Monday, January 22, 2007

Spring yet?

I'm dying to sew for spring & summer. Ya, it's 29 degrees outside right now and falling...all I can think about is tulips & jonquils, candy colored linen and little girls with white gloves & patent leather shoes.

In TOTAL keeping with my current state of psychicness (wha? You didn't remember I was psychic? Well, ya!) I came home to find the spring issue of Sew Beautiful in my mailbox. It is Beautiful! A real throwback to the "old days" of SB, when the garments were gorgeous heirloom confections, the photography was impeccable, and the projects were varied enough to suit most sewists. True, hot tea or cocoa & a comfy chair eye candy. SB was sold a year (maybe more?) ago to a publishing house, and the quality of the magazine went waaaayyyy down in my not so humble opinion (*insert cheeky grin*). I even decided not to resubscribe for the first time in 9 years.

Apparently either I lost my marbles & subscribed again, or a family member/friend subbed for me, because I have a year's worth of mags coming again! This issue is my first this year, and is truly lovely. There's a sweet little middy dress featured as the "free pattern", size 2-10, I believe:

There is also a really beautiful pictorial by Sue Pennington Stewart, featuring several of her new heirloom patterns for girls & boys. My two faves are Jonquil & Tulip (fitting, ya?):

and here's a snapshot of the pattern envelopes (GREAT size range in the envelopes too, 6 mos to girls 12) :

and there's this pretty, reproduction older girls dress (you'd have to have the right occasion, but it's still lovely):

And finally, there is this absolutely darling baby saque & bonnet, by my favorite heirloom designer Jeannie Downs Baumeister:

I don't think I've ever mentioned it before, as I don't do a lot of heirloom and smocking any longer, but a few years ago I was a contributor to a fall issue of Sew Beautiful. I wrote an instructional article for a little boys shirt with smocked or pieced insets; a technique that I created out of necessity. My first published piece. For that reason alone, SB will always have a special place in my heart (even when it's having a crappy year. Hey, we all have them.)

So go! Buy an issue!

(all pics courtesy of me, my camera, and the Jan/Feb '07 issue of SB).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hey, I've been lookin' for you!

Ahhh, electricity, I remember you. Vaguely.

Just a quick update to let ya'll know that NO, we have no power yet. Or water. Argh.

We're creatively surviving. Cross your fingers it will be turned on by Saturday? Pretty Please?

Thank you so much for the sympathies though! Sew something vicariously for me!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cold, Dark, Wet, Hungry....

This post coming to you from the last dregs of laptop battery, and probably just before the phone line goes...

We're right on the ice/rain line of things as far as this winter storm goes. GOOD, because we can still get out of the house...but BAD because we still lost power. It's hovering at 30 degrees here so even the rain is freezing as it hits the surface of things. All the trees & powerlines have been glazed over with a thick covering of ice since yesterday morning. I've lost a bunch of huge tree limbs in the front now lies crossing my driveway & another one just hit the side of the house while I logging into Blogger! Yikes!

Still, it's not ALL bad:
  • The house smells good due to the multitude of candles burning everywhere.
  • The kids haven't killed each other yet.
Ummm. Ok that's all I can think of good.

The bad? Well, without power I have no water. That's bad. That means no indoor plumbing. We were lucky in that we had enough warning that I "caught" enough water to get me by for about 36 hours of flushing & teeth brushing/washing up. I'm not out yet, so we're OK there.

More's my long weekend! The last for many weeks, and I was gonna sew spectacularly gorgeous garments!

More good...I've got loads of time to look through my Burda World of Fashions & Ottobre's & ogle and pick and choose. I can also read trashy novels without guilt (because, hey, ya can't be vacuuming or doing laundry without power!) AND since we have no way to cook, but the roads are relatively in good shape for a 20 mile stretch here, my dad brought us McDonald's for dinner! Yum. Fries never tasted so good (that would be thing 3 you didn't know about me...I hate fries. But they sure were yummy tonight!)

Last good before my batt dies...We played candlelight Monopoly last night until 9:30. Tonight maybe Uno? Or Yahtzee? Or a half a dozen other board games we don't take time to play together nearly enough.

Stay warm!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Things you didn't know about me...

Thing 1

When I was little I wanted to be a bank robber...

I even learned to pick a lock. Just so's I don't get rusty, I occasionally still pick one (did a padlock last night, in fact.)

If I couldn't rob banks, then I thought I'd be an opera singer...

or maybe a trapeze artist.

Thing 2
At the moment I was being brought into this world, my mom was watching a Paul Newman movie.

