Saturday, January 30, 2010

A finished dress.

Ok, here it is, Simplicity 2951. As far as I'm concerned, it's done (or it will be as soon as I hem it, but I think I'll wait for spring to do that because right now I'm totally sick of it).

Do ignore the unmatching sandals but they're better than black winter shoes.

The side view.
It makes me look flat chested.

This is after I made 2 pleats in the back and then sewed them down starting from the bodice and ending at my waist. Parallel to the back seam; one pleat on each side.

This sucked in the excess fabric in the back. Other wise it hung down (actually it billowed out) and made my backside look huge(er).

Why can't I make something that makes my chest look bigger and my butt smaller??

Back view.

Those lines are where I made the pleats and sewed them down.

A close up of the bodice.

I'm not thrilled but I'll wear it. I lined the whole thing in cotton sateen too so I won't melt into a pool of sweat after sitting on what always ends up being plastic chairs!

So tomorrow I'll start in on a little girl's purse and I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A kinda sorta frustrating week!!

It started at the gym.

The gym is where I go to empty my brain, try to burn a few calories, and attempt to maintain some of the muscle mass that seems to be in a hurry to leave my almost 50 year old body.

But it's tough to do this while everyone around me is shouting into their cell phones, using the weight machines as personal recliners while listening to ipods and texting like mad, or the dreaded "Help me, I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up!" person who's using the piece of equipment directly in front of me.

I also find it fascinating that the 'I Can't Shut Up' person feels compelled to apply a full applicator of eyeliner and an entire tube of mascara that I guess is supposed to coordinate with her brand new long sleeved shirt, sweat pants, and spanking white tennies, before her excruciating regime of strolling on the treadmill for a half hour.

Some brilliant comments I was subjected to:

Why don't the Haitians take care of themselves (with what I could have asked)?

Nobody better ask her to donate!! And she guesses if she ever needs help, it would be best if she was a European (Wow! Haiti is in Europe?).

Why doesn't anyone want to adopt American babies as there are thousands of them waiting for homes (apparently our streets are teeming with healthy infants)?

The only people who can afford to adopt are pedophiles with good jobs. (?????????)

I will put this experience into the "New Year's Resolution people who show up for a day" file and hope to never see them again!!

So after my shower I jumped back to my Simplicity 2951 dress and it's just deja vu all over again. I really hate to beat a dead horse but I've got a serious problem here. It would appear that I'm not destined to wear a fun Simplicity dress in the way Simplicity intended.

I finished my dress, showed it to Hans, and he asked why I was wearing a sack.

Dear God!!! I've bought simple fun dresses off the rack for years. Why do the ones I make, bag out from my body and hang in a shapeless messes?

Why is this so difficult?

And it brought me right back to this dress. I had to add darts to the back of that one to make it wearable.

So after I put on my latest disaster and having Hans declare it a sack, I ripped the back part of the skirt away from the bodice.

I then smoothed out the gathers and just made two big pleats, each about 3 inches away from the center back seam, and then I stitched them down about 3 1/2 inches from the bodice toward the waist.

Of course this changes the whole concept of the dress. It's supposed to be a flowing kind of dress and the back is now fitted. I haven't even taken a picture of it yet! Maybe I'll take one tomorrow.

So then Hans reminded me that he really liked this Burda dress, and asked why I just don't make it again.

Well, I like it too, but for God's sake I'd like to have more than one successful dress under my belt, and I'd also like one where I can let my gut hang out if I want!!!

Here I am wearing my one success at my 30th class reunion (almost 2 years ago). That's me on the far right and my best friend is in the black dress beside me, and I can't tell you how much fun we had as single divorcee's back in the late 90's.

I firmly believe the best age for having fun and being single is in your late 30's, early 40's.

I think I'll leave it at that.

As a last resort I guess I'll have to post a question on Pattern Review to find out if anyone knows how to fix the issue I seem to be having with a less than fitted type of dress.

