Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Phase 6 of a project

Gratitude and relief that it is done. Along with a little bit of regret that it is finished. Which is not a feeling that I expected. Anyway, without further ado, here it is. The Project. The very very warm robe for S.

Lined to just below the waist with fleece and the hood lined with minkee, which is lovely
and soft but a PITA to sew.

Yes, it is oversized, very large and blanket like was
the way S wanted it.

Hood up.

Hood down.
The colours of fleece are black, steel gray/blue, oliveish gray, cream, navy blue, medium brown and lime green.

I am pleased with it. I will post in a day or two more about the details. 

Edited-Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Phases of a project

First Phase Inspiration and Enthusiasm. The idea comes to you. You have no idea how you will begin or complete the project. It is all very exciting, you spend every waking moment thinking about it.

Suggested DVD to play while working: Something happy, like The Gilmore Girls    

Second Phase Conception. You begin to plan and visualize. You are still excited and enthusiastic. You draw, you doodle. Fun fun fun. It's all rainbows and sunbeams now.

Suggested DVD to play while working: something amusing and fun, like Eureka

Third Phase Execution. The idea begins to take form, still fun, still exciting. You celebrate, it is finally coming together. WOO HOO. If you blog, this is when you blog about it.

Suggested DVD to play while working: Something adventurous, like Lost or Heroes

Fourth Phase Reality. A little less fun. You are discovering the contingencies that you didn't plan for. You are entering the "it isn't perfect after all", stage. But you soldier on.

Suggested DVD to play while working: a drama, something like, Nip/Tuck, Medium, Sopranos

Fifth Phase.  I hate this effing thing and how fast can I get this effing thing done and out of my sight stage. This is when you unintentionally hurt yourself by staying hunched over the sewing machine or serger far longer than you should because you just want to be done with it. You have made some boo boos and it is no longer "art". Your sewing dungeon looks like it is home to human sized gerbils who use fleece as nesting material. Pieces of fleece are everywhere, as are serger tails and pins. You have run out of black serger thread and you finally have to stop sewing until the next day, which of course is Sunday and the useless excuse for a fabric store doesn't open until noon on Sunday, which is probably a good thing after all, because you have come to think of Advil as being it's own food group.

Suggested DVD to play while working: something where people die and there is blood and gore, something like Dexter, Dead Like Me, Six Feet Under

Sixth stage. Madness. You are so close to being finished, you start to get a little giddy and giggly, you stay up too late sewing and you begin talking to yourself in (what you think are) funny accents and voices. You finally complete the project, lapse into a coma and stay unconscious for 12 hours.

Suggested DVD to play while working: something a little crazy, the less sense the show makes the better, Little Britain, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python      

Does anyone else experience this? Or is it just me?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A project I am on the fence about

The husband and I share our home with 5 dogs and another human. She is commonly known as rubber duck PJ friend, S. Sometime ago I promised I would make her a warm robe from fleece. Problem, neither of us felt like putting out $ for fabric for it. I have a fairly large bunch of fleece fabric in various colours, in smaller bits and pieces. I decided I would piece the fabric, but it took a while for me to visualize the completed robe.

Last Friday, it sort of came together in my mind (while being forced to be in a meeting on my day off and feeling very annoyed and passive aggressive about it) I doodled, what I thought was a great idea. It would be Art. Everyone would gasp in wonder at the beauty of it. Of course now that I have started it, I have been having doubts about it. Of course. Don`t you hate that?

Fortunately for me, S has lower standards than I do for clothing (she would agree), and she says she will wear it no matter what it looks like anyway. She is very easy to sew for, far easier than I am actually. I wonder why I don't sew more for her? Hmm.

So anyway, back to the robe. It is Burda 2653, I made one already in July for myself, it really was a muslin for this one. I wear it every day, I love having a robe that is actually full length. So, here are some photos of what I am doing. I basically am assembling bits and pieces of fabric and when I have pieces large enough I will cut out the fabric. We decided on the serged edges being on the right side, so as not to potentially have ridges poking into the fibromyaglia riddled body of S.

