Plugging away

I’ve been trying, but the progress is slow and the blogging even slower. The quilt top is done, and thanks to Stacy from StacySews, I even have a strip with Scotch’s name and the date embroidered on it. But I’m procrastinating on getting the backing put together and quilting it. No, I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because there’s things that need planning–like a wedding shower and a baby shower (I’m going to be an aunt!! Huzzah!! And she’s having a girl, so there might be sickeningly sweet little girl clothes for my future niece featured soon!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) to plan. Or maybe it’s just because I, frankly, hate quilting. I get all excited about planning the quilt, but when the rubber hits the road I’m just not interested. Oh sure, the first few squares are exciting to see come together, but suddenly it’s tedious and I just want to shove it aside and do something else. But I can’t, because it’s so damn expensive to make a quilt. I honestly don’t understand how anyone can afford to make these as a hobby. The fabric requirements are huge and pricey, the batting isn’t exactly cheap, and then you have to either pay someone to quilt it or wrestle with it yourself. And I don’t even make complicated quilts!!

I’ve also got a dress that I started for Christmas, but didn’t finish until just before the first weekend of January. It’s kind of funky, but I kind of love it. You really have to see it as a whole outfit though, otherwise it’s maybe just a bit too weird. I’m going to try and get pictures so I can blog about it soon, because it’s way out of my comfort zone in a very cool way. I wanted to participate in Jungle January too, but I’m not allowing myself to start something until that damn quilt is finished and on my son’s bed, so I am probably not going to get to make anything by the deadline. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Oh well. Hubby says I have too many “jungle” prints in my closet anyway…I didn’t even know such a thing was possible! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Make do and mend

So many of us say you can’t save money sewing, but sometimes the combination of good quality materials and workmanship that sewing your own clothesย providesย pays off, like when I can put new elastic in the waistband of these pants for a second child to wear. Amazingly, they still look pretty much as good on the outside as they did way back then (though the lining has faded with many washes and wears!), and I have 3 pairs of lined winter pants for these extreme tempsย (it was -7*F this morning!)ย for less than $3 and 10 minutes worth of unpicking. Supplex is the bomb, and if I ever find the stuff again, I’m buying the whole stock! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Update on the Tetris quilt: Progress has been made! I’m finished with piecing onย 15 of 26 rows. Since I seriously injured my tailbone (possibly broken, but noย x-ray to know for sure)ย in a fall down some stairs a couple of weeks ago, sitting in my sewing chair has been painful so I try to keep it to a minimum. I’m on the mend though, so I can hopefully get everything finished on schedule, even if it means a few late nights toward the end. Anyway, the quilt is crazy bright, but also kind of gorgeous if I don’t say so myself.

quilt-in-progress

But then again, it might be the kind of quilt that only the maker (and hopefully it’s recipient!) could love… ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Christmas crunch time, or why do I do this to myself?

So it’s December. I’ve been hearing Christmas music on the radio for at least a couple of weeks now, but it’s never really “real” to me until the first of December (or the second, that works too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) And immediately following–relatively speaking, of course–is Scotch’s 3rd birthday. And I realized this year that Scotch does not yet have his own quilt like big brother does.

*Cue frantic planning of said quilt.*

I’ve been dreaming of a Tetris quilt in varying shades of blue for a long time, but somehow I ended up letting Scotch choose his own colors, so there’s a little bit of everything in there. Scotch is a big fan of orange and purple, so it’s going to be red, orange, yellow, purple, and a kind of ocean green. Fairly traditional Tetris colors, or at least in my memory they are.

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This is the current plan, but I’m actually going to have to rework it a bit because the bottom 1/4 has too many of the same pieces touching each other, and that can’t happen on the final quilt or it will lose the effect. I’m hoping I can just redraw those few lines on the bottom and match them up with the rest so that I don’t have to redraw the whole thing. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I even bought the fabric this morning, so it’s really going to happen. !!! I’m not 100% convinced about this, but the colors are very pretty, and somehow they work together. And even if they don’t, my son loves them and is super excited about his quilt, so I’m not going to argue.

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The colors aren’t quite right on my screen, theย purpleย is a bit more faded and a bit less blue, and the red isn’t quite that dark either.

