Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays to You

I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I hope everyone has the best year ever in 2011. This year has been a struggle for so many people, myself included. But no more talk about that. There has been some good things happening here as well.

First, I've taught myself to crochet. I guess I should say I've relearned how to crochet. I haven't done it since I was living at home some 30 something years ago and had forgotten how much fun it is. It was easy to pick up using youtube videos and an ugly pink ball of yarn. Then I went to JoAnn's and bought The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet.

This pattern caught my eye, but it was marked for an intermediate skill level. It wasn't very difficult and I really enjoyed making it. Next I want to make a sweater for myself. But don't get me wrong, I haven't given up on garment sewing.

Over Thanksgiving weekend (and into the next week as well) I joined Ann Steeves PJ Sew-along. I never officially joined the sew-along, but I did make some pajamas. I was very glad to have a large sewing room stash because I didn't have to go out and purchase a single thing to make these pajamas.

The bottoms are a TNT pull-on pants pattern and the top is a SewKeysE pattern that I was using as a muslin. I don't like the top pattern but it works for pajamas. I also tried out a new Burda WOF Magazine pattern from July 2007. It's a plus sized pattern.

I think mine turned out pretty well. Be sure to click the pictures to get the full sized view. I am planning on making another with long sleeves for the winter. I really like how it isn't too low cut while still having a little twist. I'll be experimenting with new t-shirt patterns since I still can't find my TNT KS 2900 and the dozen or so variations I've drafted with it.

I promise not to stay away from my blog for so long again. Happy sewing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ten Things About Me

Carolyn was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger award and even though she no longer believes in passing along blogger awards, she suggested to her readers that she would love to know 10 things about them that they haven't shared before. So Carolyn, here goes:

Ten things about me:

1. I know how to do Gregg shorthand and still use it sometimes. My first job out of high school was as a stenographer/secretary. I worked for the Los Angeles Planning Department in the Environmental Impact Report Section for the Director.

2. I didn't go to college right out of high school. I worked (see #1) and married my high school sweetheart. Then after the divorce I went to college and got a BS in Communications, Public Relations. My goal was to graduate before I turned 30 and made it by one month.

3. I used to play the accordion. I took lessons for two years and was really pretty good. My parents were going to give me either dance or music lessons. Unfortunately it was Milton Mann's Accordion Studio that came knocking on the door first. I lost interest at puberty, who wants a squeeze box on your newly developed breasts?

4. I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi. When I started Metabolism Miracle I quit cold turkey. For nine month I did without, but with the stress over my MIL, I'm back to a 3-4 can a day habit. My favorite used to be TAB until they changed the formula and added aspartame.

5. I love Mexican food. I could eat it everyday. Cheese enchiladas are a particular favorite of mine. It's hard to make the food too spicy for me. I like my salsa hot.

6. I'm a daddy's girl. I think my dad is the most wonderful person in the whole world. I think every girl should have that one person who makes them feel very loved and special.

7. I lived with my husband for over 10 years and dated for 2 years before that before we finally tied the knot. On August 15th this year we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. I think I love him more today than I did when we were younger. I love having a partner that respects me for being a strong, independent woman.

8. I can't sleep without my favorite pillow. It's an ancient down pillow that I hug and snuggle. Without it, I wake up sore and stiff. I took the pillow with me when I spent two weeks in Italy and when I went to New York City for a week and it goes anywhere I go if I won't be coming home at night. Luckily I can stuff it into any tiny little place in my suitcase and then it fluffs right back up once I unpack it.

9. I can type 90 words per minute. I used to type 120 words per minute but I don't type for 8 hours a day and haven't for a long, long time, so I've slowed down. I make more mistakes now because of my arthritis, but I try to be careful about my spelling and will always fix mistakes once I spot them.

10. I don't text. I don't know how to text. I don't want people to bother me with texts. I don't want to pay to get texting on my phone and I don't want a text keyboard on my phone. I want people to call me and actual engage in a conversation with me. I will, however, spend hours on chatting with sewing friends in the chat room.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just One More Machine

Obviously I don't need any more sewing machines, but I just couldn't resist this one. It's a beautiful Morse 4400. Once I clean it up it's going to be drop dead gorgeous. I've already oiled it and cleaned it a bit and adjusted the tensions. It sews beautifully on all the stitches and it's really fast on full speed. I'm thinking even faster than my TOL Bernina 170 computerized machine.

