Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's DONE: Simplicity 2508

Simplicity 2508 DONE:  flasher shot
The flasher shot. I even broke out the gorillapod for this one.

I don't know why I'm acting like I don't have to go to work tomorrow. I have a boat load of stuff to do tomorrow.

The coat is DONE. Let's just say, that like some children, this is one well-photographed coat. Can you tell that I really really love it?

I'm only annoyed that I didn't make it big enough to wear it with two layers underneath. It's fine with a shirt underneath, but it's a bit tight with a sweater and a shirt underneath.

Even though I had to do several things 2, 3 or 4 times (I'm looking at you, pockets, hem, buttons, fixing collar puckers, back tab), it didn't really bother me. I never had a panicked "it's not going to turn out right" moment. I *knew* it was going to look good. :)

Also, it was pretty funny for me to be sewing this last night (a Project Run(a)way pattern) while watching this week's Project Runway on my laptop. I pretended Tim's comments applied to my jacket. Yes, Tim, you *are* intrigued by my jacket.

Let's start the show, of pix you feel like you've seen before but haven't because this time the jacket is actually finished.

The Batman shot:
Simplicity 2508 DONE:  Batman shot

Closeup of collar:
Simplicity 2508 DONE:  closeup of collar

Side shot of sway back:
Simplicity 2508 DONE:  side view

The back and back tab:
Simplicity 2508 DONE: back, while I'm wearing it

Hand on hip shot:
Simplicity 2508 DONE:   hand on hip

Button and bias tab detailing. Pocket is not perfect but is good enough.
Simplicity 2508 DONE:  sleeve with bias tab, button detail

So I'm enormously pleased and maybe even a little smug about how nicely I think it turned out overall. Which means the next 5 things I sew are destined to be wadders, right? Or this jacket is going to wrinkle up and look really horrible.

I was actually thinking of sewing another brown jacket, but this time one that doesn't look like outerwear, but more like a jacket I can wear in the office. Specifically Simplicity 4256 view A (OOP). Because this one really really looks like outerwear, right?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Almost Done, Really: Simplicity 2508

Simplicity 2508 almost done: hand in pocket
I don't know why my hand isn't all the way in the pocket--I made them large enough to accommodate my entire hand...

Thanks everyone for your comments! I'm heading down the home stretch...

  • Fixed the puckered collar (turns out when I sewed the collar in, the edge of the collar wasn't all the way up to the edge of the jacket...which created said pucker).
  • Sort of fixed the right pocket (it's as good as it's going to get)
  • Anchored sleeve tabs and sewed buttons to sleeves. (I'm thinking of maybe sewing the tab tighter to create a gathered, vaguely ruffled effect.)
  • Hemmed the sleeves.
  • Hemmed half of the bottom of the jacket (the left side).

So I still have to hem the right side and install buttonholes and buttons.
Definitely home stretch time!

Yeah, I definitely think I'll sew the sleeve band tighter to have the gathered effect. I think this photo is crying out for that.
Simplicity 2508 almost done: hand not in pocket

Let's see that lining again. It's actually hemmed on that side now.
Simplicity 2508 almost done:  lining hemmed on my right side (but still pinned on the left)
Good night!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Continuing on: Simplicity 2508 jacket still in progress

I cut out the lining tonight and sewed it up and put it on for fun:
Simplicity 2508 in progress what the lining looks like

Pretty wild, huh?
Simplicity 2508 in progress I put the lining on for fun

I sewed it partially in. The hem is just pinned here.
Simplicity 2508 in progress full view of front

Here's the flasher shot:
Simplicity 2508 in progress flasher shot

Here's my bad pocket; I'll fix that tmw. The other pocket is pretty a-ok now that I've "fixed" it for the third time. The hem is just pinned there so it's wavy.
Simplicity 2508  in progress bad pocket

Here's a closeup of the collar. I see a little weirdy pucker on the facing that I'll fix tmw:
Simplicity 2508  in progress up close of front

Last weekend I moved the back tab down, now I've moved it somewhere half way up:
Simplicity 2508  in progress back of jacket

Let's look at that fabulous lining again (with a card of buttons):
Simplicity 2508  in progress lining of jacket

Here's the back of the jacket as it stands right now:
Simplicity 2508  in progress back of jacket

And here's a mockup of the tab detail. I still love the bias cut of the tab. And I adore those buttons. Totally reminds me of a jacket my dad had when I was little.
Simplicity 2508 in progress tab detail mockup

So far, so good. Tmw will be some sleeve and bodice hemming, pucker and pocket fixing. Still need to decide on buttonholes and buttons vs fakeout buttons with snaps.

