Sunday, November 30, 2014

Guess what I'm working on?

I *loved* your responses to my Online Sewing Class Confessional.  I want to respond to your comments individually this week.

But I wanted to show you what I am currently working on.
What is that?
Perhaps it's the most unwieldy thing I've ever sewn.
Looks like a toaster cover, ha ha.

Unwieldy, I tell you.

Any guesses???

Be well!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Online Sewing Class Confessional

Gratuitous cranberry sauce picture--it is fun to watch the berries pop open

With so many online classes on sale today/this weekend for Black Friday, now is a great time to write this post that has been brewing in my head for a while.

The Online Class Confessional Booth Is Now Open.

You have a fabric stash, a notions stash, a button it's time to talk about that other stash in your lives, one that isn't taking space on your shelves or in your house: online sewing classes.

How many online sewing classes have you purchased in your lifetime?

  • 16 Craftsy 
  • 12 Pattern Review  
  • 1 BurdaStyle
And how many of those classes did you actually do the featured project, practiced the technique and/or did the homework?
  • 1 Craftsy  (altering RTW)
  • 5 Pattern Review (jeans, serger, knits, more knits, altering pants)
  • 0 BurdaStyle
Well, if you didn't do the project/technique/homework, did you actually watch the full class, possibly maybe even taking extensive notes?
  • 4 Craftsy
  • 0 Pattern Review
  • 1 Burda Style
How about partially watched the class?
  • 3 Craftsy
  • 1 Pattern Review
  • 0 Burda Style
Oh no, so that means you haven't started watching how many classes?
  • 8 Craftsy
  • 6 Pattern Review
  • 0 Burda Style
And armed with that information, how many on-sale classes are you tempted to buy today/this weekend?
  • 5 Craftsy
  • 2 Pattern Review
  • 0 Burda Style
  • Interested in the CreativeBug subscription....
And how many will you actually buy?
  • That remains to be seen.
Fess up--how many online classes have you purchased and never watched???  No judgments here!

p.s. Thanks for your comments on my Thanksgiving food post.  I wound up going to the gym and then the grocery store (tip: there is hardly anyone at the supermarket at 9:45am on TG morning).  I then made the soup again with less onions and remade the yams again too just in case it was a butter issue.  The soup was really good but it still gave me some indigestion;  Dad said it was fine for him.   I did not eat the cranberry sauce at lunch so it's not the cranberries, I didn't put butter in the yams the second time so it's not the yams; I had asparagus too but I doubt it's that; I think it's the onion in the soup.  Next time I'll make it without onions and see what happens!

Be well!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Can this soup be rescued?

So today I cooked up Thanksgiving dinner to take with me to Dad's tmw.  This is my first time making TG dinner, so I went with something I know well as the main dish--chicken noodle soup.  I have made this soup MANY times for myself with delicious results.  So I had it for dinner tonight but it is causing me really bad indigestion, WHY?    I didn't use many onions--could the celery be causing it?  I did use more celery than usual--but I also used more pasta than usual too.  Also I used white onion instead of my usual Spanish onion, would that make a difference?   This meal is what I'm taking with me to Dad's house tmw, I don't want my first meal cooked for TG to be ruined by indigestion and for him to tell all his friends/family how terrible my meal was.  Should I dilute the soup with a cup of water?  Two cups of water?  Remove as much of the celery as I can?  Can this soup be rescued??? I don't want to serve it but I don't have any thing else as the main entree--I made the cranberry sauce from scratch and I mashed up some yams with butter and I made the Libby's pumpkin pie, and I was planning on boiling some asparagus tmw morning and getting a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.   Do I wake up early tmw, skip the gym, and make it all over again with minimal onions and celery?  Was Thanksgiving designed to cause women tons of stress?    I kind of think so?   How can this soup be a wadder?  I told Dad about the soup and he suggested having Progresso chicken noodle soup in a can.  We are not having soup in a can for TG dinner, I am not letting that happen.

Please help!!!  And Happy Thanksgiving?

Update: maybe it was the cranberry sauce?  as per this?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Introducing "Can This Garment Be Saved?" Vol.1 Simplicity 1609

Simplicity 1609
Me in my office, on Friday, wearing S1609 with a gray shirt underneath.