Unfortunately, while doing some minor maintenance on the machine, I discovered this beauty had a BIG problem. This photo is of the cam gear that makes all the stitches. I didn't know it had any plastic nylon parts or I might have thought twice about buying it. At the moment, the crack isn't causing any problems with the decorator stitches, but once it goes into regular use, I'm afraid it will just crumble. I only spent $45 on it, but I sure would like to keep using it. It's so pretty and really fun to sew with when I feel the need for speed!

If you have any idea where I could find a replacement gear I would really appreciate hearing about it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fall Pants Small Pants

After losing 30 pounds I got rid of all my clothes that no longer fit. That included just about all my pants. I did buy a few things for the summer, but it's almost time to start wearing long pants again. Unfortunately my weight loss has come to a stand still, luckily I haven't gained anything back either. In another two weeks I'll be joining a gym, but first I have to have an estate sale and get my MILs house rented. In all my free time (yea, right!) I've decided that I could squeeze in sewing pants for me.

Like a lot of my plus-sized sewing friends, I find that Burda has the best fitting pants with the short front crotch and the long back crotch. This pattern is from the Fall 2005 Burda Plus WOF. Because my time is rather limited, I decided to sew up a pair of pull-on pants. These are straight legged and the front seam can be eliminated. At least for the first trial pair for fitting purposes. With the darts in front (hidden in the seam) and in the back, they should be rather close fitting around my hips and waist.

In one of the fashion shots of these pants, the leg looks very wide. However, on an actual plus-sized person I think they won't look quite so wide. At least that's what I'm hoping will be the case.

In this fashion photo of the pants, the leg doesn't look bad at all. After measuring it looks like I can wear a size 24 (European petite size 48, not an American size 24) after I remove the excess hip/thigh. If I don't, they'll look like jodpurs instead of a nice pair of slacks. Burda size 24 equals a size 20 petite in American sizing. I don't plan to use a stretch fabric, so wish me luck on the fit. I hope to get them cut out sometime this weekend and then sewn next week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Herd

Summertime is my favorite because I get lots of time off to sew. Except this summer it was all about taking care of my mother-in-law. With very little sewing going on (I forgot to mention the 7 costume dresses I made for Steven's play but they don't count because it wasn't fun sewing), I started to go into withdrawl. I'm sure we've all experienced this some time or another. What I usually do is buy fabric when this happens. Well, I really don't need any fabric. I mean I REALLY don't need any more fabric! Besides, I didn't have time to go shopping and Bob was around much too much for package deliveries. So what's a girl to do?

I don't know if you noticed (how could you not?) but on, there has been all sorts of noise about vintage machines. Of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. Now I'm hooked. You see it all started when I first saw someone, I think it was Donna Hodgson, post a picture of a Singer 500a Rocketeer on PR. It was love at first sight. Then I learned that they were from 1961! I had to have one for my birthday because you see, I'm from 1961 too, July 6, 1961 to be exact. (I missed blogging on my birthday because we were with my MIL.) When discussing this with a sewing friend, she decided to gift me a Singer 500a Rocketeer that needed some TLC. Yea! She sent it to me in time for the machine and my 49th birthday. She also included lots of accessories and goodies to go along with it. I immediately became discouraged because I couldn't get the brown stitch lever to budge, not one micro-meter. But while waiting to figure out how to fix it, I found another lovely Rocketeer 500a on Craigslist in the art deco cabinet for $125. All I had to do is drive a 4-hour round trip to pick it up. I don't think I would have gotten it except it had the cool cabinet and I had a morning to myself for the drive. I'm so glad I did go get it because it was working almost perfectly and clean as a whistle inside and out. It'll be my go-to machine when I want to use a Rocketeer.

During one of my stays with my MIL, I spent lots of time on the computer looking up information on vintage machines. This included browsing on Craigslist. I just about fell out of my chair when I found another Rocketeer 500a for $35 in a very nice vintage Copenhagen cabinet and they lived only two miles from my MIL. I drove down right away and paid the money and picked it up the next day. It's the machine I used to sew my niece's little outfit from my last post. It also came with lots of accessories and attachments. Now I own three Singer Rocketeer 500a machines. Aren't you jealous? I've got them all working perfectly now and plan to use them for my students when I either open a studio or start teaching again at the Parks and Recreation in a city closer to home. I really would like to find one more.

