Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When life gives you lemons...

Well, I'm happy to report my ankle is much better, I guess nursing it was the right thing to do. So...while I rested, I finished a couple of knitting projects.

The Autumn Cable Mitts (pattern available for purchase at Ravelry)were finished. I really like them! I had no trouble with the pattern. My husband calls them the Victorian pauper look gloves, men...

I also finished this top that has been in a bag needing finishing for a couple of years now. The reason for my neglect is that from the start the way the decreases were done was not turning out smooth, and even though I try different things I couldn't fix it. After sewing the shoulder bands you can see that gathers are even more pronounced. I decided that to get it out of the unfinished pile I would call these gathers a "design element" and just wear it. This design is from Burda WOF 2005 and I loved it as soon as I saw it, but the knitting directions are not any better than the sewing ones.

When I got tired of knitting I gave myself a manicure, isn't this color fun for summer is OPI's Cajun Shrimp.

I'm off to cut my Burda dress (2-2009 124). I have to use a different fabric as the Michael's fabric wasn't enough yardage ( I have learned since then to be more generous when ordering ), instead I'm using an embroidered cotton from Metro Textiles.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

An unexpected trip

...down my cellar steps. Yes, yesterday while reorganizing the sewing/guest room I fell down about 3 steps to the cellar floor. I feel pretty dumb, I couldn't see the steps because of the bin I was carrying and I thought I was on the last step. Thankfully all I got is a swollen ankle and pains all over my body. The bin is meant to hold my knitting magazines which along with the Burdas and other assorted magazines are taking over the sewing/guest room.

Stefani Japel's Textured Circle Shrug

So today I'll try to take it easy on the ankle. I did blocked the sweater I'm in the middle of (it was a knit-along on the Lion Brand website, but I'm late), it needed blocking to sew up the sleeves before continuing knitting. I also finished my fingerless gloves, pictures soon. Burda WOF 2-2009 124 has been traced and altered and waiting for me to cut it, I'm using a beautiful cotton/rayon from Michael's fabrics which I've had for a while and I yet to locate lining in my stash.

Have a good and safe day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A weekend in Southern MD or how to find links to sewing everywhere you go

On Saturday morning my family and I headed to Calvert County to visit the Marine Museum, it is a great little museum we have visited at least twice before. It has attractions for both adults and children, it is full of information (especially anything to do with fossils) about marine life in the Cheasepeake, a beautiful lighthouse that has been restored, they offer a boat ride and plenty of exhibits. There is a great exhibit showing a clear nose stingray egg sack with the live baby at different stages.

Here is a picture of the lighthouse, inside it is fully furnished ( I forget which time frame the furnishings represent) and there is this great treadle machine in one of the sitting rooms.

In the history of the area exhibits they show the Singer used to put together sails. A funny fact was that the people working on the sails preferred the hand stitching because the machine did not produce the quality stitches they could get by hand. This was a motorized machine.

After the museum we went south again to St Marys County all the way to Point Lookout State Park. The kids enjoyed going in for a dip in the Potomac river and my husband and I relaxed in the sun and pleasant breezes.

The next day we visited the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. We got a private tour with a retired navy officer who loved telling us war stories, the kids remembered things they learned in school and would ask him for more info which just about made his day. He pointed out to me this World War II flight simulator made by Singer!!

The outdoor exhibit had quite a few airplanes on display, including a Cessna (above) very similar to the one I flew in during my flight test engineer days.

Afterwards we headed to Historic St Mary's City (St Mary's was the capital of Maryland before Annapolis). I had been there about 15 years ago and they have done quite a bit in renovations and reproductions. The site alone is beautiful next to St Mary's river. The city is a living museum where people walk around in costume and going about their daily lives and the best part you can touch everything!

This sewing needle is made of deer bone and used by the Native Americans for sewing leather.

Some more pictures from St Mary's city...

It was a wonderful mini vacation!


About the Vogue dress...I decided to raise the hemline to knee level. I'm waiting for my mom to give me a hand to mark the new hemline. In the meantime, another dress from Burda WOF is coming up.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Burda WOF 3-2009 101 or the "I feel like such a 70's chick" dress

Well, I love the dress!!I know it is probably a lot of print for some but I guess I don't scare easily ;-). The neckline and placket which I talked about in another post reminds me of the 70's style and that is why the title.

This fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics was a dream to sew with and it feels smooth and cool against the skin.

I am at a loss why my waist band came out so short, I might make it again with more length.

Here is a picture of the back.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vogue 7793

I believe this one is OOP, I have had it forever. I initially wanted to use this pattern to make a dress for a wedding I was going last fall but the fabric I wanted to use for it was not wide enough to cut the dolman type sleeves so I used this printed batiste(which I bought when I first visited Kashi last year, and he still had it when I went a month ago); I put it all away, fall was coming and I would not wear it until the next spring/summer. I pulled it out again recently and started working on it.

It almost didn't get made because I had cut the bodice too small. I think the problem was this pattern was 6-8-10 sizing which I rarely use I prefer 8-10-12 which works perfect for my measurements, 8 at the shoulders sizing up to 12 in the chest area. I don't worry about having to go to a 14/16 for waist and hip those are easy alterations. Anyways, when I cut it I must have thought the biggest size was a 12 and there was my problem. I was able to re-cut the waist bodice pieces and then by sacrificing length in the skirt I moved the pieces up to cut the waist lower and so give me a bigger size at the waist and hip.

I interlined the skirt since this fabric is fairly sheer but left the bodice and sleeves alone since the busy print gives me coverage and makes it really nice to wear in hot days. I eliminated the facings and use binding at the neckline following Shaffer's High Fashion Sewing Secrets instructions.

Here is a picture of the invisible zipper, I always mark on the zipper the level at which the seams fall after sewing one side, so that I know that I have to place the opposite seams at the same spot, it works well.

I struggled with the length of this dress, the pattern has it really long, and the combination of the print and length made me look really frumpy, of course the shoes I tried it on with didn't help.

Original length

I think the length I ended up with is ok, but do you think I should try shorter?

Shorter length

Friday, July 10, 2009

Progress in sewing and knitting

It has been a while since I attached a collar and then of course Burda WOF instructions are a bit cryptic but I like the way the collar and placket turned out, it yields a very clean finish inside and out. You can also see the pleats which I ended up working from the right side of the fabric to make them look like the picture in Burda's website.

View of the undercollar which was topstitched.

I did make the under collar a tad shorter than the upper collar to help with the shaping and hiding the seams.

So now the most time consuming sewing on the dress is done, I should be able to finish it the next time I sit down to sew.


If you are wondering why there is a table top on my flower pot is to keep the squirrels from digging out a young plant which they have done now twice!

Our Clio, the beagle, in the background

I have been knitting these fingerless mittens with a gorgeous yarn
I bought at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. I love this yarn and I love the pattern (from Ravelry Autumn Cable Mitts). I had never made mittens/gloves before and I had a hard time "seeing" how the thumb was coming together, but now I'm almost done and will start the next one.

Just one more...

Fireworks in our yard

Happy sewing and knitting!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Marking and making pleats

Pleats confuse me. Do I mark them on the wrong side but pleat from the right side of the fabric? Or do I mark and pleat from the wrong side following the direction of the arrows? As you know the pleats will look different depending on what side you pleat. I was looking at the pleats in Burda WOF 3-2009 101, Dawn pleated hers from the right side I started to do it from the wrong side. I have been going through my books so far only one book (Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses) says that most pleats are pleated from the right side but follow pattern directions, well...Burda does not specify. Is there a convention? I would love to know for sure!!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sometimes you need a good night of sleep

And it made all the difference. After reading Gail's comment and doing some more thinking I tried fitting the pattern with the selvages going left and right and what do you know? I only lost 1/2 of hem and the dress pattern fit! I like the arrangement much better this way. In the picture you see back and front and the yoke on the back. I traced some of the fabric onto the tracing fabric to make sure the front and back were the same. Because of the length constraint I couldn't get more creative. I did get the rust color stripe as close as possible to the waistline to draw attention there. The yoke I did cut going the other direction just for fun. I

I'm happy with my decision, we'll see how it looks all together.