Monday, April 30, 2007

Butterick 5903 - circa 1979!

The fashion pundits say that if you wore it once, you shouldn't wear it again. But I perhaps I can scoot under that rule -- I made the View B dress (far right) in May and October, 1979. But this time, 28 years later, I made the shorter version View C (center) to wear as a belted tunic top. (A tip of the needle to Erica B's yellow Simplicity top for the inspiration!) It was also a forgiving style to make easily a little larger than that 20 year old body size I once was. I used Nancy Zieman's Busy Woman's Fitting Book and pivot/slid 1-1/2 inches in width near the underarm and 5 inches in length on the front and back pieces.

It truly was a time capsule in my sewing life. Back in the day, I carefully folded and pressed the pattern pieces individually before returning to the envelope, and I cut my notches pointing out. Nowadays I put all the pieces together, fold/pat down with my hands and hope it fits back into the envelope, and clip into the seam allowances for my notching. And originally this was made pre-serger, pre-Fasturn, pre-Steam a Seam 2! All of which I relied upon and used when I made my 2007 version.

What I liked then and what I liked now were the cut-on, half circle sleeves. And the gathered neckline. It's really a classic style that resurfaces above the fashion waters for a reason!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

New Pattern Site keep an eye on until up and running all the way.
The latest issue (April) of Threads Magazine featured the "Little Black Dress" challenge results article. Allison Page was one of the winners and her dress is the debut of her new pattern line. Support your independent seamsters!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Like a moth to a flame...

...I went back in to Hancock's this morning! The current discount savings ranged from 40% to 100%.

Here's my latest round of treasures -- Clockwise from the top, 5 yards 1/4" elastic, since I'm sure going to be making more of Sandra Betzina's 8151 View A! I liked it because it was 76% cotton, 24% rubber and had way more stretch/better recovery than the polyester version (84 cents)...8 yards of 4 1-1/2' wide 2-yard ribbon remnants($4.46) ...the 2005 Hancock Fabrics Quilt of Dreams for St. Jude's commemorative pin (free). Since that was the year I made the quilts for them, I'm glad I was able to find the pin to stick on my sewing room bulletin board...the Spring issue of Cutting Edge ($1)...eyelet tool and two packages of 100 multi colored and brass eyelets ($3.93). Now that I have them, maybe I'll work them into some projects...4 Vintage (circa 1890-1910) La Mode black faceted buttons, they are so pretty and sparkly, the photo doesn't do them justice ($2.39)...stick-on graduation year numbers and package of 81 peel and stick felt letters/numbers, for I'll probably end up using them for another school project! ($4.57)...2 packages of assorted Blue Moon beads -"Autumn Glow" and "Spring Fling" ($2.99)...4 size 10 big bubba snaps ($1.49).
Yet still, I didn't buy any fabric -- not from lack of looking and trying, but lack of desirability and current fashion. Therein probably the main reason of Hancock's fiscal problemas!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Babies and Botox!

What a surprise and bizarre combination! My doctor's office group practice now has some sort of affiliation with "cosmeceuticals." I don't know if it was a one time event or what. I've read about physicians doing this, for instance dermatologists, which makes duh! sense, especially when you are messing with neurotoxins. But seriously, what woman who's still popping out babies really needs Botox or 'surface restoration'? More likely to work restorative wonders inside and out - taking a good nap (mom and baby) instead...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vogue 8151 View A - Sandra Betzina Today's Fit

I think I like this one as much or better than the TNT View B! Why did I wait so long?! It's hard to believe they are both from the same pattern, making it an even better deal! Two totally different looks. Two totally great tops! Run, run, run to get the 8151 before it's pulled!