These next two machines are Japan made Super Delux Zigzag machines. The beautiful green one has a badge from Revere (the copper bottom pan company) and is dated from the late 1950's. The real surprise was that I found it in my own garage! I didn't even know it was there. Well, that's not true. It belonged to my husband's grandmother. For the last 14 years it has been sitting on the floor of my garage near the door where water came in. It sat in a puddle for the rainy season each year. I knew it was a bucket of rust and wasn't interested in it. Well, I went to throw it away to make room for my MILs things but decided to look at it first. It was a beautiful immaculate machine in a lovely shade of two-tone greens, and it didn't really need anything more than cleaning and a good oiling. Even the belt was in good working condition. I only replaced the bobbin tire and it needs some work on the pressure foot lever because it doesn't want to stay up. That's it, a machine I had all along, and it was free! It has a carrying box that needs to be recovered and it didn't come with any attachments, but it was free!

The pretty pink Japan made Kenmore machine from the late 1950's was another wonderful Craigslist find. I had been cleaning out my house anticipating having to bring some of my MILs things home. I had a lot of things to go to Goodwill so I decided to have a yard sale and I made $80. The pink machine was only a 25 minute drive and cost $50, less than I earned at my yard sale, and it came in the really cool Martha Washington cabinet. It came with lots of attachments too. It was sad when I brought it home because during the drive home the cabinet wire rubbed against the top and gave it a pretty bad scar but I think I can cover it up with some model paint. I just have to look for the light pink color at the hobby shop.

As if this wasn't enough machines, after my MIL has passed, I was given her Singer 221-1 featherweight machine. I've never really been a fan of these tiny machines, but this one means a lot to me because it was hers. It's the only machine she's ever sewn on and for that, I'll treasure it forever. It has the box with attachments and the card table. The table is in bad shape but the box looks pretty nice for its age and I know it was well used.

Last, but not least, is the Singer 66 Redeye treadle machine. I posted about this machine before, so I won't bore you with all the details. It's mine from my MIL's estate as well. So there you have it, how I went from owning one very loved Bernina 170 sewing machine to a herd of eight. I can't wait to start teaching classes so that my students can feel the power of a real sewing machine, not those plastic throw-away machines they are making nowadays and beginning students always seem to buy. Anyone want to come over and sew with me?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer Sewing

At the end of the summer last year, one of my co-workers asked me if I would sew a bathing suit for her. Keep in mind I hate sewing for other people. I always feel such serious anxiety when I even think about sewing for others. However, I said yes. Since it was the end of summer and school had already started and she said she was in no hurry, I put it off. That is until June this year rolled around and school was out and she wanted to go swimming.

What she wanted me to do was make another suit like the one she had worn out. To do this I took apart her old suit and copied it exactly. I spent hours and hours on just the pattern and ripping apart the old suit. However, I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I think it looks as good as the old one, if not better.

I don't know why blogger wants to turn some of my pictures sideways but if you turn your head to the side you can see how good the bottoms turned out. The original had this same belt and belt straps. I used the original suit's D-rings for this suit. The only real problem I had was sewing those straps down to the suit. However, mine looks just as good as the ones did on the professionally sewn suit, so I was happy. Too bad you can't see them better in the photo.

I couldn't figure out how to put in the bra cups I bought for this suit, so I made a pattern from the old suit for this part as well and just sewed in the old bra cups. I think they look silly in this color but she said they don't show through so I'm not going to worry about. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I certainly charged her enough for it. :-)

I didn't sew anything else that month because at the end of June is when we found out that my Mother-in-Law was sick and she went into the hospital for treatment for chronic diarrhea and then again for chemo treatments for the leukemia. However at the end of July, while Bob and I were taking care of her between hospital stays, I left my husband alone with his mom and took my son and I on a week-long stay at my dad's timeshare condo in the mountains. After all, it had already been scheduled and our son deserved his summer too. We took one of his friends with us.

If you look closely in the photo, you can see lots of sewing stuff laying around. While my son and his friend had lots of fun running around in the woods and hanging out at the club house, my sister and I sewed. I made two dresses, one for myself and one for my niece. I can't find a picture of the dress I made for my niece, but it was McCall's 3672 in a pretty pink pin-whale corduroy.

