Archive for February 2015

Snow Day

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Louisiana in the United States is not accustom to snow.  When it does snow, it is marvelous and essentially everything comes to a grinding halt.  Growing up in the North, snow or ice did not slow me down.  Of course, Northerners are prepared for the havoc of winter with plows and salt.  In the South, it may snow or ice once every couple years.  As such,  the winter storm barreled in producing sleet, then, snow.  Text quickly arrived informing us that we had no school -- unexpected snow days -- bliss.
I made lots of yummy soups and fresh homemade bread.  We played outside -- southern style.  That meant sledding on plastic tops down very small hills, playing baseball with snowballs and building a teeny tiny snowman.  Regardless, my son had a huge smile stuck to his face the whole entire time.  When we got cold, we retreated to the warm house for hot chocolate and a movie.  While Jules and Mr. Chemist watched, I sewed on the dining room table.  Absolute fun!
 I did get a couple of projects done.  I subscribe to Seamwork magazine and the latest issue featured the patterns called Geneva and Florence.   These were a bra and underwear combo.  I was intrigued and thought "What the heck!?" -- stuck inside with several inches of snow and ice was the perfect time to try something new, something way out of my comfort zone.  I ended up making both in materials that I had on hand to check fit.

I was skeptical that a) I could do it and b) I would like the finish product.  I was surprised at the ease of construction of the bra and the fit wasn't too off either.  It was not bad for my first attempt.  It makes me want to try the Watson or Gertie's slip (bought this pattern on sale a while back).
I also spent sometime cutting several new projects including my favorite: the Emery dress.   Isn't this fabric fabulous!?!  It has been lovingly in my stash for a while and I have a recruiting event in March.   I figured as an atmospheric chemist this would be a perfect dress to wear to recruit potential atmospheric science students.

When the snow melts (tomorrow) and it dries up (sometime next week -- thunderstorms are headed our way!), I'll get pictures of my latest finished project (No!! --not the bra or underwear but the Piper top).  Hope you are staying cozy!

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Geek Chic February: Laptop Sleeve

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Yippee! I got a new laptop (badly needed for work and it doesn't hurt to have for blogging!).  A MacBook Air.  That means this gal needs a laptop sleeve.  Of course, I headed to Pinterest for inspiration but was instantly bummed.  A laptop sleeve is simple -- what a couple of rectangles, maybe a zipper or buttons.  A lot of what I found was quilting inspired.  Please do not think I am dissing the quilters but rectangles a'plenty does not push my buttons.  In fairness, I have never quilted.  Maybe one day I'll find those rectangles sexy.

Experiment: 
Laptop Sleeve

Materials:
Red Flannel Scrap
Girl Superhero Scrap
Batting
Black Gutermann Thread

Procedure:
I did find a laptop sleeve that was chic and simple to sew.  The Reinvention portfolio.This is easy-peasy and can produce a clutch made of fancy leather or laptop sleeve made of scraps or a business card holder or ...dare I say that the possibilities are numerous!?!
After scouring Pinterest, I decided to make this portfolio because I had most of the material and it was easy to sew.  For me, that meant if it did not work out as a laptop sleeve, I was not invested heavily in time or fabric.   Female superhero cotton fabric, if I recall, was purchased to accent an Emery dress with a collar and bow (I still have enough to do it!). Another plus was this a great stash project -- the only thing I didn't have was the batting -- this was easily solved with a quick run to the craft store.  I traced a rectangle onto the red flannel.  That became my "pattern".  A couple of folds and a few straight line stitches and I had a made the sleeve. Woo-who!  How nerdy is that?
The project took me less than an hour.  I was very pleased with the result that I made my mother a simple small fabric clutch made out of scraps that same evening.  
It has been one of those weeks that is a smear of time.  I survived a 7 year-old sleepover with 4 boys!  I was glad to have this project to motivate me -- I started a Lady Skater dress last Sunday and immediately mucked up the bodice and have no more fabric to save it.  :( Boo.  Contemplating what's next....

Here's a to a wonderful last week of February!






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Let Me Tell You Something You Already Know

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The sun finally decided to grace us with some of its rays.  My little family could not pass up enjoying a sunny beautiful weekend.  We decided to visit a World Heritage site  called Poverty Point that features one of the oldest known earthworks by Native Americans in North America.  Its origin is somewhere between 1100 and 1700 BC.   To make this earthwork, it took something like 53 million cubic feet of soil to build.  From the air, the earthwork is in the shape of a bird.  It is a massive mound as you can see Jules demonstrating below.  It was sunny, the air was crisp, and my soon to be 8 year-old hiked around 3 miles at a pretty decent pace.  This was a new venture for our family as we have lived in Louisiana for about seven years but there was always some reason or another as to why we had not or could not go to this historical site.  Boom! Checking off stuff on our Louisiana bucket list.
The next day Jules, my husband and I went to the symphony. The pops concert featured movie music and themes.  It was a laid back afternoon concert where you can bring wine and snacks.  Needless to say, we all had a great time and there is nothing like the Rocky Theme to motivate you to sew especially after the New Look of Horror.  I whipped up another Sewaholic Renfrew to jumpstart my sewjo.  I say another because I have made this pattern several times but have never blogged about my love for it.

