Friday, February 24, 2012

Frustration, boxers and aprons

I'm having a little bit of a "crisis".  Must be from all that non-stop sewing in January.  I'm feeling rather frustrated.  It's getting to the end of winter.  All my sewing plans are nowhere near complete, nor could they possibly be.  I think that I have no real concept of how much sewing I can actually accomplish.  I make lists and grandiose plans, and I completely forget that besides sewing there are other things in life.  Now add to that the fact that this has been the case for a good number of years.  Every time I look at the fabrics that I have in the cupboard, I realize that so many have been there for years (even decades?) and my frustration level rises.  Last year I decided to keep statistics, just to prove to myself that I actually accomplish more than I think I do.  (Very cute little spread sheet that adds up numbers all by itself - just to prove that I can do such things!)  What those statistics proved was that I sew far too much, but much more than half of what I sew is for others.  No wonder I don't see results in my closet!  Who made the rule that I have to present handmade gifts for every occasion?  Oh - and then there are all those patterns that I absolutely had to have - still unopened, waiting to be put to use.  Let's then add all the pictures that I've clipped and pinned to the bulletin boards that were supposed to be inspiration, but now only cause more frustration because I haven't been able to use those ideas yet.  When I start to think of all of this, then add to that all the amazing ideas that I see on all the blogs - I think that I will explode.  If only I could sew and do nothing else for the next ______ what? week? month? year? then possibly I could catch up.  But then I would have to stop looking at new ideas.  I definitely need a reality check.
In an attempt to calm myself down, I decided that I needed a new game plan.  For starters - no more statistics.  It really doesn't matter how much I produce, so long as I am happy with the results.  I will not make long lists of planned sewing that cannot possibly be realized.  One item or outfit at a time to be completed before moving on to the next.  Some items come together quickly - some items will take a while longer.  I do not have to measure my output against everyone else out there.  I would really like to mostly use what I already have on hand - so that I don't have to keep looking at it in the fabric cupboard!  Wardrobe plans are wonderful - they just are not for me.  I've tried many a time to "plan" my wardrobe.  Impossible!  Perhaps if I was starting from scratch...  I just know where the gaps are in my wardrobe, and then there are the things that I "just want".
So what have I actually been sewing while pondering these very serious issues?  Well, I did make another full set of covers for the daybed in the TV room, using up an old tablecloth, coverlet, etc.  (Sorry - no new pictures for the moment!)  A certain someone has decided that this is now his bed.  Pulling an old sheet over the bed doesn't work to keep the doggy dirt at bay - he just pulls it off, arranges the (new) feather pillows to his liking and plops himself on top very comfortably.  To make a long story short, I decided that two sets of covers would just make my life easier - one in the wash and one on the bed.  One definite problem here - this is supposed to be the place that I can lounge comfortably while watching a movie.  Why is it that I need permission from the dog to do so?
Well, and then there was my son's birthday present...
I couldn't resist those prints!  Boxers fit for a chef.  It was actually very hard to choose - there were all manner of vegetables and fruit.  (Don't worry - that's not the only thing that I sent!)
Still in "kitchen mode"... aprons for the church kitchen.
Oops!  Sorry!  Didn't realize that this was so badly out of focus!
Lovely prints.  Nice heavy cotton.  Three aprons of each print.  If I hadn't turn these fabrics into aprons I would have done something stupid like like trying to figure out how to make use of these in my wardrobe - lovely fabrics, just not my style.  At the last church dinner everyone in the kitchen was sporting a new apron - much better than those old holey ones that they usually wear.
I have now moved on to clothing for me.  I'm feeling much better about things.  Thank-you for listening to my ranting!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Class samples V

Oops!  Time certainly does fly.  I had intended to post this last bit on class samples a while back.  Unfortunately, after several weeks of intense sewing for a deadline, so many other things had fallen by the wayside and needed to be attended to.  This, that and the other thing, and blog posting was pushed to the bottom of the list.

