Tuesday, July 29, 2008

UFOs Have Landed -- in my Closet.

While waiting for the 3-3-4 Mini-Wardrobe Contest to begin, I decided to sew up some UFOs. Back in February I started doing muslins on this top. You really must read the pattern review to see what an adventure in fit and redesign it was.

I also had this Ottobre puffed-sleeve top cut out. It was very time consuming since I had to hand baste the lining to the lace, baste the binding to the neckline, and baste the sleeve flounce to the sleeve edge. I think it turned out great and well worth the effort. I also made a pair of my TNT pull-on pants to go with it. They are the same color, maybe a bit darker. Both the top and pants will go with the mini-wardrobe.

On another note, I got a surprise in the mail today. Betsy (1Betsy1) sent me this little gift for helping her with her dress form. Thank you Betsy, yes she is cute.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blouse is Done.

Before I show you the blouse I just wanted to thank all of you who leave comments on my blog. Most of you don't leave comments that need responses, but when you do I try to contact you to answer personally. However, both Adrianne and Bunny asked me a question about the pattern weights I use. I bought them at JoAnn's with my 50% off coupon, back when they gave out 50%. I bought three sets each at different times. I've found that a set of 18 will usually be adequate. They are heavy, so carting more than that around wouldn't be a good idea, and you certainly don't want to drop one on your toe. I keep them in a rectangular Tupperware. They aren't very clean any more since Son used to play with them when he was very young. I did an internet search and the only place I found them was at The Sewing Place. You can get a set of six for $14 plus shipping.

Martha, I hope you enjoy the peaches. I went to a website that sold South Carolina peaches and they were about $35 for a box of 20 and then on my box it said shipping was $30. That's a lot of money for produce that I could buy in my local grocery store, but of course they wouldn't be anywhere near this delicous. Anyone know of a good pie crust cobbler? That's the way my grandmother used to make it. I may have to call my aunt and ask her for grandma's recipe.

Here's my new top/jacket. I was trying to make it a blouse, but the fabric was so crisp that I think it does resemble a jacket. There is no lining and I used button and buttonholes, so I think it is still technically a blouse. You can read more about how I made it on Patternreview.com.

I'm going to make another one in a more drapy fabric. It needs a bit more tweeking of the fit, but the tweeks are so minor that I'm not even going to mention them here since I'm not complaining about the fit at all. I love how great this turned out. More of a jacket than the blouse I had imagined, but I think I like it this way even better.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Love Summer.

I especially love summer fruit. So, when I opened the box the Fed Ex guy left on my porch, I was thrilled. It was 20 of the most beautiful peaches I've ever seen. They are perfect. Delicious, juicy, sweet as candy, and very, very fresh. My FIL lives in South Carolina and sent them to me. He's moved up on my favorite person's list. If it wasn't so dawg gone hot, I'd bake me a peach cobbler. I may do it anyway.

After spending the last couple of days altering Simplicity 2896, I finally have the pattern fitting great. Instead of making the jacket, I turned it into a blouse. I loved Debbie Cook's blouse using Simplicity 4122, but I tried the pattern a couple of years ago and it just didn't work for me. When I found this jacket pattern, I saw an opportunity to make the blouse but without the round yoke over the shoulders, which was why the blouse was given me so many problem. Here's the muslin of my pattern after adding length, a FBA, and then removing some of the added length.

The muslin told me that I still needed to narrow the shoulders, widen over the hips, contour the front yoke to remove gaping and move the gathers to cover a wider area in the front and back. But, of course, there has to be some problem. I chose a stashed embroidered cotton shirting except there wasn't enough fabric. This is where I got creative. The puffed sleeve is just an outer shell, there is a smaller fitted sleeve underneath, so I decided that it could be put on the bias since it was too wide to fit any other way. In theory this shouldn't be a problem. We'll see how it works in real life. There wasn't enough fabric for the under sleeve or the facings.

