Thursday, September 30, 2004

Topstitching Woes

Well, it looks like a trip to Joann's is in order. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about the topstitching in the ears. I need to get some regular brown sewing thread and more tan thread. I'm sure I can get a balanced stitch if I use the same thread, just different colors, in the bobbin and needle.

So I put the costume away, hoping that I would be able to work on something else. When I'm not actively working on a project, I tend to pile my workspace with all my junk. I cleaned off my cutting table last night, but then I went to bed. I've been getting up earlier, so I can go to work early. My husband takes the kiddos to daycare. I come home early and make dinner. But I find that between getting up early, Boobla not sleeping well, and the depression, I need to go to sleep earlier so that I can get up to go to work. So I didn't get much done. At least, I'm ready to work tonight.

Darn that Vicvelvet. She put up some totally awesome 1930s patterns.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gone over to the dark side

I put an ad banner from Google on my blog. People probably won't even see it. I wonder if it's cheating if I click thru on it using different computers?

ARGH! Want Coffee!!!!


No More Caffiene

I'm trying to kick the habit. It's not easy.

Another Class

I had the orientation for my machine, yesterday. I bought the machine over a year ago, and I get 2 all day classes with it: one on the machine, and one one the embroidery unit. I thought I'd taken the embroidery class, but I think I took the general orientation because I was pretty familiar with everything we went over. Of course, I have had the machine for over a year.

I learned how to oil the machine, and we went over all the functions and buttons. There is so much on the Bernina Artista 180 that I think I wold benefit from an orientation every year.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Not Much Energy

I haven't been sewing much. I think part of the problem is that making a monkey costume jsut isn't that inspiring. Another issue is that I'm suffering from depression ... and an eating disorder. Things that I've long suspected, but I didn't get any help until things have become almost unmanageable. Part of the disease is that I have zero energy, and it's gotten so bad that I don't have energy to sew.

After a long stint of not sleeping through the night, my son seems to have settled back in. He's made it through the night 3 nights in a row. I think that sleep deprivation has been adding to the problem. Poor baby, he's been sick with colds for the past couple of months, and he just gets so uncomfortable that he wakes up.

I also gave up caffiene ... well, almost. I'm down to one cup first thing in the morning. I've cut back from drinking a pot and a half (like 18 cups). I'm planning on cutting the caffinate coffee with decaf. We'll see. My therapist said that caffiene is the first thing they tell you to cut out when you have an eating disorder and that it's not helping the depression. She thinks I was selfmedicating with caffiene. The problem with that is that you need more and more and more and more caffiene to get the same lift, and you always experience a crash. So, I'm down to that one cup. What's really sad about this is that I have to give up the mochas, too. There's no such thing as a decaf mocha becuase of the chocolate.

I own stock in Starbucks, so maybe some of you will take up the slack that I'm leaving. :)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Monkeys and Rose Hips

ARGH! I had just finished a long post, and the computer crashed! There's a big "Save as Draft" button below the text entry window. I think I will use it more often.


Whew, I feel a little better. Sewing the body of the costume wasn't so bad. There were a lot of things that I changed because the methodology was terrible (ie dumbed down), but it's basically a jumpsuit with an applique on the front. The hood is PITA. The darts had seam lines marked at 1/4 inch (6 mm). The rest of the seam allowances on the hood should be 1/4 inch because it's a pain to sew a tight curve to a straight seam with 5/8 inch seam allowances (I think that 16 mm). The hood is almost finished. I've turned it. It needs to be pressed, and I'm thinking of topstitching/edgestitching it (not in the instructions). Oh, and the ears need to be attached. I want to edgestitch the ears, but I'm having trouble deciding what thread to do it in. Using my excellent design sense (hm), I used two different fabrics to make the ears. The fronts are the contrast color, tan, and the backs are the fur color, brown. The matching thread for the brown is a quilting thread. I suppose I could go to the store and buy more thread, but I'd like to use what I have. I was using a tan thread in the bobbin, and this worked okay for construction, but I have to admit that my stitches aren't balanced. I get little tan dots on the brown/needle side. I switched to a black bobbin thread, and this eliminated the dots, but I don't like the dark brown or black on the tan fabric. I don't like the tan on the dark brown fabric. What to do? What to do? I need to sew the details inside the ear, too.

