Tuesday, July 27, 2004

No A/C

It's been hot, 100F/38C, and our air conditioner broke just before the heat arrived. Today is a cool 90F/33C. I have been doing a bit of sewing, but I haven't turned on the iron. It generates too much heat. And I can't sew much because I need my lights, and those generate a lot of heat, too.

I called a local company to come fix the A/C, but they just weren't getting the job done. I think the problem is that we have a Bryant system, and they are primarily Carrier. So Hubby called the company that installed the unit. They charge us extra because they aren't local, but they diagnosed the problem immediately. At least, I hope they have. The replacement part should be in tomorrow and installed by Thursday morning which is last minute because we're leaving Friday morning.

I really hope it works. I have a 15 year old long hair cat, and I'd really like to seal up the house while we are gone. Well, if it's over 100F outside, a sealed house can get really hot. I don't want to come home to my baby who died from heat stroke.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Cheongsam: 3rd Times the Charm

Since I have a minute to post ...

I altered Simplicity 5098, yet again, but this time I fit the pattern pieces on Buttina. I decided to use up a different fabric, so I switched to a "natural" colored rayon with big black symbols printed on it. It's all cut and ready to go. I used another 2 yards of the fabric on my favorite skirt pattern, Kwis Sew 2743, and I still had 1 and 2/3 yards left.

What to do? I promised myself that I wouldn't put any scraps back in the stash and avoid putting anything back in the stash. That is, if I pull a fabric, I have to use all of it. Well, unless there's substantial yardage, like the aubergine and orange where I had over 7 yards left; that I can put back.

But what should I make? It's 100F/40C in the shade. Do I plan ahead? No. So I need tank tops. Could I find a tank top pattern for wovens in my pattern stash? Well ... sorta. I've been collecting cheongsam patterns for a while. I don't know that this is really a cheongsam or if it's a shell with a mandarin collar or if it matters. Is Kwik Sew 3222 a cheongsam or not?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Going on vacation

I put a counter on my blogger, and it tells me that 75% of my visitors are repeat visitors. I don't know if I'm putting a cookie on your machines or just grabbing IPs. Anyway, because 75% of you are returning, I feel obligated to update my blog as often as possible and to let you know when that's not going to happen.

We're going to Ye Olde Homestead, for the first week of August, so I won't be posting for that week, and my hunch is that I'll be too busy to post much during the next week. And the week after that, I'll be doing laundry.

Also, I work for the federal government (US), and we're being affected by the computing security standdown. Those of you who pay attention to this know what I'm talking about; those who don't can figure that I'm going to be very busy at work. Right now, I'm really pissed at those slackers at Los Alamos. They can't seem to get security right, and it's really affecting the rest of us. Blah, blah, rant, rant, morons at Los Alamos, rant, rant, blah, blah.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Bust Darts

Things are not going well with the cheongsam/simplicity 5098. I don't know what my problem is. I must be terrified that the top isn't going to be big enough over the gigantic ones. The first one, the one in the picture, was too big, so I took out 1/2 inch from the full bust alteration. That seemed right. Well, the second top, in a wild aubergine and orange print (delicious), is too big, too.

Did I fit the pattern pieces on Buttina? NOOOOOO! How dumb was that? When I did the first fitting, I didn't have Buttina (my duct tape double), so I couldn't check things on her. But now I do. It's probably like any new tool; you have to get used to using it.

The good news is while this top is a wadder, I have another 7 yards of this print to play with. I liked it, and it was cheap, so I bought it. I forgot I bought it and got some more. I suppose I could rip out the seams and reuse everything except the front. Hm.

I went swimming yesterday. It's been really tough. They closed the pool at work. It seems the structural steel under the concrete pool deck has completely corroded away. Concrete has very little strength in tension, so it's a serious hazard. The pool is 60 years old. The pool structural engineers that evaluated it said that concrete pools, usually, only last 30 years. The Navy must have really over built when they put it in.

