Monday, May 27, 2013


Sigh.  I really don't know what to say about the Sewaholic Thurlow muslin.   Something like "Anything worth doing is hard work."  I feel like I have worked hard, but not gotten the outcome I wanted.   I have been working on the muslin off and on since New Year's Eve.   It felt like I invested a lot of time, money, and effort into it, and emotional energy too, but part of any investment is knowing when to give up, fold the cards, walk away, right?  I think I will sew it up as it stands now and see what happens.  Maybe I'll feel better about it in dark fashion fabric.  I don't know why I feel differently, more strongly, about this piece, that it should have succeeded.  My success rate with my sewing is roughly around 50%.  Chances were equal that it wasn't going to work.

Anyway, what I *did* accomplish and with a satisfactory outcome is painting the 3 walls of the downstairs hallway.

hallway is painted!
yup! It is done done done.  I think the runner looks like a tongue.  I did a boatload of cleaning, too.

Lynn was asking what color I was painting it. Well, it's the same color as before, only Sears doesn't make Easy Living Antique White anymore, so I had it custom color matched.
the color is....
I think of it as a warm, creamy color, and I really like the freshly painted surfaces.  I will paint some more walls, probably not anytime soon, and definitely not the whole house.  Maybe 3 more walls.  or 5.

Can you spot the mistake on these air filters?  Wish I had found it before I bought them...
can you spot the mistake?
Here's the first rose; I cut it tonight before something eats it.
first white rose of the year
My johnny jump-ups surprised me and came back this year.
johnny jump-ups came back!
Wow, look at that weed, it grew up and through the Japanese maple...
that weed is growing up through my Japanese maple
Be well!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Can it be??

Will this be the final Sewaholic Trouser muslin before making the real deal?

Sewaholic version n+1

Sewaholic muslin version n + 1

Here is my other weekend project:
my other weekend project
Painting the downstairs hallway

And look at what I found outside while I was cleaning the windows:
hello rose!
This rose bush came with the house. It was so happy the first year but it has struggled with black spot ever since. It is such a fighter, though. I admire its spirit.

Be well!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Facing my fears part 3: my first fly front trouser zipper sample

Three of my coworkers independently asked me on Friday what I'm doing on my three day weekend.
Each time I replied, "I think I'm going to sew my first pair of trousers."
I was met with silence each time.
But you, dear reader, understand how exciting this is!!
fly front zipper trouser sample!
Tonight I sewed my first fly front zipper for trousers sample.
I've sewn fly fronts for jeans but not for trousers before.  The order of construction is a little different and I wanted to practice first.  This sample is using the Sewaholic Thurlow trousers pattern.  I followed a combination of pattern instructions and Lladybird's sewalong picture tutorial.

fly front zipper trouser sample!

The inside is ok.  There is a little bubbling which I think was probably due to the fabric not being aligned properly when I sewed the crotch seam.  However, that was all the way at the beginning so I can't verify that now.
fly front zipper trouser sample!
The insidelooks ok  for the most part.  That fly front extension seems gigantic, but I think that's because when the waistband gets sewn on, it will have a button AND a hook/eye type closure on the inside, so it has to be wider.
But I'm more concerned about the zipper length.  The pattern calls for a 4" zipper, and I actually had one from Fabrix in SF.  This means, though, that the distance from the top of the pants to the start of the zipper is 1.125"!!!!  If you sew the waistband with a 5/8" seam, there would be 1/2" gap between the waistband and the top of the zipper, amIright???  

I sewed the crotch seam, front and back at the start of the sample.  Here is a good reason why you really need to
a) be precise
b) check the back pockets before sewing in the zipper.  The welts are not aligned with each other!
welt pockets
Here's a view from the inside.  The pattern has this triangle shaped extension, like men's trousers, which would enable you  to 'let out' the pants in the future for any, um, expansion...I'm not sure if that will make it into my version as that part got lopped off during muslining...
interior welt pockets
So, what's next???  Antoinette helped me with my trouser muslin last weekend, so I am going to take it apart and sew up one more muslin, and if all's well, I'm going to make my trousers!
peony flowers from Princeton Farmer's Market
Love the delicate pink outlining some of these peony petals from the Princeton Farmers Market.
Be well!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thanks American Sewing Expo!

Thanks, American Sewing Expo
Thanks American Sewing Expo!
They had a contest recently in one of their newsletters, to celebrate their 20th year, with an unspecified prize...the prize arrived last week!

The contest was to name the person who has taught at the ASE the last 19 years. The hint was that she's on the ASE homepage. I was pretty sure I knew who it was...checked the website, verified it was Kathy Ruddy, then sent my email response.  It said the first 3 respondents with the right answer would win a prize.

