March 31, 2006


Well this weekend between dog walks I will attempt to get serious about my SWAP. But I have a question for you all. The basis of SWAP or Sewing With A Plan is that everything works together and you have endless combinations of outfits. The wardrobe is built around a print - which I have and love. My print is a stretch woven that I got from Julie at Timmel Fabrics. Originally I was going to make a jacket and skirt from the fabric, but decided that the print was too large to be put on my backside : So, the plans are to construct a jean style jacket. I use the Peggy Sagers Carol's Jacket. I have made this before and it's relatively easy - all things considered. I will modify the pattern to add in-seam pockets. I purchased snaps from Snap Source at Expo which will coordinate wonderfully. The snaps were a little small, so I intent on spacing them a little differently, but putting 2 together at each point where a snap would be. The other element to the wardrobe in the number and type of pieces. There are 11 pieces total, the consist of 4 bottoms - either skirts of pants although the original inspiration wardrobe had 2 pants and 2 skirts - I believe. I will have 4 skirts as I don't really wear trouser type pants. There are 6 tops. 4 of them should be short-sleeved t-type. Can all the be the same pattern so they are easy to construct. The remaining 2 tops should be camp style, long-sleeve, button front tops. This is to increase your wardrobing options. These tops could be worn alone - buttoned, worn open over a t, or worn buttoned under the jacket. The final piece is the jacket. In the original wardrobing article - one botton front top and one skirt were made of the print - so when worn together they looked like a dress. So, here's my question. I have two long-sleeved botton front shirt patterns that might work. The first is Simplicity 9693:

The second is New Look 6952:

I really like both of these tops. In fact, I wore the New Look one I made last year just yesterday. My question is, finally, do these tops lend themselves to being layered? My gut reaction is no. So, do I go back to the drawing board and find a new pattern that does? Or, do I just make 6 t-style tops? Hmmmm . . .

March 29, 2006

A Little Bit of Progress

Well I finally have all 3 of the bright pink/fushia cotton knit tops done. In fact, I'm wearing one of them today. I have learned and changed how I worked with the knit on each top. The first top was from Kwik Sew 3159 my absolute all time favorite t-shirt pattern. Made strictly according to the pattern. I used the angeld seam overcast stitch on the neckline and sleeve hems. This stitch gives the edges that little scallop. I love it. Done up to the hem, I took the top to last month's ASG meeting. Noticed that the neckline and sleeve edges were a little stretched out. One of the members suggested using the bias fusible tape. I then set this top aside while I waited for the tape to arrive. The second top was from the same pattern, but the neckline was altered to be more of a graceful v-neck. I don't know that 'graceful' makes any sense, but I curved the v-neckline and I really like it. I waited to turn under the neckline after applying the fusible bias - this neckline looks better than the first one, but both are wearable. On both of these tops I used the double sided fusible on the hems.

The final top is from OOP McCalls 4600. The first time I made this top up in a burgundy wool knit. It looks good, but is a little large, the shoulder seams are enough off my shoulders that my husband noticed! So, I traced the pattern again - thank goodness I didn't cut the pattern tissue! Anyway I traced a small through the neckline, shoulders and armscye and a medium for the sides. I also measured and traced a square neckline and square facings. I used double sided fusible for the sleeve hems and bottom. Looks much better. However the faced neckline seems to gap a little bit - is this because it's too large still? Hmmm . . . I'll ask the group at Sewing Guild on the 8th.

I have learned a few things making these three tops. First - always start with a new needle - especially with knits. Second - those fusible tapes make a huge difference. Plan on iron it on before the fabric has been handled too much. Bias fusible on the neckline and shoulder seams. Double fusible for hems. Finally - they all look and fit better than I could purchase in ready-to-wear.

