Sunday, July 30, 2006


My girl has been giving me the eyeball for a couple of weeks now. She's used to being the sole recipient of my sewing skills :D She's even gone so far as to leave her pattern choices lying around my sewing area (which is everywhere basically, so she's been leaving patterns all around the house). Hint received & duly noted. Here's the sweet little Lizzie McGuire top & capri from Simplicity 4162, all made up in hula-girls & hot pink dotted swiss:

She was pretty wiggly, so the pic is not the clearest shot I ever I took another closeup of the top, which is SOOOO cute! I love the aqua on the hot pink, it's perfect! The rick-rack is a vintage trim from an auction. I've been hoarding it for years, doling it out here and there on baby gifts & projects. I'm almost out now. Bummer. Here's the top closeup:

Sorry for the headless shots of Lu, but I did a review of the patterns at PR, and I didn't want to include her face.

Bought buttons yesterday...actually spent almost $20 in buttons alone. AND my local Hancocks, the only place within 75 miles of me, is discontinuing Gutterman thread!!! What's that matter with these people? They are getting Mettler at least, so I don't have to mail order thread. It's bad enough I have to mail order most of my fabrics & trims!! They've d/c'd all the nice lace and all the bridal section. You know, not to get off on a rant, but THAT'S exactly the reason people have been moving to online shopping in the first place!! Stores complain that all their business is going online, but what are we supposed to do when all you carry anymore is fleece, scrapbooking, and home decor Made in Insert-Your-3rd-World-Country trash? Hancocks in particular over the past year has discontinued most rayons & linens, separating zippers, lingerie supplies (including ELASTIC! HELLO!!!) I'm considering buying the whole roll of clear elastic next time its on sale because I can see it going next.

All of their trims have almost gone too....being replaced by pre-packaged 1-3 yard cello-wrapped beaded/lace trims. I realize they'll make a lot more money off me if they sell it that way, but if I don't buy it because I need more than 1 yard and refuse to buy a bunch of packages, then they're STILL losing money. I've never been so sick of looking at fleece in my entire life. Even the ladies at Hancocks were complaining. It was over 100 degrees here yesterday. And they were sick of cutting fleece. Um, what the heck are people making with fleece in July?! Ok, rant over.

Let's talk about buttons...What is it about buttons? I love them!! I love running my fingers through them, I love planning whole outfits around them... I guess that's why they're so expensive! Here's my button gorgefest from yesterday (which doesn't look so bad until you consider I bought multiples of each):

And a closeup of the red ones, because they're so sparkly!!

I love these mult-color sparklers too...I think they'll look great on either a plain black blouse or a plain white one:

And I wouldn't normally see myself as a flower-shaped button kind of girl, but these in a faux animal print/tortoise shell are just adorable! I have no idea what they'll go on. :D

I guess on the whole "sewing is an expensive hobby" train of thought, buttons really aren't that expensive in comparison. I highly recommend a day of button shopping for anybody in a sewing funk!

Today's Projects: Lizzie McGuire skort & top for Lu and a slip for me, mayyyybeee with cami to match!


Friday, July 28, 2006

Holy Cardigan, Batman!

Ok, trying to finish up the SWAP and it's getting soooooo close. It's actually so close I'm nearly sick of it. Are you ? :P

Here's the LH sweater set I made this afternoon:

The cardigan is, well holey, because I got in a way big furry hurry to finish it and snipped a tiny hole in the front placket. This extremely crappy incident sent me digging through my "scrap" bin to find that dk. brown rick-rack sorta stuff I bought from that mail-order place about 7 years ago in a bag of "goodies" that I am STILL pulling fixes out of. Sadly that place went out of business about 4 years ago. Good times.

Here's a closeup of the psuedo rick-rack fix:

Not bad, huh? And here's a pic of just the tank from the sweater set with a pair of LH Cruise Pants (the legs are morphed with the stovepipe leg of the Oxfords.)

I gotta say, this is the hands-down, best-fitting tank pattern I've ever sewn. I've made a few out of all different sweater knits & they're all perfect. No gaposis of the cleavage or pits. Which is a good thing indeed.

As for the Storyboard tute...I didn't get to it this afternoon, what with the cardigan rescue & all. But it's started & I really just need time for screenshots. So stay tuned! More tomorrow!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Project Runway Junkies

My PR obsession has now passed to my offspring. While watching last night's episode two things of humor & interest happened...G-man says "Smack me if I ever sound like that" (in reference to something Kayne said), and about 5 seconds later he & Lu found their inner designer. See below.

