it muslin #2 during the week. And that's as far as I'm taking them. This thinner leg View just is not cut for my shape, which I really knew before I started. But I wanted to try them just to try them, and I did that so I'm OK with them not working out. I've got other jeans patterns that are TNT and I'm not going to waste any more time on these. Instead, I'll morph the features of the pattern that I like onto a tracing of the TNT. But that won't be my next project.

Here's the modified pattern for those wanting a peek.

I slashed down the middle of each leg and across the upper thigh and spread the tissue very much like you'd do a full-bicep alteration. I did this because I just wanted to add thigh room without changing the pattern too much. But instead of moving the tissue evenly, I moved the inner halves toward the inseams, since I always need more fabric toward the inner thighs anyway. For the front piece, I slashed all the way up through the waist so I wouldn't have to skew the CF/fly area. For the back, I left a hinge at the waist, and I also added a wedge to the CB because (a) I needed more crotch length and (b) my rear isn't as flat as this pattern is drafted for so the increase in that angle would probably work.

In general, those alterations were OK. But the pattern still needs work. If I were to continue with it, I'd need to take in about 2 inches at CB waist and at least 1" per sideseam at hip level as a result of slashing/spreading the front piece all the way up and the sideseams beings too curvy for me. (I always think it's strange that I have to de-curve most pants patterns to fit my curvy self.) I'd also have to shorten the leg length about 3 inches.

Between working, football, and football tee shirts, I've been SO busy the last few weeks that I can barely breathe. I know that I owe some emails, and they're coming, but I haven't even called my own mother in 2 weeks so don't take it personally. It's great working from home but the one major drawback is you don't leave the office every day. I sit down to check on one thing and before I know it, 2 more hours have disappeared. That's 2 SEWING HOURS! I haven't really read PatternReview in weeks, and I'm falling so behind on blogs. Sigh. But I'm promising myself lots of sewing time this weekend. Even if I resort to fast tee shirts.

My boss is promising relief (and a raise!). We really need to hire another person but none of us has been able to slow down enough to be able to train that person. Typical Catch-22.

But I do have my priorities and *did* keep up with Project Runway Australia (thanks Belinda!) and while I'm happy with its outcome, I'm sad it's over. I really liked the Aussie version so much better than the whiners on the current US run. I'm about ready to toss Kenley and her obnoxious nasal tone out a window. Anyody want to help push? ;-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

There's Potential

The first muslin of the Sandra Betzina jeans pattern is done. Sorry, I won't be posting the pics I took. They are just too awful. Imagine 7 AM, white muslin, dark undies, PJ top with no bra, bed head. And well. No. LOL!

But the jeans themselves aren't horrible. They don't fit out of the envelope, but that's no surprise. However, where they don't fit is exactly what I expected after seeing the pattern pieces.These jeans are narrow in the thighs, especially down near the knees. I am not. They are also for a more flat-tushied shape, which I've never been.

Backtracking a moment … there are actually two completely different patterns in the envelope. One is for full-length jeans and the other is for capris. The full-length jeans are narrow through the leg. The capris are much fuller. Even though I knew the capris would probably fit my thighs better, I tried the jeans anyway because I wanted to, well, try them.

But they're actually not as bad on me as other jeans patterns made straight from the pattern so I'm encouraged. They fit me a lot like many RTW jeans. Jeans that I would never buy. But these are better than RTW for one important reason — I can fix them before they're made.

So that's what I'll do. I need more thigh/knee room, I need to add crotch length to go over the backside and I need to take in the CB. I'll make another muslin after those changes and evaluate again. I'm not saying that these changes will make the jeans perfect for me, but I'm not ready to toss 'em aside just yet either. Besides, cutting and sewing muslins is mindless sewing and I need some of that right now.

Monday, September 8, 2008


It's Monday and I'm tired already. As you can see since I'm showing a photo of the same tee, no sewing has been happening here. But I did at least finish this one, and here's how it looks on me.

I should've been quite productive at sewing over the weekend because my internet went down Friday night and stayed down until Sunday afternoon, meaning I couldn't do any paying work or email or anything. (Don't ask me how I feel about Verizon right now.) I kept thinking I should go up to the sewing room and do something, anything. But I didn't. And then Sunday was spent in front of the tube soaking up the gloriousness that is the start of the new NFL season. During the last game of the night, we all enjoyed slow-cooked Memphis dry rub ribs that DS#1 bought and prepared for everyone. Since he didn't home from work until 4 PM, the slow-cooking didn't start until about 5, which means we didn't eat until about 9 PM. But it was worth the wait, and he was so proud of himself for planning it all out and executing.

Oh, speaking of football … Friday night was DS#2's first real game of the season (last week's game was pre-season) and he made his debut as the starting Varsity center. They won! Woo hoo! It was a great night to be outside too, which is unusual for September around here. The humidity was way down, all the hurricanes traveling around gave us nice breezes, and I didn't notice even one mosquito. (I was finally wearing one of the new capris too!)