I made this dress for me. (Sorry about the goofy smile) It's the cover dress from the 5/2008 issue of Ottobre Women's pattern magazine. The dress was designed to use a woven, but I made it from a poly/lycra knit I bought at Michael Levine's Loft for $2/pound. It's really a wild print and the details of the dress are completely lost in it. I cut out a size 48 and had to take it in at the sides and the center back for a more fitted look. With a FBA I could probably use the same size pattern with a woven. I wish I had used the same sleeve pattern they did on the cover. These are almost too short for me but are nice for the summer.

During my MIL's final days I had a lot of free time on my hands. I had been spending time on Craigslist searching to add to my recent sewing machine collection, more on that later, so I had a machine with me that I had just picked up. I also had some fabric in my car along with sewing supplies that I carried for my beginning sewing classes that I teach. I whipped this dress up for my niece. It's the same dress pattern as the pink corduroy one except that I cut it shorter and added a ruffle at the neck edge and hemline. To do the ruffle, I used the ruffler that came with the CL machine.

I'm very happy with the way the ruffles turned out using the ruffler. If you have one that will fit your machine, you should try it. I don't think I'll ever go back to using the thread pulling method again.

The pants pattern was found a thrift store, another thing I did to keep myself busy while staying at my MILs house. Don't worry, I didn't leave her alone. By that time we had hired 24-hour caregivers so that we could sleep and my husband could go back to work. I was off for the summer and my dad was staying with our son.

As always, you can click on the pictures to see them full size to get all the pretty details. It's time to sew me some fall clothes. Since losing weight, I don't have any pants that will be appropriate for the cooler weather. Watch for pants muslins coming soon.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rest In Peace

On August 22 my mother-in-law passed away. Having already watched the dying process in my own dear mother didn't make seeing this once strong and vibrant woman disappear little by little any easier. I am so grateful for having known her. I feel so lucky to have spent so much time with her at the end and she kept her enthusiasm for life right through to the end while not fighting the dying process. Our family seems so much smaller now that she's gone. She has certainly left a hole in our hearts that will take time to heal.

Thank you everyone for your loving posts. It's very comforting to know that so many of you were keeping us in your hearts and your prayers. With everything that has happened to our family, we have realized how precious life is. We all hold each other a bit tighter and enjoy the moments we have together even more. We really see that in the end, it's not what possessions you have or how much money you have, it's how much you love and are loved. Please take the time to let those important in your life know that you love them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Sorrowful Summer

A few of you probably have noticed that I dropped off from my blog and other sewing places that I hang out. I've been having a very sad summer because my mother-in-law has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She will not be with us for very much longer, I'm afraid.

Arlene has been part of my life for over 25 years and I'm heartbroken to see her failing in health so fast. This picture was taken when we visited the Grand Canyon last October. My husband, son, and I are her only family so I've been busy with her care. I'm so grateful for summer break so I have had time to take care of her.

I go back to work tomorrow so we've had to hire 24 hour care for her, but I'm trying to visit her all I can. She lives over an hours drive from my home. Arlene is a remarkable woman, especially considering she is 77 years old. After high school she went on to earn a Bachelor's degree from University of Washington in Drama. Then, after raising my husband and then divorcing his father, she went on to get a Master's degree in English Literature and another Master's degree in Archaeology. For 20 years she served as a United States Forest Archaeologist working to find Indian Villages and at times in charge of field crews. I remember many stories she tells of spending 3-4 days in the middle of the forest, sleeping in a tent all by herself and living like this week after week doing her job, summer, winter, spring, and Fall. She was very good at it and is still a respected name in her field. She has authored a book, The Noontide Sun, and has published many professional papers presented to the American Rock Art Research Association.

I can't think of many women from her generation that I respect more. Please put our family in your thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Stephanie and I visited the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising museum in Downtown Los Angeles today. They were showing Disney's Alice in Wonderland design exhibition. Several people came in costume as they were holding a competition. It was fun to see how people off the street interpreted the movie's costumes. There were some really great costumes and some not so great. Inside the museum they had a display of student's interpretations of the Alice in Wonderland theme. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take photos, but one student made the most wonderful dress for the Queen of Hearts. It was stunning. They also had many costumes from the movie on display.

After visiting the museum and having a lovely lunch at Marie Callendars, we were off to visit Mood. I still haven't forgotten that I'm supposed to be on a fabric fast, so I only got one piece of fabric. It's been a long time since I've been to Mood, so I thought I'd treat myself with this piece of cotton/lycra jersey. I thought it'd make a nice t-shirt for the summer. Mood is much more pricey than shopping downtown, but I make myself feel better by telling myself that the fabric is from Italy.

