Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Sewing

If you are wondering where my finished cardigan jacket is, well it's in the UFO pile. It is just too warm to wear it now and I want to get to my spring sewing. I ran into a problem with the hem. It looked fine before I attached the facings and hemmed it. I felt that I needed a decent weight of interfacing for the lapels and collar. But, really I should have known better than use the same interfacing for the hem. The nice drape disappeared and it belled out ridiculously. I need to take it in at least 4 " or cut a new hem facing and interface with a lighter interfacing. I do have enough material to do that, so I'll figure it out in the fall, when I can actually wear it.

Meanwhile, I am planning to enter the Pattern Review mini wardrobe contest. I love the added twist of adding something from my wardrobe that has to match two of the pieces and make a total of 6 outfits. I am planning a tan, black and white wardrobe.
Tan linen jacket, BWOF 102 2/2009

Black linen pants from my Hot Patterns Razer tnt pattern
Black silk jersey t shirt with lace sleeves. Something to use leftovers for! It is really a black mesh with cotton cutout flowers sewn on it in a crazy quilt kind of pattern. It's from a skirt I made several years ago. This is from my V8151 Sandra Betzina tnt t shirt.
White cotton lycra knit t shirt with the great trim Trudy showed on You Tube.

From my wardrobe a pair of off white linen, cotton lycra trousers I made for my Florida trip. The fabric is lovely, and from the now defunct Timmel fabrics. Of course, these are from my tnt pattern. By now these pants don't really resemble the original pattern. I haven't reviewed these, but I'll take a picture and post it when I get a chance. The only pattern I need to adjust is the jacket pattern. I have it almost all traced out and altered. I like to make my lining pattern out of the altered pattern pieces even when a pattern includes lining pieces. It is much easier than redoing the alterations I have to make and less of a chance of neglecting to make one. Of course Burda seldom includes a lining pattern, and this one is no exception.
I doubt that this will be a winning wardrobe but it will be wearable for my lifestyle and doable in the month available for the contest.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Do You Buy Fashion Magazines?

Over the years I've had subscriptions to Women's Wear Daily, Vogue and Lucky and In Style. WWD was sort of a waste, so that wasn't renewed. The Lucky I had because Alex and I would look at it together and see what she liked and what we might buy, of course, as Cidell has pointed out the clothing got a bit too pricey. In Style, well that has so little fashion these days that it's not going to be renewed either. The Vogue I bought because at various times I enjoyed the articles and even the fashion. The last time I subscribed was a couple of years ago becasue it was a $12 special. I didn't renew. I buy the spring and fall issues of Vogue, Bazaar and Lucky. Lucky is a bit too young, but it actually shows clothing that you can see. Back to Vogue. I bought the April issue because of the cover. SHAPE ISSUE Fashion for every figure from size 0 to 20. I challenge you to find those fshions. Yes, they spotlight some women of different sizes, but clothing spreads? Not in my issue. They do have Beyonce on the cover and a fashion spread, but that's as close as they come to a non model. Yes, she's a curvy woman, but real life, I don't think so. I love fashion but there isn't a whole lot in the magazines that relates to my lifestyle. I am obviously not the target audience for the magazine or the fashions. How do you feel about fashion magazines? Do you buy them or just read them at the hairdressers?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Comments from children

On my blog and by phone. My daughter says that only PR readers know what dd, ds, dh etc mean, and has asked me to actually spell those words out. Or use their names for which I have permission, at least from my daughter, Alex. She also wants me to plug her blog, which I will. She writes a very erudite blog on her adventures in Asia. As I mentioned earlier, she is an avid bibliophile and can wax rapturous on Jane Austen or finding lactose free sweets in Korea. AAA or Alex's Adventures in Asia is her blog. Of course I as her mother, think it is absolutely brilliant. You can make up your own minds.