OK, where was I? Oh yes ... the lack of sewing mojo. Between football games, I was thinking about why I didn't want to sew and decided it's two-fold. First, since I'm working from home and not leaving the house too much during the week, I don't really *need* anything so there's nothing that *has* to be made. And second, my stash is boring me. Well, not really boring, just not inspiring me. But I don't really need to buy any more fabric right now, so that's not really the answer either. Besides, the usual fabric sources are boring me right now too. (See, it's not like I didn't try.)

Last night before dozing off, I decided to bypass the fabric stash and instead browse my pattern stash. A few recent purchases I had forgotten jumped out at me, so that's the direction I'm heading. Except for the time-being I'm only going to concentrate on muslins so I don't have to make any fabric decisions from the non-inspirational stash. If the muslins work, then hopefully my fabrics will call to me again. And if not, well, at least I'll have worked with patterns I've been wanting to try.

Up first will be the Sandra Betzina's latest jeans pattern (Vogue 1034). After that, I'm eying Butterick 5223.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Finally Some Sewing

The capris are done. Should've taken me a day. Ended up taking over 2 weeks. Sigh. I didn't get either pair finished to wear to DS' football game this past Friday night, but at least they're done now and I still have months of "summer" for wearing them. They are simple, pull-on pants that ordinarily would not have taken so long to finish but I worked a lot the last couple of weeks and by the time I was ready in the evenings to let the Sewing Mojo take over, the Mojo was too tired to see straight, nevermind topstitch straight. I was racing Friday morning to try to get one pair done, but it just wasn't meant to be so I stopped hurrying and went with wearing "old" clothes.

Speaking of "old" clothes … This is my previous pair of denim capris. My Go-To pair that I love so much. They were dark crosshatched denim and until I laid them next to the new pair, I thought they still were. Wow. What a difference. The two fabrics aren't identical, but they are very similar. I expect by this time next year, the new pair will look like the old pair and the old pair will be for at-home only. Seeing them together made me realize how lucky I am that I can sew up another nearly identical pair to replace the favorites. You can almost never go back to a store to get an identical replacement for a favorite garment.

While the Mojo was still on overdrive, I cut out another version of my Coldwater Creek knockoff. I had hoped to finish it this morning but my coverstitch machine ran out of looper thread and I needed to get to work. So, here it is without hems, but it will be finished today come hell or high water. Oops. Not a very good expression to be using with all the hurricanes swirling around lately. (I'm so thankful that Gustav was not on nearly the same scale or path as Katrina.)

Here's a close-up of the knot. Someone (excuse me for being too lazy to go look back at who) suggested that after serging the "knot" around the "hole", the knot could be turned inside-out to hide the serging. I experimented with that and you are right. Just be sure to first sew the knot wrong side out so when you flip it, the right sides shows and the seam down the center back doesn't. I didn't actually do it for this one because I had already sewn the knot with the right side out. I know this is probably confusing if you haven't actually tried this top, but when you're doing it, it will make sense. Really.

There is nothing on the on-deck pile at the moment, which is highly unusual for me and it made me feel a little shocked and almost sad when I just typed that out. I must rectify that immediately!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Twenty Words or So

Hey everyone ... I've had some comments wondering how Hurricane/TS Fay treated us, and I just want to assure everyone that we're fine. It didn't rain even one drop here while the storm was going up the coast and then some torrential downpours a few days later as it traveled back across the top of Florida, but nothing that doesn't happen nearly every summer afternoon. Last I heard, there's another storm brewing so the fun never stops.

Still no sewing. Work is keeping me SO BUSY! But it's a good busy, with good pay, even if it keeps me out of the sewing room a bit longer. And on top of everything else, it's football team tee shirt season again, which means collecting money, sorting orders, etc., etc. There is light at the end of the tunnel, which is not an oncoming train, so I hope to get those darn capris finished by the end of the week to wear to DS's first game of the season.

It's just been one of those weeks, for 2 weeks in a row. ;-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


And just like that, the sewing mojo left. Of course, after I publicly announced I would work on the capris for a bit every morning. Sigh. I did work on them a little this morning, but didn't get very far.

I'm hoping to trick the mojo back with this post. Fingers crossed that I wake up tomorrow wanting to sew like a madwoman. ;-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Daylight Savings Time

I was up before 6 AM today, to make DS's lunch and send him off to school.

After that, I took the sleepy dogs out. Then back inside, made myself an egg and toast and ate breakfast in front of the computer while reading some blogs and checking the hurricane updates.

I emptied the dishwasher and put in a load of laundry.

Next it was up to the sewing room where I serged the outseams of both pairs of capris, then stitched them together and pressed all four seams open. Oh yeah, before that I had to re-thread the serger and sewing machine so that counts as "sewing" time too.

Back downstairs to take out meat for tonight's dinner and to add the ingredients for Foccacia dough into the bread machine.

Soon, it will be time to start the paying work.

