Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beautiful blogger award.

I'd like to apologize to whomever sent me this last week. I forgot about it and still can't remember who it cane from.
I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about me and nominate 7 others to do the same.
Because I don't want to have to narrow my nominations down to just seven, I'd like to encourage any of my followers to feel free to accept this award.

  1. I'm going to be 53 in August! I'd never lie about my age but if I did, I'd lie up!
  2. I own and ride my very on Harley Davidson Fatboy. The farthest I've ever ridden by myself is from Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia and did it in 16 hours straight through.
  3. I started playing violin at 10 and prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer, I played 2nd violin in a community orchestra. I hope to rejoin the orchestra this year.
  4. I'm an avid league bowler. I currently bowl on three leagues. My highest game score is 300 and my highest series score is 716. This past Friday I bowled a 673 series.
  5. I love golf. I didn't play last year because I was recovering from my cancer. I usually golf on 2-3 leagues. For 9 holes I usually shoot in the 40's. I make all of my own golf outfits and own no less than 15 pairs of golf shoes...they do have to match my outfits!
  6. I love movies and often rewatch the ones I love. In the last week I've watched Into Thin Air, Sling Blade, The Family That Preys, Rob Roy and Transsiberian just to name a few.
  7. I really love blogging and feel bad if I don't post a couple of times per week. Sometimes I don't post because I figure people my not be interested and other times I don't because I am on the run and can't remember the email address of my blog so that I can post from my Blackberry which is what happened last week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Scrap, Scrap, Scrapping Along and Pattern Review -- Butterick 5001

 I'm just loving the Scrap along that Adrienne started. Here's two layouts that I did last week. The wedding scrapbook is really coming along. I'm still just a beginner but what can I say...I've got skills!


And without further ado...Butterick 5001

Pattern Description:
Flared, pullover dress, falls 3" below mid-knee, has mock wrapped bodice with or white sleeves.
Pattern Sizing:
18W-32W. I cut out the 18W at the shoulder height and 24W everywhere else and sewed 1" seams. As I look at the pattern pieces that equates to a size 20W.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I think so. What do you think?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were so easy, even a caveman could understand them...LOL
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that it is a mock wrap that requires less fabric but still has the look of a wrap, that it has few pieces, that no cleveage is showing and that I look FAB in it. I also love love 3/4 length sleeves. For warmer weather I can push them up and for cooler weather I can leave them down essentially getting more wear out of. Only dislike is the short bodice but that is easily remedied.
Fabric Used:
Matte Jersey X 3. Two of the fabrics I stalked at Walmart the other came from JoAnns
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't have to make an FBA but I did take about 2 1/2" away from the right front. During tissue fitting I could tell the pattern was going to gap and show lots of cleavage.

What bust cup size are Women's patterns drafted for anyway? Beware that the bodice on this is SHORT. I added 1" to the bodice but probably could have added 2". I added 3" to the skirt length. There is way too much sleeve cap ease for a knit dress. I cut the size 18 sleeve and it was still too much. Make it easy on yourself and take it out. I constructed these dresses differently than the instructions. I assembled the shoulder seams and then added the lower back skirt. Next I sewed the skirt front to the bodice. That left me the opportunity to pin-fit the side seams. The sleeves were added last as I prefer to attach sleeves in the round.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Hey I made three of these one right after the other. Only takes about an hour to sew once you iron out any fit issues. Your darn skippy I'll make it again and advise any plus size women to snap this pattern up ASAP
I'm in love...I'm all shook up over this pattern.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday musings

I left off a very important jeans tip. Hem your jeans at least 1-2" longer than you actually want them. Mine were perfect with the heels I wanted to wear them with but now after a couple of washings, two pair can only be worn with flats (I hate flats) and one pair is just too short altogether. It's hard to believe that I pre-washed my fabric twice!

I've been making knit dresses. With the leftover scraps I'm experimenting making panties. I cut the sides on the Warner brand that is my favorite and made my own pattern. More details on that later.

Last but not least I always seem to be able to sniff out a deal. I got this on clearance at JoAnns for $80. Did I do good or what?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Top Jeans Sewing Tips

I'd first like to say that I am by no means a god of jeans making but I have made either written or mental notes as I've made four pairs of jeans that I absolutely love. I'm sure I'll never buy jeans again. These tips are in no particular order so read through them all and decide whether or not any or all are of use to you.
  1. Always prewash/shrink your fabric at least twice before starting. Doing so will help to ensure that your jeans still fit after washing. Also with stretch denim it gets lots of the excess dye out. Don't forget to prewash the pocket fabric as well.
  2. Hem your jeans 1-2" longer than you normally would. I didn't and two pair can only be worn with flats while one pair is just plain 'ol too short! Learn from my mistakes.
  3. While a size 18 needle is ideal, satsifactory results can be obtained with a size 16.
  4. Topstitching makes all the difference in how your final project will look. Set your topstitching length to 3-3.5 mm.
  5. Using three sewing machines saves lots of time--one for construction, one for topstitching, and one for serging.
  6. If you choose not to use topstitching thread, try using one of your machine's decorative stitches instead. If you topstitch in matching fabric color you won't need a separate machine for topstitching. I've had great success with this stitch but be warned--it uses lots of bobbin thread.
  7. If you do use topstitching thread don't use it in the bobbin. Adjust machine tension as needed.
  8. Another good topstitching trick is to use two strands of regular thread. So as not of have to buy two spools of thread, use a fully wound bobbin as one of your spools! Thread both threads through the needle.
  9. Make sure you have enough thread in the bobbin before you began any topstitching. Nothing looks worse than the point where you have to restart sewing after either cutting the thread or winding a bobbin.
  10. Sewing jeans is a wonderful way to use up all those half wound bobbins. When using flat felled seams, the bobbin thread almost never shows. Be sure the half wound bobbin is in the machine you are using for construction, not topstitching.
  11. Attach the back pockets as the final step and use the placement markings for reference only. The pockets should be placed relative to the back flat felled seam. If you sew your center back seam with flat felling and apply the pockets where the markings are at, the pockets will appear misplaced. One pocket should be about 1/4" farther away from the center back then the other.
  12. While stetch jeans may be all the rage and super comfortable, for us plus size ladies we need to be aware that as they day goes on they will loosen up and more than likely hug us in all the places we'd most like to camouflage.
  13. To secure the coin and back pockets, trying using a narrow closely stitched zigzag stitch.
  14. If you don't plan on wearing a belt, omit the belt carriers.
  15. Try jeans on before adding waistband fastener.
  16. On the buttonhole side of the waistband, trim excess seam allowance away from buttonhole area before stitching.
  17. If using a jean fastener, do not trim the excess seam allowance. I actually leave about three extra inches of fabric on the fastener side. I fold it inside and stitch closed. The extra layers of fabric give the fastener something to adhere to.
I will admit that on three pairs of my jeans the fasteners fell off either before or after washing. I followed the directions to the letter but to no avail.
 Then I had a flash of genius...
I picked this up at an estate sale last year. It was only $1. Boy did it come in handy. I just place a towel over my fastener as not to damage it and haven't lost a fastener since.