Does one do a swayback adjustment on a tent? Does that even make sense? Surely I'm not the only short, curvy person who wants to make a simple dress!

Sunday was a dreary rainy hideous day, and my inability to sew even a simple dress took my whole sewing mojo away so I tried (unsuccessfully) to do my taxes online and Hans (I've mentioned before how smart he is) went into survivor mode and took me to the movies.

I ended up putting in a lot of hours at work this week which is good because I was feeling very sorry for myself and my stupid inability to make a simple dress! Today I picked up the material I need to make a little girl's purse (this fabric) and I'm feeling a bit better because if I do know how to do something, it's sew a purse!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An almost dress, and my famous granddog!!

Poor Hans is having some trouble getting back home from Los Angeles and will be arriving here long after I'm asleep. And since I've been called into work tomorrow to clean two huge houses, a certain someone better not wake me up!
Originally he was supposed to stop over in Arizona.
Sixty mile an hour winds in The Grand Canyon State prevented that.
Las Vegas was the next choice, but the Prostitution is Legal State (other wise known as The Silver State) was experiencing heavy rain delays.
So he's now being flown to The Tar Heel State before catching a plane back to The Keystone State.

Where do they come up with these nicknames anyway, or am I the only person with an imagination??

On the sewing front I was able to get to JoAnn's today and purchase my invisible zipper and muslin, so I started in on Simplicity 2951. Throwing my vanity into the trash I made a size 10 top and a 12 bottom.

Now what do I mean by that last comment? It means that according to the info on the envelope my measurements are a perfect size 12, BUT normally if I were to cut a size 12 it would be miles too big. However this pattern looked suspiciously familiar so I erred on the side of caution and went ahead and cut a 12.

I've mentioned before that the sizing on Simplicity patterns can be alarming and you can be rest assured; they still are! I dug out my Simplicity 2939 which was a success and compared the skirt widths. Close enough I decided, and then whacked this out.

I probably should have added about another inch to the hip area.

It's so difficult to see in these pictures! The top of the skirt (where it meets the bodice) is supposed to be gathered.

I gathered the back but I pleated the front.

I basted the whole thing first, and I wasn't happy with the rear view (big surprise). So I ripped it apart, sewed the skirt fabric to the skirt lining, and then treated them as one.

It looked better with the weight of the lining but I still have to insert my zipper but that will have to wait until another day!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

A closer look at the top of the dress. This is a very tiny top, I would have to call it an A cup size. I will enlarge it a bit if I ever make it again.
I decided to put the zipper in the side instead of the back.

But I completely forgot to just place the back piece on the fold and now the back has an unnecessary seam.
No damage, just stupid.

Anyway we'll see how it looks after I get the zipper in, but I'm not holding my breath!

Remember this fabric?

There was quite a bit left over and the lady I made this bench seat cover for has decided she'd like me to make a purse out of it for her 2 year old daughter.

Minus the cat!

I'm going to use this evening bag pattern for it, and I think it will be adorable!

Black and white, with hot pink and lime green accents! It will certainly be a one of a kind bag for a future diva!

I still have to go back to her place to get the fabric so this isn't going to get sewn for a couple of weeks.

Last but not least, my granddog 'Duncan Delicious' made it onto Pitter Patter again!!!

He's so cute!!
Actually this picture was taken over a year ago at Thanksgiving and our poor boy was kept outside on the porch because Kissy Pooh (my mother's pathetic doberman) couldn't handle the stress of another dog in the house (read; someone didn't want to share table scraps!).

So this was the pitiful face we saw peering through the door every time we went to check on him!!!!
Update: Hans just phoned to say he's now in North Carolina (that darned old Tar Heel State) and he'll be home sometime around midnight.
I did confuse him a bit when I answered the phone, "Pretty Kitty Hot Line!"
Hey! Chlorox dared me!
But that Hans is a big stinker! When he hung up he told me to get back to work!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane...