What's going on here?
"Can This Garment Be Saved?" is just a blatent ripoff of the old "Can This Marriage Be Saved" column from Redbook (or was it Ladies Home Journal?) that I would read while waiting for my mother in the dentist office waiting room as a kid.

Why am I doing this?
I have quite a few garments that I have sewn and "completed" but never wear for whatever reason.  Since I put in all that time and effort, I thought it might be fun to start a periodic series (not committing to any specific time frame) featuring those garments and how they were joyously saved, or tragically not saved.

So what garment is up first?  When was it sewn?
Vol. 1 is for Simplicity 1609, which I sewed up in Sept of 2013.  I spent a boatload of time fitting it, and it looked great when I was done.

Where is the original post?
It's right here.

What is the problem?  
Well, this:
Can This Garment Be Saved? #1
*This* started happening soon after I sewed it.  I bought this knit fabric pre-fused and I'm not sure if it was poorly fused to begin with, or if it was because I made a mistake by prewashing and drying the fabric, or a combination of the two, but it was happening and spreading.  I tried to re-fuse it but without success--pressing again and again (last fall, with my regular iron, pre-Elna Press days) did not make a difference.
Can This Garment Be Saved? #1
This is another view...

So there it hung in my closet, forelorn and unworn.

So how did I fix it?
Recently I contemplated making it again, which I suppose is the "drastic" solution to fixing it, when the idea struck--why not just peel the fusing off of the entire garment and then cut the fused part out?    I mean, I wasn't wearing it anyway, so if it made it worse it wouldn't matter and if it made it meant I could wear it!!!

first, gently pull away the fusing
Gently pulling away the interfacing
carefully cutting out the fusing
Carefully cut out the interfacing with my bent-handle embroidery scissors

 I then pressed it with my Elna Press. BINGO! It worked.

All flat and smooth!

Bonus was the way I constructed this one....I had serged all the cut pieces and then sewn it together with my sewing machine instead of the other way around.   This means that the cut-out parts are totally hidden by the pressed-open seams, so it still looks neat on the inside, core!

Have I worn it since the fix?
Yes!  I removed the interfacing from the front of the dress right before the ASE and wore it at the ASE.  Then this week I removed the interfacing from the back skirt portion of the dress and Elna Pressed it again.

In my office on Friday
Isn't that better?  (LOL about that huge string hanging off my left hand--that's a RTW shirt underneath).

So what is the final verdict?  Has This Garment Been Saved?
This Garment Has Been Saved...until the interfacing starts peeling away from the collar, but let's hope that's a long time in the future.

Has this got you thinking about garments you can save???

Be well!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A favorite is a favorite: New Look 6843

Darlings, I'm not sure how many more of these NL 6843 skirts you can take, but here's another one.
The fabric is the other one of the two black and white knits I purchased at Paron's at the end of Sept with ATP.
The sides are matching-ish.

It's my favorite A-line skirt pattern, NL 6843. This time I used the front for both the front and the back with the darts folded out.    This fabric wasn't as stretchy as the last skirt so I used two fronts.  I guess I could have used the back but with only two of the darts folded out instead of all four.

I wound up cutting it on the bias for interest, but this did make me feel a bit nauseous.  Ha ha.


I haven't cut anything on the floor in a LONG time (like years) but this was the fast (and lazy) way for me to cut this out.  It was also a long time since I cut out fabric with scissors instead of my rotary cutter.

As far as hemming, I went with the 3 thread rolled hem.  Note to self: you, um, have to remove that left needle for the 3 thread rolled hem to look good--otherwise the serger is trying to loop around that left, threadless needle and the smaller the stitch width is, the worse it looks.  Sure, it's fine at a stitch length of 2, but anything smaller than that and it's not good.

I stabilized the hem with woven fusible interfacing.

This is what it looked like after one pass on the serger:
So I went around a second time to fill it in a bit more:
I might actually Sharpie marker the rest of those white spots out.  Did you know they make a Sharpie marker specifically for marking clothes?  Yes, they do!
My coworker was right; the basement of our office had the perfect backdrop with its white, black, and gray lines.