Since I was jetlagged in San Diego, and read the email minutes after it arrived in my inbox, I was pretty sure I had a pretty good chance of winning.

The bag is zippered and insulated, and of course I love the contrast binding!

Thanks for your comments on the welt pocket sample #2, and your encouragement.  LinB, you are right, it's important to keep the welt going the same direction as the fabric nap unless the contrast is intentional as a design element.  I had followed the pattern layout and it wound up being that my nap for the welt pocket is horizontal while the nap of the leg is vertical.

Tonight I cut out the pieces to make a sample fly front for the Sewaholic Thurlows.  There is a mistake in the pattern layout--be sure to follow what the pattern piece says--cut the left front and right front on the fabric with right sides up (fabric and pattern!). As Jennifer Stern would say, "Ask me how I know"

Facing my fears part 2.5: cutting out the pieces for the fly front zipper
The pattern calls for a 4" zipper and I have two of those from Fabrix in San Fran!
Be well!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Facing my fears: my second-ever double welt pocket sample

Last night I sewed my first-ever double welt pocket sample.

Lee, I don't know why they are so scary, they just are. :) Lately I have been facing a lot of fears at work, and that combined with a sudden surge of energy I have, and a fear of it taking me 6 months to sew the Thurlows, has staged me for tackling the pockets.

Velosewer, thank you for your enthusiasm for my first-ever double welt pocket. :)
Tonight I sewed up my second-ever double welt pocket sample.
Here they are:

Welt pocket sample #2 on left; sample #1 on right
There's room for improvement, but it's not so bad.
Welt pocket sample #2
I took lots of in-progress shots and didn't delete them. If you want to see them, they are here.

Facing my next fear: fly fronts for trousers. I have made fly zips for 1 pair of jeans and 1 pair of cords but not trousers. So next up, I will make a sample fly front for trousers.

Be well!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Facing my fears: double welt pockets

I took careful photos of most of the steps for my first-ever double welt pocket sample; then somehow accidentally deleted all the pix in the camera folder. That was a very fast way to open up a boatload of space, but I don't have the in-progress pix I took tonight.  I didn't lose any other pix since I am pretty diligent about uploading pix to Flickr as I take them. 

Now....Flickr is stuck at the "add to album" step on Firefox and Chrome on Windows8 and Firefox on Windows 7. are the pix, directly uploaded to my blog.   The pattern is the Sewaholic Thurlow pattern.  I followed the pattern directions and Lladybird's photo tute for double welt pockets.

I can see room for improvement, but for the first time, I don't think these are bad.

Facing my fears step 1:  sew first double welt pocket sample....
Facing my fears, step 2: Make second double welt pocket sample...maybe tmw night???

Be well!
And wishing you better luck with Flickr than I am having at the moment....

Sunday, May 19, 2013

27 hours in NYC

Antoinette at Truemart Discount Fabrics
I think that photo sums up the weekend nicely.
Antoinette was in the city this weekend and we had a blast.
(btw, did you know, Antoinette has a new blog?)

Random photos from this weekend, not necessarily in order.
my new denim from Mood
The denim I bought at Mood. Yes, floral printed denim!
me and ATP
At a sit-down stop on the food tour--love this picture!  Antoinette's wearing her just-sewn faux-leather raglan sleeved shirt.
Washington Square Park
In Washington Square Park. I'm wearing my J Stern Designs jeans.
Empire State Building (in blue) and Chrystler Building (in white, to the right)
The Empire State Building (blue) and Chrysler Building (white, down and to the right of the blue) as lit up last night, as seen from our hotel room.
City Quilter
The City Quilter
Fabric Haul:  Top row Mood; bottom row TrueMart
My fabric haul (Mood top row, Truemart Discount Fabrics, bottom row).
Pacific Trimming haul
The goods from Pacific Trimming (except for the Sashiko coasters; that's from the City Quilter).  All the metal buckles are for making ribbon belts.

This is the Truemart storefront.  It's a square.  Fabric is on the perimeter and interior of the square, with a narrow aisle for walking.
TrueMart Discount Fabrics
Truemart is a block from the FedEx/Kinkos.  Carry your purchases one block, ship and be done with it!
That's the sparkle denim I bought at TrueMart. Beth, I'm actually wearing a pink shirt I made years ago but it was cold I have my jacket zipped up.

Not bad for 27 hours in the city:  PacTrim, a random button shop, Mood, food tour, Chelsea Flea (sadly we saw no sewlebrities), City Quilter, TrueMart, Doughnut Plant.   We also went to the Punk exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  No pix allowed, but I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would.  It rained today but no freaky thunderstorms and no shootings made for a really pleasant visit.  :)  And how could I forget?  She helped me tweak my pants muslin too.  Woot!

shirt from the Punk exhibit
Here's the back of the shirt. Love the safety pin!
back of the shirt from the Punk exhibit
Blackout doughnuts at Doughnut Plant rock my world. I have two more to eat over the next two days....
It's time to stop shopping and start sewing!  Double welt pockets and trouser fly front insertions are in my near future!
 Be well!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Honolulu fabric arrived today, with a story.

