Things that tick me off Thursday

It’s that time of the month week again. ๐Ÿ˜‰ No, I’m not OTR, the Cardinal isn’t visiting, and it’s most certainly not “shark week”, though I remember watching that on the Discovery channel when I was a kid.ย  Ah, memories… Do they even play anything besides Mythbusters marathons on there anymore?

But, I digress. This peeve is kind of getting to me, even though I know it’s absolutely a first world problem. I’ve tried talking to WordPress on their forums and on Twitter, but got nowhere, so I’m just going to ask any of you that I follow and that follow me back, can you dig my comments out of your spam folder? Every time I post on someone else’s blog (doesn’t seem to be an issue on mine) it never shows up. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Hopefully, if enough people do that, my commenting feature will be fixed??? I know that I’m not the most witty person out there, but in the meantime, I want you all to know that I have loved the thoughtful, lovely posts that you’ve made. Your projects were gorgeous and I totally want to copy a lot of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Up next, I hope to have a post about a wedding guest outfit, plus maybe a bonus rehearsal dinner outfit. Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Belated birthday sewing

My husband’s birthday is at the end of November. It has been on the same day as long as I’ve known him ;-), but for some reason, this year I struggled to get my gift for him done in time. As in, nothing would go right…it was as though I’d forgotten how to sew. SMH.

  • I sliced into the front bodice (is it still called that for men?) trying to fix a button band and had to recut it.
  • Any pieces that could have been sewn on backwards, upside-down, or wrong side out, I did it.
  • Nearly cut too far snipping the corners off pretty much every single collar point/cuff.
  • My cuffs still don’t look sharp and pretty as I’d like.
  • I interfaced the button bands with too stiff of interfacing so had to recut them.
  • My hems still weren’t level, even after adding length to the pattern pieces–which I still don’t understand, since I compared the side seams of the pattern pieces and they matched after my adjustments. You sure couldn’t tell it by the finished seams though. Hmph!
  • There wasn’t a package of bias tape to be found that came anywhere close to the grey-green striped fabric–in fact, notions for that fabric were nearly impossible all around.

All I can say is thank goodness past me (because these fabrics were both in my stash for the last 4+ years) bought the full yardage recommended by the pattern! I wouldn’t have needed but about 2/3 as much, but all my goofs meant that the extra came in very handy! I guess the other thing that turned out really well was the sleeve plackets and my topstitching–both of those things are gorgeous on both shirts. Neither of them are something that anyone but me (and you–since you’ll get close-ups) will notice, but at least something turned out right! And all of this trouble on a TNT! I’ve made this pattern at least 6 or 8 times before!

I only included ^ one because it shows the blue shirt in progress in the back–proof! ๐Ÿ˜› (Trust me, it’ll make sense in a moment.)

So here are the pictures of the finished shirts, all ready to be worn by my wonderful husband:

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OK, so this picture is actually from this post, but it’s the exact same pattern, fabric, and size. So I’m cheating by not retaking the pictures. Call me lazy if you’d like. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

In the end, I’m glad I did these. Hubby’s closet was getting rather shabby–all those clothes he’s been wearing since 8th grade (Grrr! I wish I could still wear stuff from that long ago!) are finally starting to wear out, and all at once too! If I had more time, I’d probably replace a few more in his wardrobe, but the money is the same whether I make ’em or buy ’em, and I’m a selfish seamstress at heart. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A first (x2!) suit

My son is a second grader this year, and as tradition dictates, this is when the kiddos have their first communion. Knowing that I couldn’t afford to buy a new suit for him (taxes suck!), and that I had a pinstripe wool that’s either black or a dark navy (I’m still not sure) in my stash from a long ago failed project, I figured I could probably sew one up. I even had a Burda suit pattern in my stash. Add in that I had some leftover lining from my coat project a couple of years ago, and it seemed like it was meant to be.

EXCEPT.

It wasn’t. Holy cow. Burda magazine patterns might be drafted amazingly well (no dispute on that), but their “directions” and tracing layouts leave MUCH to be desired. For the sake of brevity, here’s a list of my issues (and they were many!)

