Monday, August 29, 2011

Finally, Vogue 1247 is DONE!! Plus pumpkin update

Vogues 1247 done!!!

Today was a planned vacay day, and then Princeton was closed anyway because of flooding.  And somehow my sewing mojo has been recovered.   So I finally finished Vogue 1247, the Rachel Comey skirt.
It's the one with the cute pockets, and as you can see, I kept the waistband.

Vogues 1247 done!!!

As a reminder, here's the pattern:
Vogue 1247 in progress

Obviously, I added some inches to this pattern. After hemming, the skirt is 5.5 inches longer than the finished pattern length.
Vogues 1247 done!!!
The shirt is from Ann Taylor Loft, in the clearance section.  It has a lot of plastic beads that keep falling off, lol.
Vogues 1247 done!!!

When I sewed down the side seams yesterday to take this from a 14 to a 12, I didn't line up the side horizontal lines
Vogues 1247 in progress

I spent some time today so that horizontal line matches on BOTH sides .
Vogues 1247 done!!!

Oh, and then here's some ugliness with the invisible zip.  The bottom of the zip is not so nice.  So I just removed the stitching there and had the zipper "end" earlier, thereby having a "tail" inside with the zip which makes it easier to finish.  Thanks to MushyWear for her recommendation to read SunnyGal Studio's tips on invisible zips.

Also, anon wanted to know how I sewed an invisible zip without an invisible zipper foot.  I ironed the teeth flat like all the directions told me to do and used my regular zipper foot and made sure to get right up in there against the teeth.  Which is easy to do til you get to the end of the zip.  Then I couldn't get in close to the teeth, so it looked like this at the bottom:
Vogues 1247 in progress!!!
So now it looks like this (it's hanging off my ironing board, that's why it's folded kind of weird).  It's still a bit puckered and that's after ironing.  But the zipper part looks nice!
Vogue 1247 finally done!

So this morning my other concern was the "hole" between the top of the zip and the waistband.
Vogues 1247 in progress!!!
After installing the hook and eye, it wound up looking like this, so the hole isn't TOO big.
Vogues 1247 done!!!

The hem was the other trial.  This fabric is from Jomar, purchased during PR weekend Philly.  It's some mystery blend fabric.  Definitely synthetic, with some stretch.  Hemming it was a nightmare.  I wanted an 1.5 inch hem.  I twin needle stitched it.   It created these "points" in the hem that looked horrible.  Then I ironed 3" of interfacing on and folded in half, twin needle stitched.  It started to pucker right away while the interfacing started to separate from the fabric.  Then I cut 1.5 inches off, then twin needle stitched with a half inch seam, and then folded over again and did another half inch.  Somehow the shape of the skirt is more pencil than A-line, but I'll take it!

In other news, the start of the baby pumpkin I showed you last week fell off this weekend and started to rot.
the pumpkin bloom from Friday is now rotten

But here's a new baby pumpkin/female flower coming on.  I will be sure to watch this every day so that I can hand pollinate it when it blooms.  Carolyn wrote about the bees doing their job, but I want to make sure this pumpkin is fertilized!  I also got out my gardening gloves and pulled the vine back a bit so it's not on the grass anymore.  Pumpkin vines are very prickly!
new female flower bloom coning on!

So I hope everyone is healthy-healthy-healthy.  Be well!  I need to cook soon but would rather keep on sewing!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vogue 1247 still in progress; Hurricane Irene


Ah yes, the Rachel Comey skirt with the cute front pockets, known as Vogue 1247.  When I last left you, I was up to the step for inserting the invisible zipper. I used a combination of my Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing 2009 edition, Amanda's invisible zipper tutorial, and the instructions that came with the zipper.  My first ever invisible zip!