I gotta say, G had it goin on there for a minute. He created a one-shoulder, square neckline, asymmetrical, plunging-back top that was pretty hot. Lu added a pink straw hat & feather boa to her Greek Goddess toga number. It's all about the accessories.

As for PR itself, I am SOOOO MADDDD that the star of her very own bubblicious freakshow Angela is STILL hanging in there. Sweet, sweet Katy was just invisible in comparison (i.e. not ratings fodder disguised as "artsy-designer-character" like the rest of them.) I gotta say, Michael's silent brilliance had better not be the doom of him. Because I will be truly p-o'd at PR if he gets kicked off just for not making waves! Yeesh.

In SWAP news...I updated my storyboard with a new jacket and the cruise pant.

I also made a "Completed Garments" board too, just to motervate myself (and interested lurkers) of all the accomplished/finished stuff.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cruise Pants. (and wow I wish I REALLY WERE ON A CRUISE!!!)

But alas, NO. I'm at home. Feeling a bit under the weather today & yesterday. But I did whip out a pair of Loes Hinse Cruise Pants, in the crop version. These are made with a remnant of chocolate brown cotton gauze. Breezy & cool, and very little ironing required. Doesn't get much better than that! Here's a pic:

Two things I notice from this project...The sky doesn't shine through MY thighs like it does through Edith the Dressform's. Maybe I really do need to follow Oprah's advice & get me some Spanx underpants. Two...How come I get a perfect (and I mean perfect) fit from Loes Hinse's cruise pants, the slimmest pant I think she's ever made, and I can't do diddly squat to fit her looser fitting pants?! What's up with that logic?!!

I also made a pair of Textile Studio Soho pants. (umm, and if you're thinking you can stick to Storyboard Canon when you read my blog, sorry dear readers. I'm fickle. You're entirely right and these 2 pants are NOT on my storyboard. I promise to amend it ASAP. Really.) Well, I cut out the largest size, just as an extra measure of "in case" room. Way to big all over. Took in the side seams roughly an inch...still too baggy in the leg (never thought I'd say that again after the past few years of poundage creep.) And there's this weird bulge in the crotch area that makes it look like I might need to think about a jock strap if I play contact sports. Which I don't. (Or play any sport for that matter. Oh, and I don't need a jock strap either. My anatomy is OK. Nevermind.)

So I cut the pattern back down to my size by measurement and I'm going to try again with a yard of aqua twill I've got. They won't be pant length (they'll actually be bermuda length, but I'm just mainly worried about crotch & upper thigh...and NO, I'm never wearing bermudas.) What else am I gonna do with 1 yard of aqua twill?

Back to the sewing machine! Gonna make some more progress today hopefully! Will keep you posted....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Got My Groove Back (or How I Made 3 Wadders in 3 Days)

Recent pants disaster had me pulling my hair out. I even made a muslin for crying out loud! AND I traced the entire pants pattern (not just cutting into the original willy-nilly.) But one pair was too big, another too small. So...I went back to basics. The Pull-On Skirt.

You really can't get much better than LH's Swing Skirt. It's like instant sewing gratification. Here's the completed swing skirt for my SWAP, with the twinset from a few days ago:

Working off the immediate sewing endorphin high, I whipped out a KwikSew twist top to match:

WOW, together they actually seem dress-like. I completely take credit for planning that (hee.)

Now I'm back in pants mode. After all, my booty is going to get awfully cold this winter wearing only skirts. Plus, you can't really be crawling around under the computer tables to fix things in a skirt. (It IS a high school after all. Teachers have been arrested for less.)

"Cutting" out of here, sewing fans!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Luuuuuurex. Hee.

Finished the not-so-boring-beige Loes Hinse sweater set! Yay! I've got a whole outfit!! The beige is hard to describe and harder to photograph. It's got a pretty gold sheen (thus the Lurex, above. Which is soooo alluuuuuring. I'm cracking my own self up.) Here's a pic of the sweater set on Edith, my sewing assistant.

The cardigan above is still missing buttons/buttonholes. I want snazzy buttons. Any suggestions out there? I think with such a bland color (although in person the sheen is kinda pretty. Or distracting. Not sure which.) I think I need a pretty button. Something in a color? Gold tone? (I can't believe I just said that.) Wooden? Hmm. I'm stuck on this one.

