Friday, May 30, 2008

Birtthdays and chatter

Happy Birthdays to
  • my dear Husband, who yesterday celebrated his 54th year on this planet.

  • My Brother, who is turning the big 5 - 0 today!! whooo hoooo.

  • And to my friend Carolyn, who's old enough to tell how old she is, if she wants you to know it!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend Carolyn.

I truly haven't fallen off the face of the planet - I've been busy writing material for The Great Coat SewAlong blog, and have not been getting much else done.

I intended to close it at 75 - however, I evidently have a hard time saying no and it is now max'd out at 100 participants. 100 is all that blogger will allow on a group blog.

If you want to see what the many who are participating are making, plans are up on individual blogs now all over the net. I imagine most of these bloggers will be sharing their process all the way through.
I've decided that after the sewing is done, in late Sept, early Oct, I'll go ahead and let the participants edit what they want, I'll do some editing, and then I'll go ahead and publish the whole blog as "public" view. So you'll be able to see it then.

It's the best I can do my friends.

I noticed yesterday that Gorgeous Fabrics has listed all her coatings on sale in honor of TGCSA -
and you don't need to be a participant to take advantage of her sale - so scoot on over there if you need some coating wool.

Sunday is June 1.
In the real world that means picnics and summer fun (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere (sorry Donni, Vicki, KBenco, et al).
However, in the world of sewing blogs and message boards it means
New Contests and Sew alongs to start sewing for.

are you sewing for the June Capsule Contest? 4 garments and an accessory, they must work together in some way, and nothing can be black. if you are, and you're blogging about it, leave a comment, so that I can come see your plans. I still have to figure out my 4th garment! hmmm.

over at Pattern Review 2 contests for sewists at opposite ends of the spectrum are starting.
First, there is the Beginner and Advanced Beginner contest. I'm managing that one. If you Think you're a beginner or adv beginner, then you probably are, ...come on over and join up and get something made. (don't get all hung up on how many techniques you can do and la la la know if you're a beginner or not).
And for the advanced/expert there is the MyPattern contest, managed by Debbie Cook, (who's interviewing today for a new job, send good vibes her way).
I'm participating in that one.
I had thought to make something for myself, but with the coat sewalong to keep ahead of, (I'm starting 3 to use up some of my better stash and to get samples for all the techniques I want to illustrate), and with 2 trips to Michigan planned for the month -
I've got a shower to attend for my future daughter in law - woooo hooo0,

and the 4 pieces I'm planning to make for the capsule, um, I think I'm going to take the "easy" way out and do a design and build for my dsd#2 dress for the August Wedding. Dsd#1 dress is muslined below, dsd #2 wants a dress that requires a little less draping - the bodice will be similar but the skirt is just a straight gathered rectangle of fabric, and she wants hers in chiffon.
I may be jinxing the process by saying this, but I think it's going to be fairly straightforward and easy. (Ha! just watch the fates slap me down for that one)

pictures next time, promise.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Memorium

We watched the annual Memorial Day concert in Washington DC last night, and Sarah Brightman performed this moving Requiem.

Although Memorial Day isn't really for another 4 days, because we're celebrating it here in the USA today, I bring you this from Sarah Brightman and Youtube.
Take a moment.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

June Capsule Contest

I'm signed on to participate in the June Capsule Contest that Elizabeth is sponsoring, over on Stitchers Guild. Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics is also contributing a prize - fun stuff.

I'm not doing this one for the win, but rather as the impetus to get 4 pieces done that work together, to take with me to Traverse City at the end of June. The "twist" for this contest is, "no black", and consequently, there are some really pretty colorful wardrobes being planned. Right now though, my preliminary favorite is one by Zoubida that is all white. Incredible fabrics she's gotten in Montreal. I'm rambling...
I'm going to sew up a 4 pc capsule using some fuschia/orange silks I've had in stash for varying amounts of time. The jacquard dupioni is the oldest piece, purchased at Jackman's here in St Louis, before I moved here. So it's approx age is 8 years. I added the solid pink silk/linen while at Eunice Farmer Fabrics (now out of business) in 2005, and then added the burnout chiffon in December of 2006 when Winston's (now out of business) closed their doors.

