Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays!

So, three days homebound! It was mostly by choice, because I do love staying in. I made my green Simplicity 4045 dress, a Thomas-Snow-Globe shirt for Connor and finished a dress from NM 23230. I know the last one looks awfully cheesy, but it's turned out cute. My camera is packed away, so I'll post pictures next weekend.

We're off to Denver International Airport tomorrow to fly to Hilton Head Island. We're spending Christmas week with my in-laws on the 9th hole. No, not playing - what I mean is that they live on the 9th hole. Hopefully the crazy backlog at the airport will have abated somewhat and we'll have smooth sailing. It'll be great to get away from the snow. Knowing Boulder, it'll probably all have melted by the time we get back.

I wish you all a joyful time with whichever celebration you have.
I'm thinking of maybe adding a pole to the festivities next year.

Happy Holidays and Happy Sewing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Snow Day

Eight years in Colorado and I'm still unused to snow storms. We've had over a foot already and more coming. I don't think we'll be driving tomorrow. Fortunately I'm married to a (former) mountain man, so I can send him out on foot to get supplies.

We have light, heat and food - we're blessed, and mountains of fabric, so yay? I also have a 4 year old, so snowmen, cookies and games it'll be. Really, no complaints.

 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Projects

I don't exactly look for kids' projects, but they sneak up on me. For example, a Thomas stocking for Thomas-loving boy:

How can I say no? The panels are from Equilter and it's lined with stash flannel. I made the letters for his name with cotton backed onto Wonder Under - magic stuff, because I couldn't be bothered to break out the embroidery attachment for my Bernina.

Which is another thing I'll never buy: embroidery attachments and the hellaciously priced software.

We also got to use my new Kandi Kane hot iron to embellish the stocking with hot fix crystals. It's addictive for a glitter-addict like myself. Watch out world! One thing I learned about the Kandi Kane is to use it like a regular hot fix iron:

1. Place crystal on project.
2. Use a smaller concave head than the crystal size.
3. Hold hot tip on crystal for 12 seconds.

When I used the Kandi Kane method, the crystal would get stuck (glued into) the concave head, hence the smaller size. Also their method has you holding the crystal in the hot head until the glue bubbles, then planting it on the fabric by tapping it. It's crazy inefficient and that drives me nuts.

I also made a pair of Santa pyjamas and a pair of corduroy pants. His loveliness has deigned to wear the former for the holiday period (only), but has refused the latter, as too baggy for his style. Anyway, two shirts to go for him and I'm done until the next kid project gets me.

This one is for me. It's the fabric I'm using for the dress version of Simplicity 4045. The fabric is a silk georgette from Fabric Mart, that's way too wild to be ignored. I'll line it with olive green ambiance to cut out some of the yellow tones. But check the print - it actually has leopard, tiger, cheetah and a fourth mystery cat cobbled together.

Hey, maybe I can put hot fix crystal all over it. Hmmm?!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mittens Complete!

The mittens for Connor are felted and finished. If you're nervous about knitting with double points, this is the perfect starter project. I used 7" needles, which were a little fiddly with the tiny thumbs, but still easy to do.

The yarn is a new one for me. It looks like roving stretched out into yarn, instead of the twisted, plied yarns that I'm used to. It's very soft and a dream to knit, even softer after felting.

The service from Morehouse Farm was very fast and the patterns are clear and easy to follow. I only had one little problem and that's with their color description. This is the 'FantaSea' kit, which shows up with a lot more blue on their website. I understand that with this type of yarn dyeing, it's hard to get consistent color variations, but I did expect at least some blue. The scarf kit I ordered, is likewise, dominant in green (and mustard yellow) - but no purple!

I'm finding ordering yarn on the net has more potential problems than fabric buying. Maybe as I get more experience, it'll get better. Still, it hasn't stopped me filling a whole tub with skeins of pretty stuff. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Simplicity 4045

I'm so happy with this top. The bodice is cut on the bias and there is gathering at the center front neckline. The little sleeves have an inverted pleated at the top and at the hem and the collar anchors the bodice and the sleeves.

I made no adjustments to the pattern, which makes it gold in my eyes. I like the bias drape over curves and the sleeves are just the right length and width to make my upper arms look a lot slimmer.

This is so comfortable to wear and so cute, I think I'll make the dress for Christmas. Maybe a lined georgette or soft wool crepe.

Yep, my blahs are definitely over. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Sewing Blahs are Over!

What with moving and the holidays, I haven't done any sewing since mid October. I managed to put together a Halloween costume in our hotel room and a great costume it was too. But... real sewing? The longer I'm away from the machine, the more I shy away from returning. As if I've forgotten how to sew.

It didn't help that I cut out 6 projects before packing, thinking (huh!) that at least I'd have sewing, even if my sewing room was a mess. Sadly, it turned out to be 6 UFO's for the pile.

But it's over. Yippee. I'm working on a this cute little top from Simplicity 4045:

It's a bias cut design for woven fabrics and the sewing's easy.

In the meantime, I've been knitting. I've been stacking 'techniques' into projects and I'm doing rather well.

