Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Delayed Gratification

Some of you might remember I've been going on and on about my two UFO Fatina dresses. I managed to finish one of them recently, but hadn't worn it because I wanted to make a jacket to wear with it, and was thwarted by my incomplete vintage jacket pattern. That pattern will get drafted, eventually, but in the meantime it was 90 degrees today and since the air conditioning in the office had been off for the long weekend, I figured I could go sleeveless at work without freezing to death. It was a good guess, but unless I schedule this for another day-after-long-weekend wearing, I'd better get cracking on the jacket.

I didn't do an official pattern review because this is like my 6th iteration of this pattern, changed again but still with the same bones.

Fabric Used:  Charcoal gray/light yellow windowpane RPL.  Originally bought about 3 years ago from Jomar, meant to be pants and a jacket.  Now a dress, and soon a matching jacket. 

Changes to TNT Pattern:  I added a bias binding to the neck and armholes. Originally I had planned a bias sleeve, which when it was inserted didn't look bias enough due to spacing of the lines on the fabric. It looked bias straight on, but toward the front and back, it just looked like a sloppily inserted sleeve. Off they went. Then I tried a short sleeve cut on the grain, and I didn't like it either. I decided it was meant to be sleeveless. This also might be that after removing 2 sleeves, the edges were a bit raggedy and doing a bias binding was the best way to clean up my mess.

I also cut the dress a good bit shorter than usual and added a bias band at the bottom. I really like the band - it wasn't intended to draw the dress in a bit, as it does, but I decided that I liked the effect after seeing it on. Besides, for a 2 piece unlined dress, this was giving me way more difficulty than it should have and I wasn't removing ANYTHING else.

After that, the dress was essentially done, but I kept fiddling with it. I had these roses from Pacific Trim in both charcoal gray and light yellow, and I wanted to use them somehow. I tried grouping them at the neckline in various ways, but couldn't find an arrangement that I liked.  The yellow didn't make the cut at all - they were way too "old lady corsage" looking.  Then I got the bright idea that I would do something all cool and designer-y and MAKE cap sleeves for the dress OUT OF THE ROSES. Thankfully I just pinned them on because when I tried the dress on that way, I looked like a halfback who'd had a collision with the FTD deliveryman.  

Safe to say, I have way too much shoulder for something like that. If I were one of these stick-figure girls with little shoulders and thin arms, I would have kept the rose sleeves in a heartbeat. But on me, that just looked awful. And ridiculous. But more awful than ridiculous.  It's never good when your sewing makes you laugh until you're sick to your stomach.

I ended up with three gray roses at the neckline. I thought that added interest without making it too fluffy, and then of course I had to bead centers in the roses with yellow beads, just so they weren't QUITE so plain.

Nothing succeeds like excess, right?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

PR Weekend Inspiration

Anyone who has ever attended a PR Weekend has come home filled with inspiration - inspiration brougth on by the enthusiasm of the other sewists they meet, the fabrics they've met and purchased and petted, the projects planned and discussed, and the garments worn by others, and in the case of the Chicago weekend, also brought along as examples by designer, Angela Wolf, during her Saturday presentation. 

While she talked about couture sewing, fashion trends, custom jeans and fabric dyeing techniques, Angela was kind enough to hand out a selection of garments she'd made - Chanel-style jackets, dyed and beaded silks tops, her beaded wedding jacket and more. 

If looking is good, manhandling and photography is even better.  Looking at her jackets finally convinced me that the next Chanel jacket I make has to have the classic quilted lining, which I've always avoided doing. The jackets were so beautiful, substantial yet completely light, and draped almost like a cardigan. 
There were interesting trims, and a use for spray adhesive even I had never thought of.

She also talked about chains, and their ability to provide weight to garment hems.  I used a chain on the hem of my Chanel jacket, but I like her method better, and the weight of chain that she used.  She also used it in the hems of skirts to make them hang properly, which had never occurred to me.  Look at the photo at left, with narrow silver chain sewn along the entire hem, including the slit.  Brilliant.