So, last, but not least in the samples for classes - pants, blouse (fitting classes) and jacket (tailoring class).  The blouse is OOPVogue 7063 with a scooped neckline that I "borrowed" from the Pamela's Patterns Perfect T-shirt and finished off with a bias edge.  I have no idea what the fabric is - possibly a piece of curtain fabric.  The cream shade worked for the grouping.  Rather boring.  Initially I was going to use some rows of decorative stitches to perk it up, then decided that I didn't have the patience to sit and stitch those.  Found some butterfly lace stuff in the drawer, liberated a few of the butterflies and hand sewed those on.  Very low tech.

The pants  are a combination of Vogue 1166 and 2532.  They're a stretch wool that I bought as a remnant to go with another jacket, so it was a lovely surprise that they would work with something else.  Of course, picking a remnant, holding it up to yourself  to determine whether it will be enough for a pair of pants is not necessarily the best method of judging the amount of fabric.  Turned out that I was 1 inch sort of fabric before even turning up the hem.  No problem!  (Right!)  There was a slice of fabric left at the fold that I managed to chop up into strips and fashion cuffs.  The whole mess on the inside was covered by a strip of the lining fabric.  (And yes, I lined these.)
Now the jacket is rather a long story...
I do believe that I briefly mentioned this jacket almost a year ago.  To begin at the beginning...
Two years ago I decided to sew a suit for Easter.  Made the skirt.  Made the blouse.  (Almost) made the jacket.  The outer shell was done.  The lining was ready to be sewn in.  All was well.  I decided that I needed keyhole buttonholes.  Now my machine makes very ugly keyhole buttonholes.  Well, I would just pop over to the store and beg to use one of the very fancy machines that make lovely keyhole buttonholes.  I made samples.  Everything was going well.  Time to actually sew buttonholes on the jacket.  First buttonhole - perfect.  Second buttonhole - perfect.  Third buttonhole - huge wad of thread build-up and one big mess.  I persevered through the fourth buttonhole, which was - perfect.  Attempts to remove the thread mess just made a worse mess.  I was almost in tears.  I packed up and went home (calling that super-duper machine all kinds of bad names).  I knew I'd think of something to save the jacket.  The first thing that came to mind was making use of the sample buttonholes that looked beautiful.  I thought that if I cut out shapes around the buttonhole, lifted out the damaged one, then inset the same shape and satin stitched around, I could make do.  And to make it look like a design thing, I'd do the same treatment on the second and third (damaged) buttonholes.  I just made a worse mess.
At that point the jacket and all that went with it got dumped in a bin and for Easter I was jacketless.  Last year, after much time to think, I came up with another solution.  Mind you, I only had teeny scraps of fabric left - such is the problem of buying remnants.  There really was no room for error.  I decided to cut off the strip of front with the buttonholes and replace them with slot buttonholes.  So...
Scraps left for redesigning
I measured and measured and quaked and measured and finally cut strips, matching the herringbone pattern.  Interfaced one lot of strips to mimic the layers that I already had going on inside the jacket.  I stitched, leaving openings for the buttonholes.
Then the two layers were put together and the openings were slip stitched.
(Um - did I mention that the fabric is silk herringbone?  Colour - pale blue and the binding is a pale green.  The skirt that goes with this is in the green with blue at the waistband.)  At this point I ran out of time, back in April (?) and the whole business went back in the bin.  Again I was jacketless for Easter.  It was definitely time to get this jacket done, and it happened to work with the pants that I was sewing, so...
The really scary part now was cutting off a piece of jacket and replacing it with my strip of buttonholes.  The binding seemed to grow as I was removing it, only to make me even more nervous about how the end result was going to look.  Lots more measuring, praying, more measuring and I finally got up the nerve to chop the jacket.
Lined up the buttonholes and stitched on the new strips.
Laid down the old front to mark and cut the neckline.