And that makes 3 pieces I can cross off the swap thingie. Well, actually 4 because I finished the turquoise slinky Oxfords too. But they're too short. Bummer. I'm wondering if they're too full in the leg to chop off and make crops out of? Not capri length exactly...but definitely above ankle. I might just try it and see. They're wadders otherwise. Silly me, the Oxfords has a cuff and I forgot to fold that part out...but when I tried them on prior to hemming I "imagined" more length than was there and chopped off a ton without measuring. I suck. That'll teach me!

Speaking of teaching...G-man (11 years old and full of wisdom) says about the whole beige sweater set/skirt ensemble: "That IS nice. Looks teacher-y." Thanks G.

later gators!

Friday, July 21, 2006

SWAP Part Deux

Ok, unlike MOST of my honorable sewing intentions (i.e. those I blog about, plan, buy fabric & pattern for, then move on to something NEW before any actual sewing occurs) I'm actually working on that swap thing! Here's my storyboard so far:

I'm going with the uber popular browns, aquas, turquoise color scheme. I totally lay claim to that scheme, having bought these fabrics over a year ago (most of 'em anyway). Too bad I'm not a trend forecaster, huh? Well, anyway, they're appropriately aged now for sewing.

I've also got a little bit of cream (a nice pant weight gabardine, 2 knits for tops) and I've got this great retro print silky polyester in green with brown/cream print. (Just a sidenote here about poly...the word still has the ability to make me sneer. Polyester?! Ew. I blame the 70s. I find myself buying more & more tho.)

Moving on....Here's a close up of the great onionskin-like brown/turquoise knit that is actually NEW and fits perfectly in the SWAP

and here's the yummy green silky poly:

For the green, I LOVE this Burda World of Fashion 4/2005 top:

I think that green silky top with the cream trousers will look fabulous. I also made a Loes Hinse Tango skirt out of the green (already sewn, see below!) The green top can also go with the matching skirt! Of course, the top has the deep brown in it too, so it will pair with the brown items. I wouldn't normally pick something that tied below the waist that fact this blouse may be horribly unflattering on me :D I'm not sure I care right now! I just love the pattern, have the perfect fabric, the mood is in I'm making it. I'll let you know if it ever gets worn.

Green Skirt:

Just a note about the above fabrics...Both were $1/yard finds at Wal-Mart. I'm lucky enough to live near a distribution center, and I find great fabrics on the $1 table ALL the time. I don't normally spread it around of course, preferring to keep them all to myself! They're usually right in line with whatever's in RTW at the moment, making me think they're probably end-bolts? I know that Wal-Mart fabric managers don't pick the prints/types of fabrics for the $1 table, they just order by the pound. The latest $1 table goodies were several stretch laces (which, as you might know, are horribly hard to find!) Hopefully we're not just really lucky and we're actually going to keep getting good fabric!

As for the actual SWAP part of this swap, you'll notice I have more bottoms than required, and not enough variety in tops. I'm not sure how to plan for the tops...I want to actually WEAR them and I wear the same types of tops all the time. These are fitted, tried-N-true patterns, so I guess I'll stick to them for now. I have several others I could toss in...but I'm not ready yet. Also, the green isn't actually part of the initial SWAP color scheme, but I'm including it anyway because I love it and it "goes" with the other stuff. So I guess my swap is only partly correct...however if it means I have clothes to wear after all this planning (and sewing) then who's counting?!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

2 Weeks, The Babe, and a Gold Medalist

I've got to go back to school 2 weeks from tomorrow. Sad, huh? Not that I don't like my job, I do. But it's stressful, and I don't have time to be creative.

Sewing is my Prozac.

The BabeA man whose father caught a Babe Ruth homerun ball 70 years ago, has been forced to sell that ball for money to pay for his wife's cancer treatment. A family treasure, a priceless heirloom. Both of these descriptives probably apply more to his wife than to that dirty old ball. sad. I wish the person who bought it would give it back to him.

Gold Medal
Kerri Strug was at our convention in Nashville last week...I'll bet only half a dozen people recognized her name. (After all, most of these attendees were HS students who were 5 or 6 when she was in the Olympics!) Until one of the guest speakers pointed her out & told the crow
d of nearly 5000 who she was and her part in winning the 1996 Team Gold Medal in Women's Gymnatics. Wow I remember that night so clearly! It was beyond exciting.