View A "Scrunched Side Top" --
What I love:

  • Well-placed overwrap. Unlike other patterns, you don't have to fiddle with the placement while wearing (no slipping around).
  • The V neckline. Not plunging, not too wide that you feel exposed. I don't even need a pin to keep it closed. The opening goes right to the top of cleavage and stops. Stays put...unless you are reaching for the bananas at Kroger!
  • The shape of the neckline band. First, the back center seam turns into bias, so it hugs the back of your neck. Second, you don't need to staystitch or staytape the opening or the band. In fact, her directions specifically tell you not to do this!
  • The side seam gatherings are subtle. The fabric I used was a medium weight poly knit. Probably in a thinner fabric you would get finer and smaller gathers.
  • The top also runs longer than View B, and is not as fitted/curvy at the side seams. I think the shirring is the factor.

What I did:

  • Added 1/2" above the armhole notch front and back pieces. (Sandra's recommendation if you are tall or have a long torso). Also added this in the neckline band. I should have also done this in the sleeve piece like I did on View B's, but I had already cut it out and it fit in alright anyways.
  • Added 1" to the front and back pieces right above the waistline.
  • Didn't add any to the sleeve, but next time I will. Probably 1- 1 1/2 inches. I plan to wear these sleeves pushed up - it's heading towards the 80's (pant, pant) the end of this week. The heat is turning up. I may just sew it again with 3/4 length sleeves instead. Perhaps a version just above the elbow?
  • Hemming - I suppose if I followed her directions, it would have saved me some *$^#@ words. Especially in this slippery poly, the two front pieces weren't playing nicely together. I did get creative with the pinning and did it while it was on the hanger. See photo.
  • Marked on the instructions the elastic measurement is 7 1/4" That little elastic guide piece may go MIA. Why doesn't Vogue and the others superimpose it on the main pattern piece or just include it in the instructions? Also you need 1/4" -- not 3/8," as tempting as that might be to use. Fortunately I was able to find a small leftover piece (just enough!) amongst all those 3/8th's and their larger cousins in the elastic bag.

Sandra's struck gold again with this pattern. It's also mentioned in her Spring/Summer 2007 forecast. The combinations and results are endless with different fabrics.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Chow down!

Look at these bums hanging out, stuffing themselves...They are just about ready to go cocoon! There's four of them on this stalk alone.

Garden Update

The first Plumbago bloom (left)
Walking Iris - Gorgeous! (right)

The "Hot Lips" Salvia flowered, too! (below) Don't they look like tiny ballgowns?

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Tom Petty, "Feel A Whole Lot Better" 3:16
Full Moon Fever (this is one of my top 10 all-time favorite CDs!)
Today's stats: 2.66 miles, 43 minutes, 309 calories

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Vogue 8151 - again!

This time, View A - finally! All I have to do is finish the hems and add the side seam shirring. Though at this point, it looks pretty good without it. And all I can say right now is, WOW! - What took me so long to try this?! Check back mid week for photos and all the details.

Netflix Stars - The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness - Hmm, a 3.25. Very compelling, great acting by Will Smith, and his son basically steals the movie. But very hard to watch, as he encounters each situation, we'd all go "Oh, Jeez!" I think everyone should see it, there's lots of good messages. And we didn't realize that the voice of Homer Simpson/Dan Castellaneta is the bald trainer (Alan Frakesh) at the brokerage firm.

Fun website/Podcast!

I finally had a chance to watch The Savvies video podcasts I downloaded (free!) from iTunes. You can also entertain yourself at their website, too -- a combination of fashion, fun and savings. Plus you can get some ideas to sew the trends spot-on. It's like going shopping with your girlfriends, then talking about and sharing your the kitchen over drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). No affiliation, no kickbacks -- just spreading the word of a very innovative young lady making a go of it!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Vogue 8151 - Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Top

Vogue 8151

This is probably the best t-shirt/top pattern I have ever sewn! Why be frustrated with the fit and what's (not) available in the stores when you can make one even better? Here is the review I wrote when I first made it a year ago. And here is the one I just made this afternoon. Seriously, by the time you get to the store, try on umpteen tops, and leave empty-handed, you can have an enjoyable and relaxing time sewing one of these. I never understood why Vogue did not show it with the optional tie. I think it adds a nice detail, though you really can't see it too well in this fun Marilyn Monroe and roses print. I originally bought the pattern for the wrap version, but have only been making this view. It's like when you go to a favorite restaurant and order the same thing each time because it's so good!