 This is the fabric cut into strips.

This is smaller pieces of fabric, serged together. The serged side is the right side.
 A panel of the fabric.
With the lens cap, so you get an idea of scale.

I don't usually ask for opinions, but I want yours this time. Is this going to be the fugliest thing ever made, suitable only for washing floors with. Or will it be Art? Or something in between,  I am convinced it is all three, my cycle of confusion runs about minutes for each opinion.  Be gentle with me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

captcha rant

For those of you who read Jilly Be's blog, this post will look familiar. It is an exact repost from her blog. Reposted with her permission, of course. This is part of a campaign to get rid of word verification. Thanks Jilly!

Warning:  uncharacteristic bitchy rant follows:  (sometimes a girl's gotta say what a girl's gotta say....)

If you're still using the  impossible-to-read-and-copy captcha images on your comments, I respectfully BEG you to consider the alternatives.  Even moderating all of your comments, if you're that concerned with spam, is (somewhat) more tolerable (to me, anyway) than forcing these old eyes to focus THAT closely, still knowing that I can only guess at some of the illegible letters....
Oh I dunno....15 easyscratches?

How about sucksur number?  No?
sisters 17?

I exaggerate only a tiny bit - I hope you get my point...

Some people are simply refusing to bother with comments on your captcha'd blogs...I quit after two failed attempts, and I'm beginning to wonder if even trying it once is worth it.

If you are on blogger, here is a previous post I did with detailed instructions on how to get rid of the dreaded Word Verification.   You may even have it set, and not know it - you might want to double check and make sure.... (just because YOU can comment w/o a captcha on your own blog does not mean that others're already cleared to comment on your blog, so you won't need to jump through the hoops like the rest of us)

I'll just toss another little mini-rant in here.  I get that you like your privacy, and you dislike spam.  I really do.  But when I enter a captcha code and then I find out that you are moderating my comment on top of it, it makes me feel...wellllll..... I won't go through all the silly Freudian flashes that zip through my feeble brain....let's just say I don't feel like my comment is very much wanted or welcomed, so I often pass at that point.

I find that blogger catches nearly every spam post I get - I still have to delete it from both my email and from the blogger comment spam list, but it takes a couple of seconds to do that.  Just not an issue.  Also, maybe I've just been really, really lucky in that I've never had a published comment that upset me (lordy, I hope I'm not opening myself up with that comment lol!), but I've certainly experienced my share of upsetting experiences in 3D life.  My tendency is to treat them like what they are - a FOG (F*ing Opportunity for Growth) and I move through it as gracefully as I can (which is often the clumsiest vision of non-grace ever, but hey....that's life.)

It's OK with me if you don't respect my attitude, but I know I'm not alone.  I think that most of us blog both for our own, personal reasons, AND we're putting our words out for public readership.   It just seems right to me to have some thoughtful consideration for our readers.

...Putting a smile back on my face, and going back to my regularly scheduling blogging.....  :)

P.S.  - per a request, you have my permission to re-post all or part of this post on your blog :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tablecloth skirt completed

I finished my version of Sham's tablecloth skirt. Sham's instructions are excellent and it went together very easily. Unfortunately as I suspected it isn't as flattering on me as I would like, oh hell it isn't flattering at all.

I look as big as a dining table in it. That seats twelve. 8-)

My choice of fabric could be better as well. The fabric feels very light, but this skirt uses a lot of fabric and even light fabrics can feel kind of heavy when there is this much of it. The fabric looks far more interesting close up, from a distance it has the look of homeless bag lady. Not surprisingly this is not the look I was going for. I made a drawstring waist (with 18 inches or so of elastic sewn to the ties), as I intended this to be a casual skirt for hot summer days. This has the added benefit of getting smaller with me as I lose weight ( okay I am dreaming here).

