Hey Kids, We’re on a Roll Now!

We’re on a roll, I say. Really? you ask. How many garments have you completed?ONE! (Does one garment really constitute a roll?)

The Hudsons! Remember them? They are on my makenine list for this year. And they have been on my cutting table for an embarrassing number of days ….weeks ….months. But, they are finally finished!

This make was to be a toile, from sale bin fabric. No big loss then no matter what, so I would just bite my lower lip and cut right in, hoping to have a successful, wearable pair of comfort pants at a low cost, and know how to adjust the fit for a new, “better” pair. But look at this rare magic moment … when I uncovered my machine to get started, instead of a shambles, I found this:

Everything was set up and ready to go before being covered up!

So off we went, and the world’s slowest sewist (oh look, an alliterative rhyme) cut out the pants in short order. So easy! Fronts, backs, pockets, waistband, cuffs. I should have been well on my way at that point, but I needed elastic and cording. My closest fabric store is about 10 minutes away. So how many days did it take for me to complete this task? Seven! The bottom line is, after acquiring the last necessary items, I stepped up to the table and cut out the pants. I carefully marked all the pieces, and pinned the pocket lining to the pockets. Then my life began to cave in, and the Hudsons were cast even further to the background.

While I wasn’t sewing I began reading my favorite blogs again (not commenting, not posting, just reading). And from time to time, checking my emails. A newsletter from Karen Ball of Did You Make That? waited for me, asking folks what they would like to see her address. You know, problems or issues we may have with sewing. So I spilled my guts and asked for help when the sewing is just too scary to attack. And she used my question in her blog! I took Karen’s advice to allot a short amount of time to sew and when time was up, move away from the machine. Allowing myself to sew in only tiny bits freed up my worries about not accomplishing a damn thing and just see what happens. Well, my Hudson pants happened! And this is roughly how it went.

Day 1. Pockets. Pocket 1 – it was perfection! Boy am I good. Pocket 2 – the bloomin’ thing was inside out. Curses, perhaps I’m not Susie Sewist after all. However, after moving the pocket to the proper side, all was well.

Day 2. Side and crotch seams. Easy peasy.

Day 3. Waistband – hmmm do I really need that cord? What a pain it will be to do all that work, there are two buttonholes and a channel to create. But determined to do it properly, I followed the pattern and my buttonholes are perfect. Next step, attach the waistband to the pants. In so doing, I caught up the pocket in the stitching and with a sigh, began the unpicking process. Guess what? I had run out of bobbin thread! No unpicking required. This project had adverted its own crisis! Another magic moment.

Day 4. Attaching the elastic was the next challenge. With elastic in place, I basted using colorful rainbow thread because sheesh, this a lot of black thread on black fabric and my old eyeballs needed a rest. I sewed the bottom edge of waistband to pants, and tried them on once more. This was going to be one comfortable pair of pants.

Day 5. First cuff. Next I tackled the final piece of the pants puzzle, the cuffs. First cuff – meh, not bad. That’s all for today. Tomorrow will be the grand finale!

Day 6. Second cuff. Can you see the overly pinned cuff waiting for me, just behind the machine? I quickly sewed it up, and took it to the ironing board. Yikes! what happened here? Bunch upon bunch upon bunch. Once again, seam ripper to the rescue, and with only two short segments to sew (or resew, if that’s a word) with fewer pins, the cuff fit over the throat easily, and the job was at last complete.

After a good press, I am thoroughly enjoying my new, super comfy, wearable Hudson pants.

And the moral of the story? Sewing is a very humbling activity, but sometimes the magic happens. It turns out that my cheapo fabric is a wonderful ponte and my new pants are beyond wearable; they fit perfectly as printed, and are perfectly suitable for public viewing! I love my new Hudsons! Must make more. Many more. Gray, green, blue, red, wild prints. We shall see. And I must find a more dignified method of taking selfies.

Next up: the toile for my dotty Farrow Dress, which will be made of this luciousness.

Thanks for indulging me, and stitch on, everyone!