Til next time!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Scrapping Along

Adrienne is having a Scrap Along. I've wanted to learn scrapbooking forever and even more since I got married.! You know, I want to journal our wedding and life together. I still don't know what I'm doing but this is my first page ever and Adrienne says it's not bad at all. Yippee!

Products used:
Cardstock: All Dressed Up stack
Embellishments: Colorbok chipboard accents and buttons
Vellum sayings

I'm sure you're wondering why I started with my wedding photos. It's because since the move I can't locate any other photos. I only have these because they were in a photo album in my purse!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Embracing my wrinkles

I got up bright and early this morning to get my latest pair of M5894 jeans out of the wash. I quickly hemmed and sewed buttonhole and button on them. This is my third pair and I like each pair better than the last. This is the back after moving the pant leg inward per my last post. I know the photo is overexposed but I did it to show the detail better. I love my wrinkles!

From the front

I'm going to take a break from jeans and work on a few dresses but believe me, I will be revisiting this pattern a few more times! Can you ever have enough jeans??

Sunday, March 7, 2010

McCalls 5896...Again!

I'm nearly finished with yet another pair of M5894. The fabric is a black brushed twill from my stash. Other than changing the zipper to the left side and double stitching the inside seam. I followed the pattern as it's written. I've found that I really sewing fly front zippers. I use the instructions that come with the pattern and have no problems at all. I spent several hours yesterday, combing through my embroidery designs to find just the right one. This is what I came up with. It's an Amazing Design from the Crest collection.

I wanted the embroidery to be subtle so chose to use black rayon thread to stich the design. After all the time I spent finding and sewing the design...I decided I didn't want back pockets. I think it would give the jeans a casual look that I wasn't trying to capture. The only problem came when I was trying to remove my pockets markings. I stopped where I was and threw them in the wash. Of course now I won't be able to finish them until tommorrow. I've been having some back problems and can't sit for long.

As I am always trying to improve the fit of my garments, I tried changing the shap of the legs. My thighs rub together at the top and down a few inches. Shouldn't the patterns I sew reflect my particular fitting issues? I moved my legs over about 3/8" and could see a vast improvement over the last pair I made.

As soon as I can I'll have a picture of me in the finished pants. Next up is a UFO from last year..

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Estate find

I went to an estate sale today and look what followed me home! Not bad for $15. I also got some fabric and two sewing videos which cost more than I really wanted to spend but was still a great deal.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

McCalls 6035 -- Part III

As the saga continued. I had enough fabric left to cut a new front piece. I sewed everything together and made buttonholes and attached the buttons. Somehow I goofed up the spacing on the buttonholes. I cut another piece of fabric and wrapped it over the misspaced buttonholes and sewed new ones.

 When I was finally able to try what I thought was my finished product, I wound up with this.

Even though I used the pattern pieces for the D cup, look how it hikes up in the front. My fabric doesn't show it but the princess seam is just a few inches from the center front. Usually the princess seam is more towards the side. Now what? For some reason I couldn't give up on this blouse. I love the fabric and the sleeve detail.

I still had more fabric left so I cut the fronts off a little above the waist. Using the pattern pieces I added about 2 1/2" to the center fronts.

This is what the finished blouse looks like. It was worth all the work.

Monday, March 1, 2010

McCalls 6035 -- Part II

Picking up where I left off last...

How did I manage to burn a hole in my ironing board cover?

 I've been using this Hashima gavity-fed iron off and on for about 20 years. I've never had any problems with it and love it to death.

 My ironing board is a Pfaff vacuum board that I've had about 12 years. It's just in the past year that I've started using it exclusively. Most of the time I don't use it's vacuum capabilities but it's sturdy as all heck. I always turn it on the lowest possible setting that will still produce steam. I couldn't possibly continue work on my blouse using such a foul looking cover. I had to wait until the next day to go to the fabric store and pick out just the right fabric. In the mean time I stripped down the board and removed the offending cover and wouldn't you know...

the padding was attached and with a serger!


After removing all of the stitching, I was able to release the cover and use the padding as a pattern for the new cover.

I added a casing and some elastic and voila.

I bought about 10 yards total...with a JoAnns coupon. I've since made curtains to cover the doorway of the fabric closet. The remaining fabric is to make covers for my sewing machines and the one knitting machine I have up. Or at least I'll drape the fabric over my machines in case the covers never get made!