Good night!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Simplicity 2508 jacket in progress

Previously I told you of my plans to sew Simplicity 2508 during my 3 day weekend (I'm taking tmw off). Here's the progress so far:
  • Friday night: washed fabric
  • Saturday night: cut out exterior fabric
  • Today: Sewed the exterior
  • Tmw: cut out lining, sew lining
  • Sometime during week: hand sew where necessary, decide on "buttons and buttonholes" vs "snaps and fake out buttons", cut threads, wear with pride!

I'm pretty excited about where this jacket is going.

Here's the Batman shot:
Simplicity 2508 in progress the batman shot

Here's a closeup of the collar, which came out really nicely without a lot of effort, shockingly!!
Simplicity 2508 in progress close up of collar

Here you can see the sleeve with the sleeve tab (and my "tape" label to let me know which side is up!). I thought the sleeve tab was too low so I moved it up an inch.
Simplicity 2508 in progress sleeve with sleeve tab

Here's the back, with another "tape" label on the collar.
Simplicity 2508 in progress, back

It's hard to see the back tab in the above shot. I just adore the back tab, cut on the bias. It's easier to see the tab here. I hadn't put the sleeves in just yet.
Simplicity 2508 in progress when it was sleeveless

The tab was too high on my back in my opinion, so I moved it lower. Also, the back of the jacket was too big, so I wound up taking it in quite a lot, so I think there's one inch seams now.

I also thought the pockets were too hands don't really fit in them and they aren't deep either. I'd be too afraid something would fall out. Also, I used my funky lining fabric but it could be seen (as in the above shot)! So I ripped out the pockets and used larger pockets from another pattern. Yes, I could have used the patch pockets that come with the pattern, but I prefer pockets on the seams.

This corduroy fabric I'm using is very "sheddy". I'm finding little bits of fluff everywhere. I will definitely clean the lint out from my machine after this. But I love the fabric. It's super soft and fluffy. I was sure to cut the fabric with the nap. That way I can "pet" my jacket.

Again, I'm very excited about where this jacket is going!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My sewing goals for 2010

Here we go:
  1. Learn reverse applique (see my asterisk shirt as an example).
  2. Learn how to do a swayback adjustment for dresses
  3. Make a real pair of pants with a zipper fly and waistband and "everything"
  4. Make another lined jacket
  5. Learn how to use the serger that a former coworker gave me (it's a castoff that had been passed around, apparently)
  6. Maybe buy the BabyLock Evolve Serger which also has a coverlock feature (wait, is it called cover stitch? now I can't think...when it looks like the double row of stitching on the bottom of a t-shirt...that thing...apparently the Evolve can do surging and that type of stitch)
  7. Research and buy a dressform
  8. Have a pattern cleanout and giveaway!
You have voted in the Sewing Pattern Review Refashion contest, yes? Thank you to everyone who has voted so far (especially if it was for me!) :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SPR Refashion contest: Please vote Now!

Voting has begun in the Sewing Pattern Review Refashion contest. I'm not sure when voting ends, but why not go on over there and vote right now?

And if you vote for me, I'll be tickled pink! Here's a refresher of the shirt I made:

close up of finished shirt

I have a three day weekend this weekend. I'm going to make Simplicity 2508 which is one of those Project Run(a)way patterns with a bazillion variations. I am basically making this coat. It has some really nifty bias details (sleeve tab, back tab, welt). Plus it has raglan sleeves and a collar without a collar stand, so it shouldn't be too difficult (famous last words).

