Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How NOT to make a Vintage outfit

Merry Christmas Eve,

I'm now in a mad rush to get some boxers done but wanted to post on a project that had me severely frustrated.  I bought this vintage pattern.

Unfortunately, I ignored what Gertie and Selfish Seamstress recommended.  That is to say, I used cotton type of fabric (Michael Miller) (I even bought it at a garment making store - vintage garment making).    But it turned out extremely hard to get perfect; has no drape; has no stretch - and looks costumey.

New Jeans Hems and My First Burda Issue

Hello!  It's been a long time - I've been overwhelmed since my trip to Monterey - I know I owe a post (I have two!).  First things first.   After my trip to Monterey, I did my own "Euro-Hem" on some jeans.  Wonderful.  The Euro-Hem, which I had been paying I think 27.00 at Nordstrom to have done - is where you attach the original hem to the Jeans - not required for all jeans - but just where the original hem, I think, is unique.

I've taken some pictures below.  I can do a tutorial if you wish.

It is super easy - after doing this hem - I realize there is a tutorial in Sew Stylish, I think the Spring 2009 issue - but here's a quick explanation (and I have two more pairs to hem so I will potentially post a tutorial (that would be a third or later post)):

Have a third party, in this case, J., mark your hems when you are wearing the shoes you want.
Then, measure that distance between the fold and the original hem (least amount of distance - or in other words, the inner part of the original hem).  Cut the jeans (scary) using the distance you measured.
Then re-attach the hem as you would using a double-bias tape.  It's fairly easy - because these jeans were bell-bottoms - you can see I had to take some fabric out of the original and the inner hem does not match up (these jeans had godets).  I'm still very happy with this because I can control the length and I still think I do a better job on these jeans than the Nordstrom seamstresses.

Next time I'll do better.

 Here we're watching the 'Bama game cause if Bama wins - then my brother Todd is coming to the BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl in January.  So, they did win and he is coming - we have tickets!!

Here is my first copy of Burda Magazine - I had to see what all the fuss was about - and I have it now!  Hurray - I'm not sure I'm making anything out of it  - a couple of things I was interested in are for kids but there is one knit top I wouldn't mind making up!
  Finally, I've been depressed (from a sewing standpoint) - I started working on a vintage project that I finished but it really didn't turn out the way I wanted - that's my next post.  I had a multitude of problems with it - and I think I picked the wrong material - but nevertheless I did finish it and will post tomorrow morning!  And I promise to be a better poster:)

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Sewing Machine Dust Cover

Finally!  I sewed a dust cover for my relatively new machine.  I had an older McCall's pattern but wanted a more modern look.  The McCalls called for quilting and it was quite large.

Instead, I merely took apart the pathetic (but well-fitting) cheap vinyl cover that came with the machine and made my own out of some canvas materials (Funktastic materials from Sew-La - that I believe were made in Japan) that I love.  It looks good!  I would say great, but now that I've put it together I would have thought through how to do it better (and simpler!).

I may still so some finishing touches.  I used one of the decorative stitches for the handle opening.  I also made the binding as well which was easy - I used a bit of cord and a cord or piping foot.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Easy Breezy Pants KS 3271

Well, I did a really easy and somewhat satisfying pair of pants with (gasp!) elastic!  Yes, I know but we all have those "fat" days (at least I do!).

I'm posting a review on Pattern Review, which I include below.
Kwik Sew 3271

And, the obligatory butt shot - lots of wrinkles, but I like the fit overall - I took out too much ease I think in the hips!

Monday, November 16, 2009

And then there's Maude!

Well, I did the overly done "Simplicity 2603 Cozy."  I thought it would be an easy pattern but it was irritating to me in many respects - I'll post the review on PR sometime in the next day or two and link to it in my blog here.

Well, Simplicity Patterns just seem to irritate me - I may be a beginner but some things about their drafting don't make sense.  So, in total, I like the cozy but I don't love it.  I made the full arms, and really adding the bell sleeves looks wonky (and my stitching is iffy).  In addition,  I think the back is a bit short - I'd prefer two more inches. . . in reading the pattern reviews, I noticed that most people said the M was too large for them (with similar figures) but I made a large and it has a lot of ease but isn't that long in the back.  Similarly, I made another rookie error - no forward sleeve adjustment and round back adjustment which would have corrected the back length. . . I even did that on the Elvis'.    The sleeves had a ridiculous amount of ease on the shoulder portion making them hard to set in or get them flat (after three tries I'm sticking with what I have).