I’m also not sure why I keep saying “never again” to quilting and then am sucked back in to making another quilt. This will be my 3rd, so it should go together flawlessly–or at least I shouldn’t bungle it too badly. It’s got to be easier than the queen sized one I made for our bed aย while back! I can still remember the horror that was shoving a queen sized quilt through my regular sewing machine. *shudder*

Also in progress: a couple of things for me for wearing over the various Christmas celebrations and I just finished the PJ shirt I started for Scotch like a month ago. I’d make him a couple more, but even as quick as they are I think I need the time for other things. What do you suppose the odds are of being able to finish the quilt by the first week of January? Slim to none? Or can it be done?

New wedding outfit…or not…

I’m terrible. I was so excited about that jumpsuit. But, life (and a bit of bad luck) seems to have gotten in the way.

Last week, I started to feel like crap, and since we had a big event coming up, I went to the doctor. I got a flu test and had my chest x-rayed, and…I have pneumonia*. I took the antibiotics, frantically lysol-ed everything I ever touched for a week, and sent my children and husband away with stockpiles of vitamin C. I didn’t want anyone to get sick–especially not with the wedding coming up this weekend.

* I feel a bit silly saying I have this. Aside from a cough that hits at random (unless it’s bedtime, then it’s fairly constant–grrrr) and some exhaustion mid day, I feel pretty normal. I did feel crappy the first couple of days, but after that, it’s mostly just the cough.

The other thing that held me back was that I bought an exceptionally beautiful dip dyed rayon (double-crepe? is that a thing?) that they didn’t happen to have quite enough of. The pattern called for 3 yards, but I’m a pattern tetris whiz, so I felt fairly confident that I could fit it on my 2-3/4 yards without too much issue. Turns out I was wrong. If I hadn’t chosen that type of “print”, I’d have had fabric to make a whole nother project, but because of it I needed at least another yard. Which was sold out everywhere, even though the website said that they had a one yard remnant that I tried to order twice over a two week period and which was canceled both times…grr! And by then, I was stuck on this kind of fabric because it seemed perfect–thick enough to not be see-through, lovely drape, that tiny amount of mechanical stretch that rayon is known for and I just couldn’t find anything else that seemed right. And in true Joann style, they only buy a limited quantity of anything that a person might want and oodles of rubbish that hangs out on the shelves forever. Which is the opposite of what I’d do if it were my store, but then, what do I know?

So anyway, all of that to say that I’m giving up. I’m just going to wear my fancy maxi dress instead. I did make all the adjustments to that jumpsuit pattern though, so I’m still planning to make it. One does not simply tape together a PDF pattern, make all the adjustments for it, and then just walk away…though finding an occasion to wear it might be tricky. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wait! Where did June go?!?!

Since my last post it has been crazy here, and in that whirlwind of activity I have done some sewing, but it’s all boring stuff like pillowcases and pajamas for Scotch and a couple of “neck coolers” because it’s been fucking A HOT around here. Mostly though, I’ve been doing planning–I have a brother in law getting married in early September that I helped with a shower for the bride to be, and then there was a milestone birthday party for Irish and that basically ate up June. And of course, we can’t forget harvest and swim lessons! I always tell people “we’re pretty much home whenever”, but then I look back and that never seems to ring true. It feels like we don’t have anything going on, but when I look back, it feels like we haven’t stopped “going” for….I don’t know, ever. Know what I mean?

Anyway, so when I was at my in-laws on Sunday, they were all bothered about getting hotel rooms reserved in this tiny town where the wedding will be. At first, I was all “pshh”, but then I realized that we’re basically halfway through July and I’m not sure where June went. So it got me to thinking about the fact that I have no idea what to wear to this event. I’ve been told that it’s bad juju or something to wear a black dress to a wedding, so that eliminates my Christmas Dress. I ruined my Easter dress in the wash (*sob*), it might be salvaged for less “dressy” occasions, but… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I have this maxi dress, but it’s kind of itchy to wear for long periods of time (but so pretty!). And that pretty much is all the dresses I own.

Honestly, I don’t even know if I want to wear a dress or not. This isn’t helped by the fact that September on the plains is notoriously unpredictable. It could be blazing hot or windy and chilly. Well, it’s nearly guaranteed to be windy, I suppose. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If I do go for a dress though, I waded through Lekala’s website for ideas and came up with these:

Lekala 5962. Not in love with the weird hem, but otherwise it’s OK.