One thing you might not know is that Mood Los Angeles has a store dog like the New York store does. He is a little chihuahua named Oscar. Too bad they didn't name him anything cute like Swatch, which is the name of the dog that lives in the New York store. The chihuahua was so tiny my cat could have eaten it for lunch.

On another note, yesterday I celebrated my 100th blog friend. I just wanted to thank everyone of you who visit my blog. I'm thrilled that some of you make my Sewing Saga a regular stop during your day. I have lots of exciting things I want to start creating. Sewing for myself will be included, but I want to get more creative in what I sew, so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Projects

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I will be making seven dresses for my son's play, The Wizard of Oz. The performances are late July so it's time I get started making the dresses. I'm on a world-wide hunt for the trim. If I have to, I'll replace the trim on the dresses I don't have to make so that they all match. My dear friends, if you've seen anything with sequins and in rainbow colors, please let me know. I've found a few leads on, but won't know until next week if they are going to pan out.

It would work out better if I could find it in yardage so that I can cut it into any shape. I'm willing to purchase large quantities since I need to put it on seven or more dresses and the production group would like to have some stockpiled for future performances since new dresses may need to be made if the current dresses, including the ones I'm making now don't fit the actors for future performances.

I also have to make a bathing suit for a friend who asked me at the end of last summer to clone her favorite suit. That won't take me very long I hope. I already have all the materials I need. Another project will be to make a pillow for another friend who gave me the fabric much more than a year ago. You see, I hate home dec and I hate to sew for other people. However since I'm not wanting to sew for myself right now, completing these projects will keep me sewing and get them off my plate and out of my sewing room.

I haven't started my summer exercise routine yet. After I clean my house, today is probably going to be the day. My weight loss has been stalled for about a month. I'm back down to the weight I was at when my son was born and at that time I stayed there for over 5 years. I guess set points are real and I'm stuck at one. I really think exercise is what it's going to take to get past it. The diet I'm on requires exercise and my age requires exercise. I guess I better get started exercising, you think?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm not OCD-Really!

I couldn't let go of the idea that my new purse needed that big floppy pocket divided into a pen and sun glasses pocket. I must have been serious because I had to remove my hand sewn stitches in the lining bottom to open the bag back up. I don't take sewing by hand lightly and avoid it at all cost when I can. Then I had a devil of a time getting the purse back under the pressure foot to sew these lines. I couldn't put it in the machine to sew from front to back so I had to use free motion sewing and sew the lines sideways on my machine. I was very careful about it sewing one stitch at a time and it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sweet Harmony Handbag

This is the newest Amy Butler handbag pattern called Sweet Harmony. It comes in both the handbag and tote sizes and I decided to make the handbag. I've had the fabric in my stash for only 2 or 3 years and I bought the pattern last December. While cleaning out my sewing room yet again, I ran across the fabric and decided that this bag would be my next project. Unfortunately, the pictures do not show just how beautiful this bag is. The fabric has a gold line around the flowers and the print has a jacquard stripe that adds texture to the purse.

I only had one yard of each of these two fabrics and the pattern called for 1-3/8 for the body and 1-1/8 for the lining. I had plenty with my 54" home decorator fabrics. In fact, I had enough to fussy cut each piece of the body. I placed one side pocket so that it would feature one of the roses. Because both sides of the purse are alike I decided to make them different by using the lining for the body behind one of the pockets. That way I could tell which pocket I put things in. I hate searching for things in every pocket until I find it.

For the other side of the purse I matched the print on the pocket with the body of the bag. I think it turned out great and matches perfectly. I was tempted to do some free motion quilting around the roses but decided that it wouldn't add much to the look and might even detract from the beautiful print, making it look more quilted wearable art than a designer handbag.

I really liked the design and placement of the cell phone pocket. This is the side where I'll keep my keys and the phone. That way I won't have to search for them in every pocket the way I do now. I wish I had added this type of pocket for my sunglasses as well. I'll be sure to make that addition the next time I make it. And there will definitely be a next time. I like purses like some women like shoes. It drives my son crazy because when I tell him to get something from my purse, he can't ever find it since he can't keep up with which one I'm currently carrying.

