Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Finger lickin' good, or why sewing makes a bad day better...

Today was a pretty rotten day at work, I have to say. Probably one of the top five in the past two years. A real doozy, so much so I had to shop, sew, and have a good cry to start feeling better. I went shopping for some new skirts, actually. I picked up a four more to add to the collection and a skort, too! I love those, BTW. It's a girly skirt but you don't have to be all modest and such when moving about since there is no risk of flashing the general public.

Lately, I've been biking the 10 miles to work each way and it's hot here. Imagine biking in a convection oven and you can probably understand (although, I ask no sympathy here; it's true what they say about the humidity being the true villain). I actually find it most comfortable to bike in a skirt. Now, most people are surprised - shocked, even! - when I reveal this, but really, it's great to have freedom of movement and be able to take full advantage of the breeze. Seriously. It does however have it's limitations: I pretty much have to stick to either jersey or a-line, preferably a combo of the two. Straight skirts are doable, they simply require a smidgen of elastane in the fabric and at least a 4" vent plus a relatively uncaring attitude towards being a wrinkled mess. I spend much of my day seated behind a desk so i don't care too much. Mostly. Anyway.

In the time since I have started biking to work, I have gone through the few skirts I willing to subject to the abuse of 20 miles on a bike rather quickly. What else to do but sew up a few more? In that vein, I cracked my very first vintage pattern: Simplicity 5454, copy write 1972, Misses and Women's Jacket, Skirt & Pants.
It does have a bit of a vintage feel in that the pants and skirt are seated just at the waist. Otherwise, it's pretty classic. The jacket is a princess seamed, slightly wider (though in the line drawing not so much it is dated). Plus, it's the only pattern I own with a box pleat in the front. Cute, right? And, look! The directions are printed in two colors for my viewing ease!
How great is that?! Also, as much as I understand multi-sized patterns revolutionized the home sewing experience in terms of fit, really, it's pretty awesome to have the seam lines printed on the pattern.

Since I'm on a (sort of) fabric diet until the end of the year, the stash was shopped for choice of fabric. The winner ended up being a seasonless poly-blend olive with variegated pin stripes woven without any stretch. It has decent drape and I thought the stripes would add good visual interest in the box pleat. Perhaps non-traditional, but if it doesn't work, I'll consider it a muslin. I have 5 yards of the stuff and I haven't touched it since it came home from SAS Fabrics Tempe, where I found it for $1.99/yd.
I started it yesterday and expected to finish it tonight, but I had a little sewing accident that I would imagine every sewer will experience eventually: yes, I basically sewed through my fingertip. It didn't hurt that bad, actually. The needle just sort of sliced the tip of my index finger as I was easing the waistband on to the skirt. You can see my bandaged finger in the photo of the pattern piece. It did make me cry a little bit, though, which I rather needed.

Tomorrow, I'll be finishing the waistband and hemming the skirt. The line drawing shows mid-knee, but right now it's a pretty dreadful and stumpifying mid-calf. Normally, this is not a bad length on me, but the cut of the skirt with the pleat serves to make me look somewhat squat :( I think I'll have to chop at least an inch off and then turn the hem the given 2.5" on the pattern.

The moral of my story is this: it's good to have a task that I can forget myself totally in. I hope you have one, too!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fit Happens, or Reason #3148 Why I love the Internet

Thanks to Pattern Review, I've finally connected with fellow sewers here in the Phoenix area! It took long enough, but better late than never, right?

Anyway, we had our first meeting yesterday and it was very enlightening. Out little group is called "Fit Happens" (cheeky, no?) and in line with this, we measured, outlined, talked about darts, finishes, each other, etc. I now have a full set of measurements thank to the fortitude and patience of Linda. Kathy actually traced out my body graph on the wall (on newsprint taped up) a la Fit For Real People. This alone was incredible! I learned so much about my body that I never knew. For example, the asymmetry I've always suspected was there is now clearly defined. It's subtle, but my sloping shoulders and high hip are now documented so that I can compensate to my heart's content.

Unfortunately, in my rush to get out of the house, I forgot my camera so I wasn't able to get any fun photos :( Next month, I'm hosting, so there will be pics aplenty. Since our theme is "fit" we have decided to sew up muslins of a pants pattern for the next meeting. Our plan is to evaluate fit, help with alterations, construction, techniques, etc, for each other.

Also, Jessie was kind enough to loan me her August 07 edition of Patrones. There is a trench coat pattern that I absolutely covet and have the perfect fabric to create it.

Next post will be patterns & fabric choices for your viewing pleasure and input.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You like me! You really like me!

So, not too long ago, I started receiving the random spam comments on the blog. Since I really, really, really love comments (did I mention I love your comments?) these annoy me to no end since my initial excitement deflates to major disappointment as they are not from real readers. I did my research and decided to turn on the moderator option in blogger. For those not familiar, as a moderator, you have the option to preview before the comments go public. Great, right? Well, for the past month I've been sort of silent on blogger. Also, I hadn't received the usual emails regarding comments posted to my blog during this time. Basically, I figured people were reading elsewhere...

Long story short: I completely forgot I had turned on the moderator feature and thought my public had abandoned me. Oh happy day today when I decided to post about the goings on in my life!!! There were comments aplenty waiting for me to approve and post them! Anyway, I'm grateful for all the birthday wishes :) I've now posted all your comments.

Updates on the sewing front...

In the past month, I sewed quite a bit. In just the past two weeks, i finished two skirts (really great and love them very much) and the top and skirt in Simplicity 4074 but it really didn't turn out well for me at all and purchased way more fabric than my closet can hold.

At some point I'll post a review for them all, but in the mean while...here is a pic of my bursting at the seams fabric closet. I've been forced to promise that I'll be going on a fabric fast through the end of 2008...

the skirt from New Look 6813 that was supremely easy to make and wear...

Burda 06-2007-123, which wasn't as hard to make as I thought it was going to be but considerably less interesting than their plaid model...

Also, I must say that my dress form seems to be getting smaller and smaller compared to my waistline. I had to use the old GAP window dressing trick of pinching the clothes in back for fit to get the skirts to even stay on her hips! Good thing my husband bought me a bike so I can commute to work now and actually get some exercise!