...I love those old 60's songs and that one was going through my mind today as Hans jetted off to Los Angeles this morning. It's a job interview and he'll only be gone for a day but while he's gone I decided to cut out a dress.

Yes, a dress!

It's Simplicity 2951 and I intend to make the strapless version.

I have a pretty piece of green flowered drapey polyester that I brought home this weekend from my mom's house. There's really not much to the pattern but since I need to get an invisible zipper, and some muslin to line the skirt (I will not wear polyester without a lining!) I'm not going to start sewing it until tomorrow.

If this dress works out (and it would certainly be nice for once if it did!) I have some silk I bought in Paris a couple of years ago that I would like to use up.

My problem with dresses is that I seem to over-think and/or over-fit. That might be because I still can't get the hang of the Big 4 patterns and their stupid sizing and easing.

Let's not forget Simplicity 2694 that I made last March. It probably needed to be cut wider in the hip area.

So keeping that in mind I made Simplicity 3529 and ended up with a tent. I've taken the sides in by inches, and I've even added huge horizontal darts to the back and it's still huge, I could be pregnant with an elephant and no one would know! Look at the models; that dress actually has a silhouette, mine doesn't! I haven't taken a picture of it yet because I'm so stinking mad! I guess I'll take even more off the sides and if it's still not right, I'll just throw it out!

Here's the pattern for my elephant dress.

I do have a dress form but Sally Stitch, with her flat butt and sassy ways, doesn't cooperate as much as she should, and spends her days drinking my wine and teasing the cat.

Anyway, I read a post at Brian Sews (maybe one of his first) where he said he just made something again and again until he got it right. Some people probably wouldn't agree with this but I have a feeling that his method might work for me. I learn through repetition. Period.

Here's the fabric my mom gave me.

This is one half of the bodice top.

A close up.

Sorry, I still had my camera on high resolution when I took this picture.

It's The Countess von 'You Know Who' checking out our latest project. I can't do anything without her (nosiness) approval.

Tomorrow, I'll baste this sucker together first to check for fit.

'Fit' being a very appropriate word.

Because if it's not right, I'm going to have one.

A fit.
For sure!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More fabric... another purse... same old cat!

The trip to my mother's house went pretty smoothly but I ended up coming home with a paper bag full of fabric.
I don't need any more, as I'm trying to work my way through what I already have on hand, but how could I resist!

I think Chlorox was happier about it than me. Here she is, in a drunken stupor, lying on some of it.

There was quite an assortment (all in the process of being washed and dried) and I'm pretty sure some of the pieces were from my great grandmother's best friend, and I'm not kidding!

I almost left this piece behind because it was so small but it was such a cheerful print I took it anyway.
I put my scissors on it for scale.

A close up.
I've always loved orange and yellow, and here they are together in these pretty little flowers.

I was pretty sure I'd be able to squeeze an Evening Bag out of this remnant and I did!
Not that I'll use it as an Evening Bag, it's more like a fun summer bag.

This fabric is very sheer so to beef it up I basted a piece of white cotton to the body of the bag and the facing, and then treated each piece as one.

The lining is just a simple white cotton.

I used fusible batting on the bag, and I interfaced the lining.
The handles are fabric covered boning and I placed them on a slight angle.
I also layered an orange ribbon and yellow ric-rac over the handles for some added interest.

I was very happy to find the ribbon and ric-rac amongst my stash! As I stated above, I'm trying very hard to use up the stuff I already have on hand.

There's a patch pocket inside with the same ribbon and ric-rac stitched across the top.

And of course a magnetic snap in the facing to keep the bag closed.

A view of the side.

And a close up of the one of the handles.
This bag goes together lickety split and I highly recommend it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A happy birthday headache

Tomorrow I head back to my old swamp town to celebrate my mother's 74th birthday.

I'm hoping this goes better than some of my past visits and that I arrive back at the apartment without a pounding headache.

I'm to pick up Baby Girl (plus a couple of pizzas) and take her with me.