As a self-taught sewist, Angela has made up her own rules and it was refreshing to have a presentation by a successful designer who doesn't seem to have a list of dos and don'ts that are more important than using your creativity and figuring out what works for you.

As far as inspiration provided by other sewists, there's the amazing ruffled skirt worn by Jaeng (and coveted by Elizabeth) and Claudine's green silk quilted dress.  It's absolutely amazing, and my picture comes nowhere near doing it justice.  Check out her blog for more details; I can't even describe it adequately other than to say if there was one sewist's closet that I could transfer to my house, it would be hers.  (Of course all the clothes would have to drastically change size, but it's my fantasy.)

Another winner was Amy's Burda 6/08 #108 dress.  Isn't it cute?  Isn't she cute?  That dress was actually on my to-sew list back in 2008.  I'm not sure why it slipped down the list, but it's moving back up again just as soon as I decide on a fabric to use for it.

I still haven't come down from my PR Weekend high.  I've been doing a lot more sewing lately, and while the projects have been fairly simple, due to my level of busy-ness and other stuff still going on, but at least I'm sewing.  As life calms down and my time expands, my projects will adjust accordingly.  Expect to see another Chanel jacket one of these days, several notches above the last one.

And all thanks to the inspiration provided by a rainy weekend in Chicago.  Thanks, ladies!

Friday, May 27, 2011

90 Minute Dress

It was a long week.  We got out early today, and I headed down to Karlin's to pick up more black and white striped fabric.  I'm having an issue with the dress - because of the pleats in the skirt, there's just no way I can make the stripes line up, and having them off - by a little or a lot - is making me batshit.  So I got the bright idea to just buy more fabric and cut a new skirt, with the stripes running horizontally.  Because the skirt is full, I don't think the crosswise stripes will make me look wide, and at least I wouldn't have to match the stripes.

So of course they ran out of the fabric.  Who bought 20+ yards of that black and white stripe?

There went Plan B.  On to Plan C.  I'll let you know when I think of a Plan C.

So instead, I came home and made a quickie dress from Burda 6/11 #107.  Full review is here. 

Pattern Description: From the magazine: Simple lines for big impact. The clean cut of this dress features dropped shoulders and a seductive neckline. No zipper is needed, thanks to the casual A-line shape.

What they forget to mention: in-seam side pockets, lined and unlined versions, neck facings included for unlined version. 

Pattern Sizing: Burda sizes 34-44. I made a 40, which is my standard size in Burda wovens, and I could have made wider seam allowances. This was a little spacious, but it's also an airy, unfitted summer dress. I think I want too much.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, the shape is very similar, though I think for a combination of Burda and V-neck, this actually doesn't fit their "seductive" description. It's a V. It's not plunging, I can't see my bra, I certainly can't see my navel - they've done lower.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I read them after the fact, and they're pretty clear - for Burda - though they seem a little overcomplicated for the lined version of the dress.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? No dislikes at all.

I wasn't impressed with the June issue of Burda, which is of course why I've made 2 patterns from it before the end of May. There were a lot of simple shapes, which I criticized, and of which I have made 2.

This dress struck me as simple and flattering, and possibly a good use for the Liberty of London lawn I recently acquired. The prints are quite busy, and I wanted a simple, easy dress. This looked like it would suit my needs, and is the kind of dress I like to wear on weekends.

Fabric Used: Olive green eyelet from Metro Textiles in NY (age approximately 2 years); turquoise cotton lining from Paron's in NY (age approximately 1 month).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I left off the pockets. In seam pockets are not my friend - they tend to make me look a little thicker in an area no one needs to look thicker. I underlined my eyelet with the turquoise cotton and cut them as one. Rather than deal with binding off the neckline, I decided to just cut the facings anyway and treat the dress as unlined. It was just easier since I assumed this was a wearable muslin.

It's actually just a wearable dress. Always a nice surprise.

These fabrics are of a heavier weight than the Liberty I intend for future iterations of this dress, so I may use wider seam allowances next time.

