Putting things off...

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Hey all!

So there is some nasty bug raging around my neighbourhood and both Peter and I caught it. Bleh. I was still confined to bed today - but that was simply due to lack of energy rather than active illness. It is so annoying. When I am in bed I feel fine. Then I get out of bed and try to do something normal and I can't manage it. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

At one point this afternoon, I was so completely bored, that I actually wandered into my sewing area to think about packing (not to actually pack - that would have been pushing it) and I was inspired to take down my wool dress, decide on a hem length and pin up the hem. It still needs pressing and sewing (and the lining needs the same treatments), but that was all I had in me for that moment.

I haven't yet packed up my sewing stuff because demolition is on hold for a bit. The mud on the drywall has asbestos. Apparently this is actually pretty common and the variety of the asbestos is the "least harmful" type, but you have to have a licensed professional to dispose of it. (Anyone can take it down, but only a pro can take it to the disposal site. **eyeroll**) So tomorrow asbestos folks are coming to give us estimates. All this means that we may not have to pack up all our gear for another week or so. If only I felt better I might actually take advantage of this.

Oh, and Simplicity is having a sale only advertised through blogs and Facebook. Carolyn and Lori both posted about it, so I trucked on over (sitting in bed) and finally ordered the now out-of-print 3775 as well as a few other things.

In Progress: Butterick 5348 (Double Drat)

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Well, folks, the time is swift approaching to pack up my sewing. I had hoped to finish this dress but, it's just not happening. It looks a lot better than the muu muu it used to be, but it's still not right.

Please note that neither the skirt nor the sleeves are at their final length.

I took it all apart. (First I did try making a casing and inserting elastic, but it was too lumpy.) I cut a center back seam in the skirt. I snugged up the waist band taking it in by about 4 inches total. I then gathered both the top and the bodice onto the band and inserted a zipper. Well, in the interest of transparency, I should mention that I first inserted an invisible zipper even though I was fairly certain that it wouldn't work through the seams.

What is jumping out at me now is the width of the waistband. I think, that for it to give me a nice shape, it needs to be about twice as wide. My friend K mentioned this to me, but I forgot it once I got everything taken apart. I could maybe stomach that problem, but then there is this:

Wow, what a bad zipper! I knew I should have hand picked it!

So back it goes. It needs to be taken apart. I need to cut a new waistband twice as wide as this one (this one is the same width as the neck band). Then I need to put it all back together and hand pick the durned zipper! (Then I need to hem the sleeves - by about an inch, shorten the skirt and gather and attach the (hemmed already!) ruffle.)

It's too much for right now. This brings my UFO (UnFinished Object) count up to three. The first is the hoodie that I tried to make for Peter, the second is my cute little charcoal grey wool dress that just needs hemming. Now this. David suggested that I bring it with me on our trip and maybe I can finish it up on his mother's machine. I may think about that, but it still seems a bit too much.

Demolitions and Dreams

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Hey Everyone.

We are FINALLY going to be able to begin renovating our house. It's been a year-long saga of trying something/suggesting something only to be told no by the City of Vancouver building permit folks. (Vancouver is the only city in the country that has its OWN set of building codes - more codes than the national standard.) Demolition begins next week, so everything must be packed away so that walls can be knocked down, drywall removed from all of the exterior walls, insulation put in (currently it's drywall on top of lath and plaster), new walls built, new stairs put in, windows replaced, etc, etc.

With any luck, by the end of June our home will have drywall back up, interior walls in their correct spots, electricity, plumbing, and flooring. This may be unrealistic, but we are hiring people to do the work (the contractor has been in on the journey for the entire year), and we won't be trying to live here during the worst of it.

I ordered the tile for the kitchen today. Hooray! One thing to check off the list!

You may well be wondering, "What does this have to do with me?" Dear reader, this means that I will not be sewing anything for a few weeks. All of my gear must be packed away. I will keep posting, though, so hang in with me! I have a few ideas...

Currently I am dreaming about my sewing space to come. Eventually I will have space in our new sun room (the old one will be demolished). I still will not have much room. I am wondering about fabric storage, dreaming of a folding table for cutting, and plotting a design for a rectangular pressing surface that would fit over my standard ironing board. Of course none of this even begins to address my need for a new sewing table and general organization for my notions!

I need more ideas of things that work in sewing rooms - particularly in sewing rooms belonging to people who can't sew full time. I have wiped the drool off my chin a few times looking at professional photos of sewing studios, but I am not going to have that much space. Please share photos of your sewing spaces, highlighting the parts you most appreciate! With your permission, I can post them, include your thoughts, and consider the aspects that might work here. Whaddya say? Fifteen minutes of nothing resembling FAME could be yours!

Nearly Finished! Jalie 2804 and BurdaMag 03-2009-105

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Sewing for myself! I finished the pink top (except for the hem - more on that later) on Saturday and the flowered skirt yesterday afternoon. The weather was sunny and 16C (about 61F) so I wore this paired with my new (thrifted) denim jacket.

This is the third time I've made the top. The first was a wadder. I used fabric without enough stretch and didn't alter the pattern pieces. My major mistake here was that I was so annoyed with the fit that I didn't even bother to really look at it to see what needed to be changed (other than adding a bit more to the crossover pieces to accommodate my bust). The second time, I was deconstructing another Jalie top into this top.

