Friday, February 18, 2011

My Image Magazine

 Update:  I got an email this morning from Sew Baby that they finally received their shipment of My Image. If you are interested in buying a copy click on the link above.

I have been hearing about this magazine since it first came out.  I wasn't impressed enough with the first issue to buy it, but Melissa at Fehrtrade reviewed the spring summer issues and put up links to their website and where to buy it, and I was hooked.  You can even buy it in the US for a reasonable amount of money. She also has links to buying it in Australia and from the magazine site.
There are at least 4 things I want to make in this issue, so again at $8,95 plus reasonable shipping it was worth the price.  A lot of prints but the styles themselves look very wearable.   I like the fact that most of them have good design lines for fitting that make them very appropriate for curvy women, aka moi.   I have too many knits in my stash but there's a great dress that I could make and live in this summer.  More than once.
I cannot figure out how to get images of the pages I like show up here, but here's a link to the  My Image website which is better than any of the other pattern magazines out there.  Go take a look.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Am a Food Snob

I have pretty high standards for the food I am willing to eat.  I am not picky per se as I like almost all food, though it has to be lactose free these days. But it has to be worth eating.  Before we had dietary issues we always ate a wide variety of foods and fast food was not on the menu except for the occasional  pizza and some take out Chinese.  The only time either child ate fast food like Mc Donald's it had to do with some team sports activity.  Certainly it didn't come into our home.  I cook from scratch and was a really good baker in the pre gluten free days.  Like many families, birthday meals were chosen by the one whose birthday it was.  That included desert of course made by me.  Josh and Seth generally chose chocolate pecan pie and Alex's favorite was cheese cake.  Before lactose intolerance of course. Josh, my older child is an excellent cook.

It amuses me no end, that Alex who while she knew how to cook was not willing to cook for herself.  She'd occasionally have friends to dinner her senior year and she'd cook, but knowing that she wouldn't feed herself we insisted she take the meal plan at least during the week even though she had a kitchen.  In Korea she ate out or had take out most nights.  Food was cheap so why cook?  Now that she's engaged and living in Austin where eating out costs much more than it did in Korea she is cooking.  Her cousin Simon sent her two cookbooks and after consulting her older brother she asked for The Joy of Cooking which we sent  her.  She also calls her food consultant, namely her mother.  Having grown up with food being cooked from scratch and of a pretty high order, she finds that she has much higher standards for food than her fiance.  It was his birthday this week and what did he want for desert?  Cherry pie.  So Alex made him a cherry pie.  He said oh just buy ready made crust. Alex said, of course not I'll make it.  Of course the ready made stuff is probably not lactose free. She used canned cherries in juice, fine it's not cherry season after all.  He said you mean you didn't just buy canned filling?  Incredulous, she said of course not! That's the easy part of a pie after all. He was impressed.  She only made a few phone calls to her food consultant.  She sent me a picture of the finished pie and it looked lovely.  Hopefully it tasted just as good.  For a child who liked to eat but never wanted to cook she has  embraced cooking  good  food as worth the effort.  Eating well is healthy and affordable and even fun.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sewing By the Book

 I wrote this post awhile ago, but never got around to posting it.  I combined it with the post on my finished coat.

Sometimes you can break the rules and other times, not such a good idea.  Necklines need staying,  A garment is  taken on and off a lot during fitting and has lots of opportunity to stretch and stretching creates problems.  I did not stay the neckline right away. I don't usually think that stay stitching works all that well, but stay tape does and it should be done before you take it off the cutting table so that it has no chance to stretch.  The collar on this coat has a right angle that's sewn into an inside corner.  If the neckline is too long a bubble will form when you try and pivot around the base of the collar which is what happened on my coat. On the top side of course, because that's the one that's shows.  I ripped the collar off and took off the tape, that I applied after I'd already tried it on a few times.  Way too late by that time.  I had to ease the collar back to the correct length   so that I didn't get the bubble in the corner. If I'd followed the rules I would have saved myself a lot of work and aggravation. 