Anyway, Kerri was bombarded with autograph seekers and I happened to be near her & got a shot of her with Lu. She was a real sweetie, too. (Kerri, although Lu ain't bad.)

Til next time lurker-loos...hopefully I'll find my happy by then.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

SWAP...A tute about Wardrobe Planning

If you sew for yourself, then you've probably experienced sewing "orphans"...those garments you thought would be a perfect addition to your wardrobe but in real life match absolutely NOTHIN in your closet!! Well, some brilliant sewist somewhere (um, sorry for the absolute lack of concrete info there) came up with the idea of combining wardrobe planning and sewing. The SWAP was born...Sewing With A Plan.

I believe the very first published article was in the Australian Stitches magazine. Every year Timmel's Fabrics holds a SWAP contest with prizes for entrants. You can view 2006 SWAP entries/winners here If you can find the 2005 entries on that website, there's a gorgeous pink/green entry from a newbie seamstress that's to die for.

Full-fledged wardrobe planning SWAPs contain 11 garments...which can actually be quite overwhelming to sew! (Although you can substitute store bought items, of course). Here's the basic SWAP breakdown:

2 pants
2 skirts (1 in solid color, 1 in check or print)
2 simple tops (1 in solid, 1 in matching print)
4 tops (coordinating solids)
1 simple jacket or cardigan

The result of this matching concept is supposedly 7 weeks of differing outfits. I've never tested that theory! I'm also not mathemetician enough to know if that's actually true (11 garments = 49 outfits? Any math whizzes out there?) Here's a pic of the original 11 garments from Stitches magazine. The colors would look absolutely hideous on me, and the styles are maybe a bit more "simple" (um, drab?) than I would choose...but that's nitpicking since it's just a pic to get you going:

There are additional components to the SWAP that you can add....more garments in certain formula's to give you more and more options. Instructions are on the linked page above. The prize at the end of all this planning/sewing is that you'll never open your closet and think "I've got nothing to wear!" I say that all the time and my closet is packed, which is why the SWAP concept appeals so much to me I guess.

One of my favorite parts of SWAP are the storyboards you can create, picking patterns, fabrics, etc. Planning is FUN! Here's an example storyboard with (trendier) pattern choices from a later Stitches article:

And here's the storyboard with fabric swatches too:

And still another storyboard from PR member, who used her photo editing software to add her fabric as a "fill" to her pattern line drawings! Smartie pants :D turns out I have NO clothes to start school in (at least none that I'm terribly sick of looking at! Many are from 2003 and before. Wow. I need to shop more or sew more or something more for ME once in a while!) I'm going to start my plan TODAY and I'll try to be a good blogger & post pics of the process as I go!

SWAPalicious, baby!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Home Sweet Home

I've never been so glad to see a place in my whole life! What a week. The good, the bad & the ugly...

HeartbreakerLu's softball team ended their spectacular season late Saturday night in an extra inning, 17-16 loss. My worst fears were realized about her coach (see previous post on Winners). I just hope the experience taught him something and hopefully taught LuLu something too, about a love for the game that supercedes doing whatever it takes to win. Lu's a catcher, although her coach brought in a "ringer" for the playoff games. He switched catchers every inning, theoretically a good idea so neither gets worn out. However, in the very close final 2 innings, Lu lost her catching spot to the ringer and warmed the bench for 1 of those.

The "new" catcher didn't make any spectacular play that inning (or any play at all for that matter)...replacing Lu for that inning didn't change the game outcome in any way. What it DID do was make Lu feel like her coach didn't have faith in her, that he didn't think she could get the job done. She was left feeling lousy and it colored her entire tournament experience in the negative. It's a tough lesson, maybe it's a lesson that has to be learned. Maybe she will take this experience and become a better player because of it. But I'm still livid. It was unnecessary and unjust. She played for him the entire season, every practice, every game. Never complained about the heat or the hours of batting practice. She did whatever he asked and tried her best. She even sat on the bench in that next to last inning and smiled and cheered her teammates. She makes me proud to know her. Love you, Lu.

Music City

Well, it figures that my favorite part of the city turned out to be something architectural. Give me good design any day, be it fabric or houses!! The Hermitage is beautiful, the grounds are breathtaking, and ask for Amy when you do the wagon tour of the slave quarters. She's the best! We also toured Belle Meade, but found the tour to be a little long...roughly 20 minutes per room. While it's nice that you can actually walk through the rooms at Belle Meade and see things up close & personal, it was a little long on storytelling and fact giving. The downside to the Hermitage is that you can't actually go into the rooms, they're sealed. However, it is more casual and family-friendly than Belle Meade. Both are beautiful of course.

