Sunday, November 28, 2010

A "fix it up" kind of Sunday

Ok, Gwen, it cracked me up that you were the one to guess what I'm going to make out of this:
Guess what this is going to be?
I'm going to make a version of your Santa bag! It definitely won't be as nice or "high tech" (no zipper, no feet, no candy cane striped handle, no key ring, no monogram, no quilting). I'm hoping to make it this week. :)

I decided that today I would fix up some shirts!

Shirt 1: the Mondo shirt

Mondo shirt Before:
the Mondo shirt, done

Mondo shirt After:
Mondo shirt:  now with short sleeves

Ok, I wore this shirt twice. I didn't like how the vertical stripe eventually would get scrunched up around my elbow. Yesterday I spent way too much time adding additional horizontal stripes to make this longer, then hating it, then today I chopped the sleeves down to short sleeves. I also removed the neck stitching and then twin needle stitched it. And I tried to make it more fitted in the bodice.

Shirt 2: NewLook 6731

New Look 6731 view C-ish

NewLook 6731:  now with closer fit, shorter hem, and twin needle stitched hems.
This was the first shirt I made this year (wow my hair has grown a lot in 11 months!), and I didn't wear it a whole lot, mostly because it felt too big and too long, and it had zig zagged instead of twin needle stitched hems.

I cut about an inch and a half off the shirt (including the hem). I then hemmed it an inch with a twin needle, and also twin needle hemmed the sleeves. I shaped it a bit in the bodice and cut out the excess. I really love it now, and think it looks better in real life than in the pix.

Shirt 3: The screaming pink Jalie 2921 tie shirt:
Jalie 2921 in progress
Jalie 2921:  now with closer fit and non-plunging neckline and twin needle stitched hems

Ok so I kind of hated how this shirt originally turned out. I had added a back seam to take care of some scarf issues and also hated my zigzagged hems. Plus the scarf neckline is really a plunging one when sitting down. So I hand stitched the scarf about 2 inches so it won't plunge anymore, removed the zigzagging and twin needle stitched. I also slightly shaped the shirt and cut off the excess. Now I'm really pleased with it, and also think it looks better in real life than in the pix.

Shirt 4: last week's Vogue cowl neck:

Vogue 8634 done

Not really "after", more like "in progress":
Vogue 8634: still too big

As debbie pointed out the shirt is just too big for me. I wore it to work on Monday and felt like I was swimming in it. The neckline is big and the cowl is heavy, so the cowl pulls the shirt down in front, not very attractive for working. Look carefully at the "before" and you'll see the raglan sleeve seamline is in the WRONG place. It's far off from where it should be. I tried bringing in the raglan sleeve line some more but the real problem is the cowl and neckline. I'll rip out the cowl and recut the entire top half as size small. I think that will resolve the problem. I will also be sure to try the top on after sewing the raglan seamline but before sewing the cowl back in. Then I can see if the raglan seamline is in the right place and give me a chance to fix it before sewing the cowl back in.

And as for the bow shirt, I ordered the fabric from last weekend but it hasn't shipped yet.

Good night!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sewalong PJ top done! Plus more Christmas stuff

Stop in the name of love:  Thanksgiving weekend 2010 PJ sewalong shirt done!

Yea, I'm done with the shirt for Ann's sewalong! Currently I'm the only person modeling her pjs in the Thanksgiving Weekend 2010 Pajama Sewalong Flickr pool, though some pinned theirs to their dress forms. Did I miss a rule somewhere?

The top is McCall's 3006, a well-loved, oft-sewn pattern. I like to wear layers under my pj tops so I don't mind that it's such a roomy, big shirt. I lengthened it a little this time to be like a tunic and added side slits. In case you missed it, here's a closeup of the sweatshirt fabric:
close up of the fabric--it's Juicy Couture fabric I bought from before they stopped selling fabrics

Sewing time was only an hour and a half. I twin needle stitched the sleeve and shirt hems.

I made the PJ pants out of another pattern this past spring. So now I have a matched set, though I probably won't ever wear them together after the photo shoot!

So yesterday I showed you my tree and lights.
Today, here's my duck; she's wearing her holiday best:

I thought about making her new PJs and posting them in the sewalong, but I don't think it's going to happen with 24 hours remaining....(and yes I actually own a pattern for duck pjs and have made them previously...)

Here's the mantle:

the mantel all ready for Christmas

Mushywear, you get to see some of my Hawaiianna! The framed fabric is from a craft shop in Lahaina, the Mele Kalikimaka stocking is from a souvenir shop in Lahaina, the two wooden puzzle boxes are from the International Market Place in Waikiki, the gardenia is from a craft fair by the Honolulu Zoo, the Santa hat-wearing Turtle is from Long's in Kehei, and the wooden postcards are from a gift shop in Kauai. The Aloha postcard is one Antoinette sent me!

