Monday, March 30, 2009

March - Month End Review

There was a lot going on this month, and therefore, much stress-related sewing was accomplished. I couldn't get my head around any complex projects, so rather than just blow it off completely I settled in and made tshirts, which we both needed and for which I had plenty of fabric thanks to two trips to Jomar.

All in all, I made 10 items, and used up 11.5 yards of fabric. I don't really think of this as a lot of items because 5 of them were tshirts - 3 for me, 2 for him, made out of my TNT KwikSew and Burdstyle patterns. He would have gotten a third shirt if he was willing to wear creamsicle orange, but apparently it's not a manly color. That's okay; more for me.

I also made two of my favorite BWOF A-line skirt in summer cottons. These take an evening apiece, and I'll get a lot of wear out of them because except for working around the house or in the garden, I've pretty much given up wearing shorts. They just don't look like they used to. On me.

Yet another knit top - not the same tshirt this time, but still a TNT - NL 6405, the faux-wrap done in tomato red with white trim, to be worn with one of my new summer skirts.

I also had two recycling projects this month, the linen blouse recycle and the tie-dye skirt-to-blouse recycle, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed doing.

It's kind of freaky; I don't think I've ever sewed for a season this far AHEAD of the season. Warm weather is going to arrive and I'm not going to be at a loss for things to wear. Hmmm, there's something to be said for this organization thing. Shame I can't do it on a regular basis.

The kitty portrait of the day is Evil Bear (really). Bear is the youngest, daughter of Vladimir Putintat, the ex-stray living out his last days in comfort in my guest room, and once upon a time she was the sweetest kitten ever. Then she met the rest of the cats, realized she didn't have to be nice to get fed, and she hasn't been nice ever since. I can't pet her, I can't even touch her; the last time I trimmed her nails I tackled her in the bedroom and got rugburns and scratches for my pains. She looks at me with absolute loathing, and I love her.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dear Coverstitch Machine

Have I told you lately that I love you?

Since March is apparently the month of knit tops, I made one more on Saturday - New Look 6405, which I've made several times before. I wanted to make a red top to go with the red and white summer skirt I made earlier in the month, but since red isn't a color I usually wear, I decided that I didn't just want a plain red tshirt. Enter NL 6405, with its neat little faux-wrap band.

My original idea was to still make the entire shirt red, and just coverstitch in white for accent, but I realized as soon as I cut out the pieces that that would basically just give me a red top anyway; no one would see the white stitching until they were close. So I went to my totally annoying local store on Friday at lunchtime and got a quarter-yard of white stretch. A quarter yard! I don't think I've ever purchased a remnant that small. They looked at me like I was nuts, but that was all I needed, so that was all I bought.

As soon as I cut the white band, I knew I was on the right track. Maybe the resulting top is a little athletic-y, but I like it.

I used the coverstitch on the neckband, the sleeve bands, and the hems. Aside from the fact that this red cotton jersey was the perfect fabric for the machine - it just purred like a kitten throughout, while some of the other cotton knits I was using caused a few skipped stitches or puckering until I twiddled with the settings.

This top apparently wanted to be made.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Self-Control: what a concept

So I took a day off on Tuesday and went up to NYC with Elizabeth to meet up with Sherril Miller, who was in town from LA for a little fabric shopping. (I'm sure she was there for other reasons as well, but the fabric shopping part was key). We met up briefly with Terry and Carolyn while at Metro Textiles, where I did purchase some - but very little - fabric.

I went to New York with a list. Isn't that a novel idea? Most of my list was stuff I needed to purchase at Pacific Trims - buttons for my green linen jacket, buttons for my eventual Chanel jacket, trims for said Chanel jacket, buttons and a buckle for the BWOF trench jacket. Another interesting set of buttons for Mario's next shirt, if anything struck me.

I got all of those (except the enamel Chanel jacket buttons) at Pacific. I found those at M&J Trims, and they weren't astronomically expensive - which has got to be a first.

