Saturday, May 18, 2013

NOT getting things done

So much for a real post this week. I had to make an emergency eye doctor appointment on Monday morning. You know it must be bad when you decide to take two three year olds and a five year old to the eye doctor at 9am is better than waiting for a babysitter to magically appear. I have been wearing contacts since I was twelve. I have never ever had a problem. The doctor always says not to sleep in them but they never say why, just that's its bad. Weeeeelll, I have been sleeping in them like 4 days a week the past couple weeks. Then one night I take them out and my left eye is on fire. It felt like I had a railroad spike in it. I put my contacts back in and it was tolerable. Come to find out that wearing them that much did indeed do harm. The left eye had a patch of skin rubbed off from excessive wear. Great, so now I have to wear glasses for a week. I never wear my glasses because my vision is so bad that I don't see well in them. I get super nauseous and it looks like everything is slanted downhill. Throw in three small kids and you have a week long annoying migraine. No sewing unfortunately. I'm lucky I haven't gouged my eyes out from sheer annoyance. Even typing this is driving me crazy. Come Monday ill post some goodies and about my new Featherweight.... Oh yes, I'm a new proud owner of a 1946 Singer 221-1.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Still here

I'm not dead y'all, just really behind. Since the weather warmed up, we have been going crazy trying to fix the horrid landscaping that the previous owners of the house did. We still need to pave the driveway (if you can imagine living in the NE without a paved driveway for shoveling snow for four years! Seriously!). Anyway, I have completed a couple projects that I hope to have posted by the end of the week.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a great pic of my new baby; a Silvertone Hi Fi system I got from Craigslist for a song. It sounds amazing!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The humble overcast stitch

I have long neglected my overcast foot. It gives a "serged" finish to seams without using a serger. The stitch on my new machine actually does a double straight stitch and overcasts the ends while my old Brother overcast stitch was just a single stitch and then overcast the ends. I am probably the last person to figure this out but I'll put it out there in case anyone else has been neglecting their overcast foot too.

While messing around with the tension on my thin cotton camp shirt arm holes, I realized that turning the tension to the highest setting while making the width and length smaller proportionally created an amazing effect. It actually flipped the raw edge toward the seam as it overcast it. This means I have a "hemmed" and serged finish on my armpits. No one likes a frayed armpit hole ticketing them. I wish I had figured this out before i got within 6 inches of finishing the last sleeve. I haven't obviously tried it on different fabrics but I think it will have a similar effect. The only trick I found in getting to flip was to push the raw edge up like in doing a narrow hem rather than flush with the foot. It may end up creating a shell stitch instead of neatly flipping the edge over.

If anyone tries this please let me know how it worked out. I'm curious to know what else this awesome little foot can do!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Do you tissue? And Singer 66s

I usually tissue fit a pattern after I measure it just to make sure it will fit and to see if I like where I set the hem line. Some people think its a total waste of time but I like to do it. I also like to look at it for a couple days and see if I get inspired to change anything and to think about what fabric I want to use. Sometimes after a couple days of looking at it I realize that I don't want to make it or that I really can't decide on a fabric.

In the case of Butterick 6409, I'm not sure how this will look. The fabric is a very light mint green with a deep teal and orange and brown stripe. It's an Oxford material, like for men's shirts, but I thinks it will work nicely for a dress. My concern lies in the stripe. The pattern cover shows a lass in a white and red stripe dress. I love it but would never actually make a white dress. I've got too much toddler running around for a stain magnet like a white dress. I thought about color blocking but the back is cut as one, the raglan sleeve front doesn't continue to the back. Thoughts?

I'd also like to welcome another machine to the family! Hello Singer 66-16, made in 1955, and snagged off Craigslist. For a whopping $30 I got a cosmetically lovely machine, all attachments, a buttonholer, and lots of grime (free of charge). I've scooted it in the living room and have been doing my best to de-gunk it while watching tv. It needed lots of oil. The wiring and motor seem to be new (within the last 10 years or so) and the belt is brand new. The cabinet is in need of some love. I'm thinking of using epoxy countertop paint on the flip out portion of the table so it will be super durable and slick and the rest of the cabinet will just get regular paint.