 

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Riddle Me This

For my next project I have 3 yards of this fabulous Atelier Brunette Tabby, a lovely lighter weight cotton woven, purchased from Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio originally to make a shirt dress. Sadly, the reality is that I’d likely never wear such a dress. All the pretty, shapely dresses all over the internet are so lovely, but frankly, just not me. Now, I still want to make a dress, but with certain requirements: sleeves, waistless (because I have no waistline), and hitting just below the knee (because they must not be seen). And it must have some interesting character, and must not be frumpy – not easy to accomplish when one is only 5’4″ on the best of days. Realizing that is a tall order (no pun intended), I’m turning to you, dear readers for some advice. At the moment, I’m waffling (oh waffles, I do love a waffle now and again, that could be problematic) between these patterns.

If you follow me, you might recall that I’ve joined the 2017 MakeNine project. None of these dresses is on my list, but that fabric is so gorgeous I just can’t wait! And I promise to work on another one of the list items next…..perhaps the Linden? Or the Morris Jacket? A bright, flowery blouse? Besides, surely I can swap out my project list items – it is my list after all, right?

Atelier Brunette Tabby

The following are my top three pattern choices: cocoon, trapeze, and swingy (?). Given the above requirements, what would you choose? And oh yes, if you’d like to further complicate matters, you could even offer up a different pattern if it would suit the fabric and the requirements! Yikes. Pattern art from the respective websites.

Style Arc – Adeline

Merchant & Mills – Trapeze

Grainline Studio – Farrow

So what’s the verdict everyone? I’m anxious to get sewing again.

A brief update on our household – the tiny bundle of strength that is my sweet mother is still hanging on(!), although she slips a little more each day. In the meantime, I begin outpatient physical therapy on my left knee this afternoon. Very soon I’ll be able to sit at my machine long enough to sew, and to hop up and down to ironing board, etc.

Soon I’ll join in as you …. Stitch On, Everyone!

1, 2, 3, 4….

Four fabric squares, each with four seams and four corners. Now that is some advanced sewing, wouldn’t you say? And all these “fours” rolled together in my brain, and came out as 1, 2, 3, 4 … can I have a little more … a dandy little ditty by my four favorite guys.

So after this little digression, let’s get on with the post.

While on vacation last September I bought 4 cotton fat quarters (2 in Brecon and 2 in Chester) to make bandanas for my dear hubby. There couldn’t be a simpler project and as it is now April, he has waited long enough, wouldn’t you agree?

I zipped through the first one, but didn’t turn the corners properly.

Even though they are not terribly bulky, I needed to make better corners with the next one. Unfortunately, the next one was a very lightweight fabric that hubby had chosen himself. Now, who can worry about proper corners when one can’t even keep the feed dogs from chomping up the teeny tiny hems? And of course, this was the smallest of the pieces so making wider hems posed a problem. (Hmm, shouldn’t fat quarters be fairly uniform in size?)  So I did some troubleshooting. I cleaned and dusted my machine, grabbed a new needle, rethreaded both top and bobbin thread. I changed from the lightweight transparent foot (which I had just bought, and love!) to a heavier edge foot and checked the foot tension. The only thing left for me to do was buck up and start again. Starting with great trepidation on the flimsy little square, I happily discovered my machine just whirred right along, and no more hungry feed dogs! And look, my corners have improved!

Rather blurry photo, my apologies.

Here is the completed stack. A grand total of 16 corners and 16 hemmed sides to create four workout/running bandanas for himself. I don’t know which is his favorite, but I’ll just bet you can guess which one is mine!

Somehow, the color is a bit off on just one of these bandanas – the plain green one is a nice, bright green. Won’t he be a big hit at the gym?

And next to come, my new True Bias Hudson pants! And could it be? A dress!

Just the top, ma’am…

This was supposed to be a post about a pajama/lounging outfit, but I’m so happy with the top, I couldn’t wait to show you.

Working on my #2017makenine, I hit a snag right from the outset. It seems all the materials I had on hand were of the stretchy variety, which I’ve never sewn, even back in the old days when I made most of my wardrobe. (oh wait, there was a pink textured polyester shorts & tank set – ack! I’d forgotten about that gem – wore it proudly, but  in retrospect, it was an absolute horror)

Anyway….I decided to  toile my first planned make, pajamas, sewing the top from the Simple Sew Shannon Collection, a pattern gifted to me by Ali of THIMBERLINA fame. I would be using a beautiful piece of Art Gallery stretch jersey, purchased at Akhaban in Chester, when I met Ali and her mum.

