Home Dec sewing, or how I’m losing my mind…

Happy Spring! I’m a bit late getting this out, but I’ve been up to my ears in projects that need doing. We pulled the last of our siding off a month or so ago, put in the last of the new windows at the same time, and now I’ve decided (partway through installing trim) that I’m going to make the “window treatments” myself instead of just ordering them from a large online blind website or a big box store. Sign me up for the loony bin, I’ve lost what little sense I had left! I’ve got a book that tells me how to make all sorts of decorative furnishings and there’s an excellent video tutorial from Online Fabrics Store (who also, conveniently enough, happen to carry all the bits and bobs you need) on how to make roman shades.

Home Decorating Book

I know, it’s…uh…dated, but the ideas should still be sound. 😉

So last night I picked out my fabric from JoAnn (it’s gorgeous, but expensive), and at some point I’m going to have to bite the bullet and sew at least 3, but probably 6 roman shades. I hope I’m not in over my head, since both tutorials made it sound super easy. If I’m successful with the first three shades, I’ll commit to the remaining three, and if not, I haven’t bought the supplies for the second set (the bigger ones for the main living room) yet. I didn’t want to be out $$$ for something that I was incapable of finishing. I think that means I’m getting somewhat smarter. 😛

So far outside my comfort zone it’s probably on another planet…

I made a dress, and not just any dress, but this dress.

b6241_01

Butterick 6241

My version is actually inspired by a fellow PR member though, who made hers out of stretch velvet. I was *thisclose* to buying the same shade of blue so enamored was I. Ultimately I went with purple because it felt more “Christmassy” than the sky blue, but the blue would have been awesome too. In the end, I feel like it makes me look a bit like the mom from The Jetsons, but that’s OK too. 😉

I actually didn’t finish this dress in time for Christmas, but I did finish it in time for the Pioneer rep appreciation dinner we had the first part of January. Well, mostly. I’ve actually worn it twice without the neck facing sewn down, but who has the patience for handsewing such things when there is an event to wear the dress to?! Seriously though, I need to get that finished, because it’s a royal PITA when I’m ready to wear it to tuck all that nonsense in.

So yeah, I’ve been sitting on posting this dress for a couple of months because I wanted to finish the quilt and get it posted first. It was meant as a motivator, but you can see how well that worked. Ha!

Quick Review:

  • I chose a metallic metal zipper that was a full 3″ shorter than the one suggested by the pattern. It was either that of have a zipper that clashed/was ugly. If you are making it, try to give yourself enough time to order a zipper if you can’t find exactly what you want locally. Learn from my mistakes people!
  • It feels awfully short. I’m 5’2″ and proportionally leggier. I don’t think it looks too short in the pics, but when I’m wearing it I’m constantly worrying that my butt is hanging out–maybe I need to stick to mullet hems?
  • My pockets don’t hang as pretty on me as they do in the pattern image. This may have been due to a sewing or cutting error, or maybe it’s just the fabric, I’m not sure, but be vewy, vewy, caweful when you cut and sew the pockets, they are a bit fiddly too.

Overall, I would recommend it if you want a dress that’s a bit different than the norm. It’s quick to put together, and the end result is quirky and fun.

Save

A Tetris Quilt for Scotch

Some people really love quilting, and that’s good for them. Me? I kind of like planning them, and then the rest ranges from “meh” to torture. For example, I had been planning a Tetris quilt in my head for years; it was going to be varying shades of blue, twin sized, and it was going to be an heirloom that my son would someday give to my grandkids…Why yes, I do have quite an imagination. 😉

When I finally decided to bite the bullet, I thought I should plan it out. The major snag in my plan was that the varying shades of blue I had envisioned were nixed in favor of rainbow colors by my opinionated toddler. Since it’s for him, I supposed I had to do what he wanted. So, rainbow colors it is. It was also supposed to be his 3rd birthday present, so I had Stacy from StacySews embroider a little “tag” for the back with his name and the month/year. Except that I suck, and so his quilt wasn’t even close to finished in time for his birthday, so he just got to see a quilt top on his birthday. So now, about 2 months later he finally gets to “nuggle” his quilt. I’m just glad I got it done, because it’s about to get super busy with all the weddings and showers we have going on over the next couple of months, and like every sewist, I feel like I should try to make something to wear for them. *Cue eye rolling* 😛

IMG_0140

It’s certainly bright, but it’s pretty much exactly what I envisioned, except for the color scheme.

Anyway, it’s a very basic quilt, just a lot of blocks sewn together. Each finished block is 3″ square, and I used this chart to calculate how big the quilt needed to be for a twin sized bed. Ultimately it’s a smidge smaller than the intended finished dimensions because of a snafu with my border. I bought every last bit of the grey the store had, intending to use it for the blocks, border, backing, and binding. So when I goofed up the width of the border I had to make it work. And even then I didn’t have quite enough fabric, so I came up with what I thought was a genius idea to make a “cast of characters” on the back using some leftover scraps.