Sandra Betzina columns

Back in the early to mid 90's, my sewing friend and fellow Sandra Betzina fan, Karen and I would take turns going to Rice University and pull all the Thursday San Francisco Chronicles and copy her weekly columns. They kept the current and past month's editions. If we timed it right, we could get 8 or even 9, before they purged the files. We enjoyed reading them, until they stopped publishing. Then we discovered her online columns on her website. Today I learned that in order for her to keep the things she loved doing the best (her patterns, sewing weeks, teaching in Ethiopia!), she would no longer be writing the columns. Well, I LOVE her patterns, and hopefully someday I'll get to go to her sewing week, and taking time to teach kids to sew in Ethiopia?! I'll take the pass on the columns so she can do all this and keep making this world a better sewing place!

Friday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Thompson Twins, "King for a Day" 5:20
Friday's stats: 2.75 miles, 45 minutes, 302 calories

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Simplicity 5197

Funky style! This fabric was a find at Wal-Mart about 3 years ago. It was hand dyed. Even after washing it, I still found threads wrapped about making the small white circles. I cut it on the crossgrain to play with the layout and color/design placement.

What did I like about this pattern? The darts. Well positioned and kept the tunic from being too boxy and full. The opportunity to embellish the neckline and sleeves with either stitching or beads or whatever. I used my Viking 1100 F-2 quilting stitch along the neckline, since the fabric already had a lot going on (click right photo to see. I kept and didn't cut the long connecting stitch).
The versatility of the pattern with fabric choices. Depending upon your age and style, you can use cotton, lightweight denim/pique/poplin/twill, sateen/linen; crepe and crepe back satin, laundered silks and rayons, gauze, double georgette. I finally have a trendy tunic top in my wardrobe suited for my height with some adjustments. Which were --

The sleeves -- I added 2 1/4 inches to the sleeve length (and also 2 1/4" in the front and 1 1/4" back main pattern pieces). After the first trial run, I noticed the sleeves were a little narrow and not as full as I wanted. I cut the sleeve pattern up the center and belled/widened the bottom 1 1/2," tapering back to the sleeve cap. Also, measure and compare your bicep/upper arm to the pattern. Even with the bell shape, it was a little tight when I raised my arms. Per Nancy Zieman's Busy Woman's Fitting Book, you need 2" of ease minimum in the upper arm. When I checked, I saw this pattern had only 1" with my arm measurement. I'll use her pivot method to add that extra inch if I decide to make it again. Another odd sleeve feature to me was the sleeve hem slit. It was on the inside/underarm seam. Wouldn't it be showcased better if it was on the outer side? You already have a separate facing piece, easy enough to flip it over. At first I thought I sewed it backwards, but nope, look at the drawing. My fashionista daughter agreed, too.

The neckline -- it came up too high and wasn't that flattering. I still wanted the same style, but decided curvy was better than choppy, and redrew the opening.

Overall, if you are looking for a tunic pattern, this could be fun. But keep in mind you'll need to do some fine-tuning, and probably make a muslin fitting first. Especially when you can find Simplicity's on sale for 99 cents to $1.99; at that price I would expect to have a little fun with the tweaking!

Star Gazing

This was the class gift to the school auction..."Twinkling for all to admire-a sterling silver necklace with blue and yellow Linde star sapphires...for head to toe sparkle, two manicure/pedicure sessions at Beautique...Cafe Express, Star Pizza and Starbucks will refuel her radiant energy...she can view other luminaries with two movie passes...and download astral musicians with an iTunes gift card. A galaxy of goodies!"

The room mom found the necklace on eBay, isn't it gorgeous? It began the basis for the basket theme.
4-23-07 update - The wining bidder paid $250 for the basket!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Manhattan Transfer, "The Boy From New York City" 3:41
Today's stats: 2.71 miles, 45 minutes, 293 calories

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Simplicity 5197

I finished the tunic shirt last night, and it turned out pretty cool, albeit with some changes. (It's pretty unusual nowadays to sew a Simplicity pattern straight out of the envelope as least for me/this body) But I'd say it was worth it! Please check back later for the details and photos. . .