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Thanks to all your good advice, see previous post, the neckline was stretched into submission and sewed to near perfection (although still a bit puckery).

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I tried on the top again; the fit was right, but something was not right with the sleeves. Were they too long? Maybe. Too tight? Not really. They just weren’t right. So how did I resolve this issue? Ditch the cuffs! So, with sleeves hemmed without cuffs, the length is perfect and the top is great! I love this cheery fabric.  For my next version, I’ll most likely make wrist length, snuggly sleeves.

Truth be told, the sleeve hems are not perfectly done; I turned them under twice so they’re a tad thick. I wanted to do a better job on the hem, so I searched the internet for tutorials and tips for sewing knits without a serger/overlocker. It seemed rather hopeless, as all the examples looked so nice and mine looked so …. well, not nice.  So I procrastinated, and tidied my sewing area instead. Lo and behold, I found some hem tape! I made a couple of sample runs to get the desired width, and with the hem finally sewn, this top is finished!

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Not the best hairdo for this picture, as it reveals that something is askew with the shoulder/neckline. The neckline isn’t so pointy when my shoulders are in a normal position, not up in a funny how-does-one-pose-for-a-selfie shot.

I love this happy little top so much, it might be allowed out in public after all.

Next up, to complete the outfit, my Hudson pants in a luscious black double knit. They just might have a little contrast trim in a familiar print.

Watch this space.

 

Sewing along, singing a song……

Sewing is happening here, and the following is a little progress report. A little report on a little bit of progress. But, even small progress is progress, right? And I may or may not be singing along, and there just may be a curse now and again.

I’m excited to be working toward my #2017makenine goal, see post here. I’m combining four elements of my plan to create my first make; pajamas, tee shirt, pants and some fun printed knit fabric. The knit fabric was destined to be pjs – but I was unsettled on the pattern, and apprehensive about sewing with knits. On the advice of dear Ali, I’m using the printed fabric to make a muslin of my Shannon tee pattern. This will be the new pj’s top. I’ve purchased a solid black double knit for a muslin of the Hudson pant, which will be the pj’s bottom. Very soon I’ll have a great pair of comfy pj’s (or lounging about outfit), and know that two of my new pieces will fit! (Not certain where the jams will fit into the original plan……..perhaps they will be Number 10!)

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How is it going? Well, the top fits! I’ve added 5 inches to the sleeves, and the sleeve bands are just right. The neckband? Not so perfect. I believe there is nearly an inch of extra fabric around the neckline than on the band. Good thing I elected to use the same fabric to make the bands instead of the black, as it has far less stretch.

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After doing a little research, I tried steaming the neckline to shrink it, and that didn’t work. So as I see it, these are my options; stretch the band to fit the neckline, attach it as is and try to smooth out any gathers or bunches, or recut the neckband to fit (there is plenty of leftover fabric). Any advice?

Hoping to finish the top (a super simple pattern, that should have taken about an hour to sew) and cut out the pants this afternoon, if all goes as planned.

Stitch on, everyone!

No resolutions, just a plan – #2017MakeNine

Through Rochelle’s blog, LuckyLucille, I learned about the #2017MakeNine. Since I’m not “doing resolutions” for 2017, but want to ramp up my sewing and need some accountability, I’ve decided to join the MakeNine group.

So in no particular order, these are my chosen patterns.

  • The True Bias Hudson Pant – because it seems like a fairly easy make, and looks so comfy! This will be my first pair of pants to make since 1970. Those were green/beige plaid wool lined with something slinky. Oh and they may have had cuffs. Yikes.

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  • Grainline Morris – because I’m possibly the only person alive who hasn’t made one and it will go with nearly anything! Perhaps in a lightweight wool? My last jacket was a close-fitting floral blazer in hideous shades of red and blue, if memory serves. And giant buttons.

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  • Simplicity 2208, Version C in fleece – because it has a hood, and great lines. It will be a great cozy jacket for those days when the big, puffy down coat isn’t necessary. I might even match the pattern photo, if I can find dotted fleece.

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  • Merchant & Mills Ellie and Hattie dress – because it looks terribly comfy, has nice, roomy pockets, and look at those interesting darts with contrast thread! Do you think this could this work in a knit?

