Revisiting the Bodice of the Shirtdress

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After fully inserting the sleeves (I am very proud of myself at how well that went) and then letting the dress sit for a while I think I have probably cut the bodice too small. It's a bit tricky to get into the thing.

Tonight after dinner I sat down with the copy of Fit for Real People that I borrowed from the library. I went over the full bust adjustment directions again and realized that I don't actually know where the center front is on my bodice because I never fitted the tissue with the button band attached.

So here is my new plan:

  • Trace the original size 10 bodice on tissue paper.
  • Mark seam lines on the "new" bodice pattern and on the button band.
  • Pin front band on front.
  • Tissue fit again
  • Check center front alignment
  • Check waistline alignment
  • Check points of darts relative to apex of bust
  • Check amount of design ease (garment bust measurement minus size 10 full bust measurement)
  • Make a full bust adjustment if needed (probably)
  • Move darts if needed (hopefully not)
  • Add width to waistline (decide if vertical darts could simply be removed)
  • Cut a new bodice (I do have enough fabric)
  • Remove sleeves from old bodice and start all over again.

Oh man.

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I'm in love with Alexander Henry. That is all.

Nervous Norvice

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That's me.

I have the bodice sewn and I have pin-tested the sleeves, but I am terrified that this is going to be so wonky and without enough ease. It's OK if it is (I keep telling myself), since that's why I bought this less-expensive fabric - but I'm not sure I will know how to fix it or where I went wrong if it doesn't end up fitting. And that, my friends, is not OK.

There's got to be someone here in my neighbourhood who knows enough about sewing garments I can seek help from, but I've no idea who.

Also, it is paining me to view my squishy belly during all of these fittings. I am generally comfortable with my body and have very few body issues - but that's when I am COVERED! I am heading right over to the Vancouver Sun's website to copy down this walk-run routine so I can get my body used to a little exercise.

Eeeesh.

Hole-y, Would You Look at That?!

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Peter lost his first tooth today. Here he is in all of his nearly-six-year-old glory.








He doesn't know it yet, but the tooth fairy has already visited.

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And in other news, Thoughts From the Second Floor will soon reach its 100th post.
Shall we have a giveaway in honor of the event? Leave a comment...

My Room and My Stash

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A while back the folks over at Sew, Mama, Sew were asking sewists to talk about their stash of fabrics. I thought I would join in the response. I also just cleaned my sewing room last night (in preparation for this dress that I am about to begin sewing) and I thought I would also include photos of my workspace.

Currently, I am in a bit of a transition away from "crafty" things like costumes, tote bags, and baby doll carriers towards garments. I do occasionally buy fabric on impulse, but rarely. I used to be a big sucker for remnants bins, but I have pretty much let go of that. When I do see something that resonates with me I buy at least three yards, sometimes four. That is usually enough to make a dress or long skirt.

I do pre-wash and iron my fabrics because when I find something to make I don't want to have to wait for the fabric to be washed, dried, and ironed. I mostly buy cotton fabrics and other natural fibres.

My fabric stash fits into three large Rubbermaid boxes and another paper case box. The larger pieces (for me that's anything I can make a tote bag out of or larger) are organized by type of fabric. I have fabric scraps organized also - one bag for scraps large enough to make a pocket or patch a knee and one for smaller scraps that are large enough to make a bit of an applique. I keep all of my fusible interfacing scraps together also.

I also have two sets of small plastic drawers - each drawer labeled - and this is where notions are stored.

I think I have a fairly decent stash size. I should probably cull through it every six months or so, but right now, my production level isn't too high and neither is my accumulation level.





This room has a built-in twin bed platform. I can stow my ironing board and fabric stash underneath (as well as larger projects on hold).
I also lay out different projects along the top of the mattress to keep them within sight.





My chair, shelves, and drawer. Details below.




Left to right: The two main fabric stash boxes; Shelves holding my pattern stash, library, and craft sale gear;
Tower of drawers holding small things from scissors to elastic.

Quick, Photoless Update

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Currently I am ironing pattern pieces and re-ironing the fabric for McCall's 4769. I spent this morning fitting the pattern tissue (hooray for Palmer and Alto - I felt so official!) and I hope to cut the fabric tonight.

I still need interfacing and my sewing room needs to be cleaned and organized before I actually start sewing.

Too Hyped up for Bed

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Hooray! Today I went to the Central Library with the girls and found Fit for Real People on the shelves! When I had looked online for it a few days ago it was lost or something, so I didn't expect to find it. I have given it a cursory once over today and now I must purchase the book. This is a must-have for my shelves.
I'm so excited about it that I made David sit down and listen politely to me give him an overview. He's a good man.

Also, Pattern Review is having a PR Weekend in Portland, Oregon in May and I am going! Registration costs $80 for the entire weekend and I can stay at my Dad's house (probably - still to be confirmed) and we have enough points on our credit card for a free flight! I will be bringing an empty bag for fabric purchases! And now I must really get one or two of those dresses sewn so that I have some fun things to wear!

