January 31, 2015

And Now for Something Different

Way back in October - I posted a picture on Instagram (i have no idea how y'all get your instagram pics into blog posts and visa versa) of book covers that I wanted to remember because they looked interesting.  Mary (IdleFancy) commented and said to read the Kristan Higgins books - she said read them all!  So I did.  I read all of The Blue Heron series - out of order! - and really enjoyed them. 

I read a few other books in there as well.  Gotta tell you - I like my reading to be an escape.  I especially enjoy a story where I feel like I can relate to the characters or they have enough depth that you feel like you know them.  I don't want my reading to be heavy or feel like I need to struggle to get through a book.  Since JB gifted me a nook for Christmas several years ago - there are weekends when I knit and read - because I can balance a book (Nook) on my knee and turn pages while still being able to knit.  It's a good thing.  

Then in January - I ran out of books in my reader library that really grabbed my attention.  So I reached out to Mary and asked her what she would recommend.  She sent a long, lovely detailed email back with several book and author recommendations.   

Mary had recently read Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  So - I bought it, downloaded it and read it in a weekend !  I did work on knitting a cardigan at the same time.  It was a great book and I really enjoyed it.  

The only downside - in my personal opinion - to e-books is that they are expensive.  And you can't loan them to friends.  Because I loved this book so much I want to read the rest of them, even though I read them out of order.  SEP says they stand alone, but she's made a family tree in case you want to read them in order anyway.  But - because of all of those factors - I actually walked over to the public library on my lunch one day last week and got a library card!  Free books will soon be mine!!

After finishing Call Me Irresistible, I opened all i ever wanted by Kristan Higgins and loved it!  Even on days I can sit on the bus - I was reading.  

I have long wanted to find a book club, the opportunity to read and discuss books and characters with people who like the same type books.   There is a book club at my office - but they read how to personal growth books - not my style.   Sharing emails with Mary about books was a lovely - finding out we liked the same types of books and can get so involved in the stories.  I started wondering if it would be possible to have a 'virtual' book club with the gals who sew (and anyone else) who might be interested.  The problem is - how would we have discussions?  

So - tell me, are you a reader?  Do you like to read this type of book?  Do you have any ideas on making a virtual book club work?  And would you be willing to play along?

January 20, 2015

Where the SewJo Went

I've been giving this quite a bit of thought and I've figured out where my desire to sew went.  It's hiding under a huge pile of UFOs.  Thankfully - they aren't flying.  So - what's got me so overwhelmed and how do I get past it?
half and 3/4 circle skirts
for The Musical One

Circles for The Princess
1. Circle skirt project.  I started this for a couple of reasons.  a.  I wanted a good visual of the different circle skirt options and b.  thought it would make a good CSC post.  At this point - I have 5 of 6 circle skirts made.  I ruined the full circle skirt for The Musial One when I put the zipper in.  All skirts need hems.

2.  Hubby's anniversary shirt.  I bought 3 lengths of fun, conversation prints to make JB bowling style shirts last summer.  The first one was to have been done for the Bridal Showerl last August (but I didn't have enough fabric to pattern match and had to order more).  In the midst of my crazy Christmas Crafting I cut out 1 shirt for JB and have been slowly sewing it up.  Stalled because I'm past the deadline - hoping to finish in time for him to wear to see Dirty Dancing at the end of the month.  Were I'm at now?  needs sleeve hems, buttonholes & buttons. 

I spent an hour tonight after dinner and before right now working on this shirt.  The pattern match is pretty good across the front, but not perfect.  It's horrible at the sides and what do you do across the sleeves?  Seriously?!  Anyway - all it needs now is buttons and buttonholes.  I have a few choices - what do you all think?  From left to right:  Taupe (I think my preference); 2 hole black; 4 hole black; 2 hole wood, 4 hole bleached wood.

3.  My Christmas dress.  I was heavily influenced by Tanya and her lovely dresses.  Then I got an email from Fabric.com with 'sparkly' material.  I cannot turn away from sparkles (apparently, I'm turning into a crow in my old age!).  I had the pattern already.  Where I'm at and why am I stalled?  See #2 above - past the holidays, but again, might be appropriate to wear at the end of the month.  Stalled because I didn't read the directions and did the collar wrong - which has since been fixed. So much left to do:  set in sleeves, buttons, buttonholes, add skirt, add side zipper; hem.  About 3 hours of work.  I'm shocked by how much and at the same time, rather amazed at how little I can get done in 60 minutes.  But I guess every seam I get done is one less to do, right?

4.  Machine Embroidered (Late) Holiday Gifts.  anytime you add late.  Stalled because my computer stopped talking to my dongle.  Have to take computer to sewing machine dealer to figure it out.  Think my dongle is corrupt - don't want to deal with it.

5. I have 5 other dresses and a top cut out.  Stalled because - well because.  For me - anytime something is pre-cut and I don't get to it right away it hangs over my head and makes me feel guilty!  I get to the point where I don't want to make them up - don't care if they ever become clothes in my closet.  The guilt stops me from walking into the room. But some of these dresses I really, really want to wear - the color blocked dress is there and a lovely fallish printed corduroy Odette, a myrtle and a boucle sheath dress.  

So - do you know what makes your SewJo go missing?  

January 6, 2015

Last Dress of 2014

This is the last dress I made in 2014 - although it wasn't the last thing that I made in 2014.  If you follow me on instagram, you saw my holiday to make list - this was one of the 'for me' items and the only one I got completed.  

The pattern is McCalls 6713 - but I made changes to the pattern.  The funny thing is - Angie sent me the same pattern as part of the Curvy Sewing Collective Secret Santa - Thanks Angie!!  

The fabric is an ITY that I bought from Fabric Mart and it screamed Pretty Woman to me.  It got made up quick!

So - I mentioned that I made changes to the pattern.  What where they you ask?  

First - this is not the first time I've made this dress.  I have 3 other versions in my closet, although only one has the hip flounce thing.  The first version I made I retraced the skirt front using the center front line as a cut on fold line.  I used that skirt piece for this version.  I lengthened the skirt by 2" and I think the length is quite nice.  

I added pockets.  The only thing I ever put in my pockets is my hands  - but how did I live without them?

Final - doing it my own way change?  I cut two of the underlap bodice piece.

When sewing it up - I pleated the front shoulder excess into the shoulder seam rather than gathering it.  In the other versions - the shoulders feel bulky.  I like this.  Also - because I only used the underlap pattern piece, the sides are pleated into the side seams.  I also cut this version a size smaller than previous versions.  

It looks like it might be a bit too tight in these photos, but it's not and I'm not self-conscious while wearing it.   

Finally - for Nessa - Posterior for  Posterity.  

Final thoughts - I really like this dress.  It feels grown up and classy (please don't burst my bubble if it doesn't look this way!).  The skirt has just enough fullness to be really swishy, but I don't really have to worry about a wardrobe malfunction and the crossed bodice lays flat against me.  

It's nice to think about how I wanted something to look and then to make it happen!  

Feels good to be blogging again - I keep saying that - and then just fall right back out of it.  I'll try to do better in 2015!  Happy New Year everyone.  
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