Right now I'm working on my version of the perfect wallet. That will be a post sometime this week. Its nautical peeps! I'm moving into my sewing room (eeeeeeeee!) and have some stuff floating around (i.e. it's lost). More to come....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's slowly looking like a room

It looks like a room if you only concentrate on a 3'x3' space. I also stopped off at my favorite fabric shop. It's like Salvation Army for crafting stuff. It's run by volunteers and the proceeds go to a senior living center to help them maintain their independence. I went specifically for fabric to complete some projects for Lorna's 3rd birthday party but of course came away with more tid bits of joy. Lorna wants a kitten theme party too (Oy!). I'm doing a vintage kitten theme to make it a little less obnoxious. I think it's going to end up being really pretty cute. The kitty wreath will end up in her room when the party is over too. I'm going to do each cat in a different fabric. I'm also going to try to do a couple buntings. The party won't be till the end of April, so if I start now I can do a little every night and have it actually finished BEFORE the party (admittedly a first).

The big wad of yellow fabric is 5.25 yards of 80s does 50s wonderfulness. I'm thinking of doing the McCalls 5327 with a big full skirt. I'm thinking of also doing black piping on the collar and black buttons. It probably won't be warm enough to wear without leggings and a cardi but I'm boycotting 'swinter'. For everyone not familiar with western New York winters, they are very unpredictable. The spring/winter season is horrible. It will be 60 degrees one day and literally snowing 5" the next. Anywho, I hope everyone else can enjoy your approaching spring!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's NOT Jess....

I'm not having much luck with my New Girl dress. After I made up the bodice I realized that I either traced the wrong size (not likely) or the ease was wrong on the envelope. It technically fit. If I didn't want to consider breathing or putting my arms down. The armpits are waaaaaaay to high and the shoulder straps are to short (and I have very narrow slim shoulders!). While the green bodice is nice, I really think it needs to be red or blue. I may just scrap the whole thing altogether. I wasn't really digging the scoop back.

What if i used McCalls 5327 for the top? Jess wore a really cute yellow dress with this style bodice before. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time coming to a solution that I like. It's a silly v-neck bodice for globs sake!

Also, I'm having a hard time getting my sewing room settled. I haven't even fit my table in here yet.... Or finished the wall.... I do know its gonna be coral!! Yipppeeeee!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Among other things

I have finally started to unpack all my treasures and necessary items (likes plates and underwear!) and it's been arduous at best. We were without a washer and dryer for about six days. Yeah, Mt. Wash-Me was awful. The only room that hasn't been painted is my sewing office. My hubbs had to build a wall between two livings rooms that were connected with a pass through. One side of the wall is done and painted but the other side in my room hasn't been finished yet. Ugh. That means that I have tons of stuff just floating around in that room and its making me nuts. I had to put up a baby play yard gate to keep the tots from "helping" me clean it up. I'm not sure what I want to paint it either. Initially I was thinking of doing the grey that's used throughout the house with an aqua strip through it but why not go crazy right? So now I'm thinking of doing coral in there with aqua curtains or the aqua from the sun room with a red curtain.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Why is it that men always seem to rip gigantic holes in the crotch of their pants? I have to talked to several girlfriends and they say their hubbies do it to. Seriously, do guys walk around doing deep lunges all day?

Anywho, I had to fix a pair for the hubbs today. I have fixed them before but they always end up ripping again so I needed a new approach. I used #37, a nifty little joining stitch (I think). It worked too! I added a piece of navy cotton bottom weight. It felt like a super thick and spongy cotton. Almost like twill but woven more loosely and its thicker. I started on an outside edge to anchor the fabric and just went in a square all the way around and working my way in to the center. Then I trimmed the little bits of extra fabric on the inside. Dave said he was super happy with the way they turned out. Now I get to finish 4 more pairs. Yea me...