Lekala 5960. Another halter dress. Not totally sold on the color blocking, but I think it could be cute–I struggle with line drawings sometimes.

5463. OK, so I know I’m crazy, but I’m envisioning this with long fringe at the bottom instead of a flounce. #Redneck ๐Ÿ˜‰

4451. This one almost feels like the “safe” choice. I just worry about my belly pulling those pleats open unattractively…though, it is supposed to be made to measure, and my little 3D gal is scarily accurate…

4437. This one might be my favorite of this bunch. That neckline is scandalously low for an event with such a religious group of people though. On the other hand, I have a pretty awesome rack that won’t last forever, so maybe should I flaunt it while I still can. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t know, at this point nothing is set in stone. I tend to be more comfortable in pants, so maybe I should find a nice blouse pattern instead. I just wasn’t seeing anything that screamed “wedding”. What would you do? Like any of the dresses above? Think I should find a nice blouse and rock some slacks?

Things that tick me off Thursday

I realize it’s Friday, but I didn’t get this post finished last night. Sorry!

Maybe I’m the only one who is bothered by this, but I’m throwing this out there anyway.

I hate all the extra stitches and complicated menus to find said stitches on new sewing machines. There. I said it. I have no need or desire for dozens/hundreds of fancy stitches that I’ll never use. I want a basic machine that does all the important stitches and buttonholes, and that’s it. All those extra stitches do is make it harder to find the one you want in the menu. I’d rather have a simple machine that does a select few stitches flawlessly than a fancy machine that does a mediocre job on dozens of stitches. Why is it so hard to get a basic machine with all the buttonholes, adjustable presser foot pressure, and a knee lift? Are there seriously that many people who want to stitch lines of wobbly pinecones or deformed maple leaves on their garments?

As an example, my current machine is a Pfaff that I bought in 2009-ish. I’ve had issues with it from the beginning because it’s buttonhole feature isn’t worth a damn. I’ve used the decorative stitches maybe 3 times, and each time I’ve been slightly disappointed with the quality of those stitches when they were done because they weren’t perfect. Yes, I’m a perfectionist, but then, aren’t most people who sew their own clothes? Isn’t that kind of the point? If we weren’t perfectionists, we’d wear just whatever in the hell we could find on the rack and be done with it. I’ve always felt that if it were a few less tricks of a pony, it might do a better job on the critical bits.

Anyone else with me on this?

Nope.

#Sewcialists will understand. ๐Ÿ˜  Kwik sew 3672.

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Did some work today on Kwik Sew 3672 pattern, only to discover that I chose a poor fabric mate for it. It happens. It’s annoying, but I’m not devastated. To be honest, I’m not sure that it was realistic for me during exercise anyway, but it might have been ok for sleeping in or lounging in the evening. Basically the fabric felt icky on my skin, it was too lightweight, and too stretchy for the pattern. I might try again someday, but I don’t have anything suitable and I’m trying to minimize my new fabric purchases since we’re hiring contractors to replace our windows and siding* (yay!!!!) instead of doing it ourselves. Because of that, it’s going to be a bit lean and I’ll need to focus on making do with what I already have. And believe me, I have plenty, I just need to focus on it instead of checking out the new and shiny. ๐Ÿ˜‰

*This is the first time we’ve let someone else come in and do a whole project. The DIYer/control freak in me is probably going to struggle a bit. But I’m mostly just excited about our house looking nicer and being able to open the windows easily! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sewing Plans?

If you follow me on Twitter or IG, you probably already know that I had LASIK done last week. It was a “traumatic*” experience, that while I never want to to do it again, I’m SO glad that I did! I’m still getting used to not having glasses or contacts, and adjusting to what my vision should be like–even though my glasses and contacts made my eyes see, it was different somehow. Hard to explain, even to my eye doctor.

*Read as: I’m an excessively whiny baby. Though, I’m sure it’s not exactly “fun” even if you’re not as much of a baby as I am.

Anyway, so I haven’t had the courage yet to try my hand at sewing (although I did just finish reading an excellent book on my Kindle, so any day now) I’ve been trying to come up with a plan. Before my surgery, I started on Kwik Sew 3672. I haven’t finished it yet, so I don’t know for sure, but I’m not sold on the built-in bra concept, and some of the finishing feels a bit dodgy. Maybe I’ll change my mind when it’s finished though, I’ve been known to do that–both ways! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It certainly looks cute on the envelope!