The inside pockets that the pattern called for weren't so great. The pattern had you install a zipper on top of a panel which would have been bulky and much too big. I made the pocket and omitted the zipper, which is one option the designer provided. I wish I had sewn a dividing line down the middle of this pocket because it flops open inside the bag. It's just too big and should be divided. I think putting two dividing lines would be nice allowing space between the lines for a couple of pens would have been cool. It's too late to add that now, however.

For my zippered pocket, I decided to do my own thing and made a window for the zipper and added a pocket bag behind the zipper. That way my things are inside the lining and out of the way inside the pocket. This is where I keep my lipstick and advil and other small things I don't want to lose on the bottom of the bag.

The inside of the bag is roomy and will certainly fit all I need to carry. You can see in this photo that I've changed the handles from the strange one that the designer created. I like the two handles that allow me to fully open the bag instead of the way the original handle is one that is bifurcated near the bag to allow it to open.

While this wasn't a quick and easy project, I'm quite satisfied with the way it turned out. I had many issues with the pattern instructions and decided to just stop using them and made the bag the way I thought it should be done. I don't know if Amy Butler is this way with her other patterns, but she is overly wordy which makes for a lot of confusion and head scratching. I was getting very frustrated until I stopped reading them and just sewed it my own way. The pattern, however, makes one terrific handbag.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Love My T-shirt Pattern

I went shopping for fabric in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday and this fabric followed me home. It's a poly/lycra jersey that I found at Michael Levine's loft for $2 a pound. I'm pretty sure this dress weighs less than 2 pounds so I got it for next to nothing. There was plenty of this fabric left over after cutting out the dress. I'm thinking it would make a cute skirt as well. I bought several other pieces at the loft too so expect to see more t-shirts very soon.

The pattern is my TNT t-shirt pattern KS 2900 which I altered to add a round sort of yoke and gathers. I made it up in a muslin, but never got around to making a t-shirt from it. Stephanie and I were discussing t-shirt dresses on our way home from downtown which inspired this dress. Sunday I altered the pattern by lengthening it 18 inches. Next time I'll only add 16" because I had to hem it up 3 inches which meant I cut 2" off the 1" hem. I also had to remove four inches from the side seams at bust level and 8 inches at the hips to make the pattern fit me. Pretty soon, I may have to find a new TNT t-shirt pattern. That will be a very sad day for me, and yet, quite exciting as well.

The dress looks so cute with these earrings. I've had them for a very long time but none of my clothes went with them, so I don't think I'd ever worn them before. The colors match the dress perfectly.

If I ever wanted to get lost in the jungle, this would be the dress to wear. It's a great camouflage. My son said I shouldn't wear it grocery shopping because I look too nice, however, it feels like I'm wearing my nightie. I plan to make lots more t-shirt dresses for my summer wardrobe. I think they are the perfect clothes to wear for losing weight in the summer. The pants I bought a couple of months ago are all getting too loose so I don't think I'll get anymore pants for awhile and pants patterns are too hard to fit, especially since I'd have to do it all over again in just a few months once I lose even more weight.

I'm not sure I ever posted this top once I got it finished. I still need to write the review, but I love how it turned out. It's NL 6940 and it was too tight when I made it in early March, but it fits me perfectly now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


A week ago Friday I was rear-ended on the freeway. Luckily no one was hurt, except the cars. My '05 Pontiac Grand Am was totaled. At first I was upset since I only had a year and a half left to pay on it. However, now that I have my dream car, I'm not so sad anymore. I never did really like the Grand Am. It was a compromise when I had a choice to either buy a used car and go to Italy or buy a new Ford Fusion.

This car is a 2010 Ford Fusion SE but it has over 20,000 miles on it so I bought it for a steal. I love my new car! Already today, I was stopped in the parking lot by a man who wanted to ask me about my lovely car. He wanted one as well. After all, it was voted Car of the Year by Motor Trend.

Besides dealing with the insurance company, rental agency, and shopping to buy another car, I did have a chance to pick out some fabrics for some summer sewing. Last summer I made a mini SWAP in red and black. None of those pieces fit any longer so I've decided to make another red and black wardrobe. From left to right: Top row - Black RPL for pull-on pants, white jaquard stretch twill for white skirt, b/w animal print poly mesh for top, Red cotton knit w/black trim for top, Bottom row - gray RPL for pull-on pants, black/gray herringbone for jeans, red/black poly lycra knit for dress, and white dotted swiss for blouse. I have some red capris and some black burmuda shorts that will go great with this wardrobe. I understand that black/white is big this summer and I've added a splash of red since it's a color I look good in.