These are the 'Fetching' fingerless gloves from the summer issues of "Knitty", or half gloves, as my son calls them. So I learned double point needles and easy cables.

This second mitten is from a Morehouse Farm kit for kids, and they're so easy and fast. I'm halfway through the second and I have to felt them slightly to finish them.

My son was so impressed with my knitty gloves that he told everyone about them. In fact, he shows off every little thing, fancy or simple, that I or Grandma has ever made him. He's so proud of us, he makes me feel 10 feet tall. Of course, he also keeps giving me new projects to do.
So worth it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

And the rest of the fabric....

The box from Kashi at Metro Textiles just arrived, and I'm still happy with my purchases.

The colors are too dark on this set.
Top left is a reversible wool/blend rib knit, mid-weight, pink-purple on one side and purple on the other.
Top right is a coppery gold stretch denim.
Bottom is a cream knit with gold metallic thread. Lightweight, very soft and much lighter than the picture.

Top left is a heavyweight sweater knit, grey/black/ivory flowers on brilliant red. This is embarrassing. I bought it thinking the wrong side was the right side. Both side are good though, one has a regular knitted structure and the other is soft and fleecy. Even more embarrassing, I realised when I got home that I had already purchased this fabric from Ressy's Co-op. Oy!
Top right is a crinkle georgette in greys, ivory and pomegranate. Very pretty.
Bottom left is a mesh knit with a very colorful, Asian design.
Bottom right is a gold printed stretch velvet in black.

Top left is the soft, fleecy side of the sweater knit above.
Top right is a gorgeous burnout chiffon in a pistachio green, with branches in coppery brown and embroidered/sequined floral branches. I put the lower part over the copper stretch silk charmeuse which will be the lining.
Bottom left is a pleated red silky. It's a poly but very pretty and cheap, so it snuck in.

All the glittery, gold fabrics left me with a bit of a reputation as a glitter-ho, but also very, very happy.

There'll be another box next week with three more fabrics. I'm not on a fabric diet, but I'm satiated. In fact I'm going to try and shave off a third of my stash. I'm only going to put up with loved fabrics anymore. There is so much out there, that when I need the blah, I'll be able to find it anytime.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pattern Review Weekend NYC

What a whirlwind life I have. Two days after the moving truck finally arrived, I got on the plane to New York. I've wanted to do this trip for a long time, but the timing is atrocious for me. Not this year. My husband gets a shout out for practically pushing me onto the plane, "but I have so much to do!!".

I roomed with Ann and Marilyn from MA, who were wonderful and fun. And I got to meet so many other women - talented, accomplished, witty, lovely ladies all of them. We shopped, talked, enabled and shopped some more. I only wish I'd had more time to talk to more people.

I started off calmly and gently at Global Leathers and wound up a slavering fool at Kashi's. My box from him hasn't arrived yet, but this is the fabric I brought with me:

Brick rayon/lycra, lace cotton blend knit & black/gold/red knit from Spandex House.
Purple/lavendar swirl rayon/lycra from Mood.

Beautiful glitter butterfly on gold leather from Global. Anna Mazur was very inspiring to me and a lot of others reminded me of an Anne Klein tops pattern from the 90's for a vest/top from this leather. I was stuck at 'handbag?', so I appreciated the muse.

Rayon Velvet in blue-grey from Parron's.
Black leather (shared the skin with Jodi) and snake skin leather from Global.
Two wide elastics from Spandex House for lingerie.

Tropical print rayon/lycra, swirl brown and tan linen/lycra from Mood.
Pumpkin slinky and heathered green slinky from Spandex House.

And the final sweet haul:

There's an annual chocolate show in NYC. Tom and I went to the first one and this time I had to go it alone. It is the most phenomenal turnout of national and international chocolatiers, all with samples. The crowds are suffocating but the experience is so worth it. This is my gift to my lovely husband and gorgeous son for making it possible for me to go away this weekend.

Ok, the pumped up heath bars are mine. But the rest, all theirs.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hot Patterns: Weekender Chilled-out Sweat Suit

I made this pretty soon after it was released.

I made it up in a 16, with no alterations. I have a 43-44" bust and the fit is great. The front lays just right on my bust without falling to either side of my bust. The shoulders are a little dropped and the bodice is undarted. This is not a fitted item and I don't think it's designed to be, but it's close fitting.

This one shows the front (there's an optional zipper) held close, to show that the fit is still good.

The back is again fine. The hem is resting on my tushing because I forgot to pull it down. But again this is undarted and to be expected.

The fabric is a black terry faced grey knit, with at least a 50% stretch. I used light grey serger thread. It was easy and fast to make. And moreover, it's great to wear. It's cute, relaxed and kinda hip. What more could you ask for. I get appreciative comments and looks all over. Note: it's good to stitch the facings down at the shoulder seams for extra non-flapping security.

I also made up the pants, which have the L shaped crotch curve. I made them up in the same fabric in a size 16, although my tush lies between 16 and 18. They were close fitting, but cute and just right. 'Were' - because I nuked them in the dryer. Oops. So I made them up in a less stretchy rayon/poly/lycra. Oops again. With the tighter size, they really needed the stretch, so that pair got wadded up.