Progress and garage sales

My husband is an inveterate garage sale shopper. Now that spring is here he has multiple opportunities. When the kids were growing up they were his partners in crime, avidly make the rounds with him. My dd the bibliophile's favorite score was at the estate sale of a college professor. Lots of books on her list. This is what he brought me home Saturday.
He paid $10 for this when the other one I have cost me $30 at Costco. I have seen them for more money. I'll put this next to my cutting table. I envision more organization and cleaner counter tops.
That's my jacket on Zelda. It would be finished by now, except that I made a mistake and had to rip the shoulders and upper sleeves out. I cut this out last fall and didn't look carefully at the pattern which was still pinned to the pieces, when I pulled it out. I had cut 1" sas on the shoulders. I sewed 3/8". I really didn't realize this until I tried to attach the collar. My bad. I even ignored the clips that I always make at the seam allowances because I do like to use different width seam allowances. I should be able to finish this today or tomorrow.
Here's another picture.
All I have left are sewing on the combined facing hem unit and topstitching for the hems.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pattern Instructions

Ann of Gorgeous Things had a post on poor pattern instructions that really hit a sore spot with a lot of readers, myself among them. I am making Hot Patterns Riviera Boulevard cardigan jacket which has some issues. Yes, the instructions are less than stellar, but the only thing that was really unclear were the pockets. I finally figured them out, but not without some ripping. The instructions have you sew one short side and the long side and then turn. Too bulky, and I am using a relatively light weight double knit, not the thick, stable knit the pattern calls for. I re cut and sewed the short edge, turned it and serged the long open side. It is hidden in the pocket layers anyway. But, the biggest issue I have is the lack of match points. We all complain at one time or other about Burda instructions, but what makes Burda easy to use are the numbers that easily tell you what goes where. That is part of the problem I had with the pockets: not enough match points. The other problem I have had so far seems to be a drafting error. There are hem facings that attach to the front facings and then are sewn to the jacket. They aren't large enough and again I had to re cut larger side front facings. They were a good 2" too short, so I really don't think this is my error. The fit of the jacket however is good and I didn't actually have to make an fba. The fit is loose, but the bust fits nicely and doesn't hike up in front which generally happens without an fba. I hope to have this finished by the end of the weekend. Tomorrow is supposed to be gorgeous, so I'll be working in the garden.

Monday, April 13, 2009


This is what he brought me from Emmaonesock. I've been really good about not buying too much to add to my stash. Being self employed in a field that is pure luxury can be scary in this economy, so I try to think twice before I buy. But I really loved these fabrics enough to click my mouse.

4.5 yards Donna Karan in a tweedy linen/viscose/lycra for my tnt pants and my first Patrones, #24 from issue 276. A great vest or sleeveless jacket. It reminds me of something I saw in a magazine; the same one that inspired Caroline too, I think. I will, however, not be wearing it as styled! I also don't like how the button is done, and I'll overlap in the normal manner.
1.75 yd Donna Karan silvery gray viscose/lycra jersey. So gorgeous and silky.
2.25 yards black and white cotton lycra shirting. This is the silkiest cotton imaginable.
I am planning to make this Burda blouse that is going the rounds lately. I am not a 'classic' shirt person, and this fits my style better, though I'll make the shorter version.

Burda 106 3/09

I also have 2 yds of this fabulous nylon lycra matelasse knit that I bought a couple of weeks ago, also from EOS. I do like Linda's taste and quality. Probably a plain t shirt from this, my tnt V8130.

Before I get to these gorgeous fabrics, I am going to sew some ufo's.
This Hot Patterns knit jacket in a Zegna dark gray wool cashmere blend knit from Michael's sale last fall is up first. It's all cut out and interfaced.
Our Trip was great! I love driving south in the early spring when you can really see the progression of the season. The drive across Virginia was just gorgeous with masses of Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) in full bloom on either side of rt 81. We had a lovely time with ds and dil. Josh and I cooked together on Thursday and that was great fun. The seder was lovely and Josh did a great job leading for the first time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yes! I think I've got it!