Besides making this wardrobe, I have seven dresses to make for my son's acting troup which will performing The Wizard of Oz late in July. I'm making the dresses for the rainbow dancers.

I'll be making the one with the full skirt and I need to add a short puffed sleeve with a cuff. They will all be in rainbow shades of poly satin with sequin trim at the waist and sleeve cuff. I also have to add a satin ruffle at the neckline, which with this pattern, will be easy to do. Wish me luck with the fitting. Luckily they are only costumes and don't have to look perfect. But you all know, I'll probably make them look much better than I have time for and the fit will drive me crazy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Motherless Day

I've been motherless for the last four years and Mother's Day is probably the day that I miss my mother the most. Growing up we weren't close. We were never friends. In fact, from as far back as I can remember through my early 20's, if you'd asked, I would have said I hated her. And I would have meant it. It took a few years of counseling and a divorce (on my part) to understand her. To see her life through her eyes. She grew up with a mother that was mean and a dad that was not home as he was usually out on the farm. Also, she spent most of her life either depressed, in pain, or both. She lived with pelvic pain the same way I did. She went through many surgeries to fix her health issues, but she was always in pain. To say she was cranky would have been an understatement. She was mean too. I was afraid of her, as were my sisters and my brother. In my late 20's and early 30's, she became a non-issue for me. I ignored her for the most part, except at family gatherings where I was friendly, but we weren't friends. About 10 years before she died, my dad spend a couple of weeks in the hospital suffering from serious heart problems. Mom stayed with me and for the first time, she was able to show a kinder, softer side. She was afraid and worried about my dad and yet, was pleasant to be around. It was probably the first time in my life I'd ever seen her vulnerable. Then, when my son was a pre-schooler and I was recovering from gall bladder removal surgery, we started becoming friends. She came and stayed with me for a week to help me out. At that time I think I was still trying to figure her out. However, it was not until she was in her 60s that we became close. Not close like best friends, but where I wanted to call her and see how she was doing. Just close enough to where I looked forward to her visits. Three years before she died at the age of 71, I had the privilege of having her and my dad stay with me for nearly 2 weeks while wildfires ravaged the mountaintops where they lived. They had no idea if they would have a home to go to or not. That time is when we really became friends. I think it was the strength she showed when I would have just worried and been afraid for what I was losing. She was grateful for everything that she still had. With her courage, she gained my respect. I am so grateful that we were able to be friends before cancer took her life. So on Mother's Day, while I will be motherless for the rest of my life, I'm grateful that I had my mother in my life and that I was finally able to love her.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pattern Drafting Again

It's been awhile since I've done any pattern drafting to my TNT pattern KS2900. I posted a couple of weeks ago about all the new tops I wanted to make with it this spring and summer. So of course, I didn't start with any of the wonderful inspiration pictures I showed you.

When shopping for the latest Burda Style magazine and not finding the May issue out yet, I decided to go look at the sewing books. They never have a very good selection but I always check anyway. This time I found a new book that looked interesting. Design-It-Yourself, Simplified Patternmaking by Cal Patch is a gem of a book if you're looking to dabble in patternmaking without taking a college level course or having to wade through Helen Armstrong's Patternmaking for Fashion Design.

This project caught my eye and since I had a $10 gift certificate in my wallet, I decided to splurge and get the book. The line drawings took the guess work out of what cut lines I needed to make on my TNT pattern.

After tracing out KS 2900 and making some fit alterations to my pattern to accommodate for my weight loss, I used the diagram from the book to draft a new pattern. I chose to only add one of the side bust cuts and I added 5/8 inch at each place. I wasn't looking for a flowy maternity-type blouse. I only wanted to add a design feature.

I'm very happy with the way my muslin turned out except for the gaping at the insert neckline. I'm not sure why it's doing that except that maybe I didn't have it on the fold correctly, but instead tilted away from the fold at the neckline. When I make my real garment, I may just tilt the pattern piece over the fold at the neckline in order to eliminate the gaping.

I want to add a disclaimer that I did NOT read the book yet, I just used the pictures to make my new pattern since I know quite well how to draft patterns. You can read the reviews at Amazon and decide if you want to own this book, but even though I haven't read the book yet, I'm glad I got it. Amazon has a good price for it too.