Cut the facing side to size.  And at this point I rather ran out of steam for picture-taking.  Then it was a matter of reapplying my binding, inserting the lining into the jacket and I was finally done!
Originally I had bought shell buttons for this jacket.  While I was removing them from the cards, one button snapped in half, and I questioned the practicality of using such fragile buttons on a jacket.  I found these old greyish buttons in my stash -just the right number and just the right size!
...and in case anyone is interested, the pattern for this jacket is:
Burda 8949

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Class samples IV

Moving right along ...
For the Sewing Workshop (Advanced) I decided to show a dress.  One piece to hang up - easy in many respects.  I decided on McCall's 5847 - in linen.
Blue threads going one way, yellow threads going the other way - overall effect - greenish.  I've had this fabric for a few years - a "find" in the clearance section.  Oddly enough, while it was stashed away, I kept thinking of it as being bright turquoise, which it is not.  A few tweaks were needed to make it fit, like a SBA, and I also narrowed the sleeve.  Didn't make the pocket flaps, mainly because I chickened out of extra buttonholes.  I am such a chicken when it comes to buttonholes.  That wasn't always the case.  I'm still dependent on my Platinum for making buttonholes, since the buttonhole foot for my "new" Bernina has not yet arrived.  The Platinum has it's quirks, and getting hung up on buttonholes is one of them.  Eight buttonholes marching down the front of the dress were almost enough to make me crazy.  I persevered.  I used Jane's tip from a while back on using washaway stabilizer when making buttonholes.  I even remembered to breath, at least in between buttonholes.  All went well.  No buttonholes needed to be ripped out.
There is an awful lot of stitching on this dress.  I even ran out of bobbing thread at one point - something that doesn't happen very often.  Princess seams - every one of them topstitched in double rows.  I could have made lapped seams, but I didn't.  I wanted to get this done as quickly as possible, so I simply serged and topstitched.  Oh, except for the sleeve seam, which I did lap, but that's because the sleeves needed to be rolled and the wrong side shows, and heaven forbid should something ugly show from the wrong side.  I used organza for interfacing.  Didn't want to fuse anything to this lovely linen, and it seemed to work well.
I made the belt, which looks somehow much brighter in the picture than in real life - a bit of an afterthought, but without the belt, the dress is somewhat shapeless, and I really didn't want a plain sash - at least not in this fabric.
I do think that I'll make another version of this at some point - perhaps a sleeveless, shorter version.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Class samples III

Samples are all done and delivered.  To-day and tomorrow are "open house" at the store and hopefully many people will come to sign up for classes.   I had thought that I would post as I finished each project, but that (obviously) did not happen.  Pictures did get taken, despite the gloomy weather, so I do have "proof".  You just won't get all the proof at once.
We're trying something new this time around (did I mention this already?).  Sewing Workshop is what we're calling it - both for beginners and advanced, as well as a separate one for quilters - that one is not my department.  The idea is, that people can bring in whatever project they like and get help in putting it together.  Problem was - what to hang as samples.  Well, pretty well anything would work, I suppose.  So, for the Beginners I made this bag...
Leftover fabric from the vest that I made for my nephew.  The pattern I downloaded from here.  I left off a few details - but it just wasn't a little-bands-and-buttons-on-bag kind of a day when I was making it.  For the lining - what else - rusty coloured cotton.
And of course, the requisite magnetic snap.  Even a pocket on the inside!  Don't know that this bag is exactly "me", so whenever it comes home, we just might have to find it a better home.  Best part is - there is still a strip of this fabric left and I think I know how to utilize it for me, me, me!
Now for some really exciting show and tell...
My board of seam finishes - for what else - the Seam Finishes class.  Yes, I knew that you were just waiting with baited breath for this amazing feat of sewing.  (I'm not even sure that the picture is in focus!)
And that my friends, is all that I will show you for the moment, because that's all the patience I have for downloading pictures.  To be continued...