I wore it with a cardi last week.
The oops shot. I was trying to decide how to pose next when she took the picture.
Here are the others in the NL6843 series....

I wish you could smell this.

I did not sew last weekend because I read a novel and baked for the office Thanksgiving potluck. We have our potluck two Mondays before TG because a lot of people take the week of TG off, and this year that includes ME!

I make my cookies from scratch, using real butter, real sugar, real eggs, real vanilla extract...and almost twice as many walnuts as the Toll House recipe calls for.  I had not baked in a long time because of my huge work project and my coworkers were definitely appreciative.   My dessert was the first dessert to be completely eaten--all gone by the end of the afternoon.

Be well!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vogue 1351: what would you do?

Somehow this combo of silver sparkly belt and turquoise/teal reminds me of Christmas.

So I went through a little angst about what to wear to the McCalls Pattern Company tour for PR Day.  I mean, my favorite dress of theirs is the Vogue 1351 that I made last year, but I have worn that to several sewing events (ASE last year, PR weekend *and* MPB Day this year).  The red Vogue 8571 that I made this summer?  I wore that to the ASE this year.  The black McCalls 6518 ruffle dress?  I wore that to the ASE focus group last year.  How about Butterick 5559?  I wore that to PR weekend in 2012.  Do I need a spreadsheet to keep track of all this?  Ha!

So, with not a lot of time,  I sewed a second Vogue 1351 the weekend before the tour.  I already had the fitting issues and had saved all the changes I had made on the pattern itelsf.

I have been calling this color turquoise but Peter was right in calling it teal.  So this is my third turquoise/teal dress in a row.  The fabric is probably an acrylic sweater knit from Kashi, purchased during my visit with ATP in September of this year, and I have a little left over, maybe I'll try that Muse cardi.  I'm not a fan of the concept of digital patterns and all that taping, but if something is special I could be swayed, and how many pieces of paper could that pattern take?  Cough cough.
Back (it was windy)
Front with cardi and unfortunate shadows
Vogue 1351 done
Front with cream cardi

Another view of the neckline
the label for my V1351 dress
The tag, handstitched by me.
Without the belt
Side view without the belt

Back without the belt

Blind hem is mostly blind.
I serge the raw edge, mark the hem, press with the Elna press, and blind stitch it.

What did I learn the second time around?
So the first time I sewed this dress, it was a woven.  The armholes were a little higher than I like them to be.  This time, it's a sweater knit and the armholes wound up being low.

Both times I sewed the shoulder seam basically the way the instructions are written, which as Deepika and I discussed at PR Day, is a crazy way of sewing a shoulder seam.  Next time I think I will try this method. 

The lining is attached to the cowl which keeps the cowl from flipping out, clever!

But what about the lining?
This dress is lined and originally I tried a thin knit but the fabric was not slippery enough and the fabric was getting caught on the slip. So I took out that test lining....

Then I used the fabric from Gertie's slip kit.  That was the slipperiest fabric in my fabric stash and I merrily finished the dress.  The fabric and lining were not sticking together, but I wasn't wearing tights that day either.  It turns out the lining fabric is polyester and so it sticks to my tights which then creates lines on the outside of my dress which I, a crusader for a wrinkle-free world, do not like, and it also does not feel pleasant to have the lining sticking to my tights.  Secret revealed:  I carried a can of Static Guard with me during PR Day.  I wore the dress to work again yesterday but this time with a nylon half slip between the lining and my tights and that helped a bit.

Honestly, I am tempted to remove the skirt part (and just the skirt part) of the lining and replace it with stretch silk charmeuse that I bought at Kashi's last weekend or nylon tricot that I bought on earlier this week.


What would you do???
A.  Leave it.
B.  Replace the skirt portion of the lining with stretch silk charmeuse
C.  Replace the skirt portion of the lining with nylon tricot.

Be well!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

PR Day 2014 in NYC: 13 Years of Pattern Review

the ESB at night
The Empire State Building last night

Even though I live 80 minutes by bus from NYC, it is still fun to play tourist, stay at a hotel, turn off the lights and look out at the Big Apple.

