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! 😉

Advertisements

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. 😉

Things that tick me off Thursday

It’s that time of the month week again. 😉 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.  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. 😦 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. 🙂

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

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?

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? 😉 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!

 

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! 😛 (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:

WP_20151213_16_41_49_Pro

IMG_1243

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. 😉

 

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. 😉

Meh.

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.

Things that tick me off Thursday

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good rant, but this one has been a long time coming.

Why are there no cute styles for stick straight hair?! Look for yourself. Every single hair style for someone with straight hair (especially in a medium length like mine) is down and layered. And probably curled. My hair doesn’t hold a curl worth a damn. And if it’s layered and you try to braid it, the results are less “messy cute” and more porcupine.

I don’t want to look like a porcupine. I also don’t want to spend an hour curling my hair just for it to be straight again before noon. Or am I the only person out there with slick, straight hair? Because ponytails are getting old, and my hair looks like hell if I grow it out long enough to make a decent bun. It gets thinner–and stringier–the longer it gets. It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s the truth.

And in the winter (or just a dry climate) my hair looks like this:

Image courtesy of duckduckgo.com

I hate staticky hair, but at least if it’s in a ponytail it’s not sticking to my face…

So. Anyone else sympathize with me on this? Have hair suggestions (the quicker and easier, the better)? I’m open, because internet searches and pinterest don’t seem to have anything for me.

Ugh! Why do I torture myself so?

Today I did a kettlebell workout for the first time in…well, let’s just not go there, shall we? Anyway, as I was doing it, I realized that I was gonna have to do some shopping. My several-year-old worn-through-a-pregnancy sports bra just wasn’t up to the job. My muscles weren’t the only things a bit sore after that. 😮

Believe it or not, that wasn’t the torture–the torture was the visit to Old Navy afterwards. The options around here for sports bras is kind of limited, and so is my budget, so I thought I’d check them out and maybe pick up a couple of nicer-than-I-have-now t-shirts while I was at it. <–Stupidest. Idea. Ever. Ok, well, maybe not quite as stupid as this:

Image found via Google

But still, it was pretty close. Partly because I *never* find anything there that I like, but mostly because the quality is exceptionally bad. Seriously, I tried on a sweater thingy and I could literally see my bra through it!! Yes, yes, light colored stripes, dark colored bra, yadda yadda, but still–it’s a freaking sweater. And don’t even get me started on the weirdly square shoulder points that were on everything I tried (and no it wasn’t from hangers–they were all folded). How do people wear that stuff and think it’s acceptable? If you’re looking for 1980’s power-suit-turned-sweater-like-shirt (and it didn’t even have shoulder pads–it simply defied gravity!) Old Navy’s gotcha covered. I will say that I was *thisclose* to buying a K-State tee from there because it was cute, but when I tried it on I realized that I’d constantly be pulling on it–I can’t put my finger on it, but something was off enough to have it twisting up and over my chest in the 30 seconds I was wearing it. Plus it was $22…I’m not going to pay extra for the privilege of pulling my shirt down all the time.

Someday I’m going to have to learn…I just am too picky to buy clothes anymore. Or at least not clothes that are in my current budget. So I guess I’m either going to have to “cheat” at a different store, or my sewing productivity is going to have to undergo a massive increase.

And in case you were wondering, I never did end up buying a sports bra….