Monday, April 26, 2010


Never again.  No contests or wardrobe plans for me.   It seems that I get less sewing done when I do one of these big plans, or even the mini wardrobe contest, or the latest lined jacket contest for that matter.  Sometimes I just don't want to sew what I've planned so I procrastinate.  So, no more.  That doesn't mean I won't make plans,  because I like to do that, but sewing is supposed to be a hobby and fun and having to complete it by a certain date or a precise list to sew is just not fun. 

This pair of pants and top were part of my original wardrobe plan.  They have been done for awhile except for the hems.  They sat here for at least 2 weeks waiting.  Why?  I just lost interest?   Who knows, but here they are.  If you remember I was inspired by Celine's minimalist silk top, but I made it in rayon lycra jersey that I had on hand, and is much more practical for my life.  The pants are a narrowed version of my tnt pants.  These are not a tnt version let me tell you!  If I narrow the hems this much I get wrinkles in the back leg because of my pancake ass.  I thought that I could fix it without a muslin.  Big mistake.  They are over fitted and do not feel good in back.  You know that phrase wearable muslin?  No such animal.  If I had made a muslin of these I would have fixed the problems ahead of time.  I really should know better.  The top is a version of Vogue 8497 that I cut apart to get the color blocks.  This is the pattern I used for my zebra print top.   I hadn't used it with the zig zag pieces, but rather, had put it together to get a one piece front and back.  Easy top, but maybe not my most flattering look.

As I am sure you've all noticed, I cut my hair.  It's the beginning of growing out my color.  I have been going gray since I was 18 and coloring it since I was 26.  A long time and I have had enough.  I really like the short hair, and boy is it easy! 

In other sewing, I've been making welt pocket samples for my jacket. (also sewing the green knit top from that wardrobe plan) The pockets are made over the butted together opening at the base of the dart. I made  4 double welt samples before I realized that they  wouldn't work for this jacket, or at least the way I was making them.  I needed to copy the dart and pocket opening onto muslin so that I had a facsimile of the jacket front.  Then I made  4 samples of single welt pockets (this is what the jacket actually calls for ) in a version from Claire Schaeffer's book Sew Any Set-In Pocket.  Burda's instructions are not useless, but too bulky with separate welts and pocket bags. In the method I'm using the upper pocket bag forms the welt.  It works, but I prefer marking the back side and sewing from there.  One, I don't have to remove the marks on the front and two,  I can mark it more accurately with a sharp pencil.  In the black jacket I'll use a white interfacing for the pocket stay so that I can see the marks.
Here's the last sample I made.  You'll notice that the side of the pocket is sewn into the side seam.  I'll make one or two more samples before I make the jacket.  Kathleen Fasanella says that 10 samples are the minimum for beginning to get muscle memory for a task.  I'd say that that's about right.  It seems like a lot, but I haven't made them all at once and it is actually kind of fun to realize that each one is not only better, but starting to feel good when I sew it, if that makes any sense.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


 Cooking every day is cheaper and healthier especially if,  like us,  you have dietary issues.  A repertoire of fast,  easy recipes is  helpful, but so is my freezer.  Certainly I don't always feel like cooking, so I try to make larger amounts of easy to freeze main dishes.  Then, all I have to do is add a starch and some green vegetables, sometimes separately or like last night, all in  one dish.

Good tomatoes fresh off the vine, fresh basil, garlic and onion make some of the best tasting tomato sauce ever.  It also freezes well and last night I pulled out the last of it. 

Also found in the bottom drawer of my freezer was one piece of tuna, small, and one piece of mahi mahi also small.  I defrosted both, cut them into small chunks and marinated them in fresh lemon juice and kosher salt for an hour or so. Then I sauted an onion, added red peppers, garlic and zuchini.  Add tomato sauce and cook until the vegetables are tender.   Because the sauce was already redolent with basil, I didn't add any spices, though if I'd had some fresh basil on hand I'd have added some at the end.
In another pan in a small amount of olive oil I tossed the cubed fish  until almost done then added it to the sauce for a minute or two and served  it over  brown rice pasta from Tinkyada.  This is the best substitute for 'real' pasta that I've had.  It keeps it's 'tooth' and it's place as  the support for a sauce, not being too assertive in taste as are  some of the other gluten free pastas.

