Sunday, August 24, 2008

Simplicity 4264

Trying to find things to sew for Lu that are tasteful to me, but that she approves of gets a bit harder all the time. Sigh. But how cute did this turn out?

I would absolutely wear this myself! I used a "That's So Raven" pattern from Simplicity, the tee view. We've made the tank and the skirt before from this pattern, and I have the knit wide leg capri's cut out in hot pink to match this top. This pattern turned out to be a real keeper for us!

I cut out the 16 because she wasn't here to measure. I thought it would be fine because the top has elastic in the back and in the shoulders (similar to a peasant top). I was wrong! It was a little gapey in the front, since there is not an elastic casing there. I fixed it by taking a small box pleat at CF. This is covered by the ruffles anyway.

The other problem I had was that it was too short! Quite a bit too short, actually. I remembered (too late) that the tank had been too short too, and I had added a ruffle. So...we added an elastic band with tie sash out of the contrast.

I cut 2 strips (selvedge to selvedge) about 4 inches wide. Then I followed the directions in Simplicity 3887 to attach it (3887 is a ladies pattern with a similar waistband and tie). I love it when mistakes end up making the garment better!

I added 1" elastic to the waistband too, instead of gathering the top to the band. I just cut the elastic shorter than the bottom of the top circumference and left the band topstitching open at one side seam (actually both sides of this side seam) so that I could thread it through. Then I stitched through the ends to hold it in place.

I also added the ruffles from View D (tank) instead of the shoulder ruffles. They were a bit finicky at the neckline, since I didn't use the front facing. I just serged and turned the top edge under to stitch. I had to topstitch the top ruffle to get it to lie flat. The others are just stitched through the (serged) header. (The pattern doesn't call for finishing these edges before doing this, but that would be a mess I think!)

These 2 prints have always been Lu's favorite and I was saving the last bit for a special project. This little top took less than a yard, so we have enough left over for one more twirly skirt or some other project I think.

And she loves the top, which is the important thing!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ottobre 2-2008-14

Not on my mini-wardrobe or anything, of course. But I have sewn a couple things this past month that I haven't shared yet. Why?

Well, one didn't fit the way I wanted it to. Two of the pictures were crap.And none of it was for my wardrobe, so they were all tinged with contest guilt.

Here they are anyway! First, I made a Textile Studios Santa Monica tee, one of my favorite TNTs for a quickie sewing fix. This one is in that pretty blue aqua knit I showed you last month (I'm still making a BWOF tee out of it too, I have plenty!)

See, not the best pic because you can't actually SEE any details of the tee. Especially not the neckline, which is my favorite part (it's raglan sleeve, but the neckline squares off. It's pretty, but you'll just have to take my word for it.)

Then I made the Jalie Sweetheart top out of my mauve knit. It would be perfect except that I didn't mark the shoulder portions clearly, so when it came time to gather & match notches, I had to guess. I guess too low for the top notch, so the entire neckline is off. Argh.

Still an OK top, but you can see my bra strap on the left. Phooey. This is a really thin knit though, that I planned to wear a cami or tank under. Maybe I'll wear a tank in a contrast color and pretend like it was "planned" to show.

Then I made the gored skirt from Ottobre 2/2008. I had this gorgeous brown Amy Butler print, but not quite enough to lengthen it like I wanted. I think it needs another inch. This is becoming a regular alteration for me with knee-length skirts. I have long legs and a shorter torso.

I am not crazy about the finished skirt. (It's been sitting on my sewing table waiting for finishing stuff for 3 weeks.) I loved it in the magazine! And I liked the contrast hem band, but I think the proportions are a bit off. I'll make it a bit wider (deeper) next time. Th.e skirt is also a bit too big. It sits below my waist and I can tug it over my hips without the zip. Whoops.