I like it better today with it on than yesterday - when I wanted to throw it out of our house!!

My mother helpfully added that it's the worst thing she's ever seen and hates the style (not necessarily my sewing:)).

So, I'm taking a step back to some easy pants with a little elastic in the back - I think the stretch knit was too much for me. . . it took just over four hours but it did drive me a bit nutty (because of the redos).

Finally, it is slimming on but I don't love being "Maude."  I'm very sensitive to that:)  I include a picture on "Wilheminia" the dressform. . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A visit to LA's Fashion District and PGM Dressforms

Well, I finally made it down to LA this morning - to the PGM dressform factory (which was having a huge moving discount) before they go to Baldwin Park.  It was so much fun.  Dressforms everywhere. . .

Below you will see a picture of a few in Camo print - I liked the legs/crotch area for pants/shorts - they didn't have my size but they were 99.00 for those - I'll have to keep them in mind in case they ever get any more.

My big decision was between a linen and black dress form  - I went with the black because I think it would be cleaner and because I don't necessarily have a need for the industry standard. . . It was 189.00 the linen dress forms were 259-299 (clearance) . .

I'll send a picture up as soon as I get a good one posted.  I also bought a size 12. . . I'm probably a PGM 14 (but not in the hips - more like a 10/12) but I bought a 12 because I can always pad up.  I've decided if I can only get to my goal weight I may get one custom - they are reasonable there - I think 699.00 custom to your measurements. . . but I'm not working on that as I shopped around the LA fashion district and had a wonderful bacon wrapped hot dog!! Fun Fun!!

Coyotes on the Porch

The Ps and I were walking out in the dark late last night in the foothills of Ventura - around 1120  - coming back up to our house - we were surprised by two coyotes on the porch!!

They proceeded down the steps and crossed the road and even had the temerity to approach up - Pixie went nuts!! She wanted some coyote meal.  But Paddy (in his laid back manner) ignored them.

It startled me - at first I thought they were leashless dogs - but no - two hunting coyotes - I could hear their pack's howls in the beginning of the walk - which was eery.  Since I've head of the Canadian coyote attack - I felt defenseless as they approached. .  .

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pixie Visits Her Family and Has a Dog Day afternoon

We all loaded up the car to Ron and Tia's house for a "dog day afternoon" (thanks Janet for applying that phrase to our Kerry friends' event)!

Here is Pixie (Little P), left, her mom Lola, middle and her dad Mr. O'Reilly ("Mr. O"), right.

Here is the gang (well, part of the gang!!)

Whew!! That was fun - Paddy got quite a bit of attention for his good looks and Pixie provided the puppy power!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Final Elvis' Costumes (minus Alcohol - McCalls 5734)

Finally, here are the finals pictured. . . .

I have attached Jonathan bedazzling the costumes and our final looks (well, we are going to do something with the wigs on Jonathan's head - and I am dieting after these picturers - I tried to stand like ELVIS - but it is decidedly unattractive:))  But Accurate. . .

We also have two dogs that dressed up as Elvis' though I did not make their costumes . . . .

Elvis Update 1

Finished the second costume last night:)  Hurray!! Now, I only have to bedazzle (or I'm planning on using a stud puncher)  -  I'm so happy - Jonathan  painstakingly bedazzled his costume.  More fun pictures tonight - but the second costume was so much easier to sew.

Btw, tried my first zipper  - it doesn't look great - thankfully it's a costume- my cutting in the chest area is a bit wonky:)

The next photos later today will feature all the accessories. . ..

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One of Two Elvis' McCalls 5734

Thanks goodness I finished one of two Elvis'.  This costume is nearly done and I'm so happy  - J is going to help and finish the belt (why is the belt with the pattern so costumey??).

He claims to be also skilled with a bedazzler!!  Yes, it's true.  A man and his bedazzler.

