Wrapping Up 2017 – The Unposted Bits and New Plans

Welcome All and Happy New Year!

Here you’ll find some bits from unfinished posts, tidied up, and combined into what I hope will be an interesting wrap-up to close out a difficult and heartbreaking, yet ultimately joyful year.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in the US a month before Christmas, and I was overjoyed and thankful to have my grandson “C” here to share his week off from school with us. This was his first visit here in NY and there was much to do in a short time. We showed him around our neighborhood and surrounds. We drove him to two major colleges (certainly not an attempt to entice him to the East Coast for college, right?). We went out to eat. Again and again. We went to the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and enjoyed a fascinating exhibition at the Planetarium.  Hubby showed him a nice necktie from the science-themed offerings in the gift shop, which featured the periodic table. C thought it was cool, but said he “could never wear it.” Why?, we asked. “That table is outdated,” he said, as if we should have known better. Oh how I laughed. [Aside: hubby of course, new about this. Three of the elements had been renamed.]

We drove to Niagara Falls (the US side) and marveled at the scenery, all the while shivering in spite of brilliant sunshine, and bracing against the icy wind which nearly knocked us off our feet.

Back home again, we stopped in at Stever’s Candy. C bought a package of chocolates for his mom and promised he would try to save some for her. Later she said “he told me in his Forrest Gump voice ‘I brought you a box of chocolates….I ate some of them.'” That’s my grandson. He’s a keeper.

Christmas holidays we spent with my kids in California! What could be better? Handmade gifts were started but sadly not completed, and Gran’s recipes were gathered together, but not used. It seems we are still a little too raw from Mom (Gran) recent passing, and adult children have lives and jobs and such, and plans just didn’t quite come together in every instance. As I was in a wounded state, being together helped. Tears were shed, funny stories were shared, and bit by bit the holiday became what it was supposed to be. A lovely series of events and quiet moments, surrounded by loved ones. Those times combined with the warm, sunny beach just steps from our hotel room was positively curative. Oddly, I took no pictures of family activities, but here are some from the beach. In lieu of family, here’s a new friend….he walked along the shore for a bit at sunset with hubby and me.

Now for a bit of sewing news. My finished Linden. Who doesn’t love a Linden? That would be me. Well, this particular Linden, that is. It was actually a muslin, made from remnants in the sale bin, purchased nearly two ago years in England. As it happened, there was not enough of either fabric to complete the long-sleeve version, so I used a bit of each. The result was a nice-looking combination that seemed like it might actually be wearable. Now, I’m not overly fond of the 12-year-old boy baseball shirt that resulted, but beyond appearance, the fabrics really didn’t play well together. They didn’t really play well individually either, as one had about 200% stretch (give or take), and the other had edges that rolled beyond description. And the neckline is far too wide, perhaps due to the unruly fabrics’ unnecessary stretch. Additionally, during the making of this very easy garment, my sewing machine failed me a couple of times, my own lack of attention created a “catching up of fabric in the seam” moment with stitches that could not be  found, and the whole experience was just a bit taxing. Does it need to be said that this garment is a total wadder? It will never be worn. But, it fits without modifications, and the pattern is lovely, so as a muslin it worked and I’ll soon make another.

This pic shows that the unhemmed  sleeves are nearly long enough without cuffs, I’ll need to add a few inches to the body length because I don’t want the band, and just look at that neck opening. Admittedly, I haven’t attached the neckline yet, but boy is it sloppy. And see how much the pink edges are rolling? grrr.

The ultimate result? In the bin. Or if I can stomach it, I’ll rescue and finish it for a painting top.

My hubby does zazen meditation and was in need of more support cushions for an upcoming retreat (I’ve done a little zazen and it’s very hard on the knees and back). The cushions must be brown, so while on our holiday we sought out an appropriate brown material, and came upon a likely one at a little fabric shop in California. With no pattern or measurements to hand, he made a guess as to required length to buy, and I increased that by about 1/2 yard. Upon our return home, he trimmed and tidied the foam pieces and I set about making simple pillow cases as a trial. If they’re successful, I’ll try to box the corners (see the nicely finished professional pillow on top of stack), and finesse the opening a bit (they do need to be removable for cleaning). And the yardage? There was less than 1/4 yd left over, so it was close. Whew!

Dots are in my immediate future.

My next sewing project will be my dotted Grainline Farrow. Then I have an adorable top that needs finishing, a fleecy Linden to sew, a muslin for an open jacket whose pattern should be in my mailbox very soon and cozy fabric to purchase for it, and a few lovely pieces of fabric begging to finally be made into something wonderful.

My life has settled down a bit now, and thankfully I can devote more time to sewing. My wardrobe needs a complete overhaul, and I’m also including non-garments in my sewing plans. As of this writing, my desired makes include dresses, some crafty projects, pants (jeans perhaps??), cozy comfy tops for winter, some pj’s, Christmas items, and curtains for my kitchen. That should keep me busy, wouldn’t you think?

But at this moment, I need a bit of stress-free pleasure and this little lap blanket from FinchBox is just the ticket. Everything I need is right here, including the prettiest, softest flannel ever.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, Stitch On Everyone!









I Never Promised You a Rose Garden…

However, I did promise to start with a muslin for every new garment. And I’m following through. And, whew, am I a happy sewist for that!

Would you care to know why that makes me so happy? Well, it certainly isn’t because of this fabulous new top I have made from a navy blue twin bed sheet.



No, this version of Simplicity 8523 will never be worn, because …. well, it’s a sheet, and it is too small and too short. So obviously that isn’t what made me happy.

Let me set the stage for you. The intended fabric is a small piece, and requires some tricky maneuvering to accommodate all the pieces. And here is where my muslin comes into play, and the tiniest confession is in order. It was getting quite late, and after hand basting the darts, shoulder and side seams (more on that in next paragraph), I nearly opted to just turn the neckline under at the seamline instead of making the facings. It’s just a muslin after all – just to confirm the fit, after all. Common sense prevailed however, thank goodness, because I discovered a problem with the facings. Before sewing them together, I laid them out on the front and back pieces. Ack! Where are my front notches? Why is this back piece so round?? Yes, I had cut out the back facing from the wrong view! What if that had been my real fabric? Saints preserve!

~Why the hand sewn muslin? Well, there is so much construction dust floating around that Stella is tucked into her case, and will remain there until it’s safe to come out. (Soon!) And I could just sit anywhere out of the way to put it together. Hence the puckered stitching lines and loopy threads.~

In addition to the facing mishap, I discovered fit issues. Now, I’m sure the pattern in my size could be cut from the fabric by making the sleeveless version, using narrower seams, and possibly making facings from another fabric. Had I proceeded without the practice garment however, I would have a top that is too short and a little snug, with sleeves that are too short and too tight. So, my muslin saved my bacon. Or least my blouse!

Lest you think I’m prattling on about just any old cloth, this is my gorgeous Praline Honey Voile received from my StitchingSanta, Michelle, of Sewnhenge.

IMG_5665So I’m revising my plans, and here are the alternatives:  A) cut the larger size, and make it sleeveless, or B) hold on to it until the extra bagels and holiday treats have been eradicated so I can fit into the smaller size, which fits perfectly on the fabric.

What would you do?