Fabric-wise, I was very good. I was looking for a silk charmeuse to line the Chanel jacket. If I didn't find one, I had one picked out at Fashion Fabrics Club that would do nicely, but I wanted the option of finding something first. No luck. Lots of charmeuse, lots of pretty charmeuse, but none that looked like the one in my head. On to the next thing: in a little store on 35th Street, I found some pretty black diamond-quilted lining. Lightweight but substantial, it will do nicely in my trench jacket. I bought 5 yards of Fusi-Knit at Mood, my only purchase there.

We had "lunch" at Metro Textiles, which basically meant we met there and talked and shopped for an hour. No food involved. I bought only 4 cuts of fabric from Kashi, two dress knits that were both inexpensive and pretty, a rust-colored cotton jersey (possibly the ONLY color I didn't buy at Jomar), and, because I had been so good, I treated myself to the last of a bolt of silk velvet patterned with dragons. There was only about a yard and a half left, so I'm going to have to think carefully about what it wants to be. It's also exceptionally unphotogenic, so a picture will have to wait until I can take one in natural light - flash photos all turned orange, no matter how I tweaked.

Sure, I probably shouldn't have been buying fabric at all, considering the damage I've racked up so far this month, but I wasn't going to New York to fabric WINDOW shop. If I was there, I was going to buy, so I tried to be very specific on my list and I actually got everything on it, except for the charmeuse. Which I ordered from FFC today, along with some black stretch twill which should have been on yesterday's list, and 2 yards of denim because I want to do the Jeans Sew-Along on Patternreview.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Coming Soon: BWOF 3/09 #114 Trench Jacket

The idea of a trench has been in my mind for a while now, but the right one just hadn't come along. I considered a BWOF from January 2008; then an Ottobre one caught my eye . . . but neither one stuck.

Burda's March 2009 issue wasn't one of their most fascinating as far as I was concerned. Up until tonight, I hadn't even taken the pattern pages out of the center of the magazine. But one thing it did have: trenches. Long, short, traditional, not-so-traditional. It took a little deciding, but I decided to go with #114, the trench jacket with BWOF's classic interesting pockets.

A few weeks ago, when I went to Jomar with Elizabeth, I got a piece of fabric on the designer remnant table. I almost didn't buy it, because it was about 6 yards of fabric, and they don't allow you to cut remnants. But it was only $2 per yard, and it was a really interesting raspberry/black iridescent raincoat fabric. It looks like silk or taffeta, but it's got a waterproof backing.

That was when the trench idea really took hold.

Then, yesterday, I went to New York (more on that later - it deserves its own post). We stopped in a little store that had signs proclaiming "going out of business forever" in the windows, which might have been more convincing had the signs not been discolored with age. They had some lovely fabrics in the back - wools and cashmeres and all kinds of goodies that wanted me to take them home, but my only purchase was two yards of black quilted lining fabric. The funny thing was, I didn't know what project it was going to be for - I remembered that a while back, I had wanted quilted lining, but I couldn't remember why. Since this was only $4 a yard, I decided I didn't need to remember why I wanted it; I should just buy it.

Good thing I did. I went to bed last night, absolutely exhausted, and found myself unable to sleep. Several new projects were swirling around in my head, chief among them the black raspberry trench that I decided was up next. I had found buttons and a belt buckle at Pacific Trims; all I needed was to pick out a lining. Bam! I sat straight up in bed, scattering cats everywhere. I had just bought a lining for my trench.

Tonight, after dinner, I went in and spread the pattern sheet out on the table and started to trace. Of course it was the red pieces; those are the ones I have the most trouble seeing, for some reason. But I got pieces 1 through 10 traced, and made up pieces for the tabs and belt loops, and noted the measurements for the belt piece.

Then I finally took a close look at the pattern. The irony, folks? It's an unlined jacket.

I's not anymore. After laughing at myself for not actually having read the instructions (though the description in the magazine says nothing about a lining one way or the other), I sat down with my pattern pieces and more tracing paper and drafted a lining pattern.