Now for a touch of spring.  My hamamelis is finished blooming, but  the bulbs and my Helleborus orientalis, or lenten  roses, are having their time.  I love Helleborus,  but I only grow the easy orientalis that is extremely reliable.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


When we were first married I would never have considered serving a vegetarian meal.  Times have changed and we lose the animal protein several times a week at dinner and my lunch is often meatless.  Last night I  made a simple meal of lentils and rice. This is a pretty common middle eastern dish that my late friend Sona,  a family dish in her Armenian family, introduced me to many years ago.  She made it with regular lentils, but I love little French lentils, or these recently discovered  Black Beluga Lentils, from Shiloh Farms.  One of the really nice things about lentils is that it is one of those fast cooking legumes.  No lengthy soaking and cooking for these little gems.  Slice and saute an onion, mine was a large one, in a little olive oil, Add cooked rice, I had some leftover Basmati rice, add lentils, salt and pepper, mix and serve with a green vegetable and a  nice non fat Greek yogurt and you've got a simple, tasty meal. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Finally, 251 pictures of Jakob and family are on my computer.  My dd will stop whining and sending threatening, cajoling emails demanding new photos of her nephew and she will only harass Josh for new photos.  Here are just a few of my favorites.   Obviously, I will not be posting 251 photos anywhere, except maybe to our digital picture frame.  It's better than tv these days.

Josh, Sarah and Jakob. 

Sewing update

The Celine knockoff knit top only needs to be hemmed  but I wasn't in the mood to change the thread in my coverstitch machine, and I am sewing the black pants.  No lycra  in this fabric and I narrowed the legs considerably.  I added more to the in case sas,  and I know that they will stretch out a bit as I wear them, but hopefully they will not be too tight to be comfortable.  Looking good, does not always mean comfortable in pants.   I  tucked  a lot out of the back to get the legs to hang off the pancake ass and not get caught up on my calves, so I am feeling the legs in the back. I added about a half an inch more to the back leg from just above the knee down to help.   I may need to scoop out the tusch a bit more if they pull down in the cb too much.  .  These pants are 18 1/2" wide at the hem, and my tnt pants are 22" wide.  That's a big difference, especially since I narrowed the leg under the crotch per a Threads article.  Ahh, the never ending quest for great fit.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I just read Carolyn's post about no sewing in the month of March and I realized, I haven't  sewn anything this month either.  I have altered patterns and I have 2 pieces cut out for the Mini Swap.  I'd like to finish it but who knows at this rate? I came back from Roanoke with the worst cold, as did Seth.  Apparently the baby had a slight cold and gave it to all of us.  By, the way, cutest baby ever, to quote my son.  He is just so delicious!
Sometimes I feel pressured to sew so that I can have something to post.  Or I feel pressured to come up with some interesting topic that is sewing related, but then I find at least 3 other people have written posts about it already.  I see people posting their monthly totals, or their yearly tallies and I don't sew anywhere near that much.  It is spring, which means more work and lots of gardening so there goes sewing time.  I am also trying to exercise which also cuts into sewing time.
Part of my lack of sewing is how much time I put in on altering patterns. I make a lot of changes to a pattern to make it fit well.   I need to take a page from Carolyn's book and make more tnt patterns or simple pieces that I can use as slopers.
So, how much sewing do you do?  How many garments do you make a month?  In a year?    Do you make so many alterations to a pattern that you feel like all you do is alter patterns instead of sewing?  Sometimes I certainly feel that way.  I also think that altering a pattern is safe.  There is no disappointment in altering a pattern.  When I get to the end if I don't love it, I can throw it in the trash without any real investment.  But when I get to the end of a garment and I don't love it, then there is a big letdown.