On May 4, a Saturday afternoon, Shannon and I shipped my Kaimuki Dry Goods fabric in a medium flat rate box to my parents home in NJ.

The tracking showed it left Honolulu, and then....nothing!  Scheduled delivery date May 7.

Today the fabric showed up, May 17.

My mom wrote, "When we got home there was a big box on the front porch. It said $9.75 due. It had tape around it that said "received in damaged condition." I hope everything is there. Certainly this is better than nothing."

I asked for pictures of the box, and for them to open the box and determine what was inside.

My Dad wrote, "Here is what we received.  This is the outer box."

How it arrived at my parents house.
I blurred out the address.
Priority Mail medium flat rate box
Dad continued, "This is the inner box. It came wrapped in a plastic bag. The bag has some kind of fluid on it in the upper right hand corner. When I opened the plastic bag the inner box appeared to be sealed and unopened. In fact it took quite a bit of effort to pull the box open."
Kaimuki Dry Goods fabrics
The navy blue circle eyelet is the most expensive fabric I've ever bought, at $23 a yard.

Dad continued on, "When I opened the sealed inner box these 5 fabric samples were inside. The cat fabric and the blue check fabric have a darkened corner from some kind of sticky fluid that you can see in the pictures. They all have this fluid on them in varying degrees. When you touch the sticky area the fluid comes off on your hands. It appears to be the dried residue of pineapple juice. Mom and I both got it on our hands and it washed off easily in hot soapy water."

I laughed out loud, pineapple juice! Yes, I thought about keeping the fabric in the plastic bag and jamming it in the box, but it seemed like I could pack the box better without the confines of the bag.

Another message from Dad, "After sending you the first email I went and looked in the inner box again and I found these three patches.  There is some sticky stuff on the paper on which the patches is mounted but the patches themselves appear to be clean."

The tracking still shows it left Honolulu, then nothing.

How Hawaiian, my fabric, with pineapple juice.  I love it.  It's a happy ending for my $176 purchase.   I'm so excited it is here!   :)

I need to get to sleep soon, I have a very big day ahead tmw!  Big weekend, actually.

Aloha!  Be well!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My fabric haul from San Fran, Honolulu and San Diego

Here's all the fabric I bought on my travels, except for Kaimuki.  Kaimuki wouldn't ship, so Shannon and I mailed the fabric from the post office. Tracking shows it made its way to a sorting facility in Honolulu, then departed Honolulu, and then....nothing..  May 7 estimated arrival date.  Today is May 12.  So...I'm giving it another 2 weeks to show up.  I mean, it has to show up.  I paid $23 a yard for some of that fabric!!!

all of the haul...except for Kaimuki!!!
The haul

Here's what I bought at Discount Fabrics in San Diego with Elizabeth.
stretch lace and purple knit from Discount Fabrics in SD
Black stretch lace, purple cotton knit, because I want to make a shirt like KID, MD.
fabric from Gwen Couture in SD (plus labels she threw in!)
Funky alpahbet viscose, purple and navy luscious double knit, and metallic piping from Gwen Couture.
Gwen knows how to package-she wrapped the fabric in tissue paper first, and then put it in a plastic bag. And she included those "Made in USA" labels--how great is that??  Such a neat surprise.

Here's the motherload from Stone Mountain and Daughter:
fabric from Stone Mtn and Daughter
Sweater knits, double knite, cotton knits, knits knits knits.  The black knit is black on one side and sort of an indeterminate color on the other.
Fabric from Stone Mtn and Daughter
More double knits including elusive turquoise; stretchy sequins and pink flower ribbon.

I saw my parents for Mother's Day today.  Dad showed me his sewing area in the basement.
my dad's Brother serger and careful notes
LOVE how he's annotated his serger.
lilacs from my parents house
Lilacs from my parents yard. I love them! (my parents and the lilacs).

Anyhoo, I am feeling completely overwhelmed, but that is a post for another day.

Be well and good night!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Finally! My Pattern Review 2013 San Francisco Recap

view from my hotel room at the Marine's Memorial Club
View from my hotel room

Finally darlings, it's the Pattern Review 2013 San Francisco Recap, Kyle style.

Thursday:  Dinner and registration.  Sadly I took no pix but I finally got to meet PR member marec who has commented on so many of my pattern reviews.  Very cool to meet her and meet some new folks too, plus catch up with my PR conference peeps.