Ok, I'll continue the tour of my other Christmas goodies during the week.

Oh, but here's the story with my solar lights. I've always wanted to put lights outside but never had an outdoor electrical outlet. Last year I found these solar panel lights at They charge on their own and turn themselves on when it gets dark and off when they run out of power (on rainy days, they're out by 7pm but on bright clear sunny days, they are still going strong even at 9 or 10pm). Then the next day they charge back up again! No timers, no electricity, no plugs. Just the solar panels. Each tree has one string of 50 and 4 strings of 25:
solar Christmas light panels
I took a walk around 4:10 and when I came back it was around 4:55, starting to get dark out. As I approached my house the strings of lights came on one by one! It was like a little ballet. Some strings came on, went out, came back on again, and I just watched for a while until they were all continuously on! Very cool.

Good night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

sewalong, lights, tree!

Today I went to the gym and had a massage and put up the Christmas tree and put the lights outside and cut out my PJ top for the sewalong and started cutting out something else.

Guess what this is going to be???
Guess what this is going to be?

Here's my PJ top cut out for the sewalong. You can tell my pattern is TNT by the wear of the envelope.
PJ top is cut out and ready to sew

Here's the fabric:
shot of the fabric--it's Juicy Couture fabric I bought from before they stopped selling fabrics

and here's a closeup:
close up of the fabric--it's Juicy Couture fabric I bought from before they stopped selling fabrics

It's Juicy Couture sweatshirt fabric that I bought on clearance from (when she was selling off all her fabric). I *love* this fabric, it feels great. Thick, beefy, soft fabric.

I already made the PJ pants this past spring. LOVE them.

Here's my Christmas tree that I've had since I was little
my Christmas tree
And here are my solar powered Christmas lights that I've had since last year. I *love* them. They are paid for, don't require electricity, and turn themselves on and off. LOVE them.

my solar powered Christmas lights

It was dark when I took the photo but the picture came out as if some light was still around.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble Gobble...

Thomas Sweet Thanksgiving turkey pops!
Thomas Sweet Chocolate Pops for my testers

Hallmark card for the crafty type
Crafty Hallmark card--I like how the buttons are attaching the feathers

Bradford Pear last weekend
Bradford Pear tree leaves last weekend

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I had a lovely day and hope you did too!
The Giftmas tree and lights are going up this weekend, I will take part in the PJ sewalong, and there will be some selling on ebay as well!

Good night!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More about the cowl; my favorite Princeton tree

Thanks for your comments about the fast Vogue cowl, especially debbie. I wore it to work yesterday and it feels too big in the shoulders and also in the waist. I will play with it some more to get it to fit better. It feels like I could have made the size small in those areas, or at least smaller than the medium. The cowl is also "heavy" so it's pulling the front of the shirt down, but I think if it fit better in the shoulders, it would be less likely to do that, or at least it wouldn't pull it down as far?

Ok, some highlights from yesterday. One of my coworkers shared cupcakes, yum:
11/22/10 cupcake

After lunch I took some pictures:
11/22/10 shadow

Here's my favorite tree on Princeton's campus. It's a ginko and right now, very very yellow.

11/22/10 ginko tree on Princeton's campus

Looking up into the tree
11/22/10 ginko tree on Princeton's campus

With the sky
11/22/10 ginko tree on Princeton's campus

On the ground
11/22/10 ginko tree on Princeton's campus

On the path
11/22/10 ginko tree on Princeton's campus

Closeup of leaves
11/22/10 ginko tree on Princeton's campus

I'm looking forward to the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend, are you??
Good night!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vogue 8634: A fast cowl shirt!

Vogue 8634 (purple in progress)
Me with my sewing buddy Emma. At this point I hadn't hemmed it yet; I tucked it up to figure out the length I wanted.

Vogue 8634 was easy. It's a raglan sleeved cowl neck. So no sleeves to set in, no neckline to bind. If you're feeling defeated or deflated with your current sewing project, take this one out for a spin. I sewed it in about 2.5 hours; I'm sure it can be sewn in two or less (be sure to sew on the cowlneck as per the instructions. I sewed it on like my Burda cowlneck and let's just say, it doesn't work that way).

Vogue 8634 done

I started out with view C but hated the length. So I cut 5 and 1/4 inches off the bottom to essentially make view B, but an inch or so longer. I cut an inch off the sleeves.

The fabric is a purple interlock knit from Joann's, the cotton/poly kind.

