Corraling a mess

I’m almost embarrassed to show the “before” picture to you, but it really shows how badly this project was needed.


The Coat Closet of Shame

It was a serious disaster, and it needed some way to organize all the crap that was inside of it. Plus, I was a little nervous every time I reached in for a seldom worn pair of shoes that I was going to find another “mini tarantula”:

OMFG!!!! This is the biggest spider I've ever seen in a house!!! #minitarantula #nosleepformetonight

A photo posted by Sew Sarcastic (@sewsarcastic) on

And as you can probably imagine, that didn’t appeal to me at all. So, while organization won’t eliminate spiders, it at least gives me a better chance of seeing it before I grab it, know what I mean?

Anyway, this was a pretty quick project, and while I tried to use up some scraps, I didn’t have enough 1×12 lumber to do that. But, if you have some scraps of it laying around and need some shelves of your own, here’s the basic concept.

  1. Determine the maximum width and height of the shelves, less the wall/floor/door trim you’ll need to clear. I measured the width of the closet wall I planned to use, and then gave about 6 inches of clearance between the top shelf and the bottom of my coats. The shoes will take up about 3″ of that, depending on style of shoe, so keep that in mind.
  2. To determine how many shelves you’ll get from those parameters, measure your shoes–I wanted the bottom to be boots, so I measured my hubby’s tallest pair, added an inch or two for clearance, and marked it. Repeat with other shoes.
  3. Then I just cut the boards, screwed them together with pocket holes, and slid it into place. I may go back in and add some tiny L brackets to hold it to the wall (the little silver ones that are 1″ by 1″ would be sufficient to hold it if you have particularly fluffy carpet or uneven floors.)
  4. Admire.

As you can see, I didn’t put a shelf at the bottom, that would have been a waste of lumber. But isn’t it so much better than before? I think this cost about $20 in materials, and I spent probably an hour on it (which includes disassembling/trimming down/reassembling the whole thing because I actually cut it too exact and it wouldn’t clear the wood trim on the floor–Grrr!!!) If I lived closer to an Ikea, this might not have made as much sense to build, but since I don’t…

My shoes are so much happier now!


That sums up my feelings about the StyleArc Barb pants that I just made up. Based on their size chart (which I’ve heard they have a very RTW fit), I’m smack dab in the middle of two sizes, so I made the larger thinking that these were supposed to be fairly slim fitting. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic for a pair of pull on pants, but these are just kind of frumpy on me. I’m frumpy enough on my own, thankyouverymuch, so I prefer my pants/bottoms to be more fitted. Here is a list of what needs to be changed/where did I go wrong?

  • I think they are simply too big. Being in the middle of two sizes, I felt like bigger should have been better in order to prevent the look of a sausage casing. I may have been wrong, although I haven’t made the size smaller to see.
  • I had a wad of fabric in the front that I cut off. It’s better, but there are still some wrinkles. Maybe with my cylindrical shape, pot belly, and big butt this is just the nature of the beast, IDK.
  • There is 4″ of ease on each thigh. My thighs are each 26″ around, so they’re not exactly slim!
  • The front crotch curve seems exceptionally tiny to me. I’m unsure how this affects fit, but it’s something I noted.

Ultimately, they look (and feel!) like maternity pants. And not just any maternity pants, but ones that have “room to grow”. I did, however, find them extremely easy to put together, sew up, and I even nailed the length I was aiming for.


As you can probably guess, these won’t be leaving the house. Actually, they won’t be worn at all. And I’m not sure whether I’ll give them another shot or not at this point. I’m a bit bummed, but there are a lot of ladies who have had excellent results with theirs, so I think the pattern is fine, just not for me. Or at least, not without a lot of tweaking.

And then there were 4…

And then there were 4...

Made with determination and self-loathing. 2 for Scotch and 2 for charity. I’m calling my Lenten penance done. At least I used every useable piece of this stuff so I don’t have any in my stash mocking me and shedding like a Siberian Husky in the springtime.

Finished. Hotový. Complevit.

Yes, that’s finished in English, Czech, and Latin. Saying it only 3 times does not fully encompass my relief and joy at having the spare bathroom remodel completed. Well, I guess we have to hook up the toilet, but NBD. The actual remodel/facelift/whatever you want to call it is done. In case you’re curious, here’s what we did.