March 25, 2006

Weekend To Do List

First this will have to be quick as the animals are restless. The Beau Man is trying to help me type and with those big paws he just isn't very accurate on the keyboard. :o} So, I have plans to complete, or at least start the following items this weekend: *final fushia t-shirt. This is my morph top for the SWAP contest at Sewing World sponsored by Julie of Timmel Fabrics. The original top was burgundy and other than adding slits at the side seams I followed the pattern. This one I changed the neckline to be square. Hopefully this is enough of a change to qualify. *trace 2 new skirt patterns; the Chardonnay Skirt and the Strudel Skirt both from L.J. Designs A La Mode line. I have a goldish brown suiting fabric in mind for the Chardonnay Skirt and would like to use the new linen for the Strudel Skirt. I also think that the tan tencel from Julie would be great as a Studel. *cut out the three skirts mentioned above. *the final skirt for my SWAP will be a burgundy swing skirt made 2 years ago. I love the skirt - but it's too big now - so I want to remake this skirt. So this pattern will need to be retraced and the skirt recut and sewn. *I also have 3 bags to make out of dog prints. One needs to get done and into the mail no later than April 15th. I have been procrastinating on this project and it's time to get it moving. *As always - I have dogs to walk, housework to do, cooking, and a wedding reception to attend this weekend. That should keep me plenty busy.

March 23, 2006

Photographic Proof

That I actually sew on occasion. There is also proof following that knitting gets done. Saturday's to do list looked something like this: *Block the Comforting Jef squares - I have 4 finished and planning on mailing Monday. This is done and got mailed on Monday. I forgot to include my info for Christine. The squares looked like this:

*Finish the fleece quilt. Operating in overachiever mode, I also made 2 pillows from the left-over fleece. The one shown has frogs from the print appliqued onto the red fabric. There is also a print pillow with frog background where I just free motion quilted around the lily pads, same as the blanket. The parents were pleased to have it. Showing up in the background are last year's plants which have now been pruned! * Finish the 3 hot pink tops for SWAP - I'm sad to say that these aren't complete yet, but I did get some face time with both the sewing machine and iron last night and all that is left to do is hem 2 of them. The third needs sleeves set in, neckline facing attached, turned & topstitched and then sleeve and bottom hems. Plan to work on that tonight.

* Walk big dogs - 75 minutes or more :) Only managed to get 70 minutes in on Saturday but made up for that on Sunday when we went to a beautiful park with natural trails and access to Lake Washington. The day was glorious, there is no photographic evidence however.

On another note - the learning curve with blogland is going remarkable fast. Much fasther than the learning curve I've experienced with garment sewing :o]

March 22, 2006

This will be the Curtains

So a unanimous decision was made last night between JB and The Princess about which fabric will become the new curtains. The winner is: this print It looks pretty blah in this photo, but in real life the red in my dining room and the deep greyed purple in living room bring it to life. Since the two rooms are semi-connected, as in you can see the living room and the greyed-purple wall and the curtains from the dining room table - the curtains will all be the same. Now to measure the windows and decide how I want the top to be - button holes with fun hangers? tab tops? or a casing that will fit over the existing rod? I'll keep you posted.

March 21, 2006


There has been no sewing going on at my house, precious little knitting too. I'm at a stalemate. There has been reading, but sadly not about sewing or knitting. There has also been dog walking - lots of it. Got in the way of some scarce sewing time. But the day was perfect for hiking on trails with a dog - so that came first. Sunday I tried something new. I used the fusible bias tape from LJ Designs in the neckline of one of the pink knit tops. It got hemmed. Looked good, so I fused the bias tape into another pink top that already had the neckline finished. That neckline worbled a little bit, so I'll cut off that hemming and re-finish the neckline. It will be a little lower cut, but since I have no chest to speak of it will be fine. The Musical One sent me an email with information on including photos and links, but at home, I've had no time to figure it out. While at work they want me to work! Go figure. Anyway - I promise to look into it this weekend. Finally, I ordered samples from for new curtains. I strongly dislike heavy drapes, so I plan on covering the windows in the living and dining rooms with sheers and then curtains. Some fun, tab top thing - I think. Anyway - surprisingly enough, the fabric I like the best at the office (which doesn't help much since the painted walls and furniture aren't here) is only $6/yard. Maybe these won't be horribly expensive after all. I did manage to slip a few nice pieces of fabric in for me as well. 3 brushed poor boy knits; blue, pink & cream. Enough of each to make a sleeveless turtleneck top, tank & cardigan. Maybe a little more of the cream. I also purchased 4 yards of an oatmel and cream linen stripe that is screaming skirt - now to figure out if I need to line, interline, underline, etc! and a chocolate silk suiting for a skirt. This last piece has me totally stepping out of my comfort zone. In the next post I promise to update everyone with how I did on my weekend to-do list. There are photos of finished projects - I promise!