To this day he remains the man I can't resist. I find myself sucked into his imaginary worlds if I catch one of his movies on tv. My personal faves?

This one...

and this one...

although it was this one

that led to my aspirations of a life of crime.

gratuitous chest shot


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mystery Fabrics

I have so many things in my stash that I can't identify, that sewing for me is often Twice as Fun! First there's the fun of choosing the perfect piece for that awesome pattern you just discovered (also in your stash) and then there's the breath-holding and apprehension when you prewash (you know, because it might fall apart or shrink to Barbie doll size). THEN comes the fun of "do I have enough", which leads most usually to creative pattern layout (and some interesting facing fabrics).

Such has been the odyssey of my current project, a pair of coral trousers (which will hereby be known as Ms. Frankenpants.) I started with McCalls 3132 (cute pants. TOTALLY forgot I had
this one.)

Trying a new idea I've been toying with for pants (morphing that Cruise Pant crotch onto all my pants. Hey, it fits!) I traced off the CP pattern from crotch up and added it to the top of the McCalls pattern. I was a little worred about the "hang" of the leg, but I matched grainlines & hoped for the best. Here's the almost finished pants:

They fit MAHVELOUS in the crotch. HA! As you can tell by Edith's (my dressform) saggy bottoms, they're a little big everywhere else, most noticeably in the waist. These are a low rise trouser, and that's fine, but the CP pattern has an elastic waist (although a narrow waist) and of course the McCalls has a fitted waistband. I tried adjusting the waistband from the McCall's pattern & easing the top of the pant, but I still don't have a good fit there. I think I need a contour wasitband (the McCall's pattern was just a long strip of fabric, although it was split at the center back seam which helped some to adjust the fit.)

All of that isn't my biggest problem with these pants tho (and why they're still hanging around unhemmed with no trouser hook/eye thingie yet.) They are a $%!@ to iron!!! I mean, look at the wrinkles, they're screaming "cotton blend" or "rayon" or SOMEthing partially natural and iron-able!!! But NOOOO. The fabric is spring-y for lack of a better word (almost like wool, but they're not sucking water, so its not that.) And won't hold a crease from the iron when I press (you should see the loving-hands-at-home side seams. Sheesh.) But it wrinkles all over the place from lying around? It's the darndest thing I've ever seen and I think I give up. They were a great muslin tho to try out my Ms. Frankenpants Pattern.

For the next pair, I'm morphing the top portion of the front/back piece & using the contour waistband from this pattern, KwikSew 3385. (By the way, I used the KS 3385 instructions for construction...although they went together very easily.)

I did buy 3 lengths of denim/lycra today for more pants! I'm going to try to participate in the pants sewalong on PR (that's how the coral pants got started.) I was so excited to find the stretch denim I couldn't help myself. One is the BEST darkwash color EVER (most definitely a ringer for the 7 for All Mankind "Maneater Wash". HA!) The other has a pinstripe effect that is cool, and the last piece is a burgandy/coppery color that I'll have to snap a pic of later. It's dressy, so I'm thinking the KS pattern above would be perfect.

Speaking of Sewalongs...I'm going to try to do the RTW Knockoff Contest on PR too, and my choice of RTW to knock off is this absolutely fabulous (Edina! Patsy! Oh, sorry.) Fabulous white top from Basset:

Back to school tomorrow. Bummer.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!

Yesterday I finally sewed something I actually want to wear (I've had 2 wadders this week. Sheesh.) I used Kwik Sew 3434, new this fall: Not terribly figure flattering to my uber curvy bod, but what the hey. I had the perfect fabric. I used a really slippery mystery knit from the $1 table at WM, that has been aging in my stash forEVER. I'm talking 5 years at least. It's a nice weight though, and looks really nice. Was probably an end remnant. I had 3 or 4 yards of it, so I've still got a couple of yards. Not sure I'd want to use it again though. It was a bugger to sew. Slid all over the place when I was trying to put in the sleeves. Anywho, here's the finished product, minus the sleeve cuffs. I can't decide if I like them or not, so haven't put them on.

I will of course wear a black cami underneath. Or I do have a perfectly matched piece of lavendar knit from Fashion Fabrics that I've been saving, so I could do a cami out of that. It's hard to tell from the photo or the line drawing, but the drape in front is created by pleating at the shoulder seams & gathering the overlap at the front waist. The front bodice pattern actually looks like a wrap top. My knit is so slippery, the "folds" are sliding all over the place, but I still think it looks fine. I'm just glad to have finished something I can wear when I go back to school next week.

Ugh. I can't believe I just reminded myself I've got to go back. Sigh.