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

This is me gettin some lovin' from a baby camel, who just KNEW I was it's mama. I'm hoping it wasn't my rather ripe odor...we're talking 95 degree July in Nashville heat & humidity after 2 hours walking the asphalt without shade. Ya, I wasn't a big bouquet of roses at that point in our trip!! However, Mohabi loved me and I, him, and it was a sad sad parting of ways. Here's another shot of him lovin' on his pen-mate Sahara, a baby girl camel.

And I'm exhausted. Food poisoning was contracted by yours truly first thing on the morning of our departure....making me very, very thankful for the many rest stops & Love's convenience stores on tle exceedingly L-O-N-G 8 hour drive home yesterday. 'Nuff said.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Runnin away to Nashville to be a Country Music Star...

Big hair, pointy boots, bare midriffs...erm, ok. Maybe not. I don't think the country music capital is quite ready for my bare midriff. I am, however, almost out the door for a whirlwind trip to Nashville, TN. Maybe I'll just meet a country music star, who will sweep me off my feet and serenade me in our 6000 sq ft mansion for the rest of my days, allowing me to craft and sew and blog and sew and blog. Ya think?

While I won't be back til next Friday...I AM taking my laptop. So maybe I'll document the trip & all its finer moments. Tho not while driving. That would be wrong.

Right now I'm watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Is anyone but me old enough to remember how creepy and wonderful this movie was when it debuted? It was AWESOME. I mean, ok, it was sorta eclipsed by StarWars, but wow. What a year for breakout movie genres. And megasuperstar producers. I was in the first grade, but I still remember this movie and how badly I wanted to see it... And how jealous I was of Angela K. because her hair was way down past her bum and her mom could braid it in to earmuffs like Leia's. Ok, I'm mixing up movie memories, but if you were in elementary school in 1977 then you knew an Angela K. too. Weren't those earmuff braids just galling?! Hmph.

Not much sewing being done around here...too busy packing and getting a crown on my tooth. Not as pretty and shiny as a crown on my head, but maybe more useful. Unless I'm out to catch me a country music star.

And hey, did I mention my mouth hurts. Yowza.

This Friday's tute will be delayed due to the impending road trip, but when I get back watch out. I got one acronym for ya...SWAP. Yay! More inspiration! :D

Oh, and how gorgeous was Teri Garr in this movie?! Dang. Now I'm gonna want to watch Tootsie. Ya can't have any Teri Garr and not watch the big T.

later gators,

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In memory.

One of my 16 year old students was killed in a tragic accident a few days ago. This post is for Kim. I will always remember your shining red hair and your happy, smiling face. Peace go with you.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ode to Juki

Oh, Juki, how I love thee...

I got my serger rethreaded this weekend & sewed up a storm. My favorite project? This adorable little yoked skirt for Lu:

We're big Strawberry Shortcake fans here! And whenever we're in the fabric store, she gravitates right to the novelty prints. This little skirt is super easy to make, no pattern required. (I shoulda saved it for Friday's tute, huh?!) And it only takes 1 yard of fabric!! Here's the diagram for cutting the skirt pieces:

Measure down 6 inches from the top cut edge (with your fabric folded, right sides together) and cut this strip of fabric for the yoke. Divide the remaining fabric in half for your skirt front & back. Seam front & back skirt together on one selvedge edge, then gather the top edge to fit the yoke piece. Stitch skirts to yoke. (You can pin first if it makes you feel safe. I'm a rebel and only pin if its a collar. Sometimes.)

Stitch the remaining side seam. Unless you've cut off the selvedges, you won't even have to finish the side edges! Now you can turn under the top yoke edge 1/4 inch (or serge like me, the Juki Lover) and then turn under again for your elastic casing. Hem the bottom edge of the skirt, and Ta Da!! Pretty twirly skirt! Yay!

This was a quick project, and with the help of the Juki Express it took less than 30 minutes. It's an easy 30-45 minute project (including cutting!!) with a sewing machine only. Use an iron to press up your hem & elastic casing into place instead of pinning. The iron is your friend.

Ah, the feeling of satisfaction when I haven't wallowed on the couch all weekend.