Experiment:
Sewaholic Renfrew, View C
Size 2

Materials:
2.5 yards of Ponte knit from Fabricmart
Clear Elastic
Serger Thread

Procedure:
I needed this.  The "Hell Yeah" to follow up my last make.  I don't know if I have it in me to do a narrow-shoulder adjustment on my New Look of Horror -- just the sound of it makes me cringe.
I am fully aware that all of my makes cannot be winners.  And I always have grand plans to sew another version of a pattern I like -- does that actually happen!? Most of the time the new version never materializes  The Renfrew, however, has been an exception.  I have little to no self-control when it comes to patterns and fabric.  I am trying to resist another pattern splurge -- I want the Lola Pattern from Victory -- sweatshirt to work!?  Sign me up!  My last splurge gifted me with the Rae skirt (for my sister), the Belcarra blouse, and the Renfrew to fill the blouse voids in my handmade wardrobe.
The Renfrew did not disappoint.  I made a wearable muslin (and one for my mom in red knit) out of a random brown knit in my stash.  It seems like I wear this at least once a week.  I was then on a mission to find the right knit for the next one.  I went on a knit shopping spree and bought two and half yards of a marine blue sweater knit.  It was soft with drape.   Well, well, well, after I prewashed the knit that little bastard was so slinky it was hard to get a crisp fold on the grain.  I spent a good hour folding, shaking, smoothing, folding, shaking, smoothing, - it was maddening.  I punted after I got so frustrated with trying to fold on the grain (any ideas of an easy way to do this are appreciated) and went to this green and black ponte I had in my stash.
I used my serger for most of the construction.  I only used the machine when I thought I needed to baste -- honestly, that was only the cowl neck.  I should admit that this started out as View A but I could not get the neckband to lay flat so I unpicked the seam and cut out the cowl (Thank the heavens for extra fabric!).  The cuffs and waistband were ideal for the serger.  I get why this is such a beloved pattern.  It calls for a lot of fabric but if you are creative, I think you can get away with less.
It was so windy when my husband took these pictures.  I did not even take as many as I normally do -  - I was expecting to do a reshoot when there was no wind (I am not trying to sound pretentious, I promise -- I want decent pictures of the garment).    I am glad I looked at the photos  -- wind = messy hair = interesting photos.

Happy Stitching!

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New Look...Not Happy

Friday, February 6, 2015

Remember that this is my lab notebook.  In fairness, I have shown a lot of garments I've made which I love -- fit, fabric, and lovely patterns.  Ummm, time to share a failed experiment.  No dart or sneaky rework could save it --  or maybe I need your help to fix it. . . Shame since my invisible zip insertion is pretty darn good.  

Experiment:
New Look 6299, View A
Size 8

Materials:
2 yards maroon with black diamond cotton
1/2 yard black cotton
Coats and Clark black thread
22" Maroon invisible zipper

Procedure:
Cue the pattern picture and line drawing because this is how I get sucked in.  
Princess seams -- easy fitting. Collar to give that librarian look.  Sleeves cause I like 'em.  I decided on view A because of the collar and I added the sleeves of view D.  Before adding the sleeves, I did a quick fit check and it seemed to be ok -- it was a tad larger than expected so I brought the side seams in by 1/2 inch.  Here is a front view:
Here is the front.  Notice my arms are behind slightly stretching the bodice.  Do you see it? The pesky problem that no matter what I did or how I gathered it would not go away.  During my fit check there was no indication that there would be a gob a fabric on either side of my bust.
Ummm, pooh.  I didn't see this until I tried it on after finishing. I put the garment on my dress form and tired to gather the excess fabric in a way that would 1. get rid of it and/or 2. hide it.  When I gathered, it pulled at the bust seam. I unpicked the side seams to see if the the excess I had taken in earlier had this negative impact... Nope, still a gob a fabric there.  I then tried to fold it into shapes that would hide it a la dart style -- still a fail!  I brought in the bodice seams and it still looked funky!!
Grrrr, frustrating.  I know I am a small-busted gal and maybe this pattern was for a lady who was gifted with more. Or maybe this pattern just doesn't work for me without a lot of extra work.  Please know that I am all for understanding the problem and learning a solution so that in the future if I encounter anything remotely similar again, well, I will be armed and ready to tackle it!  Will I fix this thing!? Nah, probably not.  Zapped my energy.  I would rather start anew.  Into the charity box it goes...and on to the next project.

Happy Stitching!

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