Interestingly, though Burda mentions in the description that this is an A-line dress, they pose the model in the PHOTO so that the fullness in the skirt isn't evident. I might taper it in just a smidge next time, depending on how I like the flare in a lighter cotton.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'll be sewing this one again. Much as I love more complex patterns, sometimes simple IS better. My rectangle shape responds well to A-line and shift dresses and it's a quick, nicely fitted pattern. I'd recommend it, both for beginners who want to tackle Burda, and for more experienced sewists who need a quickie project with a good result.

Conclusion: Start to finish - tracing to pressing - this dress took me 90 minutes. It's not rocket science, but it is a cute dress.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Give me liberty

What, did you think after that little bout of public enabling, I wasn't going to buy any?

I haven't bought much from Fabric.com recently.  I took myself off their daily emails and tried to forget they were there because it was just too easy.  But for Liberty, exceptions will be made. I loaded up my imaginary cart and clicked "save".  I didn't count how much I put in the cart, or worry about its effects on my credit card.  And I do, sometimes.  But I was remarkably restrained in Chicago, partly because of my late start, but mostly because I can shop anytime, anywhere. 

Talking to 100 other sewing-obsessed women . . . about sewing?  That I can't do anytime, anywhere.  So I behaved. 

I went to work last Friday and let a large black coffee clear my head a little.  The total in the shopping cart was $304. 


I'd picked out 6 fabrics.  Obviously, that wasn't going to happen.  I sat and considered my options, and what I could eliminate without getting the textile version of the bends.  There was a half yard that I wasn't giving up, because it's going to give new life to a dress made a few years ago that doesn't get enough wear (a half yard will allow me to change out the sleeves, which I don't like).

After that easy choice, the harder decisions.  By my second cup of coffee, I'd narrowed it down to 2, plus that half yard.  And since I'm planning shirts instead of dresses, and since the prints I'd chosen were blessedly non-directional, I figured I could manage with 1.5 yards each. 

So really, not too awful, not when you throw in free shipping and a 10% off coupon.  I got 3.5 yards for a little more than the price of 2 full price yards. 

It's a justification.  I know it.  But when is Liberty of London going to come along at that price again, and in that many prints and colors?  It's a good thing that my thrifty streak is nearly as wide as I am, or I might have clicked "buy" with that $304 cart, instead of "save."

The top 2 fabrics pictured are the shirt yardage; the bottom blue/tan floral is the excess fabric to change out the sleeves on my Loaves & Fishes dress.  Hmmm, if I had to buy more fabric to make it work, I guess I'll have to change the name - no more miraculous making of a dress out of too little fabric.

But if I wasn't wearing it, it wasn't a successful dress.  I'll wear it now.  That's more important in the long run.

It arrived on Tuesday.  It's lovely.  And it's mine.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dress, Interrupted

I'm in a holding pattern on my black and white dress, and I needed to clear my head.  What's better than a quick knit top?  I got the June Burda on Saturday, and while it's not an exciting issue, it does have some good basics.  I decided to try out the fitted tshirt pattern, in the hope it would be as good as the 9/10 turtleneck pattern.  No such luck.  It's not bad, and it could be tweaked into being better, but it will not take the place of my favorite TNT KwikSew 3338.  Full patternreview here, and below. 

Pattern Description: From the magazine: This comfy t-shirt has a fitted cut and decorative stitching on neck and sleeve edges to make it truly special. What they don't mention: center back seam, invisible zip (in a knit?) and a NECK FACING?

Pattern Sizing: Burda sizes 34-44. I made a 38, my standard size in Burda knits.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It looks more like the photo than the drawing, right down to the odd pulling across the front. I didn't expect that result on me - face it, the model is young, tall, thin and boobless. Whatever my end result, I didn't think it would be the same.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Having made a load of tshirts before from my favorite KwikSew 3338 pattern, I didn't read them until afterward. That was when I found out that although I was making a knit tshirt, I was supposed to sew a center back seam and insert an invisible zipper in a knit. Sure I was. Whatever the people at Burda are smoking, they didn't include any with my magazine subscription.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I didn't really think I needed another tshirt pattern, but I'm about to trace my KS 3338 pattern onto cardboard because I've worn it to shreds, and I wanted to try out a new pattern just to see what it looked and felt like before I committed to using KS forever.