Who goes to all the trouble to make a trench without lining it? There are purposes to unlined jackets, I agree. I've made my share and I'm far from finished. But a trench is outerwear, which by definition to me should have a lining. Not to mention that my raincoat fabric would undoubtedly get a little sticky without some kind of liner.

After I got all my pattern pieces together and cut out, I debated actually starting to cut into the fabric, but I restrained myself. It was after 10:00 p.m., and we all know what happens when you start cutting after 10:00 p.m.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Best Band Ever

There's a fairly new reviewer over on Patternreview - Rocketboy - who does some seriously good work. The man makes a killer pair of jeans, and his underwear review has to be seen to be believed, but what really got me the other day was his tshirt review.

I've made plenty of tshirts, both for me and for Mario. I've made plenty of knit tops, period. I've always done the neckband the way they tell you in the instructions, marking at the center front and shoulder points, sewing it in in the round. Sometimes the band stretches out in the front, showing a little too much of me, or in the case of my recent blue tshirt, it doesn't lie quite flat in the back. Sometimes this is because of the fabric - my blue cotton jersey was more ribbed and stretchy than the other cotton jerseys purchased in that batch, and should have been treated differently. This will no longer be a problem.

Why did it never occur to me that there was another way? I read his review, where he mentioned sewing the neckband in flat by leaving one shoulder seam open and a very large light bulb went on in my head. I couldn't get into the sewing room until Sunday afternoon, but all day Friday and Saturday, I was imagining it over and over, and getting more and more excited by the idea.

Yesterday I finally got into the workroom to cut out yet another KS 3338 tshirt for myself from a cream cotton jersey. I'd already made one for Mario out of this, but there was enough left over for a top for me.

I stabilized both shoulders on the back piece with Fusi-knit, and sewed one shoulder seam. Using the standard pattern piece for a neckband, I folded it in half right side out, and pressed it flat. Then, starting at the open shoulder seam, I started pinning the band, stretching slightly, all the way around. I ended up with more than an inch of band left over, but when I folded the band inward, it seemed right, so I trusted it and went ahead and sewed. When I turned the band inside and pressed it flat, it looked good, so I sewed up the remaining shoulder seam.

I tried it on Evelyn, and it laid perfectly flat, no pulling or gapping anywhere. I topstitched the band down and continued on my merry way, sewing the sleeves in flat, sewing the side seams, using the coverstitch for the hems. When I tried on the finished shirt, I realized that I had the best neckband ever, and a whole new way to do something that I've been doing for years.

Goes to show that you're never too old to learn a new trick.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another Unexpected Houseguest (this one averted)

Late Monday night I received a message from my stepdad on my cell phone. That in itself is strange, because he only calls my house phone. He said, "Call me as soon as you can!" in an excited voice. I decide, since it's after midnight, that I'll wait until morning - either he's already gone to the hospital, which is what I suspect, or it's not that bad and he's asleep. I call first thing in the morning, and he says, "Good thing you called, I was just leaving." I ask where he's going, so I know what hospital to track him to later, and he says, "I'll be at your house by 2:00!"

What? First of all, even I won't be at my house until 6:00. I ask him to explain, and his reasoning is that he got his tax return and he didn't have anything to do this week, so he decided to come and visit. For a week.

Aside from the general fact that my stepdad and I have never been close (he and my mom married when I was 16 and I moved out a few weeks after high school graduation), he's 80 years old, in somewhat iffy health, he has an elderly used car, and he hasn't driven more than a half hour since his back surgery early last year. Obviously a prime candidate for a 5 hour drive.

He also can't climb steps (there are no beds or couches on my first floor, and the downstairs powder room isn't working), and did I mention, he's allergic to cats. And scared of them.
I can see why I was his first choice.

I suggested politely, and then not-so-politely, when he didn't get it, that perhaps he would like to stay with one of his THREE sisters who also live in Philadelphia.