What else did I do wrong on this coat?  Too many things.  I always, always have to narrow my shoulder seams by 3/4" on Burda.  Why did I think that this one didn't need to be shorter?  Fortunately it worked removing it after the fact, when I like to do it in the pattern of course.  Fortunately I won't have short sleeves because I made them longish on purpose because I always seem to have coat sleeves that are too short when I drive. I guess I need longer gloves.  My lack of organization on this coat has made it take twice as long as it necessary. Note to self.  Make a damn list of construction order! (Or, sew with a good book next to you.)  This is really the best way to sew well and efficiently without instructions.  And readers?  These are are some of the most obtuse Burda instructions I've seen and I've seen plenty.  They rival the instruction booklet for our new Blu ray player for obtuseness. No, you are not stupid. The instructions are truly bad.

Now for the coat itself, which is finally finished.

The coat is finished  finally.  I like it, I don't love it, though it grows on me as time goes on.  If you'll recall I used Claire Kennedy's re design of this Burda coat to eliminate the hip band.  I left in side seams, she didn't .
Coat  Burda 120 9/10
 The original  coat is made of boiled wool or the equivalent and the construction is lapped. I used conventional sewing techniques with a wool coating that was in my stash and bought at one of Micheal's Fabrics half price sale.  The lining is silk charmeuse from one of Fabric Marts big sales.  I think it was Anna Sui and probably no more than $5 a yard.  It really loses something from the tall, broad shouldered model to my narrow shouldered body.

Other changes I made:
I eliminated the hip band, the hidden front zipper and I eliminated the back darts which wouldn't have worked for me. 
The collar is annoying, but easy to leave open when I am driving.  It was also much too high in the back for my short neck, so I took it off and made it narrower by about a 1/2".  Actually, I cut another one.  I had interfaced both sides and it was too stiff and annoying.  The issue of the shoulders are  problematic.  While they are the proper width for me, they totally  change the triangle shape of this coat as seen on the model.  Because I narrowed the shoulders after the fact, I would have loved the sleeves to be a bit longer, which wasn't possible because the hems are all curved and faced so I couldn't just turn up less.

I left in the zippers on the sleeves because I liked them and I had a pair in the house. Always good to use anything from stash!  I didn't put in the hidden zipper for the closing because it would have made this  difficult to sit and drive in and after all, I live in the suburbs.  I put in 3 large snaps below the top button which work well.  It was also easier to install and it's easy to undo.
The pattern called for a decorative  snap at the top.  I put in a leather bound button hole which I like.  It's a rather plain coat, with the seams that attracted me to the coat not all that evident in the finished coat.  Adding a nice scarf to the neck hides the nicest part of the coat, the button and buttonhole a the top.
The only other detail I'm going to mention about the construction of this coat is that I used lambswool interlining to interline the lining.  Never again.  It stretches.  I hand basted it onto the lining and trimmed it out of all the sas after the seams were finished. but it is really pita.  If I want a warm coat in future I'll use a warmer outer layer and interline with cotton flannel.  I cut the fabric on the cross grain so that the border ran along the bottom.

I honestly don't want to go into a real review of this coat. This was so not a labor of love and I just want to move on.

What's up next?  Cleaning my sewing room, which is bad.  That and putting away the mountain of fabrics that seem to have accumulated on my bookshelf.  How the hell did that happen?  I have a very nicely organized fabric closet.  It's just that most of the contents  seems to be on this shelf!
I will say that I am done with winter sewing.  For once I want to be ahead of the calender.  Spring is my busiest season and I really need some spring pants and things, so that's what I'll sew.  Specifically?  Not so sure yet.
Have a great weekend.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bad Blogger

Mea culpa.  I have been a negligent blogger.  My coat has been a trial, and while it is almost finished I have not felt like blogging about it or much of anything else.   I will post it as soon as it's finished.
I got invited to a wedding with only 4 weeks to the date and I was in a panic over what to wear.  Weight gain has made my lovely brocade suit a bit on the snug side so that's out.  It's an afternoon wedding, and after consultation with my cousin who is also invited, it's not a particularly dressy affair and with 380 people invited it will run the gamut I am sure.  It's also an Orthodox Jewish wedding and calls for something conservative.  I made a list of possible patterns that I could make with fabric I had in my stash.  I wrote all this to Sigrid and sent her the list.  She wrote back with what about that black jersey Knipmode dress you made last year?  Duh.  I ran to try it on with my Spanx and I still love it.  It fits and it's perfect.  I have shoes and purse so all I need is an extra pair of Spanx (its one of those with the tights attached) in case of disaster and I am all set except for the gift.   To refresh your memory and to have a picture to add, here it is.

It looks good with my current hair as well.