I haven't hemmed the top because I am tempted to take this it apart and rework it. Here's why: It's too long. Everywhere. I think I must be petite. There is too much fabric between my shoulders and my bust. The spacing between the empire seam and the ruching is too long - the ruching sits low on my stomach unless I scrunch it under my bust. I have made some adjustments to the my paper patterns to avoid these issues in the future.

Also the neckline is too plunging. Definitely not toddler friendly. I tried the top on at least three times to check the crossover placement. Somehow, when it is all sewn together it pulls open. I'm not really certain how to fix this except to overlap the pieces more. While Jalie does offer instructions for a modesty panel, I am not thrilled by the construction. That empire seam at its thinnest is three layers of fabric. At its thickest (where the neckbands attach) it is six layers. That's a lot of fabric.

Around here it's rarely warm enough to prohibit wearing a cami/singlet underneath - if there is only one layer of fabric across the stomach.

What to do, what to do?

  • I can take it apart. (Did I mention that I twin needle topstitched the empire seam to hold it flat?) Take off the ruched layer. Increase the overlap of the crossover top. Remove some of the extra fabric at the top edge of the lower bodice. Sew it all back together, making the hem even. This would hopefully solve all of the problems except the extra fabric from shoulder to bust.
  • I could cut it apart. Including cutting across the empire line in the back. Trim a bit more off the top edge of the lower bodice. Increase the overlap of the crossover pieces. Sew it back together. This would solve the same problems as the previous method, only it would be quicker as I would avoid picking out stitching.

Hmmmm. Do any of you have advice on this?

I will have to consider this as I am having my teeth cleaned today.

The skirt, by the way, is somewhat unremarkable comparatively. I have made it once before, but this time solved my fit problems (again, I needed to petite the length at the waist and the length of the pleat stitching - I also took the skirt in a bit at every pleat).

Jesus Costume in Action


There it is, folks! That's Jesus facing temptation. And no, that Jesus is not holding a broom. It's a staff, decorated may pole style with the colours of the different groups of actors (green: earth, brown and white: people (unless I missed a finer distinction), and gold: angels).

It was a good show. They will run it again on 5 June along with the first part of the story they presented in December.

Now I have one more other-people project to finish this month, but I am sewing for myself, too. I hope to have some finished work to show you Wednesday!

Jesus Costume McCall's 2060

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It is finished. (Pun intended.)

Phew! I made the vest (view D) which is terribly simple, but with some complicating changes. First off, the vest needed to be reversible. One side is out prior to Jesus' death and the other side is out after Jesus' resurrection. Secondly, the main side needed to be a patchwork of four colours: green, brown, white, and gold. These colours are represented by other groups in the cast. Thirdly, the gold that was chosen was a tissue lame'. (Pardon me there, I don't know how to add an accent mark in blogger.)

Making the vest reversible meant that I could eliminate facings, which, in my mind is a bit easier as I would not have to hand-tack down facings. Of course, I forgot that on something this big, a lining is a lot of fabric and a lot of machine stitching to deal with.

But it was the patchwork on the main side that really stuck it to me. I had asked the director to sketch something up for me, but she didn't, so I made a few sketches myself. She chose the design with all of the arcs.

Now that it's done, I am very glad she didn't pick the stained glass window inspired sketch.

To go about making the arced patchwork pattern, I first adjusted the muslin and then used it to cut out the lining pieces. Then I took the lining pieces, pinned them to large sheets of easel paper and traced around them.

Back piece pinned, ready to trace.

Then I measured off the seam and hem allowances and drew the patchwork design onto the paper. I made registration marks to make matching up the cut pieces easier and then cut the patchwork pieces apart.

Front piece, ready to cut apart.

After I decided which pieces would be in which fabrics, I traced around the outside of each piece (adding back the seam and hem allowances that I had previously removed), cut them out and laid them out to see how they looked.

Pieces laid out.

I really liked how one of the sides looked, but not the other, so I played around with it a bit, made a decision and then cut a few new pieces.

Playing around prior to cutting out new pieces.

Each piece had to be sewn together to assemble each front and the back. Then construction went along pretty much as usual.

The tissue lame' proved to be quite tricky to work with as it is sheer and, well, rather like working with flexible tinfoil. I decided to underline it with flannel. This, I think was a mistake. I should have gone for a thinner broadcloth. But, as I have been reminding myself all day, this is a costume not a real garment.

I used the triple-stitch zigzag to attach the tissue lame' to the flannel underlining.

Oh well. The vest is done. Here David is modeling it before I finished the side seams. The actor playing Jesus is a fair bit taller and broader in the shoulders than my dear husband.



Monday, Monday - Spread a bit thin

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Gracious! Last week whipped by! Sorry for the blog silence. Sorry for the lack of photos. I can't seem to find my cable for my camera.

I am sorry to report that the rest of my life got in the way of my sewing. This left me a tad on the cranky side.

This week's sewing goals are:

  • Finish the costume vest. (The play is this weekend.) I have taken photos of the vest in progress, so I should have a blog post on that in a day or so.
  • And all the others from last week.

In other news, I have joined Weight Watchers. I don't have a lot to lose, but I haven't managed to do it on my own over the past year or two. I really enjoy eating (and I eat when I am stressed) and I don't like being sweaty. This makes weight gain nearly unavoidable. Hopefully, I will be able to change some of my habits.