On the left is the lining fabric. It's 100% cotton and has been in stash for at least 2 years. Maybe 3 years. It's not real lining fabric, but so what? On the right is the corduroy fabric. Bought it tonight at Jo-Ann's with a 50% off coupon. Woo!
lining and exterior fabric for Simplicity 2508

My neighbor is grilling. In January. I can smell it in my house. I thought something was burning. Then I realized just what was burning. I *hate* that smell!

Good night!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The best thing I did at work today & an anniversary

The best thing I did at work today?
I turned off the email alert box in Outlook!

Oh, and this week marks a whole year of back pain. What a year it has been!!
I was able to go back to cardio in November and toning in December. I'm about 95% pain-free, some days 98% pain free. I go to the chiropractor every 3 weeks now and the acupuncturist every other week. I'm at the gym 3 days a week.

My knees are getting better too, though I doubt they'll ever be pain free. I started the Strong Knees DVD this weekend. We'll see if it helps. Since I do toning 2 days a week at the gym, this third day at home with the DVD might help.

I think I know what makes my ankle hurt, so I've stopped doing that. Sometimes I pull my rib but it's not like it was in October.

I really listen to my body and what it's telling me now. I stretch a lot and stand up frequently at work.

The light is definitely at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Randomly random stuff

  1. Looking for a new time waster? Check out the Chiquita banana sticker generator.
  2. My Christmas tree finally smells like Christmas now. It must have been really fresh when I bought it.
  3. I didn't do any sewing today. I'm kind of shocked at myself, but it was a long week and I had a very lazy day today.
  4. At acupuncture this week, Karen put a needle in the top of my head. and one between the eyes. for mental clarity.
  5. I went to the Princeton Environmental Film Festival and watched the pilot episode of "Garbage Moguls", which features TerraCycle, a local company that upcycles trash. It was filmed like a reality show and was hysterical. It's supposed to be on the National Geographic Channel in the next few months, possibly renamed as "Trashformers". Highly recommended viewing.
  6. I entered the asterisk shirt as-is to the SPR refashion contest. Thanks everyone for your comments about it! It saved me some effort to not add the turquoise arm bands when you are all correct that the shirt is fine as-is (I really had to restrain myself, though). The shirt made its debut at the gym on Wednesday. I think it will serve me well. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wanted: Burda Oct 2005 issue

Ok, I've never made a Burda pattern in my life, but there is one I want to make from the Oct 2005 issue. Who wants to sell me theirs?? I looked on ebay and etsy, no dice.

New year, new primary doctor

my hair, when I woke up this morning
My hair, this morning. It was like a big fan across my head.

Just got back from my first new doc appt of the year. My acupuncturist recommended him. Let's just say that this doctor is miles above my old primary care doc in Piscataway. MILES.
  • He's a DO, which I think makes a difference.
  • I got my first ever flu vaccine (plus swine flu and tetanus booster). One in each arm and one in the hip.
  • He gave me a prescription for a lidocaine patch, so if I have another bad back flare up, I can use it. I had read about such patches but I think I found out about them after my flurry of doc visits last summer. He said it's like having novacaine for a filling--only it's a patch, not a shot. For some reason, I'm incredibly excited about having this patch, like it's giving me another option.
  • He doesn't think I have lymes. If I did, I would be achy all over and have some other symptoms, which I'm not and I don't.
  • He thinks my orthopedic doc is a physiatrist
  • He said he recommends a physiatrist at all his patients love and maybe I should go to him. I said, "Is it Grant Cooper?" and he said "Yes! You've been to him too?" Why yes I have!
  • He thinks my rib and my ankle problems are not real causes for concern. Those things plus my back and knees are all mechanical, not systemic or the result of disease.
  • He thinks I'm young to have osteoarthritis in my knee but clearly I do as per the x-ray report.
  • He is not really pro-supplement. He doesn't think I should be taking the vitamin C or magnesium, that it's just a waste of money. He feels the results on glucosamine are mixed--if it helps, fine. He thinks I might be taking too much vitamin D and that I probably get enough with my diet.
  • He asked if I had physical therapy. I told him yes, and that it made things generally worse.
  • He gave me some new options for treating my acne
  • He looked at my moles and thought that I should see a dermatologist but they are probably all ok. Even the ugly slightly asymmetrical two-toned one I've had forever.
  • He recommended a few gynocologists.
  • He ordered fasting bloodwork for me which will include a vitamin D test. So that's Monday morning.
Overall I was really happy with him. He seemed to listen for the most part, he seemed interested--I wish I had gone to him a year ago. Like my acupuncturist, I knew I liked him as soon as I saw him. My last physical was in Nov 2007 and my old doc did an EKG and urine test, which this doc didn't do. Plus this doc didn't make me sit around in my skivvies and gown. There was a separate nurse for doing vaccinations, a different one who did blood pressure (112/66) and pulse (84). It seemed like a well oiled machine. He did take a call and left the room, but I heard him say, "Your father has acute leukemia" so I really didn't mind.