  • Primed and painted the ceiling (Color: Premixed “Bright White” Paint+Primer from DoItBest)
  • Primed and painted the walls (Color: Winter Storm from Ace Hardware)
  • Primed and painted the tile backsplash (Color: Premixed “Bright White” Paint+Primer from DoItBest)
  • Primed, painted, and clear-coated the countertop. (Color: Ming Vase from Ace Hardware)
  • Painted the cabinets (Color: Premixed “Bright White” Paint+Primer from DoItBest)
  • Changed the cabinet hardware (I bought these knobs at a “garage sale” that our local DoItBest did during the city wide garage sale, so I got about 20 knobs for $1!! I got another bag of somewhere around 40 handles/knobs in a pewter color too–it was a lot of digging through ugly brass, but who can complain when you get enough hardware to do my entire kitchen, laundry room, hallway “linen drawers”, and spare bathroom for $2?!)
  • New sink (not the actual sink I bought, but similar in price/style)
  • New faucet
  • New lights
  • New mirror (mine is the 24×24 version that I got on clearance from there.)
  • New towel ring and toilet paper holder
  • New flooring
  • New baseboard (mine came from a local DoItBest, so different brand and MUCH cheaper, I think mine cost like $25 for the base and the glue to put it up.)
  • A couple of new towels and a new trashcan

Originally, it was just going to get a new coat of paint, but I think that the rest of the stuff was worth it even though it tripled the cost of the project (I spent a bit over $600 total). They say that paint is an inexpensive way to change up the look in your house, but honestly, it’s not that cheap. In fact, paint and painting supplies were at least 1/3 of my total expenses on this cramped bathroom!! I also bought that expensive paint+primer stuff in the white for the ceiling, tile, and cabinets, and I can honestly say NEVER AGAIN. It was gloppy going on (IMO), and for being gloppy/thick, it didn’t cover nearly as well as I felt it should. Especially on the cabinets–it took 3 coats to get good coverage, and if I wasn’t so ready to just be done already, I’d have done a 4th coat, because it really could have used it. So yeah, don’t waste your money on that stuff–just buy the Killz primer and a can of your regular paint, it’s cheaper, easier to apply, and covers better.

The only think in there we didn’t bother to try tackling was the Shower of Plastication (in case you’re wondering, the plastic came down when we got the shower upstairs working). I flat didn’t have the cash to do anything with it, and it’s about going to take a professional to fix it anyway because of a couple of small (but CRUCIAL) details–like the location and style of the drain.

Anyway, enough words, let’s see the before/after pics, right? 😉

Before: (Click to embiggen)

After: (Click to embiggen)

So now, after being so good about finishing this project before starting to sew anything, I’m going to clean the extra crap out of my sewing room (a catchall area for bathroom remodeling supplies/trash) and sew something fun! I’m not set on anything yet, but I’m thinking a couple of pairs of undies and view E of this hat to match my coat from last year (which–so far–still fits.)

Never have I EVER

Wanted to look like trailer trash…unfortunately, there’s something* about this shirt that really just makes me feel like I should have 6 kids running around the trailer while I smoke a cigarette and shout obscenities [to the kids] and am barefoot and pregnant.

*And as it so happens, I think my husband has figured it out! He says it’s because the “straps” are too narrow–it looks like a wife-beater–and so it needs some sort of sleeves. Unfortunately, I’m fresh out of enough scraps to make a pair of sleeves.

Even if I could make sleeves though, I still wouldn’t wear it. It’s WAY too tight across the bust, and there’s a bit of poor pattern placement–on me, those red stripes look like they’re “cupping” my bewbs. Not really my best look. Let’s have a look at this catastrophe, shall we?


I will say that I’m not upset about this “fail” at all, it was supposed to be a muslin to test out the pattern for some better (non ugly/remnant) fabric. The fabric wasn’t even close to my taste, so unless it had surprised me by coming out amazingly awesome, it wasn’t going to get worn anyway. So no sympathy needed, it’s going to be fantastic as super soft undergarments. 🙂 And, I learned that I will like this shirt quite a bit once I figure out how to add in an FBA. 🙂

In other news, I have to give some serious kudos to the ladies at JoAnn’s. I’ve done my share of bashing JoAnn’s, and they’ve deserved it, but the gals the other day really came through for me. I needed some fabric to match some that I had bought at least a year ago to finish off that skort I’d talked about the other day. They happened to have a couple yards of it left on clearance, and they shipped it to me! 🙂 Yay! And they shipped it fast too! I ordered that fabric either Tuesday or Wednesday, and it was on my porch yesterday. And since I washed it and hung it on the line today, it’s ready to rock as soon as I am. 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend!