This hasn't changed my feelings for KS 3338. It's not a bad tshirt, and what attracted me was the more RTW cut (higher neckline, shorter sleeves) - and the flashback it gave me to my high school years when they first came out with what they called "French cut" tshirts. Anybody out there remember the revelation of tshirts that fit? That didn't look like you raided your brother's drawer? Indulging my nostalgia and trying out a new pattern that would only take an evening didn't seem like a bad idea.

Fabric Used: Rust/brown cotton jersey from Jomar in Philadelphia. I've had it in stash for a year or two, and when I finished the shirt last night, I looked in my closet to find a skirt to pair it with today and there were at least 4. I'm consistent in my colors, if nothing else.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: When I looked at the line drawing, I somehow missed the center back seam and zipper, which was good because then I would have had to knowingly ignore it. What I did notice was that they had included front and back neck facings. On a tshirt. I guess that's the "decorative stitching" they mentioned in the description, but I have never understood the point of facings in knits if there's any way around it. I cut a strip of fabric and made a neck band like I would on my normal pattern.

Other than that, I assembled it like a normal tshirt: reinforce shoulder seam, sew shoulder seam, insert neck band, sew sleeves in flat, sew side seams from sleeve hem to shirt hem. Coverstitch hems. Wear.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don't think I'll sew this EXACT shirt again. I haven't determined if it's a pattern drafting issue or maybe a fabric issue (my knit was a bit drapier than I realized before I cut into it), but there's a bit of pulling across the upper chest (not across the boobage, where I'd expect it) and a little bit of drag under the arms. It looks like it would be solved by taking in the side seams, but that would turn this into a different shirt, and that wasn't the intent. I'm 47; I'm not heading for a tight tshirt contest this summer.

Conclusion: Not a bad pattern, just requires a little more tweaking to get the fit I want. I may simply combine the useful and classic neckline and shorter sleeve length with the body of my standard KS 3338. At some point I'd like to lay the two patterns out together and see what the differences are, especially in the underarm/upper bust area. When I get around to that, I'll update the review to show the differences in the pattern.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And then the sun came out

Yes, I'm sewing - the dress is coming along well, but I've come up for air and food.

And now that it's finally stopped raining (I think), I can catalog what's going on out back, what washed away, what's growing well, what isn't. 

It's actually kind of frightening just how much food you can cram into a 20x20 urban back yard, especially considering I haven't given up roses yet and there are 20 or so rosebushes left, plus a few large clumps of iris and lots of coral bells for edging.

Here's what we've got now.

Fruit:  4 blueberry bushes, 2 strawberries, 2 currants and a gooseberry.  And 9 tomatoes, though I do still think of them as veggies.  Mostly plum tomatoes, for canning and sauce, but a Sungold for garden snacks, and one larger one for salad.  No heirlooms because the local squirrels have good taste and ate them all last year.  I'll get those at the farmer's market.

Veggies:  a bed of garlic, a bed and 2 pots of mixed salad greens, a bed of arugula, 2 peppers (hot and sweet), a zucchini, a cucumber (both going to be trained up a chicken-wire screen on the back fence), pole beans (with bean tepee built out of crutches), peas, and a tire full of yellow finn and yukon gold potatoes.  If you can grow tomatoes vertically, I see no reason you can't grow potatoes that way.  I've got beets coming up as tiny potted seedlings, and since they were successful, I sowed some seed directly in an empty spot.  The seedlings will go in the ground later, after the next rain.

Herbs: perennial rosemary, lavender, sage and thyme.  Mint, anise hyssop and lemon balm safely in pots.  Remind me not to let the lemon balm re-seed this year.  All my weeds are lemon-scented.  Lots of basil.  Dill because I want to try pickling this year.  Probably more to come, because I can't resist them. 