My youngest son is getting married in October to a wonderful young lady that he's been dating for years. There is a shower for her June 28 in TC that I'm going up for. I plan to take this bright 4 pc wardrobe up with me then.

Click to see the picture larger
I also really like the jacket that Lucia at Cafe Couture just finished. See it here
This is the silk/linen that I plan to use for a jacket.
Jacket Considerations: It's got to work with the neckline on both dresses.

I love the jacket that Paco made, the one in white on this picture. (Picture used with permission from Paco). Notice how he's drafted the raglan sleeve. The other 2 in play are Vogue patterns. The Badgley Mischka is a current pattern. The Guy Laroche pattern is one sent to my by KarenT. I love it, but the more I look at it, the more I think it'll best be reserved for something more for fall or winter.

Pattern: New Look 6799
I fell in love with this pattern the moment I saw it on Linda's blog, several weeks ago, and ran right out and bought the pattern. Good thing - it looks as if it's out of stock on the website. Didn't this happen before with a Simplicity number, they ran out because the demand was so high?
Then last week Erica got it made up already, and it fulfills its promise - it's a Great dress. I'll also do mine with the straight skirt.
See what I mean though, about needing to make sure the jacket collar will work with the dress?
And, it's cool enough in TC that I will need a jacket over a sleeveless number like this.

This next dress is an OOP Vogue pattern, that is easy breezy to wear, and I'll get a lot of use from it here, more than in TC. I already have the slip dress in solid pink cut, for under the chiffon burnout.

I thought about breaking the chiffon into a top and skirt, for the purposes of the contest, then I had a reality check. I really need to stay true to the vision of what I want with these fabrics. So that leaves me with another piece to come up with, and an accessory.
Funny thing: I went into another Fabric store here in St Louis two weeks ago, and right in front she had a bolt of the dupioni jacquard. The one that's 8 yrs old. !! She also has a shantung coordinate - more deep pink, less orange, and I may just pick up a piece of that shantung for my 4th piece.
I love it that Elizabeth, in establishing her "rules" is being so lenient as to what constitutes a wardrobe - the dresses will count as bottoms, the jacket as a top. She basically just wants 4 pieces that coordinate and an accessory.
Secret (not so secret), I want to Bead something for my accessory. But what?
I've never in my life done any beading, except to embellish fabric.

Eliz asked about the wedding schedule in the comments: it is confusing.
My brother-in-law is getting married (for the first time at age 44) at the end of August. His bride has asked my dsd's to stand up. They get to choose what they're wearing, only stipulation is that they wear the same color. They've chosen blue, and I'm working on the designs now.
My son is getting married October 25, and sooner or later I'm going to post more about the dress I'm making for myself. Later. not sooner.

This month, in addition to the JCC I'm planning in this post, I've got the muslins to make for the Great Coat Sewalong, a jacket or two to finish for my sister, and I'm the contest manager on Pattern Review for the beginner contest. I need to give some of my time to that. I love mentoring beginners. There is such excitement and raw energy.

So, any opinions on the jackets?
or an accessory I could bead, as a rank newbie to beading?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Did someone say something about a fan club??

Oh ye of little faith - although I guess many of you did express some optimism.
Most of you thought me crazier than a loon.
Well, I'm here to tell you, not only did I get it down, but she's so in love with the concept design that she actually danced around the house Tuesday evening, wearing the muslin, singing
"I feel pretty"
I ask you, who feels "pretty" in a muslin?
Safe to say - she loves it.
I've got Work to do on it, before it meets silk - the fabric isn't long enough in places to make it to where it needs to be sewn into seams, but that's just technical stuff.
I need to DO something about that grain on the skirt. May need to sit down and redraft the skirt pieces, so that I retain the shape but do better on the grain.
So Tuesday evening, after she gave the ok on the design, I constructed a cotton broadcloth inner corselet, with spiral steel boning, to give support to the bodice. That's the black that you see peeking out from the top of the bodice in the pics above. In the pic of the dress on her, below, that inner corselet hadn't been constructed yet - makes a world of difference.