Yuke, a work, swim, & sewing buddy, is training for a triathalon. She's nuts, but she needs to swim. And that gets me to the pool. I love swimming, especially now that I have a swimsuit that fits. I'm short in the crotch with gigantic boobs, so suits that fit on top were falling off my bottom. That doesn't work for butterfly or flip turns because the suit bags and fills with air or water. If I buy one that fits on the bottom, I can't get it on the top. It feels so good to get in the water. The only problem is that it takes 2 hours to go swimming now. The pool is across town. And the local park district isn't going to keep it open after school starts. They are building a new pool, but their latest news release said it wasn't going to be ready until April 2005, almost a year late. They've been having a lot of problems with the contractor.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


I love cheongsams; you know, those Asian style tops. I finished Simplicity 5098 fitting toile, the woven version. I'm pretty happy with it. I need to fix some of the alterations, but I think I'm going to really, really like this top. If anyone out there is considering the cap sleeve, I strongly recommend that you put the sleeve in in-the-flat. I had to ease mine in, and it poufs, very 70s, yuck.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Stuffing and Sewing

I restuffed Buttina, this time starting at the top. This worked out much better. I had overstuffed her, and I decided to leave her squishy this time, like me. She's really inspired me to get serious about losing weight, too.

I finished the skirt from Simplicity 5633. It came out okay, but it wasn't sufficiently good for me to keep the pattern. Since I'd rated it as "would NOT recommend", I decided to toss it.

I also finished the raglan top from Burda World of Fashion. I'd post a link to the pattern page, but Burda switched to a new server. The old links don't work anymore. They used to use a system that used dates, so that a knowledgeable user could dig out information on old magazine patterns. What's worse is that the lastest WOF webpage doesn't have the technical drawings.

And I sewed the front darts on Simplicity 5098.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Duct Tape Doubles

It was so easy. Sure, it took us about 2 hours per person, including checking the instructions and a lunch break, but it was really, really easy. I highly recommend it. You can even see my belly button! We used dry cleaners bags, instead of t-shirts, and we added a grocery store veggie bag to get neck detail.

Last night I hung my DTD on the dress form. I bought an old dress form that goes up to my size, but I never could get it adjusted correctly, and the boobs were too small. After hanging the DTD and puffing it out, I considered naming her Boobzilla, but my butt is really big! I decided that Buttina was a better name for her.

I taped some plastic across the bottom and started stuffing it with some polyester fiberfill between the DTD and the dressform. It seems I stuffed Buttina too full; she exploded during the night.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Ugly Fabric

I want to respond to the comment left in my blog about patterns being flawed. IMNSHO, that arguement still implies that there's something wrong with someone's body. The pattern sloper is based on a real person. Whether it's the big4, who use a woman in her early 20s who is a perfect size 10, or it's Lois Ericson, who uses herself, it all starts with a real person. I think we need to get away from the negative language.

Last night I cut out view E from Simplicity 5098 from one of the uglies in my stash. I'm sure this was a high quality quilting cotton that I bought on clearance back when I was just starting to quilt. I like the colors in it, individually. They are fuschia, turquoise, olive green, on a red background, but collectively, they just don't work to my eye. The print is very large. My hunch is that I was thinking if I cut it up into small pieces, I wouldn't have the clashing colors. However, it makes a very good toile fabric, and this top seems to have consumed it all.

Jo is coming over in a little bit to make duct tape doubles.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Fitting Issues

I hate it when books call a deviation from the "ideal" figure a flaw. It be one thing if they said I had bad posture (I don't) or I was fat (I am). If I believed in God, I'd say that all our bodies are the way God made us to be. But the connotation of the word flaw is terrible for women. These books are supposed to be helping us sew and feel good about our sewing and feel good about ourselves. When they start out a discussion of fitting with the word flaw, the book is telling us that there is something wrong with our bodies that makes it substandard or a "second". It's a put down, and it pisses me off.

I sewed the back darts on Goosey Girl's raglan top. Slow progress.

I did some more work on fitting Simplicity 5098. I used Burda 8665 as a fitting shell. The front of the new top may be too big. The back is smaller, so I'm going to add an inch at the sideseams of the back. Fortunately the cap sleeve is a rectangle, so it's very easy to make it an inch bigger. I may not need the room in back, but it's better to have too much and take it in than not have enough.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Wadder, wadder, wadder

I decided to toss out the 2 tops from Simplcity 5633. Goosey wasn't going to wear them, so the effort to hem them and put in that last sleeve would have been wasted. I'm still going to finish the skirt. I debating whether or not to toss this pattern after that. I bought this pattern for the skirt. I like the pointed yoke, but Goosey Girl is awfully cute in the skirt from Simplicity 5689.