I get a lot of stuff done when I get up early. Why can't I force myself to do that when school is out? I don't go to bed any earlier, so it's not like I switch the tasks from the end to the start of the day. I guess extra summer sleep is contagious when you have teenagers.

The photo above is the present state of the capris. I'm going to post a pic every day of the progress (or not) and see how long it takes me to finish these working in short spurts in the morning and evening.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monday Should Be Interesting

Between a hurricane headed right at us and DS#2 starting school tomorrow, it's going to be a long week I think. (Last week was long too, as I worked over 60 hours.)

Hoping the power doesn't go out, at least not for long, since I (optimistically) went grocery shopping today.

Public Service Announcement: Plan better and stay the HECK out of Walmart on (1) the day before school starts and (2) the day before a hurricane. It's already a nightmare and today it was a freakin' zoo.

Sewing-wise, the only thing that got done was to take apart and file some Burda WOFs magazines and cut out two pairs of capris, which I'm going to sew assembly-line style this week. It's the middle of August and I've sewn only ONE pair of capris for summer, and they are not a favorite. I need some more go-to capris for every day. These 2 are going to be very simple pull-ons from my TNT Simplicity pattern that I've made lots of times before, but that's what I want/need for my stay-at-home/work days. Both are denim. One is a dark wash blue, and the other is brown.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gimme Some Skin

Yet another use for my TNT Ottobre tee.

I've been wanting a cover for Zillie for a long time, but I just never seemed to get a round tuit. Well, I found my tuit tonight. I'm so glad Zillie's bra, cami, and shoulder pads will never have to peek out again.

I laid out my Ottobre pattern onto some Power Dry (recognize it Mary Beth?) and then chalked on some cut-on sleeves and a high neck and cut out the two pieces. Then I serged the sides and shoulder seams and put it on Zillie wrong side out. I pinned in some darts to eliminate all the ease in the tee and sewed them on the sewing machine. The darts aren't exactly even or straight, but I don't care. I wasn't going for perfection and these are doing their job just fine. The whole process took about 30 minutes start to finish, with the Olympics on in the background.

Now all that's left is to take off the white tee Zillie is still wearing underneath this cover and to figure out what to do for the hem. I'm thinking a drawstring or elastic so the bottom cups under Zillie's bottom, but I may just let it hang free. I might close the sleeves too, but probably not. At least not until they get in the way of something. And I can see she needs a bit more shoulder padding to equal my square shoulders. But I'll need to find another tuit before I do anything.

The one thing this really enforced is how easy it would be to pin fit myself if I had a true body double. Pinning those darts on a statuary figure was like child's play compared to the contortions and trials I go through to pin fit on my own body. I think I might see a duct tape double in my future, if I can get past the reality shock. I'll need a lot of spare tuits for that.

Oh, and thanks everyone for all the nice comments on my Coldwater Creek rip-off knock-off.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Copying Coldwater Creek Knotted Keyhole Top

The original Coldwater Creek top:

My copy:


I started with the gathered front tee bodice from Ottobre Woman (02/2007). The gathered front is an important detail for the knock-off. If you don't have a pattern like this, use any tee pattern and angle/slide the top edge back from the fold about 1-1/2" to create the gathering space in the fabric. (Thanks to Belinda for that great pattern hint!)

The pattern as traced from the magazine on the left. My "huge" change, on the right.

As you can see, all that's been changed is to cut out a U shape from the front.

I used my coverstitch machine and 3/8" (A) binder to bind the U cutout. If you don't have a CS machine and/or binder, you can use your favorite binding technique. (I'm too lazy to look for links for tutorials of other binding methods so you're on your own for that.)

Next, bring both top edges of the U together and zigzag down between them for about 1", catching each side in the ZZ so they are attached flush to each other. The right side is shown below. The ZZ will be covered so don't worry about thread color or neatness.

Trim excess binding. Don't trim until now or you won't have a "handle" to hold on to for the ZZ'ing above.

Bind the neckline edge.

From a scrap, cut a strip about 4" x 6" Length is not critical here and the width is however wide you want the knot to be, plus seam allowances. I always wing it on details like this. With right sides together, join the long edges (I ran it through the serger), turn right side out and press so that the seam is in the center of what will be the back side of the knot.

Wrap the tube around the top of the U you sewed together. The reason you want to start with the tube long is so that you have something to hold on to while you sew or serge across. I serged across to make the initial knot and then used my sewing machine to zigzag closer to the neckline binding without catching the neckline. Reposition the knot so this seam is at the back/wrong side of the tee.

Pin the knot in place so it doesn't move and fold back one side. Arrange the gathers evenly and then stitch through the tee, catching the back of the knot. This will hold the knot in place so it doesn't turn and expose the seaming from the step above. Repeat for the other side of the knot. Unfold the sides of the knot you moved out of the way to stitch.

The back side of the knot after tacking it in place.

The front of the knot. Now finish the top as any other tee and you're done.

The top on me. Sorry, but the brown is too dark to see any details. Hopefully you get the general idea. Remember, you can click on any photo in this entry for a larger version.