I have neglected my roses this year, but the result is a fall garden full of beautiful orange, rose, and red rose hips. My children are entranced by them. They like to pick them, put them in baskets, and sort them.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Artista Embroidery Software

So I'm trying to do my homework from my embroidery class, and I can't get the "Any Shape Baseline" to work for me. In the end, this was a good thing because I learned that you can choose the reshape tool after you've got your lettering up on the screen. I think that's a much better way to do curvy lettering because you get to define the curve based on the words instead of trying to guess where the curve should be. The road less traveled? Or is it a case of not fully reading the instructions?

Then I try to do multiple lines. Does it work? No. Did I read the instructions? I thought so. Unlike the "Any Shape Baseline", this doesn't work well with the reshape tool. Frustrated, I resort to random clicking. Left click here, right click there, and so on until Viola! I get the "Lettering Object Properties" box to open without clicking on lettering. So let me tell you, there's a big difference between a left click and a right click. And, in this case, the right click was the way to go.

It sounds more frustrating and confusing to read about than it was to do. It didn't take me very long to do.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Bit by Bit

I sewed one seam on the head piece of the monkey costume. I'm just flying thru the construction of this garment.

Monday, September 20, 2004

When is the stash aquisition process out of control?

When you can't remember what you bought from Ressy, so you guess (wrongly), and she looks it up for you.


I didn't get much sewing done. I put the elastic in the monkey costume ankles and sewed up the inner leg seam; all that it needs is some topstitching on the collar and snaps. The head of the costume is a huge pain. Not difficult, but it's tedious. Lots of little darts and curved seams; yuck. Oh, the seams didn't quite match up between the side pieces and the center piece, so I had to ease some of that extra length in. This is a real bummer in the pattern because they've dumbed down the pattern to appeal to the beginningest sewist out there, and something like this will really throw that sewist off.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


My catalog came today, sorta. I got an official notice from the post office that I had registered mail which can't be delivered without a signature. They say on the form that the item will be at the post office after 9:30 am. So at 9:30 am, I try to pick up my mail. No luck, the trucks not there yet. I go get a latte. 9:50 am, the truck still hasn't arrived from where ever it is that they lock up registered mail at night. I can't wait any longer. :(

I go to work, find out that my rather nice manager is being transferred, and that we are getting a maniacal workaholic in his place. (heavy sarcasm) Oh, joy. (/heavy sarcasm)

I get to escape early and go to my embroidery class. We learn how to do mirroring and lettering, so that picks me up. I head back home, stopping at the post office, and finally, I am able to enjoy my catalog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Well, I just ordered 4 cuts from EOS. I ordered enough to make t-shirts only. I used to order enough to make a skirt and t-shirt, but since I haven't made either, I figured I'd only get enough to make a t-shirt. Is that great logic or what?

I got diagnosed with depression this week. I've suspected it for a while, and one of the things that I do when depressed is buy fabric (self diagnosis). If I'd kept a record of fabric purchases, I could probably, quite quantitatively, chart the progress of the disease. So lately, I've really tried to resist.

I'm weak. I bought all those white knits at Joann's and now EOS. I have resisted buying from Sawyer Brook. One of their fall colorways exactly matches my SWAP colors. I decided that even tho I'm never going to finish SWAP that I would use the colors. Anyway, I didn't order any of it. I'm still thinking about it. I decided if I could remember what the little swatches looked like over time, then I really did want the fabric. It was more than an impulse buy/depression fix. So I may order from them, too.

I might even make some t-shirts.

Based on the stuff that I liked from Cold Water Creek, I decided I needed a certain type of jacket pattern. So I went to browse the stuff at Kwik Sew. I really like their patterns, and I get a good deal from the KwikSewCo-op. I decided I needed the following patterns: 2948 Twin Set 1, 2759 Twin Set 2, 3049 Bias Dress, 3023 Cap Sleeve Dress, 2809 Jacket, 3077 Jacket, 3129 Jacket, 2801 Jacket, and 2717 Duster. I don't know that I'll get any of them. I have similar patterns except for the twin sets. Marcy Tilton wrote an article for Threads a while back on how to convert a t-shirt pattern to a twin set. I think it's in her book, Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-shirts, too. So right now, I'm holding off.

Yuki and I went swimming today. I did fine, until I decided to try the flippers for kicking. That was a big mistake. I sprained my left knee a couple of weeks ago (slipping on a bolt of fabric). It was just too much force on the knee with the flippers, and even after I took them off, I was still in pain. Yuki wanted to swim for another half hour, so I got out and went to Joann's which is just down the block from the pool. We'll see how I feel on Friday, but I might go back and buy some stuff.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Style Book

I started a new style book for me. I had been cutting things out and putting them in a spiral bound notebook. I would paste as much as I could on one page and on the back. I thought I was being frugal. But I ended up with a jumbled mishmash of things, some of which I don't care for any more.