Monday, April 16, 2007

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

More ABBA?! Yes, but wait until you read this --
ABBA, "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" 4:48

Madonna, "Hung Up on You" 5:37
iTunes, Confessions on a Dance Floor

The same trilly techno beat repeat is on both songs! When I was torturing my daughter with the ABBA cd on the way home from the fields of bluebonnets, I thought she "accidently" switched back to XM and Madonna's song was playing. It starts about 15 seconds in (you really hear it at :30) on Hung Up. Same point on ABBA's Gimme! And they are both dance-y/disco-y songs. Confessions, indeed! But since I don't have the Madonna cd, maybe she does give credit to ABBA.

Today's stats: 2.58 miles, 42 minutes, 289 calories

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Things that make you go, "hmmm"

Random thoughts bouncing inside my head today --
1) Ann Taylor Loft $25 off purchase cards. They expire today. But have you noticed when you racked up those cards with earlier purchases a month ago, there was lots of good stuff to chose from...and the cards piled up in eager anticipation of redemption...fattening up the wallet because they are attached to the receipts...because ATL is afraid you will sell them on eBay?! Yet, when it's time to redeem, they seem to have "junque" in the stores. Black, beige, gray, maybe a little blue, that's it! And some in lesser quality fabrics, especially the knit tops already starting to pill and fuzz just from the racks. Where's the color? Where's the love? I have 2 cards which will just go in the trash tonight. Not from lack of trying or shopping. Watch by the end of this week and next, there will be the better quality items back in the store. Probably along with another $25 card promotion...
2) L and I stopped by Hancock's today. That store is off our stop-by list now. Still stingy with the markdowns. And we both think they have repriced the remaining fabric! I was going to get an USMC print to make my hubby our traditional Father's Day shirt when I saw they raised the markdown percentage to 30% off, but ... it looked like they re-stickered the price to $7.99! Huh? We both could have sworn that last week it was $6.99 and 20% off. Yes, that equals the same price, but still that's a little hoodwinky, isn't it? In fact, there were lots of new bright yellow stickers on the bolt ends. And they restocked their Hot Patterns display. I wonder if they are pulling merchandise from other stores?

Friday, April 13, 2007

April in Texas!

These were found on U.S. 71 outside of Austin and near LaGrange. . .

All are clickable to enlarge and enjoy!

The Best of the Best

Cezanne, Corot, Courbet, Daubigny, Degas, Delacroix, Van Gogh, Ingres, Manet, Matisse, Millet, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Toulouse-Lautrec...

L and I had a chance to join her French teacher and attend the Masterpieces of French painting exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art 1800-1920; on loan to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Truly it is one view to see photographs, another perspective entirely seeing them up close and in real life -- the details of the colors, paint, brush strokes, even the smell of the oils.

A definite must see while it's still here, for that creative soul in us all -through May 6!
5-3-07 Update: As of last week, the MFAH reported 433,000 people had viewed the exhibit. It opens in Berlin May 30.
(FYI - these are reserved timed entry tickets, so call or plan ahead to secure and avoid disappointment. And Thursday is your bargain day, reduced ticket price to the exhibit is only $8 for adults, $6.50 for students. The adult price is $15 for Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and $18 for the weekend).
Also good to note for moms, Thursdays are free admission days for the regular exhibits. L and I spent many Thursdays when she was younger, and even now, "hanging out" at the museum. Free A/C and art - a great Houston summertime combo!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, David Cassidy!

Back in the 70's, "Must See TV" was Friday nights on ABC (WOKR Channel 13 in Rochester, NY). First 'The Brady Bunch" and then "The Partridge Family." Who didn't have a crush on David Cassidy? Though at the time, Donny Osmond was giving him a run for the money on Tiger Beat and 16 magazine covers, as Bobby Sherman's photo got smaller and smaller.