I have also learned that as much as I like funky clothes on other people, on me I prefer a slightly more conservative look. I don't consider this a failure, I will wear it this summer, probably mostly at home. Where no one will see me.

close up of fabric, it is 55% linen and 45% cotton

drawstring waist

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hello All!

This is the sour cherry tree in my backyard. I am posting this because it is a sign of spring.
See the bud? Yes. You do. It is so a bud. Shut up.

I got some good news today! I was tested for Celiac disease and I got the good news today! I don't have it. I am certain that I have a sensitivity to wheat/gluten, however. It won't kill me though. So I can indulge occasionally should the mood strike.

Apparently there was something wrong with my blog, and some people were unable to post. This upset me greatly as the comments here are one of the few joys of my life. Kidding, I am not quite that pathetic, almost but not quite. I do however really appreciate any and all comments I receive, and now thanks to Jilly, it is fixed. Or so it seems. If you want to comment and you are unable to please please please email me at ellecsews (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know.

Have a good weekend. Get sewing. Like me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vortex of energy

I had the strangest experience today, and I felt certain all ten of you who read this poor excuse for a sewing blog (thank you all for returning again and again) would be dying to know all about.

I was in my tiny little clown car (Smart car, his name is Reuben) driving to Costco to buy chicken breasts for one of my dogs who has to be on a special diet. Which I cook. This dog is prone to pancreatitis and calcium oxalate bladder stones, both of which are painful for him and us. So far this has cost us $1200 in vet bills. This is also the dog that doesn't even like me. All of this has nothing to do with the story, it is simply to demonstrate how I am an excellent dog guardian and therefore a wonderful person.  Anyway I was driving by the major shopping mall in my small city, when a vortex of energy suddenly appeared out of nowhere and sucked me and my car into the parking lot, I believe I lost consciousness for a moment because next thing I know I am at the checkout holding this book. I know it is hard to believe, but I had no intention of going to the bookstore, let alone buying a book. Really. I mean it. Stop judging me.

One of the strange things about this event is this bookstore rarely has any good sewing books. For instance they still haven't got the Colette Sewing Handbook. There were not one but TWO Japanese sewing books to choose from. The unconscious me chose this one. I love this book, the clothes are clever and well designed. Never mind the fact that the further away one gets in appearance from being a young. slender, attractive, Japanese woman the less likely the clothes are to look good on one. Let's see, middle aged, a little more than plump, used to be told I was attractive (haven't been told that in while years), northern European descent.
Oh well, eventually I will make some of them anyway.
I love this book.
My precious. MY precious.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Finished the scrubs!

Finally. Now I can sew stuff for me. Yippee!

I mentioned in a previous post that I made a mistake cutting the fabric for one of the scrubs, I believe I managed to make my fuc booboo part of an interesting design. It has turned out to be one of my favorites. Strange how that happens. Anyway, I cut the back of the top too short. I have the pattern for scrubs on cardboard so I don't have to dig out a pattern and press it etc every time I sew a scrub top. The cardboard doesn't come long enough, so I just add 3 inches to the bottom of the front and back of each. For this top I forgot, and much cursing and foul language ensued. It finally came to me to get some plain black cotton and add a border along the bottom and the sleeved edges. It doesn't look like I fuc screwed it up, does it?

I just love how this one turned out.

And here is the completed Superman scrub.

This one is so perfect for The Husband. Left to his own devices he would eat exactly like a four year old, so this fabric is ideal, and loud. He likes that too.

This is a close up of the fabric-notice on the right side, the almost perfect pattern match on the pocket.

It is a happy print, isn't it?
Now I get to sew fun stuff for me. I think I will make The Tablecloth Skirt next. I was going to make it from taffeta, but someone fell in like with it and I gave it to her. I have since found an interesting linen and cotton blend in black and white, it was only $5 a meter, so I bought 6 meters of it. It's a lot I know, but I really like it. Anyway, wish me luck. Photos to follow.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Instant gratification. Almost.