I twin needle stitched the sleeve and shirt hem. I also twin needle edgestitched at the cowl at the neckline as shown below.
Vogue 8634 done

Here's the cowl on Emma:

Vogue 8634 done

I sewed a 3/8 seam in the arms. The only thing I don't really like is how much the sleeve is wrinkling at my forearms. Hrm. I didn't need a large bicep adjustment but do I need a large forearm adjustment? Jeesh.
Vogue 8634 done

There's really not much more to say about this top. Go make one today!

ETA: I forgot to mention, I removed the front seam under the bust by taping the top and bottom front pieces together at 5/8.

The next shirt I'm going to make is Vogue 8151, view B. I was looking at reviews and Elle made the Mondo top from 8151! She made it gray/black for herself and black/white for her daughter from the same fabric I bought. Fun!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions about the Vogue bow top, and especially jillnjosh for all the useful Joann's tips. I'll keep you posted.

Good night!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh Charcoal Ponte Roma Knit Obsession

Joann's had the patterns I wanted, yeah!
I'm especially excited about the one in the lower right corner. The drawing is very blah, but I love what christas did with it! I believe that will be the pattern to be sewn for this weekend. I probably won't sew that underbust seam, just cut it as one continuous piece of fabric!

I haven't sewn many Vogues and was surprised that the finished garment bust measurements weren't on the envelope! Simplicity almost always has that measurement on the envelope, so I know the proper size to get (in knits, I'm anywhere from a 10 to a 16 depending on garment ease, and most pattern envelopes stop around a 12 and start at a 14...see what I'm talking about?) Anyway, I always had this idea that Vogue was "better" or more "upscale" than Simplicity but really, to make me pull the pattern out of the envelope at the store to see if maybe I could see the finished bust measurements printed on the pattern without unfolding the pattern? Seems like they could do better. I am excited for new patterns, though!

As for the Can This Shirt Be Saved fabric...they didn't have it. But I now know the fabric is "ponte roma" that's a poly/rayon/lycra blend, and it *is* part of their Sew Classic line. I was actually able to find the receipt (dated 12/30/09!!) that says it's "Charcoal ponte roma 400074017483". On the joann's web site I found this which is 7401748. I don't know how important that last "3" is...but when it goes on sale I might order some of it, enough to recut the sleeve, and to remake the entire shirt in case the color doesn't match (and if it does match, to make a different shirt!). There's also another Joann's I could try, my favorite one where I pick up cupcakes on the way there, but it just feels so far away! (Thanks extended to my friend Debbie for pointing out a few months ago that the JoAnn's receipt has the SKU number on it...)

There is a little miracle going on with my orchids. We have moved back to our original floor at work and my orchids are so much happier being back on this floor! One sprouted a new spike and is continuing on with old spikes, and the other is adding on to its existing spike.

So here's one of them on Oct 29, the spike on the left is brand new and sprouted since moving back on Sept 16. You can see a little new growth to the existing spike on the right.
On Oct 29, 2010

and here's what it looked like today:
On Nov 18, 2010

Here's the other on Oct 29. Earlier on in Oct, my coworker told me a tip his mother has for orchids like this. The existing spike was half dead, half alive. The tip is to cut the spike just above the first nodule that's still green, but is under the next nodule that is dead. Seems like it worked, it just sort of added a spike near the cut.
On Oct 29, 2010
And here's what it looks like today:
On Nov 18, 2010

The third orchid is getting a new leaf and is just hanging out.

Good night!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cookies ahoy!! Update on "Can this shirt be saved?"

Thanks everyone for your suggestions on "Can this shirt be saved?"!! Tomorrow is the big lunch dash through Joann's. Will the fabric be there? Will the Vogue patterns I want be there? How about those Buttericks? So many questions!

What if they don't have the fabric? Mushywear is right, the fabric is really buttery soft and feels kind of luxurious, and the bow is a bit big for short sleeves. I like Debbie's solution, where I cut the front piece again from the small bit of fabric I have left, but instead of leaving it short sleeved, I sew on the remainder of the sleeve from the "bad" piece. Then to match it on the other side, I cut that whole front piece into two pieces and sew that seam. Then it will look like the shirt has shoulder seams.

Here I've marked in chalk where the "armhole" would be (this is on the "good" arm):
demo on the sleeve that's ok.

Here's that front piece (the bow is part of the front piece). To the right of the "5" I drew a line in sharpie marker, where I would create the "armhole".
that front piece

So I'm feeling much more hopeful about this shirt than I did on Saturday night! Thank you Debbie for the suggestion!

I did make something on Sunday, but it was of the edible sort: Toll House cookies with walnuts from scratch:
cookies ahoy

Most of them were for the Thanksgiving buffet at work, but a bunch were for my testers (this was taken while looking into the bag holding the containers for my testers).
cookies for testing

I'm kind of excited for tomorrow. I have some good things to work on for work that I'm excited to tackle, I have the dash to Joann's, and I have acupuncture tomorrow night.