It finally sunk in that there was no place for him with me, and he said he'd talk to me later. Which apparently meant Thursday, because he couldn't be bothered to call me Tuesday when he arrived, or even Wednesday. There was no communication until I did an online search, found the only one of his sisters with a listed phone number, and called to find out he was indeed there. And now he wants to know when I'm going to take the train up to visit him, because he got a good parking space so he's not moving the car until he leaves on Sunday. And even if he did, he wouldn't drive to my neighborhood because he thinks it's scary.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm just feeling a little fed up right now. 2009 has been too eventful for me thus far, and I'm yearning for a little peace and quiet and uninterrupted sewing time.

In sewing news, I haven't done anything interesting in over a week, just mechanically making TNT tshirts for the two of us from all that Jomar cotton jersey. We need them, I have the fabric, and I don't have the attention span right now for a more challenging project. So at least I can accomplish something while waiting for life to quiet down a little.

Cats are Annie (top) and Archie (bottom). There are no appropriate photos for rants, so I'm sharing a few more of the children.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Restorative TNT Pattern

After a full weekend of all out rodent warfare, which included 12 bags of trash, 3 packs of steel wool, 4 cans of expanding foam insulation, a small batch of quick-dry concrete and a happy (and $20 richer) 15 year old neighbor, I retreated to the workroom on Sunday night to play with a little fabric and get my brain back in order. This was after, of course, I completely tore out and reorganized the workroom because if there's any place in my house that could double as a mouse nest, it's the fabric storage area. No mousies, however - there's a point to letting Lily into the sewing room with me, she's obviously left some scent behind that's scared them off.

I'm still working on some basic tshirts from KS 3338 with those cotton jerseys from Jomar - so far, I've made myself one in creamsicle orange, and another in what the original American Eagle sticker called "Retro Blue." Mario also got one in that color, since it was a big remnant.

Sunday night's project was one of my favorite quick-and-easy patterns. Does it go without saying that it was from KwikSew? I've made KS 2694 three times now, once in a sweater knit, once in a rayon lycra jersey last year and now in the zig-zag print stretch velvet from last weekend's trip to Jomar.

Complicated projects have their times and places, but sometimes, you just really need a project that you can knock out, cutting to hemming, in 90 minutes. This was one of those projects.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Suicidal Mouse

Consider this post as Chapter 38 of the continuing saga, I Love My Old House.

For the past week, whenever I went into the shed (which is attached to the back of my house, off the kitchen) I've noticed that it smells a little funky. I thought maybe it was the trash, though it's certainly not warm enough for the trash to smell. Put the trash out Monday night, it still smelled. Tuesday, it smelled a little stronger, and I didn't like where my mind was going. Made Mario, who has the world's worst nose, smell it, and he said, "Have you accounted for all the cats? It smells like something died in there."

Cats were all accounted for, but it did indeed smell like something died in my shed. Or under my shed. Or in between the walls and vinyl siding on my shed. Originally, I planned to dedicate Saturday to emptying it and locating the source of the funk, but I couldn't take it. I was up Tuesday night obsessing, and yesterday at work I kept thinking how much worse it would be by the weekend.

So last night, I put on old clothes and tore into the mess. You may remember that a few months ago I had a leak in the shed roof. Other than cleaning up the immediate mess and paying for the roof repairs, I kind of neglected to deal with the rest of the problem. I procrastinated on the insulation and new piece of ceiling drywall, and I thought that's all I was ignoring. Well, apparently there was more water damage than I realized - the shed slants downhill to the far corner, and lots of water had run stealthily along the floor, making muck as it passed. At some point, the mouse must have gotten in, and at some later point, after much chewing and pooping, the mouse died. Possibly from eating potting soil, compost activator or the epsom salts I keep for my roses, all of whose bags and boxes were chewed open from the bottom and the contents scattered all over the floor. (This was hidden from view by my clothes drying racks, which were stacked up in the narrow center of the shed, waiting for spring).

Eight trash bags later and I'm still not finished, but I've found the body, disposed of it, and sprayed enough bleach cleaner in there to disinfect the whole house. I stuck my head in this morning, and the funk had definitely decreased. It's not completely gone, but that's because I haven't torn everything out yet. I'm debating ripping out the last of the old linoleum, because it too got water soaked and is probably accounting for a good bit of the smell that my mind has identified with the dead mouse.

