For Me??? I Shouldn’t Have! :) and Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth

I did a minuscule amount of holiday sewing, mostly for me. Why me?

1) I’m not offended getting a homemade gift 🙂
2) If I mess it up, I totally understand.
3) I, as giver, will not be hurt if I see that the givee (also me) has re-gifted the item to another person or institution.
4) I can chalk it up to experience.
5) I can chalk it up to having a bad day.
6) If it doesn’t fit, I can ask my daughter if she wants it. Also, she likes weird styles and things anyway.
7) If I’m going to spend a lot of time making something, at least I know I will appreciate that.

Star Trek fleece blanket

warm Star Trek fleece lap blanket

As you may know, I like to knit while watching TV at night. Of course I have other lap quilts and blankets, but this one, my gift to me, is special. Why special?

1) It’s fleece, very warm and fuzzy (my other usual TV-watching lap quilts aren’t fleece)
2) It has a TV show theme, ideal for…watching TV
3) I like to think it is the Original Star Trek. Actually, it obviously is the Star Trek animated series, which I like to think is based on the original Star Trek: William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, etc. I love the new actors too…but the old school series shaped me into the adult I am.
4) It fits the area of me as curled up on the loveseat upon which I perch to watch TV and knit.
5) The fabric was a remnant, so 50% off the regular price.

Marcy Tilton Vogue V8497

Remnant Marcy Tilton top

Next is the remnant top I made for myself.

Vogue pattern

pattern

top

top

The pattern shows this Marcy Tilton Wearable Art top, three views, all made in a solid-color medium-stretch knit. My expectations from the pattern photo did not lead me to the top I created from this pattern. Why?

1) I used two remnants that have greater than medium-stretch quality. And for the neck band, I used a rib-knit, not a piece of the overall fabric. The two remnants I used have the same colors, but vastly different patterns. I wanted to make the fronts and backs half of each fabric, but I couldn’t because the back pattern pieces are longer than the front, and the fabric I used for the front wasn’t long enough.
2) The picture on the front of the pattern appeared to have the z-shaped seams lapped under. According to the directions, the seams are just sewn, leaving the edges on the top piece exposed to the elements. So after wearing, washing, etc., these unfinished seams will curl up. Also, according to the instructions, the neckband is only sewn on the bottom edge to the neck of the garment, leaving the top edge to fray, curl up, whatever. I didn’t like the look of it on my rib-knit band, so I sewed the top edge of the neckband down onto the bottom edge.
3) I do like the look on the pattern envelope, so I may decide to sew a solid-color top according to the directions some other time.

Meanwhile, other quirks I noticed with this pattern:

1) The directions tell you to glue the seams together with spray-on fusible adhesive prior to sewing or top-stitching. Why? It can’t be just to affix the seams together and keep them from moving while sewing, because you’re also directed to pin them together as well. And you’re still directed to stay-stitch the neckline, and to reinforce the shoulder seams by stitching them on top of a piece of tricot interfacing. I think the idea is that the knit fabric won’t stretch during sewing and therefore pucker, if it’s glued together.
2) I didn’t enjoy using the spray-on adhesive: it’s extremely messy and irritating to the skin around my fingernails when I’m trying to position the hems, etc. But I have to admit that the hems didn’t pucker, they stayed flat as could be, and I was able to use a nice top-stitch, and not the usually-called for serger cover-stitch hems. (Good because I hate to re-thread the serger).

spray adhesive

gunky spray adhesive

Speaking of hand-made, my friend Aura is fabulous at making beaded jewelry. Here are some examples of earrings she has made recently:

beaded earrings

Aura’s beaded earrings

Hope everyone is still basking in the light and warmth of happy holidays! For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth ping here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow #3

I like the non-traditional winter holiday week theme of Yellow. This votive candle holder seems to cry out “pick me! pick me!” In which alternate universe are the Christmas cardinals yellow?

IMG_2746

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow #2

yellow tree

the yellow tree in the neighborhood

Yesterday the leaves on this tree were a bright lemon yellow; today a little more orange-yellow. Tomorrow? If it’s like another tree in the neighborhood, they will soon turn crispy brown and fall off.

December in Central Florida. For more weekly photo challenge: yellow, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

IMG_2671

Getting ready for a Feliz Navidad celebration; looks like the predominant color of packaging for Mexican food items is yellow!

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

Christmas tree

New and old twinkling together on the tree

Love the photo ornaments the grandkids give us! Next to the ancient ceramic Ms. Santa Claus ornament that must be at least 60 years old! It’s a miracle that one is still intact over all the years…

For more Photo Challenge: Twinkle, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone but Not Forgotten

mom & Santa

Hope you have a happy Christmas in Paradise, Mom!

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone/Not Forgotten click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular (2)

angular cat

The cat impersonating a right angle

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular, click here. I have to admit, when I take on the challenge, I don’t feel nearly as inspired as I do afterwards, looking at the sweeping and spectacular entries from fellow bloggers. It brings me lots of joy!

Life and Times, with Remnants

Life, I’ve lately realized, is fleeting.

We’ve been celebrating the life of my mother, the mortal phase of which ended two weeks ago.

 

Mom

Me and Mom 2014

Mom

Mom (1929)

 

I’m seeing some similarities in more than just the hair styles in these photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With lots of family things going on, and getting back into the flow of daily events again, I haven’t finished many sewing projects, except for this one, a shopper I started last year.

Shopping bag

Kwik Sew Shopping bag with steam punk embroidery motif

The embroidery motif is from a collection of steampunk Christmas designs at Urban Threads. Notice how the bag makes exemplary use of small pieces of remnant fabric? I hope to make more of these lovelies, but I can’t guarantee that I will have time now, the holidays being almost here!  Distractions abound!