IMG_0143 (2)

If I would have been thinking, I’d have taken a closeup of my nearly perfect quilting through both front AND back; I’m very proud of myself for my patience–not so much for my piss poor planning. 😉

The only problem with that was that I then had to quilt it to match the front perfectly. It mostly worked, but it was a nightmare getting it pinned up and there was a lot of swearing involved. I also had to use even more of the color scraps to make a strip rainbow in the back to have enough fabric to get it to work. In the end, I just managed to eek everything out of the fabric I had, and there isn’t enough left to do anything with, so I’m calling it a win. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out overall, but I won’t be rushing to do another quilt any time soon, even though Irish has made puppy dog eyes at me about making him a quilt too. Eventually I’ll probably give in, but I need to forget the trauma of this one first. 😉 I’m leaning toward a Super Mario themed quilt for him based on either this one or this one, but then there is this really cool R2D2 quilt too…

 

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!!! 😉 ) 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. 😦 Oh well. Hubby says I have too many “jungle” prints in my closet anyway…I didn’t even know such a thing was possible! 😉

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 clothes provides 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 temps (it was -7*F this morning!) 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! 😉

Update on the Tetris quilt: Progress has been made! I’m finished with piecing on 15 of 26 rows. Since I seriously injured my tailbone (possibly broken, but no x-ray to know for sure) 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… 😉

 

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. 😉 ) 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.

wp_20161202_12_58_57_pro

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. 😮

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.

wp_20161202_12_56_48_pro

The colors aren’t quite right on my screen, the purple 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 a 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?

Is JoAnn Fabrics quality already slipping?

I recently bought some solid color flannel (usually I buy prints) for Scotch to have for pajama pants, and after the prewash it was just covered in little balls of lint. And it made a lot, because it also covered everything else that was in that load of laundry with little red and blue specks too. I’m used to flannel pilling, but usually it takes it more than a couple of washes (and not to this degree!), and this is just not acceptable to me. I’ve previously defended JoAnn’s, but if this is how they’re gonna be now that Hancock’s is gone, I can’t.

Has anyone else had this experience? Did I just buy the wrong “brand”?

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. 😉

Measure twice, cut once…AKA Jalie 2111

I procraftinated on my wedding guest outfit to make my youngest a dress shirt to wear for the same wedding. It was perfectly drafted, everything sewed together nicely, and while I mad a few mistakes–most notably sewing the cuffs together wrong after getting those curves sewn perfectly–the end result is pretty darn cute.

But.

But.

It’s too big. *smh* And it’s all my fault too. You see, I made it based on Scotch’s neck measurement. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do, but seriously, this kid has a huge head and his neck is in proportion to it. He’s also one of those people whose height is “all torso”, which is the opposite of his brother. So because he’s all torso and has arms proportional to that, I just up and decided to add an extra inch in length the sleeves and the body of the shirt without taking any additional measurements. You can do that sort of thing on pants, just take up the hem and you’re golden. On a shirt, it’s not so easy–especially one with sleeves that have plackets and cuffs. I’m not taking that stuff off to fix it, so he’s just going to have to grow into the shirt…please just don’t let his neck get any bigger when that happens!

Sorry for the grainy tablet picture–I hadn’t used it before and didn’t realize there’s no flash?

The pattern was Jalie 2111, and it appears to be PDF only now. As I said before, it went together perfectly. All the notches lined up perfectly, the edges lined up perfectly, if you need a men/teen/boys/toddler dress shirt–buy it. Seriously. Jalie didn’t steer anybody wrong on this one, and you can’t beat all those sizes in one package (though I’ll admit that tracing it off is an exercise in extreme patience and good eyesight).

At least the project was a scrapbuster–it’s leftovers from this shirt for my husband. I was hoping to get that piece of fabric out of my stash, but unfortunately there’s still a piece that is too big to throw away and not big enough to do much of anything with…I hate it when that happens.

Save

Shorts fail

Well, Simplicity 1808 was a big, fat fail for me. I should have known better. I have a lot of junk in the trunk and a belly in the front, but the thought of elastic waistband jean shorts called to me and I ignored all common sense. The crotch curve on this pattern is laughable. I’m pretty sure (though not positive, since it’s never something I’ve had) that these are designed for the flattest butt to ever flat. There is almost no curve, and then they also add in a crazy amount of ease. The size chart said I needed between a size 18 and a size 20 for my 43″ hips. That size wasn’t even included, so I used the finished measurements and cut a size 14, thinking that the stretch in my denim would cover the rest of the ease.

When I first tried them on they didn’t touch my body at all. Literally. There was an “air moat” between the denim and my skin all the way around. Chub rub was all that held them up. I took out 3″ from the center back and then 4″ more in the form of two darts to get them to fit loosely without being baggy, but while they fit, they looked terrible (think mom jeans), and I decided that was enough. I promptly threw them in the trash.

As I said in my review, I’ve been trying very hard to take accurate measurements and then use them honestly instead of lying to myself. But then you have a project that comes out like this and you wonder if you’re going too far the other direction.

My quest for nicely fitting pull on shorts continues…