Vet Tech Girl can't go because she has 'company'. I'm not asking any questions.

Buying gifts for my mother can be tough but I'll tell you this; I will not buy her any more tops! This fall I found a pretty shirt with a floral print on sale, and when I tried to give it to her she practically threw it back at me. "I hate flowered shirts." she stated. "But it's so pretty," I pleaded, "and it has a scooped neck (she can't tolerate a high neckline) and three quarter length sleeves." "I hate three quarter length sleeves!" she sneered.

"And that hideous stained gray t-shirt you're wearing is the height of fashion?" I wanted to ask, but didn't!

Anyway, today, I had a new (much needed) shower curtain, bath mat, toilet lid cover etc...for her bathroom in my arms when I realized that I would probably get the same reaction that my sister did the time she bought Mom a new silverware tray for her kitchen.

Total indignation.

So I put it all back and ended with some new bath towels (who doesn't mind getting those), and then I made her a couple of pot holders, and a little pouch for her new digital camera.

That's it.

So tomorrow while Hans is at a friend's house playing poker, I'll be at my mother's, trying to keep the conversation away from Jesse Ventura's latest conspiracy theories, wishing I could have a drink, and feeling guilty about everything I've done since I was a toddler.

But have no fear! If any of my kids ever offer me a floral print shirt with three quarter length sleeves, I'll act like it's the greatest gift I've ever received.

After all I know who's going to be picking out my nursing home!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A re-purpose project, a cat, and a plea.

One of the women I clean for asked if I could please refashion the bumper pads from her daughter's crib into a bench seat cover.

Sure! No problem.

It wasn't, but I seriously underestimated the time involved.

It took a whole evening to rip out all the seams and yank the pink ties off.

Then I sewed everything back together (with a little help from my friend).

I was able to pull the batting apart thus spreading it into one big sheet. I did this to two of the pads and then laid one top of the other. This kept the pad nice and thick. I didn't want to butt the narrow pads together because I figured they would shift and separate over time.

Here is the striped side of the new cushion.

And the cutesy side.

Aha! Guess who appeared out of nowhere and flung herself onto the finished product!

Those pink bows were a an absolute pain in the butt to make. I cut 1 inch strips from the pink ties that came with the pads, stitched the long edge and then spent an eternity turning them right side out. They were then tied into bows and sewn onto the pad.

I positively guarantee you that if I made a cushion for Chlorox she would totally ignore it.

But since this isn't for her...

I'm not sure how well you can see this but there are 8 yo-yos (sp?) sewn onto this side. Once again I ripped those pink ties apart and spent yet one more night making the stupid things.

You can see them a little bit better here.

This cat is such a huge part of my life, it's a little scary. I've had her for 13 years now so I think she's around 14 or so. And what's even worse is she's the closest thing to a female friend that I have!
I kid you not!

Now for my plea. Michael Vick has recently been nominated by the Philadelphia Eagles to receive an award for courage.
I personally don't think anyone, who willingly participated in torturing innocent animals (and so many of them are still being rehabilitated), is worthy of receiving any kind of award let alone one for courage. I could say tons more about this but I'll stop here.
I signed a petition protesting this award and you can too if you want. I found it here at One Pibble's Wish.
I would like to think our opinion really counts.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A finished bag, and a sneaky cat.

After breakfast today, I finished my Belle Bag (mentioned in yesterday's post). It's made from three Orla Kiely tea towels. Apparently Orla Kiely was the rage last year and somehow, I got swept up into the madness.
Actually I had no idea who the hell Orla Kiely was (if indeed Orla is/was a person) but I had just seen this particular print on someone's blog the day I walked into Target and saw these towels on a clearance rack.
So I bought them.
Talk about gullible! It's not like I even found them appealing, but if everyone else had to have them...

This bag closes with two magnetic snaps. One set is in the tab that pulls the sides in.
The other set is in the facing, as seen here.