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  • Sewaholic Patterns, Gabriola Skirt – because of the pretty yoke detail, and the long lines. Will likely made up in the white polyester I received from Carmen, my StitchingSanta.

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  • Grainline Linden – because it’s a sweatshirt, which is perfect for fall, winter, and spring around here. And that comfort factor again.

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And these patterns have fabric purchased already, set to cut out and go!

  • I bought loads of this cotton jersey at Abakhan in Chester, and it seems perfect for jammies. On the fence, though, about the pattern, which I bought for $1 at a Joanne’s super sale.

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  • The same Abakhan shopping trip resulted in this oh-so-soft gray jersey, which I’ll use to make up this tee shirt pattern, a gift from Ali. Can the sleeves be lengthened without spoiling the look?

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  • And last but not least, this pussy bow blouse (also from Ali) will be made up from this fabulous polyester print (gifted from Del, Curls n Skirls).

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It’s a good plan, wouldn’t you agree?  Mostly simple and comfortable, and I’m ready to sew!!

Stitch on in the New Year everyone!

StitchingSanta Revealed…What Carmen Gave Me

Hoping you’ve all had a marvelous holiday, and that 2017 brings you peace and joy. And a great big thank you to Sheila, of Sewchet, for again hosting this delightful StitchingSanta Christmas gift swap.

My parcel arrived a few days before Christmas, and it was so difficult to not peek! But I was strong, and managed only to notice a gentle rattle when the box was moved. Ooooh, what could that be? Popcorn? Peppermints? Lumps of coal?

And so it is opened….

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Ooooh, look at the wrapped bag of snowy goodness!

And emptying the parcel solved the rattling mystery: buttons! Lots of cute, mostly wooden buttons! And who doesn’t love a nice button. See the one with the world map?

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Buttons and more….

 

Everything all spread out and looking pretty impressive.

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The contents, in no particular order:

A lovely Christmas card
A yellow book, all about the color yellow
A rubber stamp featuring a vintage sewing machine
Two spools of thread
A roll of golden circle trim
A roll of stay tape (now I don’t need to buy it)
A pack of buttons and embellishments
Six (!) patterns; 3 garments, 2 home decor, and a duffel bag
Three yards of snowy white polyester jersey

Quite the haul, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks so much, Carmen of See Carmen Sew!

 

Stitch on in the New Year everyone!

#StitchingSanta 2016

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Cheers! It’s time again for Stitching Santa, the third year of this gift exchange, but just my second year to take part. I’ve received my swap partner’s info and started to “stalk” her blog. Ideas are spinning around in my head and I’m anxious to get started.

There is a limit on new purchases ($15 here in the US), but we have a free reign with our existing stash and any extras (freebies) we can come up with. This the process: After our partner assignment, we cruise through her blog to get to know her and gather ideas for our parcel. From time to time, we’ll post a little sneak peek at what we are creating, and then on Christmas Day, all the “reveals” begin posting, so follow along and we’ll see everyone’s handiwork together.

Just to give you an idea, here are my giving and receiving posts from last year’s partners, Abi of Freckled Fashionista and Michelle of Sewnhenge.

Many thanks to Sheila of Sewchet for organizing this activity, it’s a great little way to get to know other sewing/knitting bloggers, and spread a bit of holiday joy in the process!

Stitch on, lucky participants!

 

Four Very Dangerous Words

“Did You Miss Me?”

An answer might be, “oh yes, of course!” or the scary one, “oh, were you away?”

My blogging (and sewing) activities have been severely neglected over the last few months, due to some of life’s little circumstances, and some very marvelous travels. The circumstances are at once wonderful and challenging, and the travels have been varied and filled with family love and celebrations.

Slowly but slowly, I’m getting back on the beam, and possible posts are in the works:

Our trip to Wales – during which time, of course, I met up with the fabulous Ali of THIMBERLINA,

Our trip to California – my beautiful daughter became a wife; one week later my sister did the same; hubby and I took a little trip within a trip. Such a whirlwind!

Our latest (and unexpected) construction project.

Jumping back into the 52-Week Photo Challenge and Sunday Sevens.