I am completely grossed out by this. I know it happens - it's an old house, it was a cold winter, I had a situation building in there that basically set out the welcome mat for him, but I still feel like having mice mean I have a dirty house. So the reign of terror has begun. One little suicidal mousie - come on, sneaking into a house with 12 cats! how dumb was that mouse? and yet he died of other causes - and I'm ready to take half my house to the thrift store. I had to stop working in the shed around 8:30 because I lost the light, but then I went upstairs and tore through the workroom, getting rid of all the scraps I had that were too small to do anything with, dealing with the leaning tower of magazines in the living room that are mostly heading for the thrift store or recycle bin, and doing a good scrub of the kitchen while I was at it.

I took a break around 10:30 to work on another set of tshirts - Burdastyle for him, KS 3338 for me - and got the shoulder seams and neck bands finished before I felt the need to clean the bathroom. And so it went. I finally got to bed around 2:00 a.m., and I was so tired then that I couldn't sleep.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another recycling project

Recently I made Simplicity 2936 from one of the oldest fabrics in my stash. I really love this pattern - it seems like this may solve my age-old dilemma of loving blouses and having a huge stash of buttons, but not really looking very good in buttoned shirts. This is a pretty flattering look on me, and with some searching through the pattern collection I'm sure I can find a few other sleeves that will work on it, and at some point I may alter the scoop neck to something a bit higher (just for a change of scene).

Ouch, that was lame.

This version was made from a skirt that had fallen out of favor in my wardrobe a few years ago. It's probably 15 years old, and back then I was a lot more willing to traipse around in skirts to my ankles all summer long. Sorry, but the legs are one of the last things to go and I'm not covering them up this summer! So the skirt has been stashed in a bag under my sewing table until last Sunday afternoon, when it emerged, got pressed, and slowly but surely became a short-sleeved version of Simplicity 2936.

I even overcame my fear of embellishment and added a strip of trim around the neck. Okay, so it's not an impressive bit of embellishment, but I tried.

The buttons are greenish mother-of-pearl, purchased at a flea market in Paris. These were the buttons originally intended for my green linen jacket that just didn't work. Now I know why; they were waiting for this project.

The hardest part was manipulating the pattern pieces so that I could get a relative match on the tie dye on each side. The grain doesn't exactly run straight up and down anymore, but this fabric is so soft and fluid that it doesn't object to being off-grain.

This will work so well with my green linen suit - I can't believe I made myself a whole spring outfit already! Since yesterday was still pretty spring-like, I gave the suit a test drive. Other than the fact that linen-with-lycra behaves pretty much like linen-without-lycra and wrinkles like crazy, I'm really happy with it.

And at some point soon (NYC on March 24th!) the jacket will finally accumulate some buttons.

Monday, March 9, 2009

No Fabric Left Behind

When we woke up on Saturday morning, it was spring. As in 70 degrees, sunny and all the snow gone overnight. Hard to remember that it had been less than a week since we got 6 inches of the white stuff. After breakfast and a trip to the farmer's market (they had greens! I was happy!), I got down to it and spent 4 hours digging in the back yard. I'm planning to put in more vegetables this year, so I picked a part of the garden to sacrifice for food, dug out everything but the rosebushes (it was mostly columbines, irises and catmint, all of which I have in abundance elsewhere), turned the soil over to the depth of about a foot, dug in a load of compost and covered it with newspaper to keep the weeds from sprouting too much before I can plant.

It felt really good at the time, but you know you've overdone it when you come inside and hunch over the sewing machine to REST your back.

I'm still on a kick with spring/summer sewing - I know the weather won't last, but spring will be here eventually, right? - so I knocked out two more of my favorite quick-and easy BWOF skirt. Since they were sewn with the same color thread, I cut them out and did them assembly-line style, and all I had left to do yesterday was the hand sewing of the lining down along the zipper. Everything else was finished on Saturday. These aren't the most complicated skirts in the world, and I freely admit to topstitching the hems, but they're casual summer skirts to wear instead of shorts, so it was acceptable for this skirt in those fabrics. (Both of which, BTW, were end-of-season last year from Fashion Fabrics Club and dirt cheap - just to make it better).