I feel like I'm off to a good start health-wise. Getting my medical team all together. I have my chiropractor, my acupuncturist, my physiatrist, and my primary care physician. Just a few more docs to go.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Look 6160: opinion requested!

Yes, you all passed your "what do you see in this spot" test from my last post! It's a hummingbird gathering nectar from a flower. I wasn't sure if it was apparent or not. I think after seeing the original image, I wasn't so sure it was obvious anymore. lsaspacey, oh wow with the Alabama Stitch Book. It's started some ideas spinning in my head.

So check this out, this will be my entry in the SPR refashion contest. Brown with turquoise is such a great color combo! The asterisk is a reverse applique. I followed the "That Darn Kat" tutorial--which is a super easy to follow tutorial!

close up of finished shirt

Tonight I kicked it into high gear and cranked out that shirt, New Look 6160, view B. All weekend long I basically picked apart New Look 6808 view C, which I made in the summer of 2008. It never saw daylight because I hated it and was ill-fitting. Anyway, I picked apart 6 darts, 2 side seams, 2 sleeves, 1 collar over the weekend. I kept the shirt hem intact. I cut out the sleeve lining and folded it over to hem it.

New Look 6808
Don't let that smile deceive you. It's another one of those annoyingly wide necklines and weirdy collars (though the weirdy collar was totally my fault). This pattern was meant for wovens and I made the bodice and sleeves with a knit, mistake. (I used a woven for the sleeve lining and the collar, though...sigh).
New Look 6808 View C: my summer 2008 disaster shirt

Picked apart:
completely picked apart shirt
full shirt New Look 6160 view B

I have a new found respect for refashionists. Though Antoinette previously told me that you really need to start with either one really big shirt (2xl) or a bunch of small, matching shirts to make a garment, I never thought about it much til it came time to do my own refashion. Trying to convert my already-fits shirt into another shirt for me was not easy. Details for another post, or you can check out my new SPR refashion 2010 album here. I took pictures at most points in the process. But I do love the fact that I was able to reuse the $10 a yard double knit fabric into a shirt that I will really wear a lot! (The turquoise is leftover scraps).

Ok, well, basically I didn't have enough fabric:
not quite enough fabric

So I sewed some extra on. I mean, really, who is going to check out my sleeve cap that closely? And most of it was for the seam allowance anyway. It's not the most beautiful sleeve cap ever, but it works.
sewed on extra fabric

Look closely and you'll see my poorly aligned darts:
look closely and you can see my bad, bad darts and how misaligned they were

Love this shot of the leftovers from the disaster shirt: That's all that remains!
what remains of the disaster shirt

Love seeing the asterisk start to "emerge"
the asterisk emerges from its hiding spot

The cat likes how it's turning out (noms now please?)
the cat likes it

I just love this shirt. I think the matching aqua collar band really makes it sing. But should I add matching aqua sleeve bands? Leave your vote in the comments. It means I'd have to pick out the zig-zag sleeve hem, then also rip out the remainder of the sleeve lining, then cut some bands and sew them in. But it might be worth it to tie it all together???