I have had a project in my mind for a couple of weeks now, but time has not been cooperating. I was going to make a top and dip dye it, but I was grocery shopping and they had t-shirts for $8, so I bought 2.
What the heck.

I volunteer at a assisted living facility and once a month or so we do a tie dye class. I always tell everyone if they have something in mind and they want their t-shirt to come out exactly the way they see in their minds eye, to leave, cause it ain't ever gonna happen. I am telling you all this because my t-shirts didn't come out quite the way I wanted them to. Don't you hate it when you have to live with your own advice? Sucks.

I like the colour on this one, but the pattern not so much.
I like the pattern, but not the colour. 
I will wear both of them, maybe just around the house, but at least I didn't spend much $$. If anyone is interested in how to do this, let me know and I will try to come up with a tutorial that is understandable.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am not feeling the blogging vibe

For some reason the words aren't coming and what does come sound stilted and forced. I have been trying for days to write a post and have deleted all of them. So. Stilted and forced it will be.

I have been sewing, but I haven't been following my previously published plan. (sigh)  I think I have mentioned in a previous post that I make The Husband's scrubs for work. A lot of his scrubs have been developing holes and I had four fabrics in his stash (strangely much smaller than mine??), so I have been a good wife and sewing for him. I have two finished and one cut out. Which of course in classic passive aggressiveness I made a mistake in cutting, it is fixable, but I have some figuring to do so as not to have it look like I made a mistake in cutting. Damn. The pattern I use is much modified Simplicity 2769. The main changes I have made is the pockets. The Husband's favorite hobby is to try to rip all the pockets off his scrubs, which as you can imagine annoys me greatly, especially as I have to fix them. Threatening him with a painful lingering death if he continues to tear them has had no effect, so I had to change the pockets. I have figured out that if I move to pockets away from center and have one edge joined at the side seam and the bottom enclosed in the hem the pockets stay intact longer. If anyone out there has any other ideas about pocket placement or whatever else I can do to make the damn things last longer, please share. I will be grateful.
this is the fabric for one of the scrubs, we are not talking high fashion here folks

I have done some sewing gadget shopping lately and I have to share some of my new favorites. The first and really fun one is a needle case thingy. It looks like a lipstick, and rolls up the needles like a lipstick does. The needles are held with a magnet. Here is a photo. I got it at a local quilting shop, but I couldn't find an online seller in the US or Canada that carries it, only the UK. There is actually a video showing how this works on YouTube. For some reason I think that is hysterical. Or maybe I am hysterical. Whatever.

Needle twister-awesome product, I love it!
The next couple are from Nancy's Notions. I ordered some pattern tracing material and impulsively threw these in my basket as well. Good picks. The first one is the Pattern Notcher, it is perfect for those of us that use a rotary cutter to cut our fabric. This clever gadget takes a tiny (1/4" x 1/16")  sliver of fabric instead of trying to cut tiny triangles. I love it. The other one is Black Roll A Pattern, very handy for tracing patterns
Pattern Notcher               Black Roll-A-Pattern

I am spending the entire day (from 10:30 a.m. PST) watching the pre-pre-pre Oscars, pre-pre Oscars,etc, while catching up on my ironing. I figure if I am going to waste hours watching TV, I may as well get something accomplished. Right? Right. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My name is Elle and I am a Sewing Magazine Addict

I will buy any and all sewing magazines published. There I said it. HOWEVER, I have bought two lately that have me rethinking this practice.
The guilty parties

The first magazine is the latest edition of Sewstylish, which is published by Taunton Press, the company who also publishes my beloved Threads magazine. You would think with a lineage like that they couldn't go wrong. Well, IMHO you would be, well, wrong. I don't buy this kind of magazine to make the items shown in it, I buy them for inspiration, and while there are some things that I think I can use in this issue, there are others that are Oh My Dear God What Were They Thinking? The worst (IMO) is the article "The Piece Movement". Fugly, really fugly. Loving hands at home look. They look like something your vision impaired, taste challenged Grandmother would make for you and you would never wear. Ever. They make a suggestion that their inspiration comes from Seminole patchwork, and that may be where they started, but they made a bad turn somewhere. I think Seminole patchwork done well is Art, this is Not. The other really bad one is "Bows Galore", which basically consists of putting multiple bows any where at all on t-shirts. Definitely Dorky.