  1. After spending probably at least an hour tracing out the pattern pieces from the maze of lines (of course the suit was the green set of lines–the hardest to see, IMO), I realized that I had forgotten to add the seam allowances, so I had to add them as I cut. Since so much of the suit is interfaced forgetting the seam allowances didn’t actually end up being the end of the world.
  2. My interfacing wasn’t sticking. Turns out, while it had always adhered in 8 seconds on other fabrics, I needed a full 15 seconds and some water misted on the pieces to get full adhesion with the wool. Many thanks to my Twitter/Instagram peeps for helping me with that when I was in full-blown panic mode.
  3. Um, the Burda instructions are terrible. Just terrible. Also, I’m pretty sure they tell you to cut the back lining pieces without the facings–which I learned that you absolutely should NOT do!! CUT THE FACINGS!!
  4. Because I cut the lining without the vent facings, I set myself up for a whole host of issues And if I’d been less freaking out because “OMG, I’ve screwed up and I onlyย  have a week to finish and …!” then I would have just cut out some facings with seam allowances and stitched them on. I was NOT that clear headed at the time.
  5. Also, I learned that you are supposed to have a notch thing on the center front of the jacket–as this was my first ever jacket (and I don’t even own another pattern to compare pieces)–I was unaware of the existence of a notch thing. I just very carefully blended my seam and hem allowances together. Don’t do that. Use the notch thing, or in the case of this pattern, MAKE the notch thing yourself.
  6. LOTS of handsewing and fray check.
  7. LOTS OF HANDSEWING. Oh, and LOTS OF FRAY CHECK.
  8. Did I mention lots of handsewing and fray check?
  9. Otherwise the jacket went together beautifully, and if it’s not your first ever jacket, or if you have a pattern with a better set of instructions handy, I’d recommend it. My first ever notched collar went in without a hitch the very first time.

I had hoped to bag the lining using the technique I used on my coat, but the Pattern~Scissors~Cloth blog is gone now, and she had the technique I knew with the pictures that made it possible for me to wrap my mind around it. Since I couldn’t use that tute, I just kind of winged it. (Likely would’ve had to anyway given my mistake on the vent/hem notch.) I ended up handstitching the sleeves because I couldn’t remember how to do them (again, losing that whole site was a major loss to the sewing community–she had so much awesome information on there) and I handstitched the whole bottom hem of the jacket up and around the vent and everything. That probably doubled all the handstitching I’ve ever done inย  my whole life to that point. Well, that might be an exaggeration. Maybe.

So anyway, I’m sure you’re all desperate to see the pictures of this monstrosity, right? I aim to please. The question is, bad pics first or good pics first? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Good it is then. ๐Ÿ˜‰

All right, I’m sure the curiosity is killing you, so here’s the bad…

All in all, while I still feel like it was a miserable failure because it’s not nearly perfect enough for my perfectionist self, Irish looked very handsome on his special day. (You’ll note I didn’t make matching slacks–sometimes you just gotta know when to quit.) And who knows, maybe he’ll even manage another wear or two before I pick the buttons off and throw it in the trash. I may leave it to the professionals when Scotch gets to his first communion though… ๐Ÿ˜‰

The best laid plans of mice and men…

I never really understood what mice had to do with planning, but that’s the saying, so there it is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So about that coat…it turns out I don’t have enough fabric to make the Simplicity coat, even after removing some of it’s amazonian proportions (seriously, I think that model must have been like 7 feet tall). But, all is not lost! I just happen to have enough fabric for several other options, which I’ve narrowed down to 3, though I’m leaning more heavily towards one. In no particular order, they are:

Vogue 8465: the hip length peplum one should work.

McCall’s 6442. I kind of like how the collar is also a hood. Also a bit of a squeeze, but likely doable.

Burda 12/2011/104 coat. I’ve actually got this magazine in my Burda stash. The seaming is less pronounced on their finished coat, don’t really know how obvious it would be in my version.

Any particular version strike your fancy? The Burda one I’d have fabric left over, at least according to their guide, because it only uses 2.5 yards. Maybe I could make a matching hat–ha!

To help me out, I’ve created a poll and I’d love it if you’d take the time to share your opinion with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Dun, Dun, DONE!!