Friday: Vogue Fit Goddess Sandra Betzina spent much of the day talking about fit. Of note, you don't have to make a muslin of the whole garment, just your "problem fitting" area.  Interesting.
me and Sandra Betzina!
Me in McCall's 6078 and J Stern Design Jeans, with Fit Goddess Sandra Betzina

Loved that Sandra brought muslins of a shirt, a Chanel jacket and her Craftsy pants in all sizes.  I learned the size C Chanel jacket fits with really no alterations, and the C pants fit well in the butt and waist (say what??  that's awesome!) and just need to be taken in a little at the hip.

Here's one of the many pattern exchange tables:

another table of patterns
I brought 19 patterns. Broke my promise to not take any but I only took one; the Colette Clover pattern. I could not resist a $20 pattern that I was planning on buying!
the pattern exchange table
Lunch was with Rose in SV (so happy to see her again!), SunnyGal Beth (so excited to finally meet her and tell her how I love her invisible zip tutorial. Plus she provided loads of Oahu recommendations!), Neefer (so nice to meet you) and moi with my stitched-at-the-last-minute "Keep Calm and Sew On" bag.
Rose in SV; Beth from SunnyGal, Neefer and me at lunch
We had fun with the step and repeat.
me and Bonnie
me and Bonnie

Jacqui and Deepika in the new PR downloadable pattern, Summer Street Dress
Jacqui and Deepika in the PR downloadable Summer Street Dress 
Fri night was the big group dinner out.  There were loads of raffles.  Look at what Elnora won!
Elnora and the Jalie pattern she won
Yes, we walked back to the hotel with Elnora's new pattern peeking up out of her bag the whole time.

Saturday: Saturday we broke off into smaller groups for shopping. Jacqui and the knit section
Jacqui tears into the knits aisle at Stone Mountain.
Like Lee mentioned in her recap, I too suddenly had the urge to see Stone Mountain and Daughter fabrics after Sandra Betzina mentioned the store every few minutes on Saturday. Marci drove a carful of us out there!   Thank you Marci!

Thankfully that was our first stop, and was several other carfuls first stops as well.
me and Lee
Lee and I had a nice chat in line. My cord jacket is Simplicity 2508. 

Here was the line.
the line at Stone Mountain
This was the only fabric I bought in SF, for which I was very proud.
some fabric I bought at Stone Mountain

Amity (who had so many nice things to say about my blog!) and her Minoru jacket
Amity and her Sewaholic Minrou jacket

me and Deepika, founder of Pattern Review
Me and Deepika, founder of Pattern Review
Claudine and me:  the only two peeps from NJ?
Me and Claudine, I think we were the only Jersey girls in attendance.
Next we hit up Discount Fabrics:
at discount fabrics
This is where they had $2.98 denim!
$2.98 denim (look for the green dot!) at Discount Fabrics
But I was pacing myself and didn't buy anything.
Janice, Marci, me, Jacqui and Connie
We had lunch in Berkeley; Janice, Marci, me, Jacqui, and Connie.
Then we went to Lacis which is a museum and supply shop.
is this spiral steel boning?  at Lacis
This is what I bought at Lacis:

gadgets from Lacis
But Lacis had all sorts of things, including "heads" for making hats.
Jackie and her head (for hats)
Then over to Blue Moon where I didn't buy anything, then Fabrix, where I bought zippers that were 25 cents each. I thought the metal zips were a great bargain, and would be good for when I finally get around to making zipper pouches.
zippers 25 cents each

And then there was Britex.  It was my sixth fabric store of the day, with four floors of fabric with prices in the luxury range (like, $49, $79, $99 a yard, and UP. Elizabeth said she saw fabric there for $249 a yard.  Two hundred forty nine dollars!  a yard!).

At that point, I was fabric fatigued. as usual. I was also feeling quite smug. I had only bought 15.75 yards in SF. But now that I have concluded my grand fabric tour of Hawaii and California, and add the numbers: 15.75 Stone Mtn and Daughter in SF
9.00 Kaimuki Dry Goods in Honolulu with MushyWear
9.50 Gwen Couture in SD with SEWN
2.50 at Discount Fabrics in SD with SEWN
The total = 36.75 yards.

Sigh. Still better than 47+1 free yard  in NYC last year.

Thank you to Bonnie, Connie, Kathy R and Deepika, and all volunteers who made it such a great weekend!

PR weekend is in Austin next year May 2-4, I totally encourage you to attend!  Start saving and planning now.  TexStyles (and Leslie in Austin) will make sure we have a blast.  I guarantee it.

Other resources:
PR weekend 2013 Flickr pool

My recap of PR weekend 2012 NYC
My recap of PR Day 2011 Austin
My recap of PR weekend 2011 Chicago
My recap of PR weekend 2010 Philly