I only have til Thursday, midnight to get this together and write an SPR for it.
closer view of shirt

I can see making this again (from new fabric) and having an exclamation ampersand, etc. Can you picture it???

Ok, let me know what you think about the sleeve bands!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Asterisk: reverse applique and New Look 6734

reverse applique tests

One of my (unpublished) goals for this year is to learn reverse applique. I googled and found a great tutorial for knit reverse appliques online at "That Darn Kat". I then used to find clipart.

Above are some of my tests. Does the test on the bottom look like anything to you? If yes, please leave a guess. Through the test I found that I needed to start with a really simple design. Thus the asterisk was born. (I thought about scissors but that seemed too complicated/abstract/like it wouldn't be clear).

Then I made up New Look 6734 view C and while I love the reverse applique, I really don't like the shirt. It is intended to be a gym shirt, but basically I think I should have gone with the 14 instead of the 16 as there are some gaposis issues in the back and front and too-wide armholes and too-wide neckline. I should have trusted the pattern finished measurement.

I used a discarded mock turtleneck from my dad to make this shirt so I can add it to SPR's refashion contest. I'm thinking of attempting to refashion a different shirt (one of my shirts that I sewed in the summer of 08 and never wore) tomorrow...with the same reverse applique (well, I have to do it over again, but it will still be an asterisk). This time the fabric is brown but the applique will still be turquoise. I think that's a better color combo--but it will be difficult to squeeze the shirt out of this other shirt). The shirt will be a different pattern with a much tighter neckline. If it turns out how I envision, I will enter that one in the contest instead. But if I run out of time (a possibility, as I have a LOT to do tomorrow) I will enter this one instead.

I spent too many hours on this to admit. But I'm almost done picking apart the brown shirt I want to use.

Here's the mock turtleneck:

Dad's mock turtleneck I used for refashion

Here's the finished product:

New Look (er, number to be inserted later) with reverse applique

Here's the brown shirt I'm in the process of picking apart:
my summer 08 shirt I want to use for refashion

Good night.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday night environmental musings


The Princeton Environmental Film Festival is back and on right now. Over 50 films are being shown in just two weeks! I'm thinking of seeing No Impact Man tomorrow night but I don't know if I'll make it over there or not.

So let's reassess how I'm doing with environmental issues.

2008 was the "year of no bottled water" for me (and the whole reason I started this blog, before sewing and crafting took over). I still don't have much to do with bottled water unless I'm traveling. I have a few metal bottles and they suit me just fine. I've become accustomed to bringing my own water with me and it's really not a big deal.

Seeing Addicted to Plastic really left an impression about my plastic consumption. I had realized shortly before seeing the film that I was continually throwing away the plastic bags the newspaper was delivered in, and it was beginning to annoy me. My newspaper carrier and I had a discussion about it and I interpreted that she actually has to pay for the bags. So now I have a drawer in the kitchen where I collect the bags, nice and flat, and then when the drawer fills up, I roll them up, rubber band them, and leave them on my car, where she collects them in the morning. She is also kind enough to leave my newspaper on the windshield of my car every morning upon my request (I saw her one morning and it turned out she was getting out of her car anyway so that she could minimize the distance for flinging the paper). This trick was especially helpful to me during the worst of my back pain, when I really couldn't pick anything up off the ground (I used the grabber to pick up the daily paper, but it was really hard to pick up the Sunday one!)

When I go grocery shopping, I always bring reusable bags with me. I have a bunch from grocery stores in England. Most of the bags stand up on their own, unlike the majority of floppy ones sold here. When I go to other stores, sometimes I bring in the bags; other times I don't. But overall I'm consuming less, which makes a difference.

I brought a real fork, knife, spoon, plate, and bowl to work, and use them daily. I don't use disposable stuff at work like I used to--only at birthday cake celebrations.

But then there's home. I didn't really cook much for myself before my back injury, and after it I completely stopped. So I'd say I'm about 75/25 on the disposable to non-disposable ratio at home.