Shocker:  I didn't know I'd need an invisible zipper foot (I didn't know such things existed) so I used my regular zipper foot and improvised.  Also I wound up sewing the side seams down from a 14 down to a 12.  It was just too big as a 14.  Also my fabric has stretch.

vogue 1247 still in progress:  my first invisible zipper
Amanda's instructions were great for getting the horizontal seam in the back to match up.  But you can tell I had some difficulty with the bottom of the zipper.  I plan on fixing that tomorrow.
Vogue 1247 still in progress
But I also had difficulty with the top of the zipper and the waist band.  I haven't installed the waistband hook and eye closure yet, but you can see the white of my shirt peeking out there between the waistband and the zipper top.  I have to play with that.

Here's the side view:
Vogue 1247 still in progress

I still need to hem it too.
Vogue 1247 still in progress

I was also thinking of ripping out the waistband entirely and just folding the top edge over and finishing it with ribbon or elastic or something.

band folded under
Vogue 1247 still in progress

That would take care of the back zipper / waistband problem.
Vogue 1247 still in progress

But I think it's cuter with the waistband.

So, Hurricane Irene.   My sleep was interrupted often last night by rain, wind, or a combo of the two. It was a pretty fierce storm and I am glad the trees behind my house withstood the weather and stood tall and did NOT fall onto my bedroom!  I wound up taking a 3 hour nap at lunchtime to compensate for loss of sleep.

I feel really lucky.  I have had power throughout the storm, my newspaper was delivered this morning, I don't have a basement, so no flooding in my house.   However, looking at twitter there is a lot of flooding in the Princeton area. Princeton University is closed tmw. The roads to my work and gym are flooded.

My parents live down the shore (~3 miles inland) and haven't had power since 11:30pm last night.  I read the electric company's twitter feed to my mom over the phone. They have a gas stove so she can cook, but she needed a way to light the stove and didn't have matches or a lighter.  So she went to Quik Check this morning and bought 4 lighters, whereas everyone else was buying coffee.  The clerk wanted to know if she was planning on starting a forest fire.

So I hope you are all safe and not flooded, and that you are well and healthy-healthy-healthy.  Good night!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Did I miss it? The pumpkin plant follies...

I admit, I've been lax this week checking my pumpkin plants for female flowers. Most mornings there is a male flower blooming and, well, ready for service, and since they are on long stems, it's very easy to tell they're male.

So this afternoon I decided to check out my pumpkin plant again, closer up, to see what I could find, so I lifted up some leaves....and lo and behold, there is a FEMALE flower.  The first one I have ever seen.  But the bud is brownish.   I tugged on the bud and it's firmly attached.  Does this mean the flower never opened?  It opened but I didn't see it yet it isn't ready to fall off yet?  It wanted to open but now it's given up and turned brown?  (that bit, at the base of the flower bud?  That's the start of the baby pumpkin!)

Ut oh, did I miss it???  Female flower!

Here are some males.  These will bloom soon.  You can also see the fungus on the leaves.
Male flowers that will bloom soon

The plant has now risen up over the hostas since it ran out of space behind the evergreen tree and is now growing into the yard, against homeowner's association bylaws.  This plant is totally illegal in my community.
the pumpkin plant
It's such an outlaw...
I don't see any other female buds on the plant.
What do you think about that one female flower????  Lost cause????