Quite frankly, I'm swamped at work and cannot wait until these costumes are done so I can do some fun sewing without a deadline! (Why are there so many deadlines in my life right now).  Both personnally, well, let's just say I'm 43 and not getting younger!

Seriously, I'm not sure you feel this way - but when I have a deadline - it's really tough to make it fun - maybe it's just my rebellious nature!

So, in summary this is one of two costumes on the hangar:

On J (Great technique!!):

Test of a belt that did not work out before collar and sleeves set in:

And, with a test belt (J. is in charge of the belt(s) and bedazzling!):

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This weekend is all about the Elvis'

I will finish the Elvis Costumes this weekend (or get them majorly done!). I can't wait to start my next projects:  Will the Elvis' ever be over - I'll post my progress at the end of the weekend!

Here is the list of some selected projects in my stash:

Kwik Sew 3271 (View B - picked because I wanted some soft and light stretch denim pants with some elastic in the back and a straight front - easy wearing).

Kwik Sew 3070 (J. wants some scooby flannel pants for around the house!)

Simplicity 2603 (the famous and TNT Cozy - I'm a bit late to the party:)).


Kwik Sew 3576 (I normally look good in this style and can even wear this to work (well - if it's in grey or black:)).

I do want to do more "vintage" pieces and eventually tackle more complex projects - I've just picked sewing back up (based on all the "time" I have now that I'm retiring from what basically was a second job). . .I'm starting very slowly with projects I know I can do! I've got some great patterns waiting for me in my stash and I can wait to do them and tell you about them, but first, one step at a time (darn it!).

But, first the Elvis'. I've pin fitted the tissue on J. and now to cut and sew the main pieces. . .

Monday, October 12, 2009

Anthropologie Dress

I love this dress; but it seems rather pricey for the asking price.
It's a simple knit dress with ruffles - maybe $40.00 in material (more likely
less than $10.00 in industrial/commercial prices) - but it's so flattering on!

Crazy - what do you think - would you buy a dress that was overpriced if it
made your figure look sublimely skinny and very fashionable?

I'd like to make this! I'm tempted.

McCalls 5734 / Two Elvis'

What can I possibly be thinking. Two Elvis' costumes before the end of the month!

This is McCalls 5734 pattern. We had the great idea to have an Elvis costume (for both J. and I) - a zany approach to Halloween - I have bought the fabric (almost 14 yards of stretchy velvet knit fabric) but I'm worried about getting this done before then - knowing my sewing skills.

More to follow on this but I've been a bit too ambitious I think!

Test of Freeze Dried Foods for Backpacking

Hi - Just a short note. We've been on a buying spree of backpacking goods after donating our own older but nice North Face packs - we bought some Osprey Talon 44s and some day packs from the same company that we love. Most recently, tonight we're testing some freeze dried food - I have quite a few MREs in the house - when I was in the Gulf - we loved them - but then again I didn't have any warm food (I was a oceanographer on small boats). We just tried them again (I bought a case for emergency preparedness (earthquakes)) - and yuck - not good - or not as good as I remember. I'm attending a conference in Yosemite this coming weekend - and although it's too cold to be backpacking - this has inspired our night of tasting.

Two reviews:
Natural High - Chicken Enchiladas. **** (four stars out of five). Tasty and fairly quick to make. Very savory but some reviewers have claimed that the food is too salty. The directions called for 2 cups of water and that seemingly was correct! Especially good with hot sauce. We would take this backcountry.

MaryJaneFarms - Wild Forest Mushroom Couscous. What is up with the name "Mary Jane Farms?" Apparently, the designer and developer of freeze dried food is Mary Jane. This dish however, was not good. Not palatable. Hint of an "organic-y" aftertaste. No flavor whatsoever and I can't taste the mushrooms. To be fair - some of her freeze dried options have gotten great reviews on the website - we'll keep trying them.

I'm glad we're trying these out before we go backcountry - last time our MREs were not as flavorful as I remember them.

Finally - one more gear review - JETBOIL personal stove. Fantastic - made both freeze dried foods above in less than three minutes (which consisted of boiling the water). Great device - can't wait to use in in the field.