The third muslin was the charm. The front crotch hangs properly, the back is smooth. The waist is at the right height, the curve of my contour waistband is even and the band is an even width. I need to lower the left waist after I cut it out since the right hip is higher. The waist was a little too big, but with my hip curve just sewing it smaller at the side seams isn't a good choice. Instead I took slices front and back overlapping 1/8" at each cut to take in about a 1/2".
Now, maybe I can get some sewing done! I have some UFOs that I want to finish and then on to new projects.
We are going down to our son and DIL's in Roanoke, VA for Passover. It will be his first time leading the seder and I'm bringing most of the food. I froze the brisket(obligatory as far as Josh is concerned!), chicken soup and my favorite chocolate walnut torte. It is both gluten and lactose free! It's a good thing no one's allergic to nuts, or I'd be in big trouble. Josh and I will make the rest. We cook, and my dh and dil clean up. A good deal. We are also bringing Passover foods which are not available locally for them. Their synagogue ran a bus trip up to northern Virginia to shop but they have their own shopping service, us. We'll be back on Sunday.
Enjoy your holiday!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Life happens

My husband walked into the kitchen yesterday afternoon and said "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we don't have a fire, and the bad is that we have to go buy a new washing machine." He was doing laundry and heard banging. Not an unbalanced load, but the transmission had gone and smoke was emanating from the washing machine. We are waiting for the new one to arrive this afternoon. There are a lot of choices out there, and I was kind of overwhelmed not having even thought about getting a new one and had not done my usual research. In the end we spent more than we had planned because the energy star appliances are so much more efficient and LIPA(Long Island Power Authority) gives a 10% discount for buying them. Hopefully it cleans as well as it is energy efficient.

Food Polenta Pizza

Celiac disease, my husband, and lactose intolerance, me, is our very own version of Jack Sprat and his wife. A couple of weeks ago Mark Bittman, in his column for the Times, The Minimalist, wrote about whole grains for breakfast and a polenta pizza was one of the recipes. I didn't want it for breakfast, but for dinner, perfect. I don't remember the last time I had pizza, and while I could make a gluten free dough. that's a lot more work for something that only sort of resembles pizza. This is a totally different animal, or rather pizza, and it is just fabulous. I sent a link to our son, who also has celiac disease and he was in heaven. I made a few changes due to diet and tastes. The original recipe calls for sauteed spinach, pancetta, and onion with Gorgonzola cheese. My dh hates spinach, and Gorgonzola isn't exactly on the lactose free list. Cabots to the rescue. They make a number of cheeses that are lactose free, including a shredded part skim mozzarella. I used sauteed escarole with onion and copious amounts of sliced garlic in my version with some Parmigiana reggiano, which is aged long enough to be lactose free. I could have used the instant polenta, but I discovered that long cooking polenta doesn't need the 30 minutes of constant stirring that Marcella Hazan's books tell you. You don't need to wear long heat proof gloves to keep from getting scalded when the hot polenta bubbles and spits up at you. Use a double boiler and it takes about 15 to 20 minutes of easy cooking with occasional stirring. My double boiler is too small so I use my 4 qt pot with my 2 qt sitting in it. It has a loop handle that keeps it level in the larger pan. Works like a charm. My pizza pan is larger than Bittman's so I used 1 1/2 cup of polent to 4 1/2 cups of water. Otherwise, I followed his recipe. Well, I used less oil. If you are a Weight Watcher, it's about 5 points per slice, depending on how much cheese and oil you use. Here's a link to the original recipe.
Mark Bittman

Friday, April 3, 2009

2 Steps Forward, Back One

I made a muslin for my pants and decided to go ahead and make it up in fabric. A wadder. At least it was cheap fabric. I really should take my own advice and get it right in the muslin. So, I made another muslin today. While I was at it I decided to redraft the waist to a contour waistband. The front crotch was much better and the back was almost perfect. The sides needed to come down about 3/4" though in the final I'll need to sew my lower left side down a bit more. I also needed more ease in the non stretch muslin. I think that I would be better off drafting two pants patterns. One for non stretch fabric, and one for stretch. I find that I really need very little ease with even 2 or 3% lycra. I will not be lazy and I'll sew another muslin. Pants are so quick to sew if I don't have to struggle with the fit ! I am kind of obsessive about pants fit, so until I get it right, no other sewing will be happening. At least muslins are quick and dirty.
I hope that I can get to it this weekend. I have cooking to do for Passover and even some work. Yep, work. I took the afternoon off to sew the muslin.
Have a great weekend.