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My beautiful brain

8/25/11 Princeton Farmers Market flowers
Princeton Farmer's Mkt flowers today

This morning the neurologist looked at my brain MRI images.  He was really excited by how clear the images are; he said the magnet at the hospital is stronger than other facilities and the images are so clear.   He said my brain is beautiful, look at the folds in my cerebellum! (My favorite flower farmer joked, "I bet he says that to all  women").  So, no MS.  The evoked potential tests were fine (look at those beautiful lines!) and so was my bloodwork (no lymes, and some other diseases were negative, and no diabetes).  I got copies of all those reports.
I told him about my angst for the evoked potential tests.  He said the tech who I didn't like for the evoked tests no longer works there.  I told him about how I hated that test and how the tech wasn't really training the other person named Jill, the tension between them, how I thought I was going to start sobbing, etc, and he said, "Oh, so you were that patient!  Jill told me about that."  Then he said that tech was a bit of a nervous nelly, and I was thinking, he was a bit of a jerk.  He said they might have been too generous with the amount of time they let him stay on the job.
He ordered an EEG of my brain, which I had this morning with a tech who was very nice, and an ultrasound of my neck (carotid artery), which will be in his office next week.  With the EEG, the tech said the test was technically perfect but the doctor will tell me the results.  Well, techs aren't supposed to talk about results. 
The neurologist said since things are getting better, come back in 4 weeks.   His first available is 7:45am in 4.5 weeks.  He didn't talk about the spinal tap or further MRIs at all.  He asked if I'm stressed, anxious, depressed, and I said I have been freaked out, stressed and depressed about this whole thing....that when I feel the weird feeling, I wonder if I'm heading toward life in a wheelchair.  He said he doesn't think so!  He said it could be stress related but let's see how it goes this next month.  He said if it's still getting better in a month, then that would be the end of me seeing him.  If it's not, then he might order more tests or medication.  He didn't mention the spinal tap or more MRIs at all.  He said he would send a letter to my PCP to let him know my brain is normal.
Last night Len asked me if I'm getting better.  I said yes.  He said, is it yes or is it wishful thinking?  I said, it's really yes.  A month ago I felt like I was going to pass out quite a lot because I was so lightheaded, I couldn't go to the gym, and the numbness was much worse.  Now I can go to the gym, I push through the weird feeling, I don't feel like I'm going to pass out.
So, let's see what another month does!  :)  And on Saturday I'm going to see an Ayurvedic practitioner.   I'm very interested in seeing what happens with that!

I have a 4 day weekend.  Yeah!  I wish y'all a flood-free weekend with this hurricane coming.  And the earthquake was the other bit of excitement around here on Tuesday.  I felt it at work in my 4th floor office--did you???

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vogue 1247 in progress; catsitting round-up

I started Vogue 1247 today. This is probably the kind of skirt that can be done in a few hours but I only worked on it for about an hour at a time in two shifts--first to cut it out and second to do some light sewing.

It's the Rachel Comey skirt (I keep wanting to write "comfy")  that's been making it's way around the internet, but I first saw it on Carolyn's blog. I don't really need another skirt but this one has ADORABLE front pockets. Antoinette calls them magnetic (which gives me an idea for magnetic closures, though that's not what she meant!)

Vogue 1247 in progress
So that photo is just to show you that the pockets exist--I'd never carry my scissors and rotary cutter around that way!   The pockets are pretty hidden otherwise.

This skirt is insanely short; I added 9 inches to the length.  I can always chop off some of the length I added.
Vogue 1247 in progress

So far the front yoke is sewn to the front and the pockets are sewn too.

Here's the inside of the front, to give you an idea of how the pockets are sewn. It's very clever.
Vogue 1247 in progress

And here I'm just holding the front of the skirt up against me.
Vogue 1247 in progress

I also sewed the back yoke to the back but next is to install the invisible zipper. I've never done one of those before but I figure 8:30pm is not a great time to learn! I plan on using Amanda's invisible zipper tutorial.

My catsitting concluded tonight when Buddy's parents picked him up and took him home. I miss him already but am excited to get a full night of sleep, I hope! He had been waking me up at 4:45am near the end of his stay, licking my face and nose, purring all the while. Very cute! But I *need* to get my sleeping habits back on track. Sleep is a gift I can give myself!

Also as his catsitter I didn't feel the need to discipline him so he had free reign of the house. This is my favorite picture as it took a certain amt of timing to get the picture when his paw was in the water glass.

And then he would lick the water off his paw

I like little cat paws and so I took some paw shots. Pam recently took some paw shots on her blog.




He helped me put laundry away

And he enjoys Princeton Farmer's Mkt flowers too:

And he helped me lay out the pattern pieces for the skirt!

I'm seriously thinking about getting a cat now!
Good night!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All sorts of good news including a rescued wadder!