One of the Partridge Family albums was called "Up To Date" and featured photos of the cast with their birth-days. Clever, really. Dreams can come true, albeit a 12 year old girl's, even 23 years later -- I finally met him when he passed through town a few years ago. And got his autograph!

Lucky the Bulldog

Seguin, TX -- This is "Lucky," the Texas Lutheran University mascot. After the ceremony, the new graduates rub his head for good luck!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

ABBA, "Does Your Mother Know?" 3:15
ABBA Gold (part of the double CD "Forever Gold" when it was my turn to choose the music on the way back home yesterday!)

ABBA, "I do, I do, I do, I do, I do" 3:16
ABBA More Gold
(I also loved "Muriel's Wedding")

Today's stats: 2.52 miles, 41 minutes, 287 calories

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

602 miles, 48 hours in the heart of Texas!

Suffice to say, will post our adventures and photos tomorrow. Too tired...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, April 09, 2007

Road trip!

Road trip tomorrow -- to go see the bluebonnets (if there are any left after all this crazy weather) and Monica! I need to make some Meowie-Wowie catnip "Easter Eggs" for her cats. They thought the Miss Jelly Bean bunny I sent her was loaded. . .

Got my replacement Sandra Betzina Vogues today!

Along with a hand-signed letter of apology from Meg Carter, and a Butterick coupon, which you need to mail back to them - it's not redeemable in stores.
I wondered how you could tell the difference between Sandra's reissued/corrected patterns. They look the same on the front; I turned it over and, voila! There's a diamond symbol next to the pattern number on the yardage side. Just in case they didn't all get pulled or you find them elsewhere. All in all, I'm very pleased how quickly Sandra and Vogue took care of the situation.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

Randy Travis, "Forever and Ever, Amen" 3:34
Classic Country: The 80's

Today's stats: 47 minutes, 2.86 miles, 316 calories (I'm still in an Easter Reeses peanutbutter egg deficit)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

New Sewing Spokesperson - Martha!

America loves a second act...and a second chance! Martha Stewart is the new spokesperson for SVP (Singer-Viking-Pfaff) Read the press release here Hopefully more sewing will be emphasized on her show, magazine and website. As a Viking/Husqvarna girl, I'm thrilled. Though I'm appalled at some of the really nasty comments on other blogs and websites.

More fabric!

More deals from Jo-Ann's reject fabric section. All were marked down to $3/yard! The Pepsi and World Traveler will be for more Kwik Sew PJ's.

Don't you love the vintage Pepsi girls?

And this is a great single knit print. It has a nice hand and washed like a dream. Probably no one knew what to do with it. If you can see it, there are different quotes from the "World Traveler" -- I am an adventurer and a world traveler. I love to explore new things and places!...Collected rain from the rainforest and hungout with the monkeys. The birds were too noisy though...I rode a kangaroo and met my first koala!...It was cold in the city but I saw some great paintings and sculptures...With the way I dream, now I have fabric to match!

Did I forget to take this out of the dryer in time? No! Actually I was surprised the pleats and wrinkles actually stayed and didn't wash out. This is how it looked on the bolt and after.

Total added to the stats - 11 1/4

Netflix Stars - Man of the Year

"Man of the Year" 4 stars! I liked it better than I thought I would. Very well written and directed. Probably the reason for its short run in the theaters was bad promotion and misleading positioning as a comedy. It is more of a political thriller instead. Of course, any time you give Robin Williams the reins, you are in for a hilarious ride. You could easily watch it again just to catch all his lines. Be sure to check out the special features - both of them showcase the talent and behind the scenes. You'll also see Robin's other scene takes/do-overs. Director Barry Levinson had his hands full deciding what to cut and keep. Laura Linney was perfectly cast in her role, and Christopher Walken was classic.

Purple rules!

Albeit a couple days ago...the Blue Hawaii ageratum on the left is taking off! And here's a bloom from the Society Garlic --

Saturday, April 07, 2007

More patterns

I liked this Butterick 4986 so much, I bought it last night at Jo-Ann's regular Butterick $5.99 price instead of waiting for a give-away price of 99 cents. Especially View D, the far left one.