March 19, 2006

I'm ready to advance the learning curve - I think

As I'm reading through the posts of others and following the SWAP thread on sewing world, I often wonder how did you learn that? When did you bite the bullet and decide to go for it? For the most part I'm still hemming my garments with a machine sewn topstitch. Does it scream 'homemade?' Most likely. Is that what I want to be screaming when I wear garments that I created? Definitely not!! So, where and how do you learn about some of these other techniques? What do you use to 'practice' them on? Surely not a piece of your favorite fabric. At what point did you move past the comfort of cutting up cheapy JoAnn fabrics and start purchasing more expensive stuff. When did you overcome the fear of cutting into an expensive piece of fabric. I'm immobilized by fear. I'm afraid that the envisioned creation won't suit the fabric. I'm afraid that the dream garment won't fit right. I'm afraid that I won't know how to pretreat or properly press the fabric. I'm afraid of so many things that I don't purchase fabric over a certain price per yard. I don't purchase fabric of a certain fiber content. And if I should find a great deal on a fabulous piece of a wonderful fabric in the perfect color - it will sit there mocking me for years. Who teaches at this school? How do I advance and quit pulling the learning curve down?

March 18, 2006

I'm still procrastinating

I'm still procrastinating. I think the linen that never got made up from last years' SWAP might become a skirt this year. I could still add the embroidered embellishment. Might go work on that. What needs to get done today? * Block the Comforting Jef squares - I have 4 finished and planning on mailing Monday * Finish the fleece quilt * Finish the 3 hot pink tops for SWAP * Walk big dogs - 75 minutes or more :) What have I been doing instead? * walked the short dogs - 40 minutes * went to doctor with hubby and out to brunch - 3 hours * checked up with my friends on sewing world, weight watches and all the sites I 'frequent.' * contacted the woman we are donating our piano to about picking it up. Okay - time to get off the computer now and get some of the stuff on the to-do list done!

March 17, 2006

Meet the family

Life is apparently what happens when other things are planned. Things like tracing patterns on the conference room table at lunch time. Things like remembering to take your knitting to the Sewing Guild meeting so you could get another blue square finished. Things like actually completing 11 garments that fit for SWAP this year. The quality time with the conference room table got derailed because the Princess' (daughter #2) car was broken into last night. While she was smart enough to call the police and not mom, she still needed help handling the insurance, estimators, rental car people and getting it all scheduled. So, 2 hours out of the office this morning, meant no real lunch hour and no real time to trace my patterns. There is no good explanation for the forgetting to take my knitting last night. Other than I had just got back from a long walk with JB (the hubby), Lucy (bloodhound #1) and the Beau Man (bloodhound #2). Was running late for the meeting and thankful just to have my driving directions with me. The SWAP has way too many explanations (excuses) to list here, but the current one is that The Musical One (daughter #1) wanted a fleece 'quilt' to give to her immediate supervisor who's wife just had their first child. Because she's Musical and not crafty at all, what she really wants is for me to make this blanket/quilt. Last Sunday I embroidered the baby's name and birth date on a piece of solid red fleece. Red and cute frog print fleece were layer, cut to the same size and pinned on Sunday night. Free-motion quilting around the lilly pads was started. Since Sunday nothing has happened. Since the baby quilt is now occupying space on my cutting table - nothing else is happening either. Guess I better get some things finished this weekend! (Edited to fix grammar. I promise - I'll learn to proof read better, since that's how I pay the mortgage, feed the hounds, and support my hobby guess I should be able to manage it.)

March 16, 2006

I'm really doing this!

I've thought about this. But haven't been brave enough to try. I love reading all the sewing blogs and follow a few select knitting blogs - but don't feel funny or secure enough to have my own. But with encouragement from friends - I'm giving it a go. This week I have been feeling blue. Thankfully Kristen posted about the Comforting Jef project and I have been knitting blue squares. It fits my mood, but makes me feel useful at the same time. This week I have completed 3 blue squares. Hope to get a few more done and get them off in the mail by Monday. Today Seattle is playing right into the blue mood, it's raining hard. Time to work on my squares. I'm hoping the rain will let up enough for me to get a dog walk in between work and the ASG meeting tonight. I can work on squares during the meeting.
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