So, while I was constructing the support for the bodice, I had Katie lay out the pattern for a "game day" dress for herself. She's going to be a senior at UGA, and is in a sorority. The girls all wear dresses to the football games in the fall, and Georgia's colors are red and black. She chose this fabric a little over a year ago, but I didn't get it made into anything, since we never got a style agreed upon that would meet her criteria for what she'll wear and would work with the weight of the fabric. It's a fairly beefy cotton with 3% lycra.

When she saw this vintage pattern in my stash - she claimed it. Once she had it laid out, I checked the layout, ok'd it, then she cut the dress out. I got up Wed AM and had the dress all constructed except the collar before she left to drive back to school, at 9AM. She'd probably have my head knowing that I posted this pic - early morning, no makeup, etc. I think the dress is darling on her, and she really likes it. If I were to make it again though, she wants it brought in a bit on the shoulder. This one has facings already understitched and tacked in place.
In laying it out, she ended up moving the dress front 3 times before reaching an acceptable placement of those big flowers. They seem random, but it took some doing so that there weren't any embarrassing bulls-eyes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sewing for others

Sewing for others presents challenges unique from those of sewing for oneself.
Especially when sewing for ones children (or stepchildren), and especially if they are teens or college age.
The ability to articulate style elements, to communicate preferences, are not well developed in many people who don't sew. That inability gets exaggerated when those trying to convey an idea are your offspring.

I have committed to making the dresses for my two stepdaughters, who're scheduled to stand up in my brother-in-law's wedding at the end of August.
They get to choose their own style, and fabric. They need not wear the same style dress (phew!). The Only stipulations the bride (my future SIL) put on them was that a. they be the same color, and b. they do not choose a pastel.
Easy enough.
Of course, the girls have chosen styles that require different drape characteristics, therefore, we can't use the SAME fabric. We need Same color, Different fabric.
I was thrilled to find a source that has many different fabrications in the same colorways. NY Fashion Center fabrics.
(totally off point, but they have foldover elastic in something like 90 colors)

I ended up spending $30 on fabric swatches. They ended up choosing Sapphire Blue, color 229.
( note that the color on the monitor and the color of the actual fabric swatch are quite different.)

I had Katie home last week for 3 days. We measured, and poured over designs and discussed endlessly what Exactly she wants this dress to look like.
I told her I need pictures. We have a collage of pictures (see above), but None of them are Exactly what she wants.
The real problem:
She's seen "exactly" what she wants. In a magazine. When she was in high school. Four years ago.
but she doesn't remember Exactly what it looks like, just that it was "perfect".

I've got one muslin mostly done, and I'm doing another one this afternoon. She gets back here tonight, then has to leave again Wednesday AM. So I've got to get this down, and right, tomorrow.
She's going to Ecuador for a summer foreign study program, and I won't have her for fitting again til the day before the wedding. And then we'll all be in a hotel in northern IL.

Wish me luck.

Lauren is here for the summer. I'll tackle Lauren's dress in July!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can a Pattern Collection be Eye Candy?

I promised a picture of my pattern collection...
Pattern collection: Coats

The Coat sew-along blog is set up, I set a limit of 75 participants but exceeded that, and now we're limited out by blogger, which only allows 100 participants in a blog.

I've closed the sew-along to viewers outside the members, however when all the sewing is done, plan to open it again for viewership. Look for it around the end of September, beginning of October.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

of coats and boats

Wow, what a fabulous response to making a coat beginning in July!

Because there is so much interest, and there are some incredible seamstresses here who will also have great information to add, I'm going to go ahead and set up another site specifically dedicated to this sewalong.