And projects! Holidays are coming right up, and I must be back at my sewing machine in short order!

But first, you’ve all been carrying on without me, so I’ve lots of catching up to do with all of your adventures.

See you in a few……

 

 

Oh what fun it was to ride … on the train into Chester to meet Ali.

I realize that’s a pretty sorry rhyme, but it was an absolutely marvelous time!

Here’s the back story: I live in New York and have cousins in Brecon, Wales. Many of my online sewing buddies (or rather, sewing inspirations since my sewing is going so slowly) live in the UK and one of them, the famous and fabulous, Ali of THIMBERLINA, was able to meet me for a day out fabric shopping! We found a spot half way between our locations which just so happened to be home to a particularly fine fabric shop, Abakhan, where we whiled away a good amount of time.

We started our morning early at our respective train stations, mine was in Abergavenny, and oh, such amazing scenery along the way! Horses, cows, and fields full of sheep. My traveling shots were blurry, so here is a shot of one of the many stations where we stopped, so many nicely landscaped and decorated. I was very impressed with the British rail system!

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After our separate journeys of about two and a half-hours, we all arrived at the Chester Station.

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Photo by and copyright Tagishsimon – Own work

Barely out of the station, Ali’s mum (yes, Cyber-mum was with us!) began the photo-taking. She spotted the perfect backdrop, this red double-decker bus!

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Since I obviously knew nothing about Chester, and Ali’s sense of direction is spot-on, she led the way to our first stop, the cafe at Marks and Spencer, where we enjoyed a large giant cup of coffee. As we settled at our table, Ali surprised me with a little gift – three patterns from Love Sewing magazine! Two pretty dresses (and a blouse) and trousers with t-shirt. All of which will be made up soon – I promise.

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I was very nearly run over while snapping this too-distant photo of the clock in downtown Chester!

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In short order, we arrived at our destination, Abakhan! Located prominently on the corner, it was easy to spot, and we charged right in and began our fabric adventure.

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Immediately upon entering, the bombardment began. Bin upon bin of remnants –  big ones, small ones, ones as big as your ‘ead….oh whoops I got a little carried away for a moment. I was drawn immediately to a lovely heathered pink jersey that would be perfect for my new t-shirt pattern! Despite the fact that the remnant was enormous, I toted it around the store while searching for soft(ish) printed materials for my new dress patterns. And are you surprised? Ali and I liked several of the same pieces! She brought me the perfect silky print, but after hemming and hawing, I abandoned it with my horrific memories of “shifty” fabrics and their uncooperative manner. At this point, Ali pounced and purchased it for herself. Can’t wait to see it come to life! When Ali mentioned that remnants could be cut, I searched for a piece for a second t-shirt and found a nice gray one straight away. My next major find was a delightful, pinky-peachy knit with bold heart outlines – so cute, and perfect for some new pajamas. This will apparently be my introduction to …  Sewing With Knits. Yikes! I’d also been requested to find some material to make work-out bandanas for my hubby, so I also added a couple of fat quarters to my pile.

Sadly, I managed to take ZERO pictures of the shop while all of this was going on, as I too busy searching, touching, unrolling, re-rolling, deciding, and undeciding to do so until finally taking my haul to the counter. Here are the lovely ladies of Abakhan joined by the lovely Ali as they cut down my pink jersey knit.

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A quick run to the second floor revealed equally abundant racks of trims, notions and yarns. We hastily ran back down and proceeded to our next stop, a quick bite and cuppa before getting on my train home. We found a little cafe, and ordered what I was assured was a staple in England – egg and chips with a pot of tea. I had considered ordering coffee, but was convinced by Ali and mum (rightly so) that tea was the proper accompaniment. It was delicious!

Final hugs at the station, and I was off.

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On the return trip, I relived the joy of meeting two wonderful people, having delightful conversation full of laughs, learning so much more about a blogger I already admired (she’s funnier and even kinder than you think), meeting her lovely mum, and accepting a challenge to sew with knits. And to think, just three days earlier, I was still puttering around in New York wondering what to wear. Such an amazing world we live in!

I hope we’ll manage another visit one day (on either side of the pond) and thanks so much to Ali and delightful mum, for showing this American such a lovely time! Must be off to the sewing machine now, t-shirts and jams await!