The honeymoon is definitely over…

And shit just got real. I feel like I’ve been working on this coat my entire life at this point. Whenever I go down to the sewing room we glare at each other in mutual hatred. Whenever I’m not downstairs working on it I feel guilty that I’m still not finished. I’m trying really hard not to just half-ass it like I want to, but I’m not going to be able to hold off on that urge much longer. Let’s recap my issues so far, shall we?

  • Short on fabric for the original coat pattern idea, so opted for a different (but still cute) pattern.
  • Barely enough fabric to squeeze this coat pattern out with my minor screw-up.
  • Searched high and low to find Ambience lining at a store I could visit IRL.
  • Failed to take into account that I’d need at least an extra yard of the 45″ lining fabric so had to buy more (OK OK, so I conned my MIL into picking it up and bringing it to me).
  • Failed to take into account that I’d need at least an extra yard of the 45″ flannel interlining fabric (to be fair, I bought this a year ago when I bought the wool, so it wasn’t like I just didn’t learn my lesson with the lining.) So guess what I’ll be doing very soon so that I can cut out the last 2 pieces of my coat?
  • Forgot to add length to the front facing piece after doing the FBA on the bodice. I’m afraid since I didn’t quite get them lined up that I’m going to have to take teeny-tiny seam allowances on one of the front facing pieces (or bigger ones on all of them), but I’ll make it work. I’m short enough that I think I can get away with that pretty easily.

I’ve also learned a couple of things while doing this process:

  1. I really hate Ambience lining. I’ll take a slippery charmeuse over this stuff any day, at least the charmeuse doesn’t slip right off my flannel-covered ironing board and try to slide off the table every time you look away. I don’t like the way it feels either, so I’m definitely going to skip it in favor of pretty silk for future lining projects once I use up whatever I have left of this stuff.
  2. That quilt spray adhesive that I purchased for my son’s quilt has actually come in handy–I sprayed it on the flannel, stuck the pieces of lining to it, cut around them, and then serged them together. Don’t wait around though, this stuff evaporates (and thus loses its adhesion) fast! I’d cut out a piece and then serge it immediately, don’t cut out several pieces and then try it.
  3. Quilt spray adhesive gets everywhere and it’s hard to get off your fingers.
  4. Quilt spray adhesive also stinks to high heaven, and may or may not give you a major headache. Or maybe that was just the sinus infection that I may or may not be trying to get.
  5. Starching heavily doesn’t seem to work on Ambience. I starched the hell out of it and it’s still hard to work with. Also, it creases easily, but doesn’t iron flat very well (probably because it doesn’t want to stay on the ironing board!)

Anyway, I’m almost done cutting pieces out. I’ve only got a couple more pieces of interlining to cut out before I’m ready to assemble. I think the assembly should go pretty fast, since not only have I sewn up like 3 muslins, but also there just isn’t much too this coat. Everything that is cut out is serged, interfaced, etc., so it’s pretty straightforward after I get those last couple of pieces cut. The one thing that I’m really not sure about is fastenings. My inspiration coat (which I only saw once on a gal in church) had metal clasps like these:

Cool, but how on Earth do you attach them?!

Cool, but how on Earth do you attach them?!

I also kind of like these, but only if I can find them in a silvery finish (I’m a hater of all things gold-ish toned, especially brass/bronze).

But I’ve also thought that maybe making some loops in the front and putting in buttons like the Vogue coat that I had as an option in the beginning would be nice too. Not to mention it’s probably the easiest option. But then, what color of buttons? Black? Shell? Wood? Fabric covered?

Given my particular figure, I don’t think a belt is the best option for me, and I can’t figure out a way to add a zipper without making it look sloppy.

So there you have it. All the excuses reasons I still don’t have this coat done. Tomorrow, I shop for more fabric and finish cutting out. This thing WILL be done before this weekend, (except for permanent fasteners, possibly) because I hope to sew up a quick cardigan before Saturday. Unless I get hit with a sinus infection. But I’m trying to be positive. Mind over  matter and all that.

Pause, breathe in, relax

Whew! This last week or so has been busy! There was our ultra-mini vacation (we drove several hours, visited a museum and a zoo, stayed one night, drove home) which was really nice, but almost too fast-paced. We did get to see a shark above our heads though, and some crabs that were literally as big as my 6 year old son! (And my son is nearly as leggy as those crabs too!) The only thing I didn’t care for was how crowded it was, but being a holiday weekend, I should have expected it (though I was hoping since everyone else had started school it wouldn’t be, because I’m a selfish bitch like that).