I worked on the fitting issues for Simplicity 5098 I pin fit the three views: AB, C, and DE. I'm concerned that the raglan style top, view C, is too small. It's so tough to tell. I use patternease which has zero stretch and is very stiff. The pattern has no darts to start, and so it doesn't conform to my body at all. I tried to compare it to my pattern pieces for Kwik SEW 2565, but I couldn't figure out how to overlay the raglan style on the regular armhole style.

I did the Full Bust Alteration for views D & E, adding 3 inches on each side and 2 in the length, plus a big ol' dart. I'll be comparing it to Burda 8665.

Monday, July 05, 2004

A little sewing

I spend a little time on DD's tops and skirts this weekend. I'm binding the neck opening in both and armholes in the tank. I had enough premade single fold bias tape to do both neck openings. I really didn't care for that application. The seam allowance on the neck is 5/8 inch and the "seam allowance" on the binding is a scant 1/4 inch. I had a hard time keeping them lined up correctly.

I made bias tape for the armhole. I've put a lot of French bias tape on quilts. However, on these tops, I don't want the bias tape to show from the front. That means, the tape needs to be 2/3s the width of the French bias tape. Did I remember that? NO!, so I have this really wide piece of tape in one armhole. I'm thinking of just turning it under to make it narrow.

The gathering for the skirt went very well. Strictly speaking, I gave up gathering a few years ago when I bought my ruffler foot. I highly recommend one for anyone who is making lots of gathered items like little girl dresses or home dec stuff.

Finally, I used the last of the blue slinky to cut out a tank top for Goosey Girl. I asked Goosey if she wanted a tank top or skirt, and she said tank top.

We went to the fireworks last night. My little GooseyGirl is afraid of the fireworks. She did just fine last year. She was very excited to go, but when the booming started, she got scared. She wanted to sit in my lap, which was fine until BaloneyBoy decided he needed to be in my lap. There's nothing like trying to balance a 4 year old on one knee and a 1.5 year old, who is almost as big as the 4 year old, on the other knee, especially when the slightly smaller one starts to beat on the 4 year old because he wants to nurse. (sigh) BaloneyBoy was not impressed by the fireworks. He thought it was time to nurse and go to sleep.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Stupid Cat

My cat, Annette, threw up on my bed last night. So instead of sewing, I was changing the bed and doing laundry.

This morning, I was able to fend off the kids long enough to sew the bias tape to one of DD's tops.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Slinky is a pain!

KS 2565: I cut the french dart version out of the blue slinky. I've worked with it before, but what a big hassle. Slippery and super stretchy, so you have to be very, very careful when you are laying it out. Everything has to be supported. My slinky has ribs on it; I don't know if that's typical of slinky knit. The ribs to make it easier to cut on grain, assuming it doesn't slip. I use pattern weights and a rotary cutter, and I rough cut around the pattern first.

It should be a very comfortable top, tho.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Asian Style Tops

I traced this pattern. I decided that I wanted to try view A, B, C, D, and E! A & B, knit version, are the same except for the sleeve, and I may just opt for the little cap sleeve. C is a raglan style, in knit fabric, and E & F is the woven version with 2 different sleeves. Again, I may just opt for the cap sleeve version. I like cap sleeves.

Got some sewing done

Kwik Sew 2489: I finished the 2nd pair of these. Adding the extra half inch at the sides made a nice difference. I really like to wear these under polyester skirts. This pair is made from that left over eyelet, so it's 100% cotton. It works well to keep the polyester skirts from clinging to my butt.

Simplicity 5633: I decided to replace the neck facings with bias tape. On the first top, I forgot to shape the bias before applying it, so I have funneling that I managed to steam out, but I think that will come back every wash.

Kwik Sew 2565: I changed the dart on this top to a French dart. I've been intrigued by this dart for a while. I tried Burda Plus Spring 2004 - 406A, but I wasn't happy with the fit of the t-shirt. That made it impossible to evaluate the French dart effect. I'm cutting this one out of some leftover blue slinky from a dress.