Hans came home from his get-away ski weekend, and upon observing my latest creation, promptly asked me if it's a Halloween bag. I wasn't too surprised as it certainly does have a pumpkin look to it (I wonder if he would have asked me this if he knew I spent the previous evening watching the Crime Channel's presentation of 'Women Who Kill'?).
I do have a couple of pretty orange sweaters I could wear when carrying this, but if I only use it during October that's fine with me.
It's not like I don't have enough purses the rest of the year.
But really, I just like fun things! Life and purses don't have to be serious.

The handles are boning covered with left over fabric from a messenger bag I made for Baby Girl a year or so ago.

I use two folding card tables covered with a shower curtain, as my cutting table. Hiding underneath the curtain are three big plastic tubs full of fabric and supplies.
Last night when I realized I needed handles for this particular purse I yanked the curtain aside and found this.
Chlorox's latest hiding place!

A very bad cat caught lying on top of a whole container of fabric.
So busted!!!!

The big escape!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The best laid plans...

When we got up this morning (a really late, almost noon morning!) I informed Hans that I had a wild day in store for us.

First, coffee and cereal (how I slave for that man!)

Then the gym.

To be followed with a trip to the big library so that Hans could get something to read (I currently have 2 books so I'm ok).

A very necessary trip to the grocery store (toilet paper!). Together. At the same time!

All of this would be followed up, back at the apartment with big bowls of left over beef stew!

Then Hans' cell phone rang and all my plans went to hell in a hand basket.

"Let's go skiing for the weekend!" Hans' friends cried.

And throwing my plans to the wind, Hans couldn't gather up his ski equipment fast enough. He even went so far as to reschedule the huge on-line poker game that he won a chance to play in. Now to understand how important these poker games are to Hans; I could stand in front of him, frantically waving my arms all the while choking on a thousand chicken bones, and he would say, "Can you wait just a second? There's this big bully from Romania who has no idea how to play poker and I think I finally have him beat! He's put me all in for the last time and..."

Anyway, I think you get the picture.

So while Hans went skiing, I ended up cutting out a Belle Bag from a couple of dish towels.

Here are the main pieces of the body of the bag.

The green pieces are the lining.

I had sewn the main bag together when I remembered I would need these important things called 'handles'.

I have a loop of boning attached to the top of the bag to see how a fabric handle might look, in addition to the handles lying beside it.

Tomorrow I'll make my decision.

Since a certain someone went skiing, I went to Liquor Land and found this.

A bottle of Tempra Tantrum wine.

Hans called me after arriving at his friend's condo at the ski lodge and I told him about my find.

I informed him that this would be the perfect wine for me to drink during PMS.

He asked me if this was a fire that really needed more fuel!

We'll just find out, won't we!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I have a dream

And I'm going to interrupt my latest sewing project to tell it to you.

Actually I've had this dream for quite some time but it was brought home to me again tonight, and since I'm feeling generous I'm going to share it.

Here in my Big City and I'm sure it's the same in other cities throughout the USA, our highways are congested and we have to fight our way through a lot of traffic on a daily basis. So I think it's important for all concerned to keep things moving along in a smooth and efficient manner.

And I don't just mean drivers, I'm talking about pedestrians too.

I managed to get stuck in rush hour traffic tonight which means that a fifteen minute commute turned into an hour long torture. So, there I was, first in line at the intersection's red light, and by God I intended to hold up my end of the bargain by zipping right on through as soon as it turned green.

I just wasn't counting on a Saunterer.

Yes, folks, a dreaded Saunterer.

You see, here in my Big City we have a group of people who feel that traffic lights are for everyone else, but certainly not for them.

This means that they can walk wherever they want, anytime they want, usually at the speed of zero, and almost always in front of my car when I'm at a green light.

The saunterer loves to step off the curb at just the right moment and with an insolent sneer, swaggers past and just dares me to do anything about it.