So that this isn’t a pictureless post, here’s some pics from our (or at least my) favorite part of the zoo. 🙂 Or not, since WordPress just ate them. 😡 Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the way WordPress handles pictures? Especially those that are already uploaded to my photohosting account? Well, that’s a rant for a different day I suppose.

In sewing news, I’ve been working on a pair of slacks for my husband. They’re going to fit great, but I screwed up the welt pocket (put it in backwards), and now I’m trying to figure out what to do about it. I’ve tried fixing it every which way except the way that required me to take it completely apart and fix it, because I’d already trimmed the seam allowances and everything. It looks like that’s ultimately what I’m going to have to do though, unless someone has some brilliant idea they’d be willing to share with me. Everything I’ve tried so far just ends up looking like a rectangular opening with some fabric behind it. 😡 If only I had enough fabric to cut another piece, I’d consider just leaving the pocket off altogether and only have one pocket. Or do they not do that for men’s slacks? Hubby says he doesn’t use the back ones anyway…..


You know that thing where there’s always a nasty surprise waiting for you when you start a home remodel project? We found ours today. But first, a parable.

Once upon a time (or just a couple months back), a young couple, (madly in love with each other and their adorable young son) decided to fix up their rather outdated bathroom. It had a couple of small issues (leaky tub, anyone?) so it probably  needed done anyway, sooner rather than later.

Being a bit of an obsessive researcher/planner type, the young wife dutifully sifted through hours of online searches and product reviews to find only the best products at the perfect price point for the project. Some compromises had to be made for the sake of budget and to appeal to the adoring husband, but that’s simply to be expected, no? So everything was ordered and received ahead of time so that the least amount of disruption in the idyllic life of this young family was experienced.

Then came the fateful day when full of excitement, the young couple began to tear down their old sheetrock…

And there was a @#$$#%$ PIPE centered behind the vanity in the exact spot where the light fixture was supposed to go! And not just any pipe, but a HUGE pipe that apparently vents the plumbing for the ENTIRE FREAKING HOUSE!!!!!!!! So, now we have an expensive fixture that can’t be used because it needs to be centered because it’s so big. And we have no good lighting ideas now….

And the ideal location for their new bathroom fan has a ceiling joist in the way! Grrrr! 😡

Lest you think that all this ended unhappily though, we did discover that the water damage from the leaky shower was mostly cosmetic and so no major repairs will be needed. The chiropractor will be pretty excited come Monday though, after we lugged out the cast iron bathtub. It might be the world’s narrowest tub, but it’s still freaking heavy! Thank goodness we bought a dolly a few years back or one of us would probably still be trapped beneath that behemoth!

So about that disruption? It looks like it might be a few days longer than we thought. Good thing there’s no centipedes…and surprisingly, no spiders either (yet) in the Shower From Hell. However, it’s extremely hard to set the temperature of the water when you have a shower that is literally a foot and a half away from the hot water heater… you can really get that full “hell” effect. Especially with such a touchy shower knob. 😮

*Gulp* First steps…

Remember from forever ago that I was planning a bathroom remodel and gathering all the stuff to do it? Well, all the stuff is here, holding our garage hostage, and now we’re starting. Well, technically, not until this weekend. But today, we were going to put up the plastic in the Shower From Hell in the basement. Except, we discovered we didn’t actually buy a long enough piece of plastic. 😳 So tomorrow, we’re going to put the plastic up and make sure that Hell’s Shower does indeed function properly (you know, make sure the faucet works and the drain isn’t clogged with a yeti or something). I swapped out the disgustingly mildewed shower head with another one I had from the upstairs shower (I’d swapped it with a hand shower before the guy even had finished installing it), so at least we don’t have to shower with the shower head covered in Green Slime of Doom or at least what would be that…after the water had reawakened it. (You’re loving all these cheesy wonderful nicknames, admit it. 😉 )

In other news, I’m still waiting for my flooring…. ❓ I have no idea what the holdup is there, but I’m going to call them tomorrow and hope that it’s just a matter of they forgot to call me and not that they are avoiding me because my flooring is actually out of stock and currently discontinued……because I’ve had that happen to me (well, not that exact thing, but very similar.) And, I’ve learned that apparently floor guys are lazy and don’t like to try to seam flooring without straight lines, so finding a cool flooring like the one I want are few and far between. Though who in their right mind would put this flooring in a large room like a kitchen…

Really, it doesn't look anywhere near this brown in real life. It mostly just looks grey.

So yeah, that’s kind of where we’re at. I haven’t checked out all of our pieces, so I don’t actually know if any portions of my orders were incorrect or anything like that….hopefully, everything is correct and I don’t have to worry about having our bathroom torn apart while waiting for a shower pan or anything.