Keeping with my decision to use up my stash, I picked through my quilting cotton collection and found a peachy orange tone-on-tone small print. The front was too orange, but the back side was a good match and with a white interfacing ironed on, the front orange side would be washed out too. Problem solved.

I should have time tomorrow to get the blouse sewn. I'll have to go buy some buttons. I didn't have more than three of anything that would match in my button collection.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another New Toy! Yea!

As some of you may know, Husband is a computer programmer. He makes sure he has a nice system that he honors Son and I with the privilege of using it when he isn't around and then gripes constantly about it. You read earlier that my Dad ordered me a new computer, but I was using my third hand-me-down CRT monitor which is enormous and takes up way too much space in my sewing room. Well, it finally paid off for me to be a card-carrying Native American. The Chickasaw Nation, which is based in Ada, OK, is now providing services for the Tribal Members who live outside the Nation. One of those services is helping every member own their own computer. Since I already have a new computer, I decided to let the Nation buy me a new monitor and a wireless modem. I'm now the proud owner of a 22 inch wide screen LCD monitor. It's fantastic. Much better than DH's monitor. Now when I want to watch a DVD while I sew, I can. In fact, that's what I'm doing tonight.

OK, back to the reason I asked you all here. I finished writing my review for my new top. You can read all about it on Patternreview.com. Before I wrote the review, I got my 3-3-4 wardrobe finalized and then I made me a computerized storyboard. I've never done one before. I sure wish I'd had the nice monitor for the task. I changed my mind on a couple of things. One of the rules was that it had to have three different colors. I decided that terra-cotta and peach were both just different shades of the same hue, orange. That meant they wouldn't qualify as different colors. So, I searched through my stash some more and came up with terra-cotta, chocolate brown, and ivory. I'm still going to call it, Autumn Sunset. I am going to use only TNT patterns so that I can be sure to get it all done in August, since I have to go back to work next month. Besides, I also want to enter the lined jacket contest.

The Ivory is an acetate slinky knit. The terra-cotta is a stretch linen. The print is a polyester stretch suiting from Emma Onesock, and the brown is a sueded 100% cotton twill from FFC. I'm very excited to get started on these garments since I have all the fabric, the patterns are already altered, and they won't be difficult to sew. However, I can't do anything else besides wash the fabric until August 1st. Can you tell I'm having a hard time trying to decide what to sew next. There is so many things I want to make, I feel like a kid in a candy store. In fact, next week my friend and I will probably be heading to the LA garment district to shop for some great knits. We just got the Ottobre T-shirt fitted to her liking.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Clock is Ticking

Three of my seven weeks off for the summer are over. I had some specific goals set for myself to get done before I had to report back. These included losing weight, exercising regularly, sewing like mad, and working on my house. So far I've done great on the exercising, walking 5-6 miles five days a week. I haven't lost any weight. I have done some sewing, but not as much as I'd like. I've done very little on my house. I'm not sure why things aren't getting done. The walking is taking about 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day. Then I'm tired. Then DS comes home from school. Then I get some pattern work done. Then I do some reading or watching TV or some sewing. Then my day is over. I'm going to have to step up my game if I'm going to accomplish more. I probably should stay away from the computer for a few days and see what I get done without it.

I did get some sewing done today. Thursday I completed the alterations to S2971 and today I sewed it up with the purple flowered slinky that I bought from Fabric.com. It's the first time in a long time that I've sewn up some fabric in the same month that I bought it.

I like the way it turned out. It looks much cuter on me. I ran into some problems with the top. First, I don't have my coverstitch machine right now. It's in the shop because the air-jet threading isn't working. I found out that I should have gotten some wire that reaches in to thread it, but since my CS machine was a floor model, I probably didn't get it. Anyway, while I was getting my hair cut on Friday, I did some snoop shopping and saw that lots of RTW isn't being hemmed or finished in any way. I decided to make the lack of hem a design feature. The sleeves aren't hemmed either. I like the way it looks and I like the length, so even when the CS is all better, this one's done.