It would take an awful lot of work to make something this fugly.
Really? Do we need instructions for this? 

The second magazine is Sew It All. It should be called Never Sew Any Of It. Maybe too harsh. Okay, definitely too harsh. I have looked through it again and there are some good ideas in it, but the one that really sticks with me is this:

Why would anyone want to do this to a nice pair of jeans who never did anything to hurt anyone? Why?  There is other things that I think are equally hideous, but I am going to allow for differences in taste and not post pictures of them.

The moral of the story is: Take your time looking over magazines before you buy. I have already saved myself $15.99 by not buying the current issue of Stitch magazine. It was almost all crafty sewing, and I can find plenty of ideas for that on the interwebs. Of course I immediately went and bought more fabric with the $15.99. Now if I can find more magazines not to buy, I can buy more fabric. Makes perfect sense.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kwik Sew 2239

The last one is the one with the lace appliques, impossible to photograph.

This is the second Kwik Sew pattern that I have used, and I have to say, I really like them. I love the size of the instruction sheet for one, the instructions seem to be clearer and better illustrated,  and the fact that the patterns are printed on better quality paper is a bonus as well. The first one was of course, 2908, for panties, which I have blogged about excessively, no need to revisit it. Right? Even though I have made more.

I have made 4 camisoles for the Husbands Aunt Edna. The pattern calls for a woven, with the neck and armholes finished with bias strips. I used nylon tricot instead (scored a bolt of it at the thrift store, super cheap) so I cut the strips on the cross grain. This fabric isn't the easiest to work with, but it can be tamed with Spray Starch (capitalized on purpose, it earned it). The neckline is trimmed in the round, ie you sew the ends of the strips together and then sew them on the neck, the armhole trim is sewn flat and then the side seams are sewn. I made the first one like that but it doesn't look as nice, I prefer a cleaner finish. For the second, third, fourth etc I finished the armholes the same way as the neck. Looks much nicer and doesn't take that much more time or fiddling.

I made the mistake of SWT (sewing while tired) and accidentally made two tiny snips in one of the tops. The fabric won't ravel or run or anything, and Edna would never notice but you can't give someone something with holes in it, right? So I found lace in my pile of notions (who knew???), trimmed a couple of motifs and sewed them on the camisole. Not my best work, but what the heck.

Some notes and suggestions (mainly for me for when I make more of these, lol). I didn't use the pattern for the strips, I just cut strips across the width of the fabric (108" btw), and then measured the neckline and armholes to cut the strips. After cutting the strips from the tricot, I immediately starched, folded them in half and ironed them. I also used the strips to finish the hem.  If/when I make this pattern from a woven, I will use french seams for the shoulder and side seams. It would take almost no time, looks much nicer, and would feel nicer to sleep in.

Aunt Edna is thrilled with them. She says they feel much better than all the other camisoles she has. I suspect she is more pleased with the concept that someone actually sewed something just for her. Sorry no pictures of Edna wearing one of the camisoles-TMI. 8-)

In my previous post, I promised pictures of the fabric for my next couple of projects. Here goes.

Taffeta-this is going to be a muslin of The Tablecloth Skirt. The fabric is nice quality, but the colours. Oh well. I inherited this piece from a friend of my MIL. I wish I could find something to make from it that I would wear and/or use. 

All these are cotton flannelette, they are going to be wearable muslins (hopefully) of V1096, V8397, and V8637.
Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

next up on the sewing docket

I am following one of my favorite bloggers example (  and I am going to plan my sewing in an organized and grown up manner, which is out of character. Ask anyone who knows me.