In other news, (and the reason that I've been running up to Michigan several times lately):
It's no secret that eventually we'll be selling our home and moving onto a boat, to become citizens of the blue water cruising community. Well my friends, this week we're one step closer to that dream. This week we've become the proud owners of an IP45 sailboat.
IP 45 1
My husband still has some years left in the working world, so for awhile this will only be our summer/weekend/vacation retreat, on Lake Michigan.
Eventually though, we'll be boarding her and sailing through the Great Lakes, out the St Lawrence Seaway, and into the blue yonder.
to answer the most often asked questions:
yes, I'll continue blogging and
yes I'll have internet access and
yes I'll be taking a sewing machine, and
yes, I'll be knitting more than sewing.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sewing with wool in July??

first up, a progress shot on something no one even knows I'm knitting yet. The log cabin blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting

some knitting - not impressive, garter stitch. Yarn, Elspeth Lavold Silky Wool

We all know Summerset collects Bridal patterns - so do I, but not the extent she does. She's got some fabulous ones.
anyway, someday I'll photograph those and it'll be a treat to see.

I also collect Coat patterns. I should go downstairs and get more of my coat patterns, just to create a pretty collage. (later, I'll do it later)
Right now I only have 6 of them up here. There is a reason.

I love making coats. Love wearing coats. Don't live in a climate here that is especially conducive to wearing them - it doesn't get really cold enough here for the coat collection I'd like to have. In fact when moving here I gave away something like 10 coats. I digress.

I also have a collection of coating wools. A fabulous collection, and while I've given 4 of them away in the last 12 months, I'd kind of like to get some of what I have left made up.

There has been a discussion about making a coat lately on Pattern Review, started by Michelle who lives right here about 15 miles +/- from me.

Anyway...I have a tendency to want to start a garment once we're in the middle of wearing season. With a coat - that would leave me finishing it, just in time to put it into warm-weather storage.
So, I've been giving some thought to starting a coat in June, and then beginning in July, posting once a week, to run a guided sew-along for making a coat.
I know most everyone I know will be wanting to be sewing cottons and linens and even some silks in July and August, but imagine devoting some time each week, for say 8 to 10 weeks, and having a beautiful coat finished BEfore cold weather hits. I'm not talking full-time sewing a coat - I'm talking a few hours a week.
Bonus is, right now there are some incredible coating wools for SALE around the net. Especially check out Ann's selection at Gorgeous Fabrics and Michaels.

What the above patterns all have in common are princess seams - all except one have shoulder princess seams. Shoulder princess seams have a couple of real advantages when making a coat. The vertical lines are flattering to almost every figure type, AND they are the easiest to adjust for fitting.
I'll be posting prelim info as far as materials and what is required long before starting to post construction info.
I know Chris and Michelle are game. Anyone else interested? If there is enough interest we can set up a blogger blog just like the knitting KAL's for everyone to post to. And if it's just the three of us, a sew-along on PR is all we'll need - except that if I'm going to guide it I still want a blog to post pics and directions to.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

in interlude, just for fun

another meme is going around blogland, and this time, Mardel tagged me.

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and acknowledge who tagged you.

Closest book is the one I've been reading for a week, Here Be Dragons, by Sharon Kay Penman

oh dear, not a quote I would have chosen, but oh well... conversation between John, King of England, and 14 yr old Isabelle of Angouleme, whom he marries:
"They are green, no? I've never owned much jewelry. I do have a betrothal ring from Hugh. But I supposed I must give it back now, must I not?"

I'm going to tag Brigitte, Birgitte, Melissa, Carrie, and LauraLo (in honor of her 1st place win in the Timmel SWAP

And did you notice, if you sew and were following the Timmel SWAP - not a single one of the five top place winners were from the USA? Interesting.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

oh the plans we can make

Silk linen in Fuschia, Silk dupioni jacquard in fuschia and orange, and
Silk chiffon burnout in fuschia and orange.
Silk for capsule wardrobe 4 garments

I'm going to participate in the capsule wardrobe sew-along contest on Stitchers Guild beginning June 1 - making a jacket, dress, top and bottom (I think a skirt but maybe capri) using the above fabrics.
See Carolyn's blog for details on rules.
I have ideas for the jacket - know that it will be short, and easy to wear. Not oversize.
I'm thinking the dress will be the sheath I like so much. The chiffon may end up a blouse, may end up a skirt - maybe a skirt and top. I have to figure it out.

With nothing so much as time on my hands, I've been planning projects right and left.
I'm sitting in my little nest I've built in the last 2 weeks in the corner of my living room - surrounded by patterns, fabric swatches, yarn and knitting books, some hand stitching projects, and many magazines. It's an easy recipe for building planned projects and dreaming up garments. And schemes.