When the last Cold Water Creek (CWC) catalog came in, I decided it was time for a new notebook. This time, I started a 3-ring binder. Instead of pasting as much as I could on one page and it's back, I only used the front of the page. Usually, I pasted one item on a page, but sometimes if the two images were very similar, I might paste 2. I wrote notes on the page on why I liked something, if I like the color, does it fit in my SWAP colors, style comments, and anything else that comes to mind.

I had a few things pinned to bulliten board that I put in the notebook, but most of the stuff came from CWC. I really like their stuff. I consider it casual, slightly funky, business attire for the most part. They have some party or formal stuff, but parties these days seem to invovle chasing 4 year olds around playground equipment. They also have casual non-business clothes that I would wear to work, too. After gathering together the images I had cut out of the CWC catalog, I noticed that CWC uses the same pattern over and over and over again; at least, in the things I like there is this repetition.. From the stand point of a sewist, this is a very smart thing to do.

I also noticed that the style of the jackets were not quite suited to me. They aren't fitted enough, and they are too long. I don't want a fitted jacket, but I need darts. Without shaping around the gigantic ones, I look like I'm wearing a sack. Midhip jackets are the worst on me. I need them to hit me above the butt, since mine protrudes, or way past the butt, like midthigh. It's not a matter of it being big enough either. Jackets get hung up on the butt which is unflattering, but also having that line right across the big butt isn't flattering either.

I sewed a couple of darts on the monkey costume head.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Too big and too short

The sweatshirt is too big, and I made the arms too small. I'm wondering if Kwik Sew men's patterns have the same sizing issues that Kwik Sew women's patterns do. I size down for the tops since I fall between 2 sizes. If I don't, the tops are too big in the shoulders. DH was between sizes. He was almost big enough for the large size range, so that's what I made.

At any rate, we need to make another fitting toile for him before I cut into the windpro. It wasn't that expensive, but it's hard to get.

The monkey costume is coming along nicely. It's going to be much too big, but I'm hoping that we can just roll up the sleeves and legs. I'd really like for Boobla to be able to wear this for 2 years, so that I'm alternating making costumes for the 2 kids. Next year, it will be Goosey's turn to get a new costume.

The body of the costume is almost finished. I used broadcloths instead of fleece. The instructions tell you applique the tummy patch down without any finishing of the edges. That would be okay in fleece. I decided to sew 2 tummy patches together and turn them inside out before appliquing to the costume. That makes the patch slightly smaller, but you can't tell. You'd be able to tell if I had raw edges zigzagged down. They dumbdown the costume patterns so much that I wonder why they don't tell you to use a fusible web to attach the tummy patch.

I wish I used batting in the tail instead of stuffing it. I think a softer tail would have been better, more durable, and more washable. I worry that the stuffed tail will get kinked. It's also a heavy, stiff pain to work around when sewing the rest of the costume.

I used ribbing for the wrist cuffs. The instructions tell you to gather the sleeve ends before attaching the cuffs, supposedly all in fleece, but I didn't need to do that with the ribbing.

I hate putting in sleeves on children's clothes. I'm pretty sure the sleeve cap is always to big for the armscye, but I haven't found any direction on how much bigger it should be. It's always a pain to get it eased in with no puckers.

There is no interfacing in the collar band, and I didn't add any. It wasn't until I put the band that I thought of it. Plus, they don't have you finish the seams where the collarband attaches to the neck. I serged mine, but would it have so hard to tell us to fold one side over then topstitch? Well, I didn't think of it until afterwards.

The ears aren't interfaced either, but I caught this before I made them. I'm going to put in some fusible tricot to give them a little more umph. I'm using broadcloth to line the head. I've got the boots cut out, but I don't think I'm going to make them. Boobla can wear black sneakers.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Embossing Velvet

I went a little nuts after the ASG meeting. I found 7 yards of acetate velvet on ebay, so I bought it. It arrived yesterday, and I'm having a bit of buyer's remorse. I'm out of fabric stash room. Something has got to go, and I already reorganized my sewing area once this year. Big Sigh.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

DH's Sweatshirt

I finished DH's sweatshirt.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

DH's Sweatshirt

We actually had a chance to check the sleeve length. The sweatshirt has been hanging in my sewing area for several months. I hemmed one of the sleeves, and it was too long. That really surprised me because DH often complains that the sleeves in RTW are too short unless he buys a tall. I cut off 4 inches. I hope it's not too short now because there's no going back.