Yesterday Elizabeth came over for a while and we made another brief trip to Jomar. This time I came home with no regrets for fabrics left behind at the store. Possibly I will regret buying some of what I did, but that's better than the reverse. This time I took proper advantage of the cotton jerseys and got 4 more - spring green, light blue, aqua and red. I also got a few yards of light gray pointelle knit for a pair of PJs, 2 yards of tan stretch twill for the cropped pants in the new issue of Ottobre, some iridescent burgundy/black raincoat fabric for one of the trench jackets in BWOF 3/09, some light terracotta shirting for Mario to replace an existing RTW shirt that has gotten absolutely threadbare, a brown/cream striped bottomweight, a yard of Spanx-level lycra, two double-faced knits for casual wear (green for me, gray for him), and a floral print knit for an unexpectedly pregnant friend who recently gave away all her maternity clothes because they weren't planning for any more kids. Oh, and 5 yards of interfacing because I was almost out.

29 yards, by my calculation. When the fabric cutter gave me my total, I was a little surprised ($60 - still not bad, I just shouldn't have spent it), but then I came to my senses. Yes, it was too much fabric. But except for the yard of spandex I purchased to make a cover for my recently padded out dress form, it was all $2 per yard.

Yeah, so that puts the numbers back up in the bad behavior range, but I'm not regretting these purchases yet, and I don't think I will anytime soon.
Off to look at knit top patterns so I can make up some of these jerseys before they even hit the shelves.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

But - I'm not dressed to get an award!

Thanks to Carolyn, Elaray, LindsayT and Pam for the Sisterhood Award! This one means a lot because I do feel a sense of sisterhood and community with so many of my fellow bloggers out there.

When your biggest passion (avocation, obsession, addiction, compulsion - insert your word here) is something that few people around you do, it's always a joy to find others to share it with, even if they exist mostly inside your computer monitor. Here are a few of my favorite "sewing sisters" who show attitude and gratitude - and who inspire me with their dedication to the art and craft that we all love. And the nominees are:

Cennetta at The Mahogany Stylist
Connie at Couturesmith
Dawn at Two On, Two Off
Debbie at Stitches and Seams
Elizabeth at Story of E
Isabelle at Kitty Couture
Kat at Phat Chick Designs
Shannon at Hungry Zombie Couture
Sherril at Sherril's Sewing Saga
Trena at The Slapdash Sewist

And here's what you have to do, once you collect your award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

First Fabric of 2009: what a rush

So I had a little play date on Sunday. Kisha came over and we spent a few hours talking patterns, fitting, trying on clothes, and then she looked at me with that gleam in her eye. "Want to go to Jomar?"

Do I want to go to Jomar? I always want to go to Jomar. I should not go to Jomar, because it is dangerous to my budget. But did I say no? Of course not, I'm obsessed and addicted, not crazy!

I did, however, set myself a limit of $20 for my purchases. In most stores that won't get you very far, but in Jomar, you can fill a bag. Which is just what I did. Okay, so I went over by a little - only $5, though, and I'm 15 yards of fabric to the good.

15 yards, while nothing to be proud of, does not replace all the stash I sewed up in January and February, so I'm pleased about that. Plus all my purchases except one have specific uses. I bought 4 solid color cotton jerseys - cream, medium blue, teal and creamsicle. Mario, knowing what I was going to get up to yesterday, said as he was leaving, "I know you're not going to Jomar, but when you go to Jomar, could you get some fabric to make me a cream-colored tshirt?" Hey, I do requests!

Also in the bag of goodies was a nice chunk of a patterned stretch knit for a summer dress - they had table on table of designer knits at $2 per yard, and it was hard to only choose one. When I first got upstairs and saw the selection, I put every single one I liked in my shopping cart so no one else would grab them, and then later I spread them out on a table and eliminated all the unnecessary ones, ending with this tropical floral. I bought both pieces, which got me about 4 yards, but I was afraid 2 wouldn't cover everything - I know it's a dress, just not which one. Besides, there may need to be some waste to avoid Awkward Flower Placement.