But I did take advantage of the Simplicity 99 cent sale. . .5197

It looks sort of like the Tory Burch tunic Oprah wore on the July 2005 magazine cover. Not that I want to dress like Oprah, but there's been pretty good buzz about Tory Burch lately. Her ballet flats have become hot collectibles on eBay, and she's currently dating Lance Armstrong. I actually did a trial run of the top left/pink view tonight with a wild fern print stash fabric. Hmm, there's a very good reason why they show it in solid colors or tiny print! But the first go-round went pretty well. It seems to run a little large in the shoulders, and I'm going to recurve the upper neckline. There's potential! Had the trial fabric not been more suitable for home dec - sofa upholstery, pillows, curtains even - it could have been a keeper.

Pressing matters

I am horrible with irons! I usually have to replace them every 6-12 months, so I don't buy the $$$ ones. They usually "fall" off the ironing board, but this was one for the record books - my Proctor-Silex on/reset switch was actually two different colored plastic button covers, red and amber. This morning, the red one was very nicely next to the iron, in 3 pieces! How the heck? Now the only way to turn it on was to stick my finger inside the iron. Uh, NO!! I found a new, improved, even better replacement by Black & Decker - it's digital! (Model D2020, $34.99 at Target). A pretty, sparkly sea green. And I don't see any buttons to self-destruct.
UPDATE 11-04-07: The Black & Decker D2020 iron may self-destruct on you even without falling and could cause a fire. While it was heating up, the digital display went gray, it began continuously beeping and electrical smoke started coming out of the top. Especially do not trust the auto off feature with this iron!

Finished the PJ's

I finished the Kwik Sew PJ's this morning, and will wear them tonight. Though now I am wishing they were made from cozy flannel instead. Brrrr! And if you notice an additional 4.75 yards "used," it was because I dunked what was left in the Goodwill donation bag! What a *%$#@ that fabric was to sew. Hopefully someone else can find a better use for it. I'm still picking up shreds and threads of the fabric!

Thursday's & Friday's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

Thursday --
The Moody Blues "The Story in Your Eyes" 3:06
The Moody Blues Anthology
INXS "Mystify" 3:17
Stats: 37 minutes, 2.25 miles, 247 calories

Friday --

Justin Timberlake & Timbaland "SexyBack" 4:01
Now 23
The Moody Blues, "The Voice" 4:15
The Moody Blues Anthology
(Can you tell I recently downloaded their CD?)
Stats: 42 minutes, 2.60 miles, 302 calories

I loved reading Winter Miller's A Night Out With Paulina Porizkova article in the April 1 New York Times, saying she brought klutzyback to "Dancing with the Stars"!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kwik Sew 2811 - PJ's

Lest ya'll think I only sew bunnies, and boxes, and ties (oh my!)...I cut out a pair of these Kwik Sew PJ's this morning. A long pants/short-sleeved shirt combo. These are actually the fourth pair I've made. (Read my review and others on The pattern is popular for a reason!) The fabric is a $1/yard fabric from Wal-Mart, back in the day. You can't beat a pair of cute PJ's for less than $5.

Yellow Roses of Texas!

No, these were not "enhanced" with a spritz of water, other than the rain from this morning's cold front coming through!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Songs

After yesterday's yoga workout (leg torque-ing!), rather pokey this morning...

The Moody Blues, "Gemini Dream" 4:06
The Moody Blues Anthology - Disc 2

Joe Walsh, "A Life of Illusion" 3:31
Billboard #1's: The 80's - Disc 1

Today's stats: 43 minutes, 2.52 miles, 252 calories

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Easter Cookie Box

Easy and pretty...and yummy! And ready to party at school lunch tomorrow.

I used an apple juice can box bottom, found some white fabric in the stash, and trimmed it with a slightly gathered torn raw edge 1 3/4" wide strip of jelly bean fabric. Vanilla sugar cookie recipe in earlier post!