Today I picked up this magazine
The above mentioned contest requires an accessory. I think I might bead something.'re thinking there is enough on my plate? Hush!
I know I have sewing to finish from the SWAP wardrobes - lots. My decision at this point is to finish the 4 garments on my machine table at the moment, then proceed by making 1 - 2 garments per month to add to it.
I'm going to get some sewing done beginning this week, beginning tomorrow.

June 1 I'll begin on sewing 4 garments for me.

And, stay tuned tomorrow, Tuesday at the latest for the other project/scheme I'm hatching.
Trying to get my ducks in a row right now, before I go public with it. Suffice it to say, you'll have an opportunity to participate.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


It's time for me to write a blog post, although I must confess there isn't anything of interest going on here. I've been catching up on my blog reading, and internet browsing, and
I've been re-reading one of my favorite books Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman. The book discussion forum group I belong to on Ravelry is going to begin discussing this book next week, and I've really been enjoying the read. I have my original copy from 1993 when it was first released in paperback, but I understand that it's being reprinted and the release date is set for May 27. I highly recommend this book if you haven't read it.

I'd like to thank everyone, from the bottom of my heart, for all the well wishes, and emails and notes I've been getting.
Update: I'm ok. The headache lasted a little over a week. But it's mostly gone now. I haven't tried knitting anything yet, I know better than to stress my wrist, since when I do start knitting again I'd like to be able to continue. I'm going to try knitting for an hour this afternoon and see how it goes. The tough thing will be to put the needles down after an hour.
The spine thing is a different story. It's going to take a long time to heal. I've tried twice to get out and do things, to get up and do things - small things, and twice I've ended up back on the couch and back on pain meds. The temptation to whine is great. In fact, I wandered onto Wendy Barnard's blog Knit n Tonic yesterday, hadn't been there in a long time, and I could totally sympathize with her lament about feeling sorry for yourself. She was writing about sitting outside, looking in on the yoga class, knowing she couldn't participate. Yup, I get it.
But sitting here complaining isn't going to change it, nor is it going to endear me to anyone.
Know that I am ok, and because I've read enough to scare the poop out of me about not healing well and correctly from this little incident, I'm making myself actually take it easy, as prescribed.

On to some fun stuff:
There is some discussion on the Sharing and Inspiration board on Stitchers Guild about doll clothes - specifically American Doll doll clothes.
Got me to thinking about that small bag I've toted around for all of my adult life, containing my Barbie doll and the only clothes that mattered enough to me to keep. I *know* that the original made for Barbie by Mattel clothes have some value on the ebay market. But those aren't the ones I kept, they didn't mean a hill of beans to me. What I kept were the clothes my mom and my Aunt Dorothy made for my Barbie. Even as a little kid I wasn't much into dolls per se - but I was a little fashionista, even back then.
My Barbie had an awesome wardrobe to go with her awesome life.
Upon pulling these out, I thought "I should wash and press these" - and maybe I will, but right now you're just getting the out-of-the-bag look at they highlights.

Barbie had two Matching coat and dress sets - and both were made to match clothes of mine. I very specifically remember the orange coat and the dress with the tulip print. My dress wasn't nearly as sophisticated as Barbies, but isn't it wonderful??

The 4 piece crochet lounging outfit was created by my mom, I'm quite sure.

My Aunt Dorothy, who isn't that much older than me, knit Barbie a whole wardrobe of fab party dresses. that's angora at the hem of two of those dresses. Barbie had a halter dress, a couple of strapless dresses and even a Jackie Kennedy sheath dress. Below is the 2 piece knit suit that I believe equates to the Chanel suit. And isn't Barbie's Crocheted ski outfit just The Best!?!
Truly, I'm not quite sure why there are several little pair of panties for under the skirt, but there they are.

In the bag too was my Girl Scout Sash. Notice the sewing badge right next to the cooking badge? I think the sewing badge might have been the first one I earned.

So, 'fess up. Do you have a little bag of nostalgic goodies you've been toting around with you all your adult life?