The area in the center of the yard where I removed the patio is where I've planted the beans, peas and potatoes.  That's also where I'd like to construct a chicken coop for next summer, but it's really going to depend on how happy I am with the garden yield by the end of summer.  I can always buy eggs at the farmer's market; I love going out and digging in the dirt and coming in with dinner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Project

This dress has been brewing for a while now. I found the black and white striped fabric at Karlin's, my local store, and while I wasn't sure exactly what it wanted to be, I knew I wanted to mix it with another print. I bought a half yard of a black and white geometric at the time, but that has ended up in the scrap box because I've cut up and am recycling an old red-and-white gingham Gap sundress that I wore to death in the early 90s.

Lots of good times in that dress, but alas, it no longer zips. And there's nothing wrong with the zipper; it's called contents under pressure, and we don't want an incident, now, do we?

I decided that it should be a shirtdress, but which one? Burda has been loaded with good shirt dress patterns lately, but I wasn't feeling the urge to muslin anything; I wanted to jump right in. So I chose Vogue 8352. I've made this dress before (or 1 1/2 times, because the second version, my Loaves & Fishes dress, had a different skirt). The shaped bodice is very slimming, it's got a good collar, and the 3/4 length sleeves with cuffs gave me another opportunity to play with contrast fabric.

My plan for the weekend is to finish the dress, but thus far, the bodice is constructed, the collar is attached (under-collar in gingham), the sleeves/cuffs are constructed (outer cuff in horizontal stripe, reverse in gingham) but still need to be inserted, and the skirt is done, but not attached. I'm still debating pleats v. gathers, but I think pleats, which is the same version I did before) will be more interesting with the stripe. I'm afraid the gathers will be a little bulky - this fabric is a touch beefier than it looks and I don't want to feel bulk around my already-widest area.

Further use of the contrast: I made a one-inch wide strip and it will be attached as the button placket on the underside. The buttons, as well, are red and dome-shaped. They look like jellybeans.  I'm debating whether or not to make the buttonholes in red, but I'm doing white topstitching elsewhere, so probably not. I tried red topstitching, but a single thread of red disappeared into the black and then looked strange on the narrow white stripes. Two strands of red thread looked too thick. I think it's one of those instances where topstitching thread might beat out two strands of regular, but how many of us keep red topstitching thread around? I'm not even sure if my local store carries it.

If the rain ever stops, I want to get into the garden this weekend and clean up some of the damage. We're so waterlogged that two of my older roses actually tipped over and pulled out of the ground. I tied them back to the fence and dug deeper holes and replanted them. Fingers crossed. Normally I have really good drainage back there but right now there's standing water all over the yard. And it's not warm, either. I've really had enough. Spring can come any time. Being Philadelphia, when spring finally does come, it will be followed in about 10 days time by August, but I'll take it. I'm rained out. Both 55 gallon rain barrels are full , the excess buckets are full, and I probably won't need to water for a month anyway.

So I'll probably get to spend a lot of time in the sewing room this weekend. Lily the sewing room cat missed me last weekend and is demanding her fair share of room time (and access to her private food bowl). It's good to be a cat in my house.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A little enabling

For all those I couldn't persuade into fabric in Chicago (and I was actually VERY restrained for me; normally I'm a champion enabler), Fabric.com just got in a whomping load of Liberty of London tana lawn.

Major weakness of mine.  It's $28.98 per yard, which is painful but below any other price I've seen recently.  I have to narrow my choices down from ALL of them to a few.  This will be difficult, but I can't buy it all. 

Right?  Right.

Monday, May 16, 2011

PR Weekend Chicago

The Bean
I'm home.  I'm still exhausted, my voice is coming and going due to having talked enough for 3 weeks instead of 3 days, and I had a fabulous time.

PR Weekend in 3 words: friends, fabric and . . . fog.  Chicago had the most inconsistent weather I've ever experienced.  I spent most of the trip shivering and with wet feet, and had to buy a fleece throw for my bed in the dorms, but I had a great time nonetheless and had 3 of the best women for roommates, Connie, Touran and Andrea. 