The directions were wonderful. No problems at all deciphering them. I really like Ottobre directions. They're to the point with no fuss or wasted time. I didn't have an invisible zip, so used a lapped zipper instead. I also added topstitching to the gore seams, in pink thread:

I really like the waist treatment on this skirt too, it's neat and tidy. It has a weird overlap though (for snap(s). I left it at first, but it was really unruly (almost 2 inches of overlap!) so I ended up trimming it off and I'll add a hook/eye instead.

I love the fabric I used for the hem band so much I've been hoarding it for years. It pains me that I don't love the skirt now. The only pic I have where you can see it is before pressing.

But you can see the tone on tone embroidery & the sequins that add a little "sparkle" (hehe, Tamara, are you reading?) You can see the lining fabric in this shot too, a pale pink satin batiste, also from the hoard, erm, stash.

I'll probably try this one again and lengthen the gores a tiny bit, and add to the hem band's depth. I have lots of quilting cottons and this skirt is perfect for them!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today at the zoo...

me: All of you need to turn on your filter now!

them: Say what?

me: You know, the thing that connects your brain to your mouth. Turn it on please.

them: Why?

me: Because contrary to what you may believe, you actually DON'T have to say everything that
pops into your head. Out loud. At top decibel.

No way.

me: Way.

me again: See, just as soon as you feel those words coming out of your mouth, close your lips (cue demo of fingers pinching lips closed) and then THINK about whether you really need to say whatever it is. If you're not sure if it's appropriate...raise your hand and whisper it to me, and I'll let ya know.

them: (crickets)

(Jerrie this one was absolutely for you.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday!!

to my bestest buddy Shannon!!

(technically it was yesterday, but I know you love me anyway.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm not ready!! Too first day included a class of 24 (I have 24 seats, so full house). Four girls...20 boys. Freshman boys.

Most of my attention was directed towards maintaining order. Which is rather hard to do when you're busy biting your lip to keep from laughing. Silly boys.

And where did summer go, anyway?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

5 Years Ago

Do any of you journal? I used to keep a journal, the only place I could jot down my thoughts on a regular basis and free my mind. Since I picked up blogging, I don't journal. But while I was cleaning out some magazines this morning, I ran across my journal from 5 years ago. It has a list of To-Do's for each room of the house...things to paint, refurbish, buy, etc. Almost none of those lists were ever completed.

The pages where I jotted my thoughts are gone...ripped out, although I don't remember when that happened. 5 years ago this week, I shared too much with a friend, who shared too much in return. And instead of dealing with the fallout, I decided to walk away for a while. We haven't spoken since.

I tried conjoling, teasing, joking, pleading. This had to be attempted entirely online since he refused my phone calls. I seriously considered actual begging. In person. But the logisitics of it all weren't in my favor. The ocean was a problem.

So I waited. Waited for a phone call, an email, a letter. Waited for forgiveness, which never came. Meantime, I journaled my thoughts. At some point, they must have been painful to re-read...thus the ripping and removing.

Five years ago, I sent an apology fruit basket (don't laugh yet, it gets better). All the way from Scotland filled with exotic fruits & nuts, obnoxiously large and extravagant. It was intended as a joke, but also a plea.
One month later I received a notice in the mail that I had a package too large to deliver. Filled with ominous foreboding (hehe, that's me being literary) I went to my tiny local P.O. to sign for my package. A 3 x 3 foot box was hauled out, it's corners stained and leaky. From the UK.

Mortified I signed for it and raced (as fast as you can race with a 3 x 3 leaking box) out to my little 2-door car. The box wouldn't fit. I couldn't wedge it in the back seat, and I couldn't fit it in the miniscule trunk. Meanwhile, I had gathered quite a crowd of observers because it's not every day someone in my little town receives a package from o'er the pond...not to mention one that was apparently VERY INTERESTING.

I squished it as much as possible and got the trunk closed, thankfully able to rush home. But dare I open it? Obviously, it reeked. I can't imagine how it ever got through customs. Inside the box was a sad, once-extravagant, exotic fruit basket. Bow now limp, fruit now mush, nuts intact.