Mushywear mentioned a Thanksgiving weekend PJ sewalong at Ann's Gorgeous Things blog. I'm game; are you??

Oh, and for a while I was finding like 5 stink bugs a week in my house. I used to get annoyed at them and then I decided to change my attitude and deem them to be "good luck". Then it got colder and I thought I was done. Then this morning I pick up my bag to head out to work and put my hand right on a stink bug! Good luck! and actually today did go really really well. Oh,and I have a new "catch and release" policy with the bugs. Well, most of them. I still squash centipedes but I've only had one in 6 months!

Good night!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can this shirt be saved?

Vogue 8534 with an accidental cut

Yes, folks, after posting last night about the conclusion of the Mondo shirt, I started sewing Vogue 8534. and then I accidentally cut into the front of the fabric. I quickly zigzagged it up, but I think it's going to bother me. I don't have enough fabric to cut another piece. I bought this fabric at Joann's in March and who knows if they will still have it. It feels almost like double knit from Lucy's, but a quick plow through the stash this morning reveals that it's not the Lucy's fabric.
Vogue 8534 with an accidental cut

Vogue 8534 with an accidental cut

  • Check out Joann's on Thursday (I'll be there anyway for a lunchtime dash for the start of the Butterick and Vogue patterns sale); maybe they still have the fabric
  • I could make the shirt short sleeved; I have enough to cut out that front piece again, but short sleeved
  • Leave it like it is and call it a design feature
  • Add a similar zig zagged line to the left side as well and pretend it's some kind of matching funky dart.
There's always this idea, but I don't think so:
Vogue 8534 with an accidental cut

What would you do??

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The not-so-dramatic conclustion of the Mondo shirt

I actually finished this up on Monday night! I interfaced the neckline and folded it over and sewed it down. I think it looks fine. I was out of fabric to do a binding. I swore I cut a piece for binding and then never found it (figment of my imagination?). Then I twin needle stitched the hem. (this is a Burda cowlneck from Oct 2005; I left off the cowlneck and added the vertical cuffs Mondo style)

Here I am on Tuesday morning getting ready to go to work. This was around 7:30am and the light was streaming in. I'm not a photographer but I was thinking "this light is great!". It also makes me look like I have a magical hip.
the Mondo shirt, done

Here I'm showing how the stripes mostly match down the side. Now I look like I have a magical derriere too.
the Mondo shirt, done

Here's a view of the sleeve, and my magical stomach.
the Mondo shirt, done

Here's the neckline. I kind of wish I had twin needle stitched the neckline but sometimes it's good to know when to leave well enough alone, right?
DSC0the Mondo shirt, done5877

Here I'm trying to show how the stripes sort of line up for the armhole
the Mondo shirt, done

And here's my twin needled hem. I ironed on knit interfacing to keep it from getting that "wavy" look as I learned at Kathy Ruddy's class at the ASE.
the Mondo shirt, done

This fabric was from and is officially called "Michael Miller Interlock Knit Clown Stripe Dalmation" (see, Mary Nanna, clown was in the name of the fabric!). I'm not associated with but I put the link in there if you're interested. It is incredibly soft and would be wonderful for sleepwear too. The fabric is a nice midweight and you can't see through the white stripes. It comes in a lot of different colors, and also in polka dots. If you're going to buy it, buy at least 25% more than you need. The site says this shrinks by 10% but I think it shrunk by about 25%.

My coworkers mostly liked the shirt, though one said it was difficult to look at me with all the stripes.

Gwen from All My Seams reminded me in the comments that she also made a striped shirt with funky binding, which I remember but can't seem to find on her blog now. However, in searching for it I found this amazing Santa bag she made last year. I may have to make myself one of these this season!! It is full of detail and I love how she made feet out of buttons. Go click on the link, I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed!

I was disappointed, though, with David Sedaris's latest book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. While the stories start off fine, soon it wades into gruesome and heartbreaking territory and I found myself wondering, WHY am I reading this? Well, because it's David Sedaris and I enjoyed his other books. At the 2/3 point I was going to abandon ship, so I read some reviews on Amazon, which suggested that the later stories get better, so I continued on and was mostly ok with the remainder.

I'm starting in on Vogue 8534 view C. This one has clown potential too since there is something resembling a bow involved. I have to bake cookies tomorrow to bring to the Thanksgiving potluck at work on Monday. I need to do some chores too. and order a dressform! I think I'm going with the Fabulous Fit 3/4 form, since it comes with pads and you pad it out to look like your fabulous self.

Good night!