Anyway, after that, it would seem that I need to get back to work on some lingerie. You may have seen my Elomi Betty clone on IG:

Here’s the original, isn’t it cute?

It’s not quite perfect, my fabric is too stretchy, some of my sewing is admittedly dodgy, but it’s very close. I’ve had a harder time breaking it in than I thought I would though, so I definitely think there’s room for improvement. I’ve already altered the pattern pieces to move the straps in more and given myself more of a scoop in the armscye to minimize chafing, it’s just a matter of finishing up one project before moving to the next.

I also downloaded the Maya bra pattern from AFI that’s been all over the internet because someday I want to tackle a strapless and hate the saggy boobs you get with a non-foam version. I want mine to be a push-up! ๐Ÿ˜› I went with my RTW size though, because I wouldn’t have even come close to the right cup size if I used her measuring method. Confucius say: My wires are narrow and my cups deep. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, it looks like it should be somewhat close based on placing it with my pieces from my Elomi clone. Hard to tell exactly when my clone is a 3-piece lower cup and the Maya is only a 2 piece lower cup.

Other than that, I’ve been dreaming of making some simple, cool, blouses for summer. I’m planning to revisit Simplicity 1598, since I wore my Jungle January 2015 version to death last summer. Literally, it’s falling apart, but I haven’t had the heart to throw it away, which may be good since it was completely the wrong size to start with and I remember cutting like 6″ off of it to make it fit. So maybe that old version can perform one final service in helping me choose the new size. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m also trying to decide if I want to revisit Lekala 4420 with some short sleeves of some type. Lekala offers a lot of sleeves for free, and I would assume that they would fit the pattern without too much work, but I haven’t been able to make up my mind yet.

So yeah, not much going on here ATM, how about you?

Nothing worth doing comes easy

Apparently that’s my new motto, whether I like it or not. It was either that or “congrats on being an incompetent boob”. I think you can see why I chose the former.

The good news is, I managed to finish my dress, just in the nick of time. The bad news is, I don’t love it. I wore it for the whole day, (and didn’t even get too much chafing!) but it reminds me that I’m just not a lady. I’m not ladylike, I don’t sit with my legs crossed, I hate smoothing a dress before I sit down, and I hate zippers touching my skin. OK, that last one has nothing to do with wearing a dress–there are blouses with zippers too, but they just feel scratchy, and I’m not a fan, I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Also, with a fabric this light, I realized how someone actually could get their dress tucked into their pantyhose/knickers and not notice–before I was always kind of like, “how do you not feel that this is happening?!” It didn’t happen, thankfully, but I can see it now.

The dress is (mostly) NewLook 6211, which is a Suede Says pattern. Originally it was going to be all the turquoise with silver topstitching, but it turns out that even 4 yards of fabric isn’t enough to save your ass when you cut the skirt pieces and don’t take your FBA into account. I could have reused the back skirt pieces, but the front skirt pieces were a lost cause (by about 4″), and I couldn’t find any more of this odd shade of turquoise anywhere. Except on this crazy print from Joann’s. I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, not as I took it to the cutting counter, brought it home and pretreated it, and even as I sewed it up. Now that it’s finished though, I think it turned out rather pretty, even if I’m not a dress-wearer. (Seriously, where does one carry their phone, keys, and wallet when purses are a no go?)

The bodice is self fabric lined, and I used this tutorial from Slapdash Sewist to make it clean finished. I also used this tutorial from a blog I’d never heard of before for the french seam under the invisible zip (which mostly worked, but any error was probably my fault for doing it last second and rushing). Oh, and I used this tutorial from Slapdash Sewist for attaching the lining to the zipper. It’s sad she doesn’t post much (or at all??) anymore–she was/is an amazing resource and seamstress.

I just freehanded the sweetheart neckline, and for my first try, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I do wish I would have “petite-d” the shoulders a little more though–I’m incredibly short from shoulder to apex, and this pattern was drafted for a model whose boobs are quite a bit lower than mine. I also got lazy on the FBA, which was OK, but not perfect. Instead of doing an FBA on the provided pieces, I stole an altered piece from my (unblogged) NewLook 6407 that I converted to an armscye princess seam for my Adventures in Bodice Fitting series. It worked alright, but with movement it gets some “bumps” that look strange. Part of that might be that the lining isn’t tacked to the waistband though. (Mea culpa–I was rushing!!)