Lace trimmed jacket
 There's something to be said for sharing space with like-minded women who shower efficiently, don't spend hours in front of the mirror and are ready and raring to go for coffee in the morning when I am.

My plane got in late on Friday so I missed the first half of the shopping day at Vogue Fabrics.  Not a hardship, as it turned out - there were plenty more fabrics at Fishman's, the other Vogue and a small shop called New Rainbow where I found a great cotton print for a summer skirt.  And Andrea picked up a knit for me at Vogue to make up for my missing out - and to keep me from stealing her identical fabric in a different color.  She knows me well.

My roommates
Instead of shopping on Friday a.m., I walked down to the lake and nursed a large coffee.  After dealing with airport delays, security lines (and too many people who just won't calm down and walk through the damn scanner already), having my deodorant confiscated as being 1/4 oz. over the legal limit of dangerous liquids, a trio of howling babies, turbulence and a late arrival, sitting down by the water, listening to the gulls, watching the boats and the joggers, was just what I needed.  I had a leisurely lunch on my own and met up with everyone at Fishman's in the afternoon.

This was the biggest PR Weekend ever - over 100 attendees.  This was both good and bad - I got to meet people I'd never met, and wanted to, but I also didn't get to spend enough time with others who I know and wanted to talk to (sorry, Sherril!).  

View from the room
 Saturday dawned bright and dreary.  Friday's chilly, then warm, then chilly weather turned, well, chillier.  We all went to breakfast and then back to the conference center for the first part of Angela Wolf's presentation.  I admit, I was a little iffy at first about being in the same room all day, listening to the same person - it didn't matter who, or what she was talking about; I was in a new place and wanted to explore.  But the first half of the presentation was so interesting, and Angela was so inspiring to listen to, that I started to reconsider abandoning her for the Art Institute and the Bean.  She's self-taught, so she has no "rules" that you have to follow; she's figured out her way of doing things for herself and listening to her talk about how she learned to deal with silks (by abusing them in the washer and dryer - why not?) and how to make Chanel jackets really had me wanting to run home to my machine.

We broke for lunch, and a few of us walked up to another fabric store on Wabash Avenue for a quickie purchase.  I got 2 yards of wool there, and when we came out, it was colder, and raining pretty hard.  We sprinted back to the University Center, had lunch there (one free daily meal with registration) and traipsed back downstairs. 

Angela Wolf's jacket
 The Art Institute was defeated by a deadly combination of inspiration and bad weather.  The afternoon session was more about fabric dyeing, which I have to say doesn't interest me that much, but there was enough other information tossed in, and enough questions asked, that I didn't regret attending at all.  After that was over, and before dinner, I retreated upstairs to read for an hour and warm my feet in my fleece blanket.

The last group dinner was downstairs in the conference center again.  We had salad and pizza and cake, and there was an absolute swarm at the pattern swap counter.  I thought I had pretty sharp elbows, but these ladies are professionals. 

How cool is this?
 On Sunday, Deepika was being honored with a proclamation for her work with Patternreview by the lieutenant governor of Illinois, Sheila Simon, herself a sewist.  I wanted to go, but the flight schedule wasn't cooperative - I'd booked my flights before the Sunday activity was announced, and airlines are remarkably cranky (and expensive) about last-minute changes of plan.  Bah.  But a good time was had by all, Deepika was honored for what she's done (and deserves every bit of it), and I got home in one piece with my fabric, tired but happy.

This was supposed to be a really short post with a "more later" at the bottom, but apparently I can't stop even when I'm tired. 

I'll stop now.  More later.  Probably.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's worse

What's worse than waking up feeling like crap and calling out sick?

Feeling so craptacular that you can't even get any sewing done on your day off, that's what. 


Monday, May 2, 2011


I hit snooze until 8:10 a.m. today.

I'm supposed to be at my desk by 9:00 a.m.  Somehow, I got there, but don't ask me how.  And don't ask me what I did all day; I was busy but the fog in my head really prevented me from noticing exactly what it was. 