Update on the Jess Dress: yeah, not going so well. The armpits are really high and the bust is too tight. There is no ease at all. There should have been 1.5" of ease. I'm going to have to measure the pieces, I think their ease measurements were off.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"It's Jess!" - Simplicity 1803

The New Girl dress is off and running; well, walking anyway. I went ahead and just picked the v neck version. Unfortunately I have to either finish it tomorrow or Thursday night because we are moving baby! That's right, we sign tomorrow and start painting Friday! I added those weird little satin stitch polka dots along the princess seams. It's flashy for sure. The pattern is coming along nicely though. The shoulders were confusing. The directions were written badly.... Although I should point out that I only used the second half of the directions on one sheet. I was rushed and trying to sew between making the kids dinner and not letting their grubby hands touch my machine. I hate sewing at the dining table.....

And we got a doggy photo bomb.... Hello Mr. Gus!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The New Girl dress

Like many people, I love the show The New Girl. Zoey D wears the most amazing outfits. I actually found a great website that shows all of her outfits and where you can either buy it or buy something similar ( I am besotted with the dress she wore in the Pepperwood episode. It also happens that the dress will be available on ModCloth for a tidy sum of $300 ( Um, yeah right. I have been wracking my brain as how to recreate this with a pattern I have on hand. The bodice looks like a take on a princess seam gone angular and the skirt is just box pleats. I have this fabric in my stash that I love. I have about 4-5 yards of it and couldn't think of how I could make a dress from it bc it is rather busy. But once I saw Zoey's dress I found my muse.

I want to do a nice grass green on top and use the little people on the bottom. I also wasn't sure I wanted to do sleeves or not. I wear dresses all year and add cardis/leggings during the winter. The little people fabric is also a bit sheer for a bottom so I have to line it or wear a slip. I'm pretty lazy so I'll just wear a slip. Of the four patterns I picked (for bodice only), I'm very interested in the Butterick. It's a halter neck but it has a back which I am more comfortable with. I need to be able to wear a bra. Strapless bras and little kids does not a winning combination make. It also has the wrap ties that the original dress had. The vintage advance also strikes my fancy. it wont need to be lined BUT i will have to grade it down at least one size. ill have to measure it to be sure. it will probably have to go down two sizes. Thats more work. So dear friends, what say you?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tie one on

Here it is! I took out the gathers too. It just wasn't feeling it. I added some random red trim to the bottom to make it stick out a bit, almost like sticking horsehair braid in the hem of a skirt. I used an awesome decorative stitch that I though mimics polka dots and added it to the waistband. The ties are some vintage poly cotton stuff I had from Mary Sue. You can also see in the corner by the ties that I ran out of grey thread. How does this happen! Argh! Thankfully I used the bobbin on top and just stuck in some white for the bobbin thread. You can't even tell on the top. On the right hand side of the apron I added a towel loop. I love towel loops, you just wipe your hands and not worry about ruining your apron, which admittedly kinda defeats the purpose of an apron but hey, who wants to muck a pretty apron.

The construction is pretty straightforward. No pattern was used, the skirt is just a rectangle that was pleated to fit the size waistband I wanted. I made the waistband like double fold bias tape (double folded) so the decorative stitching had something to hold on to. I did narrow hems on the sides but the bottom was a little different. I didn't want to hem it then add the trim because it would have been too bulky. I finally decided on just stitching the trim right sides together with the straight edge of the trim on top of apron edge. Then I just flipped it under so the raw edge would be encased between the trim and the wrong side of the apron. Is probably only an 1/8" wide which was tricky but it worked and its a tidy finish. It turned out so cute that I almost kept it and and made a new one to give away. Maybe once I get moved into the new house (hurray for Wednesday!) I'll make a new one in my new kitchen colors. I love vintage matchy matchy!

And on a completely unrelated note, I'll be tying one on any minute. There is a huge glass of wine waiting for me while I watch this silly "snow storm" float by. Anything less than 3' in a day isn't really a storm. It's upstate NY people, snow happens!