To help push myself, I've decided to enter the new patternreview.com's 3/3/4 Mini-wardrobe Contest. This is a contest to create a 4-piece wardrobe in 4 weeks. I get to determine what clothing pieces I use in my wardrobe.
The catch is I must include (at least):
-3 different types of garments
-3 different colors in the wardrobe
and they must combine to make
-4 distinct, different outfits.
-All pieces must coordinate with each other.

I've picked out the fabrics, I think. They may change, but I will still be using the same color scheme. I think I'll call it, Autum Sunset. The print is a knit, but it doesn't have much stretch. I'm having a bit of trouble deciding what pattern to use with it. The terra cotta is a stretch linen that will become a straight legged pull-on pants pattern that's a TNT. The brown is a sueded twill 100% cotton for a pair of TNT jeans. I'll just have to remember to make them with some added ease. The last is an embroidered cotton shirting that will hopefully be made The cute little jacket from S2896, View B.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Body Double

My friend Betsy came over yesterday and we worked on her Uniquely You dress form. I did mine last year and she decided to buy one after seeing how much mine looked like me. I wrote a review on my dress form on patternreview.com. We had a nice day and she got her form looking really good. Instead of making a new form cover like I did, we were able to pin fit the cover that came with her form and got it to fit her. It had to be shortened a lot for her petite figure and the dress form accommodated her shortened back length perfectly. Fortunately she did not have to cut off and move the breasts like many short women, including me, have to do.

As far as sewing for me, I sort of blew my weekend project. I wanted to sew up my TNT jeans pattern to make capris. However, I forgot that I actually had a capris pattern for this block already done and I just folded up the jeans. Well, the legs were narrowed for the jeans, which isn't a good look for the capris. Also, I used a denim that didn't have any lycra and I forgot to adjust the fit for the lack of stretch. I can hardly get them zipped up! I think I'd be afraid to sit in them. So, now I have to wait until I lose about 10 pounds to wear them.

After this set back, I didn't do any further sewing until today. I decided to make a muslin of Simplicity 2971. It's such a cute t-shirt without looking boring and I thought It would allow for a full bust. It might, but it needs more work. I did increase the length over the bust so that the hem does hang straight, but it obviously needs more circumference around the bust and hips. The back needs more room over the butt too. Please don't let this ugly fabric distract from the pattern. I got it at FIDM for $1 yard. Do you think that this pattern looks good enough on me to pursue? I can't decide.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Got a New Toy

I've been needing a new desktop computer for quite a while. My Dad decided to jump in and make the purchase for me. I'll pay the bill when he gets it. I'm now the proud owner of a compaq Presario that has been refurbished. It has Vista, which I'm still learning. I sure wish I was more computer savvy. Actually, I get things done just by trial and error, hoping the errors don't ruin everything. So far, I've learned how to down pictures from my camera, edit them and then upload them to my review pictures website. I still have a ton to learn about editing pictures and now I have new software to learn as well. So, there was no sewing for me this week. However, I did some pattern work on the Silhouettes Sonya's Bouse. I'm thinking about not wasting any more time on it. Two Patternreview.com members have reviewed this pattern in the plus sizes in the last few weeks. Kathi Rank, and Marilyn (Mastdenman) and with a lot of work, they got really nice blouses from this pattern. They are both way taller than I am and not quite so round. I learned a lot from their reviews.

First, I don't know what Peggy was thinking when she drafted the plus sizes. Here is a comparison of the front and back pattern pieces laid over the smaller sizes. You can see how short and straight the plus size patterns are and how long and curvy the smaller sizes are. Marilyn caught this so, before I did anything, I redrew the front and back side panels and lengthened the center front and back panels to match.

Then I pinned all the pieces together to make half a muslin with my new pattern pieces. I didn't make any alterations, but I did pin some tucks into the pattern to get it to fit my dress form better. The fit still needs a lot of tweeking. Also, the armholes are very large. The arm buds on my dress form are way, way too large for me. The armholes should be about 2/3 the size of the arm buds. As you can see, the armhole on my pattern is much larger than 2/3 of the dressform arm bud.