Obviously the cold is still with me, and the cold medicine is doing exactly diddly at this point.  So I decided to do something else medicinal - sew.

I'm actually closing in on finishing one of those long overdue Fatinas, and to complete it I need a little jacket.  I decided to trace off this jacket from the collection of vintage patterns Mimi lent me last week. 

I didn't get far. 

The envelope didn't seem too thick, but I figured maybe the original owner had someone like Mario around, who can re-fold pattern tissue in factory folds until almost its original thickness.  No such luck.  Of the dress and jacket pattern pieces, there was the skirt front, skirt back, and jacket front.  That's all.

At least it was an important piece.  Looking at the schematic at left, I think I should be able to draft up a reasonable facsimile of the jacket back - other than the neckline, it seems almost identical to the front.  As well, the facings won't be complicated once I have the jacket itself under way.

The collar will probably be the most difficult bit, but I think it's do-able.  The pieces here are drawn to scale, and I'm glad they have the grainline arrows clearly marked.  I'll start with the jacket back, and work up to the collar.

But not tonight.  Know why?  In addition to not having the pieces to trace, know why I can't draft the new pieces?

Because I ran out of freaking tracing paper. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's black and white and worn all over?

This is Mario's latest summer shirt.  Personally, I find it a little frightening, but he loves it.  

Go figure. 

It's KwikSew 2935 again, which is faster and easier than my standard KS men's shirt pattern.  The collar is a one piece instead of a collar-and-band, which I think is acceptable for a casual shirt, though I'd never do it for a dress shirt.  Only 5 buttons and buttonholes.  It feels almost like cheating, it's so fast.

My favorite part of this shirt (actually, probably the only part I really like) is how well I managed to match the print up the front.  Amazing what taking your time will do, huh?

Not a lot of sewing going on besides finishing the shirt.  I got a call Tuesday at work that my aunt had fallen.  She's 86, so even a minor fall can have major consequences.  She wanted rest that night, so we went up Wednesday after work and she seemed okay - bruised and sore, but able to get around and having, I thought, the sense not to push herself. 

Then the phone rang Thursday morning at 5:30.  Two more falls, refusing to go to the hospital, shoot me now.  By the time I left for work, she had given in and was being taken to the hospital, and I got to do the thing I do best - call people on the phone and pester them into doing what needs to be done.  Talked to the hospital, her doctor, her social worker at the seniors' apartment complex.  Called her stepson in Florida, a couple of friends who normally drop in to check on her.  Only person I didn't talk to was my aunt, who was sulking because I put my foot, and my medical power of attorney, down and made her go to the hospital.

Turns out she has pneumonia, which might account for the weakness that caused her to fall.  She's also got a Hawaiian sunset of bruises up one side, but they're giving her antibiotics for the pneumonia and Percocet for the pain, and it's done wonders for her mood. 

Interestingly, she finally apologized for not coming to our wedding.  Then she blew the apology by saying she hadn't wanted to come in case I didn't go through with it.  Hey, at least she suspected me, not Mario.  Oh, well.  Old people.  What can you do with them?

They're probably going to keep her through at least Wednesday, and then she goes to rehab for a week.  By then they'll be able to evaluate if she can continue to live independently (hopefully she'll regain most of her strength and just need to pay for hourly help when she needs it; the assisted living facility at her complex is obscenely expensive and she would probably outlive her savings at that price - and she doesn't need to worry about money on top of everything else, since she's already a natural worrier). 

We did get up to NYC yesterday for a brief visit.  I did a little shopping with Elizabeth (fabric photos to come - though isn't too much to show), saw the latest exhibit at FIT, met up with Mario for lunch (he was off on his own wanderings in the morning) and took the bus home again in time for dinner.  It was a beautiful day - I think spring has finally arrived.  I think.

Woke up this a.m. with a scratchy throat and the sneezes.  This did not stop me from finishing his shirt, but it may keep me from starting another project tonight as my head is feeling very heavy.