I recently got a library card for the Princeton Twp library. It's a visually appealing place, and so far I've borrowed some very interesting books. It's much more convenient to go to that library than the one in my own town.

This weekend I'm going to participate in the refashion contest on SPR. Check out what others have made so far. There's some interesting stuff!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Self portrait mirror pix

the bathroom lighting
My bathroom lighting, all ready for a photo shoot

I've had some really nice comments lately on Sewing Pattern Review regarding the pix I take of myself in the mirror. Today Lucy In Virginia asked a series of questions and I thought there may be others interested in the answers. So here I'm making Lucy's private message very public:

I have been admiring the pictures attached to your reviews for a very long time, as they are some of the best I've seen. There's never a mirror flash, red-eye, or shiny spot on the clothes you're showing off.

What is your secret? Is it the camera (what type do you use)? Is it your method or lighting? Or are you just a whiz at photography!?!

Thanks, Lucy! The camera I've used for all shots since mid-August 2009 is a ruby red Sony CyberShot DSC-W230. It was $200 at Target then but I saw it again in Target this past weekend for $170-ish. My prior camera was also a CyberShot that I inadvertently destroyed in August when I cracked the digital screen with my car door. I used it for all prior Sewing Pattern Review pix. (Previous cameras were CyberShots as well).

My new camera, front
My new camera, back
My new camera!

My current CyberShot has all sorts of photography modes. I just set it on "Easy" mode with the flash off, and take the pix.

I take pix in my bathroom because the mirror is huge and the lighting is the best. I use the shower curtain as a backdrop because I like uncluttered backgrounds. I've been thinking about buying a new shower curtain, maybe one in a solid color like blue. Like for school pix, ha ha.

The fixture in the bathroom takes regular bulbs. I changed the light bulbs recently from regular ones to GE Reveal bulbs which are more "white light" and less yellow. This post shows the before and after pix and what a difference the Reveal bulbs make.

I make sure to hold the camera in a place that doesn't obstruct the view of the garment or my face. Lately I've been doing the "lean against the wall" pose (aka my "Batman" pose) and like that pose a lot. Also, standing at an angle generally makes clothes look more flattering, as opposed to a "straight on" shot, with the hips parallel to the mirror.

After I take the pix I upload them to my Flickr sewing album. Lately I've been cropping the pix using Picnic which automatically launches when I press the "Edit photo" button in Flickr. Once in Picnic, I use the crop feature, adjust the box as necessary, and replace the original photo. When I need to upload a photo to SPR, I download my favorite flicker photo that's been edited in Picnic, and then upload it to SPR.

The mirror has to be clean; when it's not the clothes can look splotchy. There is a paint splotch on the mirror that occasionally crops up in my hair in my "Batman" style shots, which I really need to scrape off the mirror.

I never play around with any kind of "photoshop" style tools.

Unlike many of my fellow sewists who are photography buffs too, I'm not really into photography. I don't think my camera is fancy. I take pix to display my work and capture memories. My creative outlet is sewing and crafting.

Thanks everyone! Good night!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quick sewing evening

I spent a lot of today cleaning, which means not much sewing. But I did squeak in a little sewing time.

Made a new pillowcase made with fabric fresh off the JoAnn's bolt (also made my mom an apron out of the same fabric):
My new pillowcase

Made Pete this hat for the third time (take 1: it was too long; take 2: I messed up and cut the fabric the wrong way, so it didn't stretch in the right direction so it's too tight; hopefully take 3 will be just right this time--it stretches and has the shorter hem.)

Pete's hat, take 3

Here's a preview of what's coming. Guess what I'm going to make out of this fabric:
preview of what's coming soon

Here's a pile o' knit fabric. Some stash, some fresh off the JoAnn's bolt.
Stack o' knits

I'm truly a glutton for punishment and am thinking of entering the SPR Refashioning contest. It ends on 1/14 at midnight so I'd have to make the item next weekend. I'm trying to decide if I should make something pretty (nice shirt) or something cute/funny (shirt for the gym).

I loved this four day weekend and am sad to see it go. Sigh!

Good night!