The hotel I stayed at last night was 2 blocks from the ESB, so I had to get thisclose to the window, point my phone way up high, and shoot.

me and the ESB at night
My selfie with the ESB.

Looking straight out the window, just the base of the ESB could be seen.

But I digress!

I was in the city for Pattern Review's 13th anniversary party.   I decided to take the day off, do some shopping first.

Tomasa and I met up for lunch, then hit up Kashi's.
Kashi, Me, Tomasa
Has Kashi ever taken a bad photo? I don't think so.

I don't know the name of the other guy who works at Kashi's, but Kashi was telling him "this picture will be on the internet tonight!"  Sorry Kashi, it was about a day later.  I didn't take a pic of my pile of fabric!

I bought my dress fabric at Kashi's at the end of sept with ATP (dress is yet to be blogged--it's my second version of V1351).
I wanted to get more of this fabric, but it's all sold out. Later at the PR party I found out it was Mimi from Shop the Garment District who bought the rest of it!
zipper pull selection at Botani
Zipper pull selection at Botani.

Next was a stop at Botani's. I had to go there after hearing about Botani twice in one week at the end of September.   Kenneth King, in his leather class at the ASE, said Botani is where you get your special hardware. In the same week, Peter bought rib knit at Botani. So I had to check it out.
three custom zippers from Botani
The girl with the ponytail (middle) is my favorite!

Back at PR weekend in 2013 in SF, I bought a slew of zipper with decorative pulls for 25 cents each. I've run out of the 7" ones and if anyone knows where I can get more ready made zippers with decorative pulls, please let me know! The zippers at Botani are built from the ground up, so they wound up averaging almost $10 each.
Tomasa choosing buttons at Botani
Tomasa choosing buttons to match her purple and gray stripe from Kashi

Then it was time to head to the Financial District for the McCall Pattern Company tour, led by Kathy Wiktour and Meg Carter.  It was really cute because Kathy remembered me from the ASE.  "Oh Kyle!  What are you doing here?" she wanted to know.

The McCall Pattern Company Tour
This is the best room on the tour--all the fabric swatches are organized along one wall and notions are organized on another wall.  .  They make sure the home consumer can purchase the fabrics and notions.

The McCall Pattern Company Tour
This room was pretty special too--it's the photography studio!
The McCall Pattern Company Tour
The Shoe Wall, and accessory area  (The Shoe Wall deserves capitalization, don't you think?)
The McCall Pattern Company Tour
This table has all the "on loan" accessories and shoes, whereas the rack contains their own items.
The McCall Pattern Company Tour
And here's where they take the pictures
The McCall Pattern Company Tour
This gives you an idea of the size of our group

Overall it was really neat to hear about the process and see the process the patterns go through from start to finish.  Producing patterns is a massive undertaking, larger than I ever imagined.  And what I think is great about tours like this is it shows that people are behind all of this.  Yes, it's a corporation but real human beings (who have feelings too!) are doing all this work and I'm grateful that they let us visit their offices and see what it's all about.  Also, there were goodie bags with a pattern and Vogue Patterns magazine inside.  Thank you McCalls!

Then it was time for the PR party at Elliott Berman.  The theme was dressing through the decades.
There were games and prizes....

Charades onlookers
Charades guessers (Peter's rendition of a pin cushion was excellent)
party balloons
Balloons and a disco ball
the wine from the decades
Wine through the decades
Deepika cuts the cake
Delicious PR chocolate birthday cake (real buttercream and chocolate shavings, yum!!!)
me and Tomasa
Tomasa and me (the topstitching on her Vogue jacket is gorgeous!)
Peter and moi
Peter in his hot-off-the-sewing-machine dress shirt and me
me and Deepika
Deepika in her pretty stretch lace PR Summer Street dress and me. As always, thank you for founding PR Deepika!

Today I shopped....

Elastic in many colors at Pacific Trimming
Colorful elastic at Pacific Trimming

I am going to contemplate this elastic selection some more. These would make great exposed waistbands.
Paron's fabric I bought today
The fabric I bought at Paron's today. This will be made into a dress.
I bought a few other things as well but they shall remain unphotographed for now.
ESB in daylight
The ESB in the dawn's not-so-early light.

Be well!