Of course I didn't hesitate to paw through the smelly mess hoping for a letter, a note...but no. Nothing. Just the basket. I actually enjoy this story now, although at the time I thought it possible my heart would never be pieced back together.
I felt so much frustration because we weren't communicating. With time and distance, I can now see the dialogue I refused to see then. Because we were definitely having a conversation when I sent the large tub of fruit, and he in turn sent it to me. It just wasn't what I wanted to hear.

Five years ago, on our birthday, I sent a funny card. It had been picked up long before the email that ended all emails. When I mailed it, I didn't include a return address so there was no way to return it to me. Victory! (Shut up! He did too read it!)

You see, we share a birthday. Just one of those coincidental, odd trivialities that once was a blessing("HA! Now you can never say you forgot my birthday!") and became a sort of curse. Because it's true...I've never forgotten.

This week I lost a favorite girlfriend (who turned out to not be much of a friend at all.) It wasn't as painful as 5 years ago, but maybe I'm numb. I've learned enough in the past 5 years about friends and people to know that...people aren't always who they seem. I don't know if that makes me wiser or jaded.

But you know what? I have a whole lot of friends left. And maybe it's true that your heart has to break a little to grow. Not to get all mushy or anything, but I'm thankful for all of you. For distracting me from my troubles, for making me laugh, for emailng to check when I'm absent, for passing the bottle when I need it (and even when I don't. you know who you are).

I ♥ my girlfriends!

The payoff if you made it to the end of this extremely long and non-sew-isty post was, of course, the LURV.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Ok, back to school cra-,erm, stuff is kicking my butt. I haven't gotten to work on my wardrobe at all.

If I was a nail biter, I'd be chewed up by now. Lurker1 : "Will she finish?" Lurker2: "Finish? You moron. Will she start?"

me: "Oh, shut up." fabric is prewashed, so there. Well, OK. Not ALL my fabric. But my first piece! I'll be laying out and cutting tonight because I've nothing better to do. And it's the perfect Olympics watching activity.

Did you see this?

I missed viewing in real time by 4 STINKING MINUTES. But the replay video over at NBC is every bit as exciting as the real thing. Oh, ok, maybe not as the real thing but it's close.

I've developed a bit of a phan-girly crush on Mr. Phelps. And the fact that he calls Dara Torres (who's a whopping 4 years old than me) "Mom" diminishes the phan-girl not at all.

Here's a shoutout to my girl Tamara, who's been lurking, and who I will forever think of as my "Stepsister".

This is the vulgar-ist, raunchiest, wrong-est movie EVER. And we laughed our butt off. Hee.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


So you may have noticed my absence from the internet for a few days. I went to a conference last weekend, but more than that I've been avoiding all things WWW because of this:

I love me a good vampire read, and I got hooked (deep) on Twilight by Stephenie Meyer about 2 weeks ago. I've been reading nonstop for the better part of 10 days to race to the conclusion of the 4th and final book, Breaking Dawn. (roughly translated that means I've read the better part of 3000 pages in the past week.)

I was avoiding the internet (and TV! Folks this was serious!) so as not to be spoiled to the ending.

Maybe if I HAD taken time to peruse the many online sites about Breaking Dawn (or even I could have saved myself a couple sleepless nights.

Breaking Dawn sucked.

I won't spoil it for you, but the only thing CLOSE to this disjointed and erratic is my own writer's notebook filled with story ideas. I've never actually read anything released that appears so rushed to publication. Plot & characterization are, frankly, missing. And to say it's hard to sit through 700+ pages of disorganized storytelling is putting it mildly.

I'm pissed. (Although now that I've allowed myself back on the net, I discover I am NOT alone in my pissery. "Legions" is being thrown around quite a lot to describe the number of irate readers. )

Having said that, however, the first will remain one of my favorite reads for its poignancy, the characters, and the magical storytelling. It's a well-known fantasy--with a twist. I highly recommend it!

On the bright side...the sewing can resume! Mini-Wardrobe countdown starts now!