I also got a 2 yard piece of stretch velvet which reminds me of a Gorgeous Fabric that I never got around to purchasing. So soft.

My last purchase, pulled off the rack while standing in line waiting for my other fabrics to be cut, was 3 yards of this striped silk. When I first saw it, I thought it was shirting, but this is better than making another shirt for you-know-who. I don't have an exact project in mind for this yet, but it's either going to be something vintage or nice summer shirt dress. If I did a vintage one, I could probably play with the striping and make something really unique. Must go through the vintage pattern stash soon.

A side note from the Jomar run: I got to meet Jay McCarroll, winner of season one of Project Runway. He was in there filling up a massive shopping cart full of goodies for his clothing line. I asked him what his favorite fabric stores were in NYC, since as a young designer I didn't imagine he could afford Mood without Bravo's backing, and he said that he doesn't shop in NY. He shops at Jomar.

I knew I liked him.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

February: Month End Review

I achieved less quantity this month than in January, but not only is February a shorter month, but this February, everything went more or less to hell and my sewing time was limited but very therapeutic.

Now that Lily the cat is well again and back in her rightful place as sewing room mascot, maybe things will get back to normal.

The goods for February: Simplicity 2936. This vintage-looking shirt was made from one of the oldest pieces in my stash, fabric from my great-grandmom's stash. Now that's been waiting a while to be used. I really liked this pattern and have already cut out another one, this time a short-sleeved version.

February's BWOF was the best issue they've done in ages. I found about 10 things I wanted to make, but I traced off #108, the boatneck tee, straight away and made two of them. It's a great basic shape, and I needed a fairly uncomplicated pattern for some of my more loudly patterned knits. This one will get used over and over.

I had planned to make Mario a shirt for Valentine's Day (when I can't decide what to get him, that's my default gift and he always appreciates them) but with one thing and another and then yet another, I didn't actually start the shirt until the night of the 14th. I used a black, white and pink stripe purchased at Mood during PR Weekend 2006.

This fabric has been waiting until his fashion sense had evolved sufficiently to appreciate it, and apparently he's there now. He thinks this is the best shirt yet. (Modestly, so do I.)

I tackled another pattern from the 2/09 issue - jacket #115. I had originally planned to make #116, which was the lace version pictured in the magazine, but I couldn't find a lace/lining combo that I liked. Also, as we all are, I am getting truly sick of winter and decided I needed to do a little spring sewing. I used an olive green linen with some lycra to keep it from wrinkling too much. I didn't start the project with a lot of enthusiasm, but it turns out that it's a really great little jacket, and the basic shape - minus the pockets and even minus or changing the collar - is a good jumping-off point for other pieces.

To go with it, I put together a quick skirt from BWOF 10/06 #117 (an easy favorite, slightly less A-line than it started out). Because I was sewing from stash and I didn't have any green lining fabric, I used a patterned poly charmeuse that's been around since I was in high school. I bought it at the time thinking I would actually wear it. Now, I'm not so sure about that, but even if I had wanted to make a top, what was I thinking? One yard of anything isn't going to go far.

While I was feeling industrious, I finished two UFOs - a pair of gray doubleknit BWOF 9/07 #126 pants, which only needed hems and finishing at the zipper, and the raglan-sleeve tshirt dress #118 from 11/08. That one only needed the sleeves shortened, bands put on the sleeves, and hemming. This dress was made pre-coverstitch, so I think that's why it got put aside.

The pants will probably get worn tomorrow. The dress, I'm not sure. I'll put it in the closet for a while and see if I warm up to it.

Lastly, I started a recycle project that's almost done. I found a size 16 linen shirt at the thrift store, and after a bit of tweaking, it's now my size and considerably different-looking, as well. It's pictured here with the green skirt. All I need to do is figure out the length of the flutter on the sleeves (unless I decide to take them off and go sleeveless), and it's done, but I think I'll still count it toward March's totals.