Also, as I was cruising through my sewing blogs list, I was drawn in by Betsy Johnson's spring '09 collection linked by Trena at Slapdash Sewist. I love this particular dress. I also just love that Betsy Johnson is not afraid of colour.

OK, maybe I can sleep now.

Oh dear, I didn't turn the computer off in time... I've just found instructions for making your own dress form! (Here and here.)

A Kid Post - Scripture Reading

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Sometime in mid-January - I think while Clara and I were away visiting family - David noticed that we were coming to the end of our current Bible story book and looking for inspiration for something to do afterward. He came across this post on this blog.

When I returned home and while we were waiting for details on my mother's funeral, he suggested that we do something like this with our kids. So we are (only not quite as long a passage). Every night this month we are reading Matthew 5: 1-16 to our kids.

Here's how it works. Peter (soon to be 6) and Lucy (newly 4) do their bedtime routine together. They each get to pick a book or story to read at bedtime. Between their book choices we read the passage from Matthew. This was the spot where we had been reading the Bible story book - we just subbed in actual scripture.

We also include the Matthew reading in Clara's bedtime routine. When I'm on for getting Clara (nearly 2) to bed, I read three little books sitting up on her bed and then we lie down to read Matthew.

There was just a little protesting at first (there are no pictures!), but they have totally accepted that this is what we are going to do this month.

And it is astonishing how much they know. I mean, there's not even dialogue or a story in this passage, just vastly important teaching. Tonight, after reading, when I was lying down with Peter (and then Lucy) for a couple of minutes, we tried to see how much we could remember. It's neat to see how their brains work at this. Peter tends to generalize, but Lucy is very specific. I was having trouble remembering the eighth "Blessed are...", but Lucy knew it exactly. Exactly exactly. Astonishing.

Wide Leg Lounge Pants Finished!

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Here they are... my tomato red pinstriped lounge pants! (Yes, I sucked my belly in a little, I do still have my pride.)





So, they wrinkle a bit, but hey, they are cotton pajama pants with an elastic waist! I'm not wearing these to meet Michelle Obama!



Diagonally across the middle there you can barely see my teeny flat-felled seam on the outer seam of the pants. I am quite proud of myself.

I am also lucky that these are wide-legged pants, so I was able to coerce my machine to sew that seam after the inseam and the crotch seam were sewn. (I had to come at it from both directions.) If you want to flat-fell a seam, it should be one of the first construction seams you sew, then it should be smooth sailing (but none of the information I found about flat-felled seams mentioned that).

Valentine's Day Project

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They aren't yet complete, but I thought I would go ahead and post some photos so there's still time for you to make a few before the big day.

Borax Crystal Ornaments

pipe cleaners
string (we used embroidery floss)
Borax laundry booster
water
large spoon or spatula for stirring
container large enough for your ornaments (either singly or in a group)
pencils or some other method for suspending the ornament



Gather your supplies!

  • Twist your pipe cleaners into your desired shape.
  • Attach a length of string to the shape. I ended up using 12 inch lengths of embroidery floss doubled over and knotted on the open ends.
  • Measure the amount of water you need in your container(s). I used a bucket that held about 4 quarts of water. Place this water into a pot and bring it to boiling.
  • While the water is heating, measure your Borax. I found that a ratio of 1 and 1/4 cups Borax to 1 quart of water worked well. Three cups Borax to four quarts water was too little (see photo).


The one on the left was made with 3 cups Borax to 4 quarts water in a big bucket.

The heart on the right was made with 5 to 6 cups Borax to 4 quarts of water in a big bucket.
  • When the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the Borax, being careful to break apart any large clumps. There should be some undissolved powder at the bottom of the pot. This is one way to know that the water is fully saturated.
  • Pour your solution into your containers. Careful now, it's hot!
  • Suspend your ornaments in your container. Try to keep the ornaments floating freely. If they are too close together or too close to the bottom or sides of the container, they might get a little stuck. (Crystals will form on the bottom and sides of the container as well.) I used a cooling rack and pencils to suspend our hearts over the bucket.
  • Allow the process to set until the water is room temperature. (Perhaps about 6 hours if you are using a large bucket like I am. Less time would be needed if your container is smaller.)
  • When cool, remove the ornaments and allow them to drip dry. Go ahead and remove crystals from the strings if necessary.
  • When giving these away be certain to note that these are NOT EDIBLE.

We decided to make enough of these for Peter's classmates and teachers and Lucy's teachers. I worried that some of the teeny kids in Lucy's class might put these hearts in their mouth, so we will simply make plain pipe cleaner hearts for her classmates.

Science and love, what better combination is there, really?

The Latest Installment

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of why you are glad you are not me...

My wallet is lost or stolen. It disappeared during Lucy's birthday party. I may have dropped it in the park. We have turned the house inside out looking in all of the usual spots and as many of the unusual spots as we can think of.

No one has made any charges on the credit cards, but I think I will rest better just starting over. So, to that end, we are off to the local driver's license office this morning. I need to go fix my hair.