Time, that fleeting thing that life is made out of, has been taken up with associations, both usual and unusual. Relationships have been both renewed and undone. Motives have been questioned. Long-standing resentments have been acknowledged and tolerated. Prayers have been issued. Cold hands have been held, then relinquished and folded together in repose.

Do I feel bereft? No. I believe the dead are still with us partly, in spirit. I am one of those who believes that the Spirit World is the Earth’s spirit. Just like our spirit is attached to our physical body, so is the Spirit World attached to the Earth’s body. I believe in eternal life and in the Resurrection, when spirit and physique will be reunited. I don’t feel swimming in denial, but full of hope and faith that God is in charge of this whole scenario, and that His plan will prevail. It’s going to be good, all good.

Surprisingly, my recent post about a video-game themed wedding has been scrutinized. Some folks have been wondering just what I may have been alluding to in the post, asking to whom I was referring, because of course, I surely could not have attributed abusive behavior to them!

“If the shoe fits, wear it.”  Put it on, fasten it up, take a practice step in it, see how it feels, and wear it. Abuse is abuse, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or whatever.  How exhilarating to wake up to the prospect of living life without fear, without the dull ache of having been put in your place, a place of inferiority and submission to another person who is supposed to “love” you. Exhilarating to reclaim one’s self-esteem, which has been systematically beaten back time after time after time.  Hmmm, there may be some sense in living through miserable times, if you can learn to appreciate the good times.

Meanwhile, DH is closer to completing his table.  Lots of months of hard work!

walnut table

DH’s natural-edge walnut table

ebony plugs

Breadboard edge of table with ebony accents

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

IMG_1609

This week’s challenge is from Pete Rosos at WordPress. He says “imagine which of your images you would like to see gracing the cover of a book…”

For more interpretations of this week’s theme, click here.

Getting the A-line Right

Some time in September, when I was pondering the significance of National Sewing Month, I decided I’d look into the Craftsy class I purchased a long time ago, about designing and sewing an A-line skirt with Deborah Moebes.

Over the years since I bought the class, I’ve been slowly buying all the requested supplies and materials called for: Swedish tracing paper, clear fashion design ruler with curves, bias binding maker: this is stuff I’ve never used before planning to make this skirt. But my hope was to make a skirt that really fits me, so maybe all the extra sewing paraphernalia would be essential.

First off, I take measurements of waist, hip, length, and projected hem circumference. Next, I quarter the horizontal measurements and mark them on the pattern. Then, I place pattern piece on muslin and cut out a front and a back and sew them together on the right side seam. On the left side, I sew an invisible zipper. [Craftsy plus: this lesson is extremely comprehensive when it comes to invisible zipper instructions.]

This is the muslin I ended up with:

muslin

muslin #1

Now, according to the directions, at this point you try on the muslin and figure out how deep of a dart you need to add to each quarter of the skirt. Or, if you need to add darts at all.

If you notice, this muslin looks rather tight and has horizontal stretch lines. According to page 205 of Sandra Betzina’s book, Fast Fit, a problem like this indicates someone might be lying about their waist measurement. 🙂 OK, I concede that might be the case here–I did measure before going out for my anniversary dinner at Embers Thursday night and then consumed a lot of bronzed Chilean sea bass with lobster mashed potatoes and shared a wedge of flourless Belgian chocolate torte with my DH…so I rechecked my measurements, and they were absolutely, undeniably what was shown on the pattern.

Fast Fit

Additional fitting help

So, did I miss a lesson on adding ease? Or do I need to rethink the whole issue of ease? Barbara Deckert’s book Sewing for Plus Sizes has a table on page 73 that gives minimum ease requirements for plus sizes. Have I gotten into a whole new ball game of ease requirements since my badonkydonk has gone up a bit in size?

 

Sewing for Plus Sizes

Deckert’s book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked in my stash for a commercial skirt pattern to see how it compared with the sloper pattern I just made.

Simplicity skirt pattern

Simplicity skirt pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drafted a new sloper based on my measurements and the lines of the commercial pattern for the two different sizes that represent my waist and hips.

 

sloper pattern

The Craftsy sloper on top, the altered Commercial one on bottom

The picture shows a pretty big difference in sizes for the two different slopers. Also, the back piece of the commercial pattern was bigger than the front piece, whereas the Craftsy front and back pieces were the same size. I allowed for differences in the seam allowances and placements of the zipper.

muslin

Composite sloper muslin, darts added front and back

I should mention that the Simplicity pattern did not include darts in the front, only in back. I added the slim darts to the front because the skirt seemed to need them, what with the extra space on the pattern pieces and therefore extra fabric added. The “smile” lines across the lap area are not present in the second muslin. I’ve always heard the phrase “make a muslin” and thought, why? Surely it’s a waste of time and fabric and a zipper. But now I’m glad I went to the trouble of creating a second muslin. Why not? Better to tweak for fitting before cutting into that designer fabric.

The designer fabric was this Innocent Crush cotton velveteen by Anna Maria Horner I bought a few years ago.

A-line skirt

A-line skirt in Innocent Crush cotton velveteen

I just happened to have a sweater in the closet the same shade of red! What are the odds of that?

So, what did I learn here? 1) The sloper pattern made from the Craftsy lesson did not fit me well. Why not? Maybe because I’m not slim, my measurements and body shape are not a natural A-line, they’re maybe more like an O-line? 2) I did end up with a composite sloper pattern that fits me pretty good–at least until my next dinner at Embers. 3) I can try out the Craftsy class A-line pattern drafting method on the little girls whose measurements I copied down last summer. They need some of those cute little A-lines, too!

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