I'm waiting to get settled in my new sewing room to pull it out with the correct fabric.

Sorry about the awful pics. It's 5 days to moving and time is getting tight.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I came, I saw, I ... um... returned.

My Latin conjugation is awful, and my brain too mushy to google the correct phrase. Also I need to change my little intro to this blog, because we're leaving New England. Back to Colorado we go. It's a work thing.

We've loved it here and love it very much in Boulder, so everyone is happy. Connor and I were listing all the things we've enjoyed here - trees, grass, leaves, rocks, Walden Pond, school, bendy roads.... And for me, the very new sewing friends and relationships. I'm sad about all those things.

We're leaving at the end of the month and sewing has become a pile of wistful UFO's. I'll have to get a Halloween costume made now to use when we arrive in Boulder. But otherwise it's crazy packing time. For once, my procrastination has paid off and 60% of our things are still in boxes from the move in June.

The funniest thing is that two weeks after moving, I'll be flying back for Patternreview weekend in New York.

I might just get back to regularly scheduled sewing in December, or January. I'm just grateful that I took up knitting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bitty Blue Hat

Fall is mostly about my little boy, Connor. Halloween, his birthday in November, trips to London and Hilton Head to visit Grandmas and finally Christmas..... It's a long haul of celebration, family and fun. Most of what I sew and make right now are for him.

This is the my first completed knitting project in 16 years. I took up crochet last year and returned to knitting this year - I'm getting faster every day. This was a fun quick thing. And the big payoff:

"Mama, I look pretty!"

Now he wants me to sew him a dress. Boys do wear dresses, Mama. Help!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tim Gunn

I actually shrieked and jumped when I opened it. He's dapper and shiny and autographed. Now, he's gracing my desk. I'm so *happy*.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Molding the Bust

I spend quite a lot of time working on fitting my breasts. I'm a D cup and given my bra choice, balconnets, they're very prominent.

A couple of darts in a fitted top just won't do. I have to sculpt and mold the fabric and it's a great exercise in learning about sewing. For example:

The pattern is New Look 6586.

It took two muslins and a huge amount of tweaking to make the one dart for a B cup, to flatteringly fit me. I did a full bust adjustment on the first muslin. After trying it on, I kept on pinning out the extra fabric around the cup, while wearing it. When it finally looked right, I took off the bodice and realised I had pinned a very severe princess seam. I translated that to a second muslin for fine tuning and came up with the black and white dress. It's so wonderful to wear, like a second skin.

I also finally accepted that my fat areas are mainly from front to back, on the sides. So the side princess panel takes the most additions of fabric and the center front princess, very little.

The other time, I've taken the time to do this is for this camisole top:

This took several muslins too. It's from a year ago and I really should have gone further with the lower center portion, to get a clean and tight fit. And, by then I could have added underwires and been in a different territory all together.

I'm getting a glimmer of understanding of the 3D nature of sewing - something that really didn't affect me sewing for a slim C cup'd me. I guess I should look at gaining 50lbs as a cosmic learning opportunity. How bloody Zen!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Here is a neat illustration of why you should use straight of grain.

The top is from Hennes, rayon lycra for $10. I don't have to hang *my* head in shame. But it's super cute and easy to wear, in spite of the twist.

Btw, this is the first time I've had something so badly cut from Hennes, even though they're a cheap end shop.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Fall Colors

I've been working on clothes for autumn. Calling it a wardrobe is a little far-reaching. It's not so much a case of a SWAP - sewing a co-ordinated wardrobe of 11 units - but more a case of each piece matching the one before it.

I find myself more creative with color and texture when I do the latter. With SWAP's, I pick my 3 or so colors and then find it hard to bring in new or unexpected notes. Also with only working to match one to the one before, I can stop any time. Works much better for those of us with shorter attention spans.

I've made up the first two pieces:

The first piece is Vogue 8152, View B:The fabric is a very transparent mesh from Ressy's Yahoo co-op, that I double up for the bodice. In face the pattern is perfect for fabrics that can or need to be used doubled. The two bodices are sewn together at the neckline which gives a lovely clean finish. The sleeves I left one layer. It's still really see-through, so only nude bras will do.

The second piece is a russet linen skirt. I love the lines of this skirt from the current Marfy catalogue and I was really happy to find this pattern from Burda WOF, 6/06.

The silouhette of the skirt is so very good on me. But I'm wondering if the whole thing doesn't look too 'up-tight 40's secretary, after taking off her glasses and letting her hair down'. Heeheee. The shoes don't help, but I love them.

The next project lined up is an olive skirt that can go with the top and a striped rayon/linen to match the two skirts.

And a brown jacket to round things up.

I have too many sewing projects planned - for me as well as some for my little boy. I think I'll make a list here, to keep me more realistic. And more honest.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Everyone's blogging,

And I want to play too. It's mostly about sewing, knitting and a new life in New England.