I have to do some sewing for my husband's Aunt Edna, she needs camisoles and commercially available ones don't fit well at all. She has narrow sloping shoulders and is not a skinny person. She has cerebral palsy and her left side isn't well developed so it may take some work to make them fit her properly. I am going to use  OOP Kwik Sew 2239 as a starting point. I am going to use the usual lingerie type fabric, nylon tricot. It is what she is used to wearing and I scored a bolt of it at the thrift store.

I need some pajama bottoms, and again copying Jilly, I am going to make them from a normal pants pattern as a wearable muslin, one or all of these patterns, Vogue 1096 by Sandra Betzina, Vogue 8397  by Marcy Tilton, or Vogue 8637 by Marcy Tilton. Something about that last sentence sounds wrong, I can't be bothered to figure out why, but I wanted it to be known that I was aware of it. I have some zebra print cotton flannel and some pink rubber duck cotton flannel. Pictures to follow. Should be cute, no?

I want to try Sham's tablecloth skirt, I fully expect that I will look as big as a table in it, which is why I am going to use some perfectly horrible taffeta plaid (emerald green, fuchsia, purple, yellow, gold metallic threads etc) that someone kindly gave me. If I don't want to kill myself after seeing how big I look in it, I have some lovely fabric set aside for it. Again, pictures to follow.

I also have to make the Sorbetto. Maybe out of some turquoise linen I have somewhere.

There now I have committed myself.  To sewing not an institution. Maybe I will actually follow through.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I faced the demons

I was quite pis annoyed with myself for the undies I messed up and gave up on last week. I have found that I don't like store bought undies anymore. So that means either I have to do laundry more often (yeah right, that'll happen) or get over whatever the issue is/was and make more. So I made more.

I found a couple of remnants in the Buy 1 Get 1 Free bins at Fabricland that were suitable, one is a nice cotton with lycra and the other seems to be produced by Beelzebub Manufacturing, but this time I was ready for it. I did one thing different with the pattern this time, I taped the front and back pieces together so the front and back were one piece. I like it, it wouldn't work of course if you trying to squeeze them out of smaller pieces of fabric. The pattern instructions call for one of the crotch seams to be enclosed and the other to simply be serged. I did it that way on the first batch I made and it hasn't bothered me, but I found instructions in my Kwik Sew Lingerie book for enclosing both seams. It takes a bit the first time to get your mind around it, but it really is easy and it looks more finished.  If anyone wants a copy of the directions, let me know and I can scan it and put it online.

So without further ado, here they are! Love them. Success feels good.

Edited January 31, 2012

I just realized that I have ten posts on this blog and four of them are about panties. I really am NOT
completely obsessed with underwear. Really. Really. I mean it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vogue 1247-the wearable muslin

Alas, I failed with Vogue 1247. Cue violins. 

The above I wrote a day or two ago, before I had finished the 1247 top, and I was convinced I never would. I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to, and then went to the sewing dungeon and finished it. It is not perfect, but it isn't completely horrible either. It is wearable and I will wear it. I made it from a busy print so that imprecise seaming would disappear, and it does.  I didn't put the sleeve facings on, I don't like the look on me, I just made a narrow hem.

the hem really isn't as ripply as it looks. honest.

I learned a few things this sewaround. I need something better than what I have been using to trace off patterns, I have been using a roll of plastic tablecloth stuff, it is okay, but it does tend to shift, a lot. I learned that while I hate sewing and wearing polyester, I adore the fact that it needs no special care, it goes from washing machine to hanger to body. Gotta love that. I learned that in years that I haven't sewn much, my skills have gotten a little a lot rusty. So this means easy fabric+easy pattern for a little while. All I have sewn in the last few years are my husbands scrubs for work and I can make them blindfolded while sleeping.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Year of Tangerine Tango

I know every sewist everywhere is concerned about the lack of orange zippers and hem facings necessary to finish all the thousands of garments we are going to finish in this year of tangerine.  Not to worry, got yer back jack.

See what I mean.