By the time the saunterer's fat ass is out of my way I hope the opposing traffic (who's pawing at the ground and raring to go!) doesn't clip me as I race through an "I thought it was yellow, officer!" light.

Is it any wonder there's a shortage of bourbon in the apartment?

This brings me to my dream.

I win the lottery.

I hit the streets in search of Saunterers, and in true Millionaire fashion I find them and bestow upon them, airline tickets to Europe. Hell, I may even spring for First Class.

It doesn't matter what country; France, England, Germany... the important thing is I get them there.

I arrange for a taxi to get them into the heart of the city where they are then let loose.

The only stipulation is that I have to be there to witness the following: A Saunterer attempting to jay walk.

Because it's only going to happen once.

Just seeing the insolent smirk on the Saunterer's face disappear, only to be followed by incredulous jaw dropping right before their final departure to the great Jay Walking Land in the Sky, would be priceless.

I never said it was a nice dream!


Actually one of the scariest taxi rides I've ever experienced was in Dublin. Our driver, who told us he was from Jamaica (and I wonder if someone didn't play fair with him and tell him "Sure, Dublin's just like Jamaica, warm and sunny!"), had an angry lead foot and didn't know where the brake pedal was. I watched sure footed and very agile pedestrians scatter like pigeons in our wake and I had to close my eyes for the remainder of the journey as we barrelled our way through the city.

And these particular pedestrians had the right of way!

When Baby Girl went over to Europe this summer, in addition to warning her about keeping her passport with her at all times, Yes, in the shower too, dammit!, I stressed that she was never, ever to jay walk.

And if I win the lottery, I'll be able to send a lot of Saunterers abroad because I'm only going to buy them one way tickets.


I don't think they'll be coming back!

No I don't have PMS!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baby it's cold outside!

And I mean cold! Around 9 degrees here in The Big City. I thought I was escaping this kind of weather when I made my slight move south, but I have a feeling I brought it with me!

That's okay though because this means I'll stay indoors and sew.

Here's project #1:

Nicole Mallalieu's Baguette. It's listed as advanced and I have to say that yes, it's not for beginners.

The gusset (the part that connects the front and back) is not the easiest thing to sew but I finally got there. I've reviewed it here in case you're interested in sewing it.

Here's the back. This is the fabric I bought when we were in Dublin this summer. I've been waiting for the right pattern to come along.

The inside with a patch pocket.
If I make this again (and I will) I'm going to add a zippered gusset to the top instead of a snap in the facing.
I'll just use the directions from The Day Bag.

Here's that darned old gusset (the striped part that goes around the bag). It looks good, and Nicole is a wonderful drafter but I really thought for a moment or two I wasn't going to be able to do it.

I got extra smart with myself and used the paint program that came with my computer. If this picture won't enlarge, I've circled the side of the bag and added a comment so you can see where I sewed a small piece of boning. I was afraid the bag would collapse when the flap was closed and I wanted it to stay stiff. I sewed the boning into the seam allowance between the front and back of the bag, and it worked very well. Of course I did this on the other side too!

No, Hans and I don't hold hands all day long! He was busy at his computer so I was using the timer on my camera. However, Hans being Hans... well, I had to grab his hand because he's a big stinker!
That's why I'm laughing, but I didn't laugh when I saw how fat I look in this outfit!
We are all bundled up because of the cold.
I'm sure that's why I look fat! (I wonder where all the Christmas cookies went?).

Purse # 2.
Nicole's Evening Bag.
I made this from two linen napkins.
In order to get full use of the pretty border, I just layered a corner on each side of the bag.
They actually create a sort of pocket. Not a secure pocket, but a pocket none the less.

Here is a side view.

And the hard bottom. This is a wide purse so even though it's small, it holds a lot!

Busted!! The camera caught me trying to tickle the back of Hans' neck.
And damn! I still look fat.

Look at this face.
Chlorox is all dolled up and ready to paint the town red with her new purse.
Apparently her date is late.
Poor guy, I wouldn't want to be him!