I got my bloodwork and brain MRI results by calling the doctor's assistant 7 times yesterday morning til she picked up the phone. I don't have Lymes disease and my brain MRI was normal (so no MS, brain tumors, or a host of other things)! So I don't know what is causing my numbness/lightheadedness but it is intermittent and not as bad as when it first started a month ago. I see the neurologist on the 25th. He said based on these results he might order more MRIs or a spinal tap.

I had the pelvic ultrasound yesterday which didn't show any real issues except a less than one centimeter fibroid.  So my ab pain is still a mystery--it's either my pelvic kidney or a muscle issue or ???

Thank you for all of your comments on the Butterick 5559 dress! I wore it to work today and got lots of nice comments. The boat neck is a little wide; it might need some bra strap holders.

You might recall the problems I had with Burda 7696, and I couldn't wear it because the torso is too long.  Here's what it looked like on me (and then the following weekend I redid it from scratch and shortened the torso).
yeah, it's all proportionally wrong

I showed it to my coworker Marsha, also a sewist, who was able to make it work by adjusting the sash, hemming it, and adding the buckle!  She is taller than me so the torso length was fine.
Here she is in the dress. LOVE the buckle.
Marsha in the Burda dress
She treated me to lunch, super super nice!  Thanks Marsha for lunch and for rescuing one of my wadders!

Buddy has taken over my house, and my sleep.  I hate being sleep deprived!  But he is fun to have around. 

Be well and good night!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Butterick 5559 view B done, plus catsitting!

Thanks again for your wishes about my health, esp KID, MD!   I might very well take all the pix of my films and post them on flicker for your review!

Last night I started Butterick 5559 view B.  I spent most of today working on it and I think it's finished!
Butterick 5559

AmandaS also made this dress, but in winter white.   Check out her version here.

Here's the pattern envelope.  Instantly I could tell those sleeves would be too tight for my biceps.  So I made the sleeveless view B.
Butterick 5559

I used navy blue ponte roma knit from Joann's.  It's $12.99 a yard, the buttery soft stuff!

I sewed a 14 grading to a 16 at the hip.  It worked out.  Phew!

Instead of using the facings that are for view B, I used the neck facing for view A, then twin needle stitched the armholes.  I also twin needle stitched the hem.

This dress has a lot of tucks, and some tucks have darts underneath them.  I read reviews on Pattern Review that said to make sure to carefully trace the darts and tucks.  That is true; otherwise they won't line up on the side seams.

Here's my left side; they mostly line up.
Butterick 5559

And my right side; they line up except the top one under the armhole.  That's because I wound up taking a triangle out of  the armhole down to the bust (on both sides, actually).
Butterick 5559

Here' s the back.  This dress actually has a great opportunity for a swayback adjustment as the dress is actually cut as a top and bottom that's then sewn together.  So the horizontal seam is already there in the back for swayback adjustment.  However, by the time I remembered, I had already put the tuck in.   I didn't do a swayback adjustment and it doesn't look too bad.  I don't know, maybe I'll unpick it and fix it later.
Butterick 5559

on emma, front
Butterick 5559 front on Emma

on emma, back.  Actually I sewed down one tuck in the back almost all the way across to see what it would look like.  If you look carefully, you can see it.  I will unpick that.
Butterick 5559 back on Emma

But just as cool are the inside of the tucks, as I realized when I turned the dress inside out last night as I was working on it.   The tucks are supposed to be ironed down but they don't seem to stay down; if that annoys you, sewing the tucks to the inside is a neat effect:
Butterick 5559 in progress

I am catsitting chez moi.  Here's Viktor, also known as Buddy, or my fuzzy therapist: 
Butterick 5559

He has already perused my fabric stash:
perusing my fabric stash

and spent a lot of time looking out the window on this incredibly rainy day
looking at the great outdoors

touch my belly
having a bath

Inspecting the bathroom sink
the bathroom sink is fascinating

and then taking a nap, half on the ironing board and half on the cutting table.  Looks comfy!
this looks comfy

Be well and good night!