Oh! I guess I’m curious about everyone’s thoughts on *gasp* painting the cabinets. I know that I shouldn’t paint perfectly beautiful wood…however, this wood isn’t beautiful. Let’s face it, our cabinets may not be particle board, but they’re second rate plywood cabinets that have seen better days and needed refinished around 1995 (obviously that didn’t happen). So I’m not going to feel bad about painting them–especially because most (normal) people would have just ripped them out. So my questions about paint are:

  1. What color? I’m leaning towards a semi-glossy black, but there’s also a really awesome navy color that I thought might give our bathroom less of a monochromatic look (since the major fixtures are grey or white and I was thinking of using a very pale grey or lavender for the wall color). Because of the color of the vanity white absolutely will not work.
  2. If I did the cabinets in navy, should I paint the trimwork to match? (There’s a window frame, we’ll likely put down shoe molding, and a door frame/door too). And where’s the stopping point? Personally, I think the door frame would just look weird if the door was left “wood tone”, but I also think painting the door would just make it too much.
  3. Anyone have any experience with milk paint or shellac? Or should I just stick with tried and true latex paint? I also found some whey-based urethane (PolyWhey), but don’t really know of anyone who has used it and their results with it. I guess it’s made from leftovers from the cheese industry or something and is very environmentally friendly and has the same durability as the chemical kind. But it supposedly doesn’t stink, which is a big selling point for me–I HATE the smell of the chemical stuff, and don’t want to be trapped in a small room with it.

Anyway, lucky for you, that’s all I’ve got for now. 😉 Except that I guess I got all the pleats/pintucks finished on my blouse today, but that’s about it.

Things that tick me off Thursday


My rant today is about jeans…..more specifically, the lack of them that properly fit my particular shape. I am one of those “world’s fastest hourglass” shapes that is thoroughly ignored in the clothing market. I haz no waist definition….unless you count that part right under my boobs. Just so that we’re clear? I don’t.

Now I know I’m not the only person who has what they call an “apple/brick/straight” shape, I see lots of women out there with it. Probably more of us than there are “hourglass” shaped women, which seems to be the only shape really accounted for in the clothing industry. And while I’m sure that makes all 5 of those women very happy, the rest of us are just kind of screwed in to making do with the leftovers.

As ya’ll are fully aware, I do own a sewing machine…and a serger….and I have some skill in using them, but sometimes, there are good reasons for opting to buy something rather than make it. In this case, time became of the essence. My current pair is hanging on by its figurative fingernails. I figure they’ve got less than a week left, so I needed some new ones stat. Given that it takes me for-freaking-ever to sew up a pair of jeans, I figured I’d be running around with no pants* (LOL!) if I didn’t buy some quickly.

So off I went to Target, fully prepared to try on every pair in the store, end up crying in the dressing room, and leave in a pissy mood with a $30 (or more) pair of jeans that didn’t actually fit worth a damn. It turns out, I only needed to try on around 9 pairs before I finally found the absolute last pair in the store of this particular size/shape/style, and it fit surprisingly well, if possibly a bit large….hopefully they’ll shrink in the wash. Yea for semi-happy endings! So, in an effort to help raise awareness and possibly promote more production, I’m going to tell you the exact size/shape/style so that my apple-shaped sisters can run out and buy them.

They’re by Mossimo, they’re Juniors (this is important!!!) FIT 6. You might notice that they offer 6 different “fit” styles (of which three are supposedly straight but my stores only carry the 6 model) but only the ones in the Junior section (odd number sizes) have the true straight fit (miniscule waist definition). It appears that they only carry the junior sizes up to a 17, which I would guess roughly translates to about a 14 in “misses”. Typically, I wear a misses 10 which is tight in the waist and perfect elsewhere, and I ended up with the size 15 instead of the 13 I probably needed but they didn’t have.

****IMPORTANT**** If you try the corresponding “misses” sizes with the even numbers (10, 12, etc.) THEY WILL NOT FIT THE SAME!!! Even though they say that they are “Fit 6”, they have a much smaller waist than they do hips. Anyway, mine say that they are “flare”, but they also come in skinny (which doesn’t work for me at all. And if you’re lucky, they might even come in bootcut.

Anyway, I hope that helps someone, because I know how much I dread jeans shopping and the tears of despair when I can’t find any that fit.

* The “no pants” thing is an inside joke at our house. It has to do with only owning one pair of jeans and laundry day. You can do the math. 😉