I’d guess you want to see this dress that I’ve so gloriously described above, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ You’re in luck!

Easter Dress Back

Pay no attention to whatever I’m doing with my foot there…#notamodel

Easter Dress Front

It’s all about that crazy swirly skirt, but sadly, none of my twirling pictures turned out. Boo!

 

I’ve caught the “buildies”

I haven’t done any sewing for a while, between our mini vacation (and it’s aftermath) and a couple of nice days, I’ve been working on some other stuff instead. Namely I’ve been learning more about using Sketchup, and have designed a desk for our office, a rough idea for a new shed in the backyard, and also a new layout for the backyard. We’re also putting in new windows, and I’m hopeful that we get them ordered today! ๐Ÿ™‚

So anyway, back to the “buildies”. I thought I’d post my sketchups (is that a word?) of my desk, because I’m pretty proud of how quickly I’m learning how to use the program. If you’d like to play with it, they have some really good videos on their website and on youtube.

If it works out like I hope, this desk will be pretty freaking awesome, and we’ll actually be able to navigate our office–right now, we have to shove chairs around to get to the printer/mechanical room (which holds the deep freezer)/pretty much anything in there. We have a big corner desk and a card table that we use for “desks”, plus two sets of kitchen cabinets that sit along the wall blocking half of our outlets. We also have wall cabinets above those kitchen cabinets, but we’re keeping those. I’m planning to leave one pair of the cabinet boxes with a gap in between and a formica top (which it already has) as a secondary makeshift “desk” + storage. Hopefully, that gives us the balance we need between enough storage and efficient movement from computer to printer, which is crucial when you’re scanning a few hundred pages into many different files at a shot.

I’m also trying to figure out a fun and inexpensive way to do our small backyard. Budgets suck. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Plus it will just be one more thing to work on and we’ll have to do a lot of stuff by hand since it’s impossible to get any sort of decent sized equipment in the back yard. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (This is why curved streets suck–developers should never have started that B.S.)

Backyard Dimensions

This is the aerial view of our backyard, based on my measurements and putting them into sketchup. It leaves off the grassy “paths” that run along both sides of the house, but I wasn’t planning any work in there anyway.

Here’s the map “key”:

  • Blue-ish rectangle is the house
  • The white rectangle is the patio
  • I drew in the A/C unit as a grey square
  • The green circles are supposed to represent bushes/trees. (I’d like a few fruit bushes–hubby demands at least one be a blackberry)
  • The box that says “garden” on it is currently the swingset of despair, so I’m either going to have to figure out a new location for a nicer swingset (or at least a couple of swings), or a new garden location, or give up on the garden altogether.
  • The shed is the same size as our current shed, but we’re thinking about making it a couple of feet bigger in both directions when we replace it, it’ll depend on how my idea for under-the-deck storage works out.
  • The slat wood looking box is supposed to represent the deck, it’s a half-story tall, because we have a split level house and it meets up to the upper level, I think it would be a great place to store things like our bikes, and maybe a few gardening supplies if I put a tin “roof” under the floor joists that slants down toward the yard. I’m sure I’ll put some guttering in too after we’ve seen how much water actually hits it with all of the deck flooring.
  • There’s a firepit.
  • And I’m going to have to figure out where to put a sandbox, which may be in place of a garden, or right up next to it. Right now, the boys play in the dirt under the deck with their little toy skidloaders and bulldozers, and I’d like for them to have a fun place to play too.

I don’t know. I’m not completely happy with the layout I’ve designed, but I hate the current layout (which is basically the same minus any trees and a fire pit). And I also hate that the yard is a trip hazard with all the potholes in the grass and the “river” that runs behind the shed (and along where I’d like to put the shrubs/trees) when it rains because the drainage sucks. I’d actually like to figure out how to catch that water as it runs off and use it to water plants, but I’m not sure how without mega $$$ and big equipment tearing up the neighbor’s yard.

So yes, that’s what I’ve been working on. Those things + new windows and siding should go a long way in making our house a better place to live. Or at least give the outward appearance of it. ๐Ÿ˜‰