Yes! Finally! I finished up those slacksย (a mashup of KS 3267 and Jalie 2107) that I’ve been working on for my darling husband! I even learned something new while sewing these up: you CAN take a welt pocket back apart after you’ve cut it–if you’re vewy, vewy, caweful. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The trick is to make sure that you restitch very close to the clipped corners, but that you don’t end up in the cut part…this sounds obvious, but it’s more tricky than you might think. The ridiculous part is that I was so afraid to take it apart that I tried every which way from Sunday trying to make it look like a welt pocket without taking it apart (I didn’t find an acceptable alternative method, BTW) when it was so much simpler just to take it completely apart and do it right. Sometimes I’m just a stubborn glutton for punishment, and I don’t know why.

And I have pictures! None of the recipient modeling them though, you get to see them on the lovely “floora” (freshly vacuumed even!) instead. ๐Ÿ˜›

Can you tell which pocket was the one that put me through my own personal hell? Me neither. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, after that, I have to do my post project clean up and decide what to sew up next. I’m thinking a button-up blouse from Simplicity 7057 which I hunted down like it was…well, something that you hunt down, after seeing a picture of the envelope on Emily’s blog. I know, it was probably silly to chase it down over simply seeing the envelope cover, but well, raglan sleeves. I even have a crazy print to make a (hopefully) wearable muslin out of. It’ll either be awesome or awful….or a mix of both.

P.S. Do you think I used quite enough italics in this post? I must be feeling a bit emphasized stressed. ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Or not, since WordPress just ate them. ๐Ÿ˜ก 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. ๐Ÿ˜ก 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…..

Surprises

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 probablyย  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! ๐Ÿ˜ก

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…..so you can really get that full “hell” effect. Especially with such a touchy shower knob. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

*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. ๐Ÿ˜ณ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

In other news, I’m still waiting for my flooring…. โ“ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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: Dilemmas!

As in, more than one. Dilemma #1 and the main reason for this post? Technology. My laptop (the main computer) is being difficult. Mainly, the battery and it’s charger are refusing to work together. It’s kind of a lengthy explanation, but the gist is that I have to jump through hoops to use this thing. So much for technology making life easier. ๐Ÿ™„ So, now I’m trying to decide if I want to replace it with a tablet (original idea that we’re kind of leaning away from now), a netbook (a possibility), or just a smallish low end laptop. I’ve have stared at specs I don’t fully understand until my eyes have crossed. I’m still no closer to a solution. I think the tablet would be nice, but they’re pretty limited without buying a crapload of accessories for them that drive up the final cost significantly. I mean it’s $150 for the keyboard for the Transformer Prime, and an extra $70 for the one for the iPad 2. By the time you buy a case, you’re looking at ~$700, and I could buy a pretty nice laptop for that, that can do more than a tablet anyway. So yeah….

My other dilemma? Which of these to go with for a cute shirtdress:

Here’s the poll.

Halloween Sewing

Halloween is probably my favorite holiday, because it’s fun, requires no major travel, you get to dress up, and did I mention it was fun? As I’ve done *nearly* every year, I made my son’s costume because not only is it hard to find things that fit him, but every year I look through the racks at boy’s costumes and am dismayed at not only the selection and price, but the quality (or serious lack thereof) as well. Seriously? Gah! Why do people buy this crap? I know it’s not because it’s affordable.

But, I digress….sorry. So this year, I found a nifty blog called The Train To Crazy (which I โค that blog name, seriously), and found several really cute handmade Halloween costume options. The one I chose was the Dinosaur Tail one that my son chose out of all the (boy) options here. I made his tail out of a green felt from Hobby Lobby, with yellow felt spikes. Sadly, that was the easy part. The hard part was finding a hoodie–who knew?! We looked at no less than 5 stores for a dark green hoodie so that I could sew a couple more yellow spikes to it to make the complete costume. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ We did finally find one, even though it had a stupid faux team logo on it (why do they do this?!) that was a similar shade of hunter green. I like using hoodies in the costumes because I can just baste/pin the pieces to it, and after Halloween is over I can remove them so that he can just wear the hoodie. Yeah, I’m a cheapskate like that, but it works out really well. I’ll be sure to get some pictures tonight, because right now he’s wearing it at school and I don’t have any pictures yet….probably because I was finishing it up last night–shhhhh! Don’t judge.

Edited to add the picture! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, that’s all I have for now, I’ll put up another post with pictures or edit this one to add them later this evening or tomorrow. Hope you have a happy Halloween! ๐Ÿ™‚