I took Goosey to Joann's with me on Monday. She wanted to go then whined and complained the whole trip. I reminded myself that experiencing this sort of situation is the reason I had children. During one of the many times I helped her in or out of the shopping cart, I knocked over one of my bolts of fabric then managed to slip on it while I was lifting her down. At the time, I was concerned that I not drop her or fall on her. She didn't get hurt at all. I twisted my knee. It really hurt by bedtime yesterday, and today, I can barely walk. I did get some nice 100% cotton knits for $2/yard.

hot Hot HOT

That stupid weather pixie is 6 hours behind. I like it and it's cute and all, but it's 95F/34C outside, not 70F. It's supposed to be 102F today. I don't know if anyone looks at the weather pixie, but it bothered me that it was so far off.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Ready To Write My Review

The top is Simplicity 5098 and the skirt is Kwik Sew 2743.

I hemmed Burda 8665. I fussed over the buttons for a while before deciding they weren't the right color. My buttons are more green than the top, and I'd rather have a bluer button.

I'm cutting out Simplicity 4910, the monkey from a quilting cotton. It's printed with trees, but I thought it would give the costume a furrier look than a solid brown broadcloth. It's too hot here to make one out of faux fur or fleece.

Sunday, September 05, 2004


Way back in April, I saw a Marfy Spring pattern catalog. I really wanted it. I tried to order one from Nancy Ericson, but she was sold out of the Spring catalog. I've been trying to order that darn catalog for the last 5 months. I thought maybe I was missing something. The site is in Italian, and the Google Translator leaves a lot to be desired. It turns out it was my credit card. I finally tried a different credit card this morning, and voila! my order went thru.

I still need to hem my skirt and undersew the facing on my cheongsam top, take a picture, and I'll be entered in the Pattern Review plus sized sewing contest.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Pay Attention

So my latest cheongsam is done except for the bottom. I really like the doubled sleeve, no hemming! I decided to eliminate the zipper. I was able to get it on and off easily enough with the back seam open 4 inches from the neck. 2 snaps, BAM BAM, and the closure is done. Except that I put the facing snap in backwards and had to pry it out with a screwdriver. I was lucky that it didn't seem to damage the fabric. One instance of not paying attention remedied.

I'm sewing the vents in, zipping along. Wham bam, they are done. I rip out the basting, and am pretty pleased with the little triangles that I sewed at the top of the vents. But wait, this side doesn't have a vent. What? I know I sewed 2 vents. Well, I sewed one side vent and one center back vent. I'm going to keep the center back vent.

I substituted bias binding for the neck facing. Instead of understitching it, I topstitched. I think I'm going to rip that out and understitch. The topstitching doesn't look good.

Embossing Velvet

The scans just don't do the embossed velvet justice. I thought that was going to be the case, and it is. This dragon fly was on an irridescent velvet. The main color was a dark red. When the light caught the velvet, it glowed with a green color. The embossing melted(?) away the red and left the green, which was a perfect color for the dragonfly. I had picked this piece of velvet because it was the right size with no regard to the color. It was my first try. I'm hooked. I'm trying to get some more rayon/acetate velvet on ebay or elsewhere for cheap.

I played with the image in Photoshop, and you can see the details a little better now.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Nomad Coat

I made this coat a couple of years ago. It was one of my first reviews for PatternReview. The pattern envelope lists light weight melton as a recommended fabric. And I agree that it should be fine. I wouldn't go with a heavy melton. Because the jacket is dolman sleeved, you need a soft draping fabric, and I think a medium or heavy weight melton would be too stiff; there would be too much bulk under the arms for the jacket to be flattering. Nomad Coat Web Page

ASG Neighborhood Meeting

I went to my local ASG meeting last night. We embossed velvet. It was really cool. I have tomorrow off from work, so hopefully I'll get to post some pictures. I don't think the pictures will do the embossing justice. It's so neat IRL.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cheongsam/Plus sized sewing contest

I worked on my top for the Plus Sized Contest at PatternReview. It's all finished except for the neckband, zipper, and the bottom hem. I'm not thrilled with the bust darts on the DTD. It's so tempting to remove all the ease when looking at the DTD. I told myself to reserve judgement until I tried it on.