Lucy's Birthday Cake

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As I was making plans for Lucy's birthday cake, I was inspired by the rainbow cake I stumbled across in blogland (I think I found a link to that blog on the Apartment Therapy Nursery blog). Of course, Lucy would have none of the rainbow cake - it had to be PINK. So I tried dying the white cake batter in two shades of pink (leaving one part white).



She then agreed to chocolate frosting, so her final cake looked like this:



As you can see in the second picture, the pale pink batter is hardly visible. I should have marbled it a bit by dragging a chopstick through the batter in the pans before baking. The cake was fairly tasty, but I am not terribly imprressed with the white cake recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but maybe that's because white cake is just like that and I am used to flavoured cakes.



Here is the birthday girl herself after successfully blowing out her four candles.

One Good Reason

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to keep your hands out of your pockets while you are jogging along an uneven sidewalk in your Dansko clogs.



On Wednesday, Peter was running late for school so he was on his bike and I was trying to keep up with him. As I lost my balance (and flung my hands out of my pockets sending my keys and phone flying) I thought, this is going to hurt. A lot. And I'm going to rip my pants.

I was correct on both counts.

The knee injury has only just stopped seeping blood today. The scrapes on my hands still hurt so much that opening jars is painful. I feel like a ridiculous toddler who limps around after a minor bump into something, but this really does hurt.

My Room and My Stash

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A while back the folks over at Sew, Mama, Sew were asking sewists to talk about their stash of fabrics. I thought I would join in the response. I also just cleaned my sewing room last night (in preparation for this dress that I am about to begin sewing) and I thought I would also include photos of my workspace.

Currently, I am in a bit of a transition away from "crafty" things like costumes, tote bags, and baby doll carriers towards garments. I do occasionally buy fabric on impulse, but rarely. I used to be a big sucker for remnants bins, but I have pretty much let go of that. When I do see something that resonates with me I buy at least three yards, sometimes four. That is usually enough to make a dress or long skirt.

I do pre-wash and iron my fabrics because when I find something to make I don't want to have to wait for the fabric to be washed, dried, and ironed. I mostly buy cotton fabrics and other natural fibres.

My fabric stash fits into three large Rubbermaid boxes and another paper case box. The larger pieces (for me that's anything I can make a tote bag out of or larger) are organized by type of fabric. I have fabric scraps organized also - one bag for scraps large enough to make a pocket or patch a knee and one for smaller scraps that are large enough to make a bit of an applique. I keep all of my fusible interfacing scraps together also.

I also have two sets of small plastic drawers - each drawer labeled - and this is where notions are stored.

I think I have a fairly decent stash size. I should probably cull through it every six months or so, but right now, my production level isn't too high and neither is my accumulation level.





This room has a built-in twin bed platform. I can stow my ironing board and fabric stash underneath (as well as larger projects on hold).
I also lay out different projects along the top of the mattress to keep them within sight.





My chair, shelves, and drawer. Details below.




Left to right: The two main fabric stash boxes; Shelves holding my pattern stash, library, and craft sale gear;
Tower of drawers holding small things from scissors to elastic.

Birthday Cupcakes!

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Here is the last cupcake. They all looked like this and were delicious. The cake was moist and a tad dense, but fabulous for a sturdy little cupcake. We'll see how it works for a full-sized cake this Saturday for Lucy's kid party.

I purchased a can of frosting and dyed it and the cake batter with food colouring. I just haven't been able to successfully make frosting - and we don't eat enough sweets to give me much practice. I also purchased a little tube of red gel to write 4 on each little cake.




She's four now. FOUR. Somehow turning four is such a milestone in a way that two, three, five, and six just aren't. Lucy is a fabulous child. She's smart as a whip and terribly creative. She is brave and clever and a good problem-solver (especially when she is well fed and well rested - but then, aren't we all?).

David worked from home while Clara was napping so I could take Lucy out for something fun. We went to our friend's restaurant, Little Nest and spent our time waiting for our food drawing on the little chalkboards they have (a brilliant idea as opposed to colouring pages - and it seems like it is less work to routinely clean up chalk dust rather than crayon scribbles off furniture). I'm so glad we had that time today.

Wide Leg Lounge Pants

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I am working on Amy Butler's lounge pants made out of that tomato-coloured pinstriped cotton. They are fairly simple and I am changing the design to have an elastic waistband rather than a drawstring. I'm not terribly fond of drawstrings - especially during midnight trips to the washroom.

I am trying to increase my sewing skills, so I am going to try making the outside leg seams flat-felled seams. This is the kind of seam you are likely to find on jeans and button-down shirts. Photos coming soon hopefully!

In other news, today is Lucy's fourth birthday. Today is also a school day for her (Tuesday and Thursday mornings), so she requested that I make cupcakes for a special treat at snack time. She wanted (surprise, surprise) pink cupcakes with pink frosting. She also wanted the number 4 on each one. We delivered them to school this morning. I'll have photos of those later as well.