Besides the areas on the front pieces that I've taken tucks, I still need more bust room and tummy room. I need a high round back alteration and the bust really needs to be lowered. I paid $14 for this pattern and if I have to remake it, it doesn't seem like I got my money's worth from this pattern. I really don't think Peggy knows the plus-sized body. Why in the world would she make the hips much much smaller than the bust for fat ladies? And why is the armhole big enough for my thighs?

So, I think I'm moving on to something I know I can have some success on. New capris and a matching t-shirt. I should have them done by Sunday because I'm using my TNT patterns. I'm not taking the time to share anything more about my new outfit, I'll just show you when I'm done.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's My Birthday!

My twin sister, Carrol came to visit for our Birthday. She lives in Tucson and I only get to see her a few times year. Today we turned 47. I don't have many pictures of both of us together and none of them very recent. Can you tell which one is me? OK, I bet you recognize the top. We used to look more alike when we were younger. Anyway, we had my older sister, her two sons, my son and husband and my dad for dinner at his home in the mountains. I'm still stuffed and I refused to record my WW points for today. I'll start again tomorrow.

Yesterday I worked a little on my mini SWAP. I haven't given up on it and I still want to finish it. I have the black pair of jeans and the Jalie Sweetheart top to cut out and sew. I have so many things I want to get sewn before I have to report back to work. One week down, six more to go.

I want another dress for the summer, so last night I bought myself Simplicity 2894. It wasn't even on sale, other than the 40% off regularly and the extra 10% off coupon from their flier. I still have to draw it on to my croquis, but I think it will look great on me.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I really did have a nice day, and your messages made my day extra special.

I also want to thank you for telling me how much you appreciated seeing my croquis. I really debated with myself about posting such a show-all drawing of my ample self. I decided to do it simply because I thought you might find it helpful to see how it can be used with a body so far from the norm.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Croquis Anyone?

Today I decided to remove old e-mails from my in-box because I had over 1,200 in there and I came across some pictures I had my friend take of me last year when we were working on a draping class assignment. I had thought that I would use them to make myself a croquis (pronounced kro-key), which is a sketch of the outline of a human body. There are instructions for making one in Fantastic Fit for Every Body by Gale Grigg Hazen. When I first looked at the pictures many months ago, I was so aghast at what my body shape looked like that I closed the e-mail and forgot about it. Fortunately I'm feeling better about myself and decided to make a croquis.

Kind of shocking when I first saw it, but that's me. If I wasn't already doing Weight Watchers, I'd be joining today after seeing this silhouette. I'm close to being as deep as I am wide. But that's another blog entry for another day. What's a croquis used for, you ask? Well, according to GGH, I use it to plan successful garments that will compliment my figure. I can check the proportions of any garment to my body shape. Lots of garments look great on the skinny model on the envelope, but what will it look like on me? Let's take New Look 6781 for example:

Right away I can see that it is too long. It would look better if it came to right above the crotch, not below. Also, the tie-back is a bad idea. The neckline could be lowered a bit as well. I still like the pattern, but I'm not as hot to sew it up as I once was. Orange wouldn't be my choice, but it was the only marker I could find at the time.

Another reason for making a croquis, according to GGH, is to make observations on how my body is different from the pattern companies' standard body form. She has you compare your croquis to a standard dress form size 12. I thought I'd share that with you, but please hold the laughing to a minimum.

If you can't tell, that's me on the outside and inside is the size 12 in blue. As if I didn't already know I have to add a ton of width and depth around the middle of my body. I certainly could have gone all day with out actually putting this down on paper. I only share it with you so that you know what you're in for if you try this at home. Of course, you could be one of the lucky ones that actually look like a size 12 dress form. If that's the case, I may hate you. I haven't decided yet.