Friday, October 29, 2004

Trick or Treat II

Are they cute or what? It's always such a painful process, but the costumes come out great in the end. Boobla loves his monkey costume. He even puts the headpiece on by himself.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Trick or Treat

The downtown merchants association is having their trick or treat night, tonight, so I have to go home early from work (like that's a bad thing?) to finish Boobla's monkey costume. We didn't decide to go until this morning, and I didn't have time to sew on the hat before work.

I worked a little on KS 3222.

Goosey likes to go thru my fabric swatches. She used to like knits and stretch wovens because they have stretch, but this time when we got to the silk jersey, I told her that they were made from the cocoons of the silk worms that they had at daycare. She found this fascinating, so I pulled out my silk swatches and we looked at those. She was particularly fond of an irredescent fuschia dupioni. I debated letting her take the swatch book to daycare for show and tell and decided against suggesting it. Perhaps if she asks, I'll let her take it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

New T-shirt Pattern

I was thinking: ho hum, another crew neck t-shirt with bust darts. Sure, it fits, and it looks great, but YAWN. I'd like a more scooped neck t-shirt, so I decided to try the one for Burda WOF 4-2003 or was it 4-2002? Anyway, I got out the pattern sheet, and started wondering why would I want to go to all the trouble to trace and alter this pattern when I have a very well fitting t-shirt already. So I traced the necklines, front and back, and transfered those, via tracing, to KS 2565 with french darts.  I smoothed out the lines using a french curve, but that's only because I feel a need to justify the purchase of said french curve. I could have done it freehand. It was very easy.  

I also noticed that the shoulders on the Kwik Sew pattern size L are almost exactly the same width as a Burda size 44, but the Kwik Sew pattern is for very square shoulders (moi), and the Burda allows for some slope in the shoulders.

While I was at it, I decided to add more room for the gluteous maximus. I don't like to just add at the side. I need it center back, more than at the sides, so I added a center back seam and the below the waist flare from New Look 6977.

Monday, October 25, 2004

2Monkey Costume

I didn't do any work on the costume, but I figured you might want to see it. The head, and most of the costume, is constructed from quilting cottons. Since it could be in the 90s on Halloween, I don't want to make a costume out of fleece. I used a brown print that I thought looked furry and a solid tan for the accent colors. The hat is 100% cotton chamois from Joann's. Instead of gold rickrack around the bottom, I put a gold trim on the top of the hat and around the bottom. DD really likes it and wants one for herself.

A couple of cool links

Oriland a paper origami site. I loved origami when I was a kid. I had a couple of books, and my mother would buy me the paper. They have lots of neat stuff that is free, and I might even buy the CDs.

Kitty sewing a fabric bowl

Can't finish a project

Instead of finishing Kwik Sew 2565, I put it on Buttina, unhemmed, and there it stayed. The monkey hat is still not attached to the monkey head.

So what did I do?

I'd read about preserving fall leaves at Step into My Thimble. They look pretty cool, and I could do the leaf gathering with Goosey and Boobla. So, we took a walk to gather leaves. Goosey was really into it even tho she had no idea what we were going to do with the leaves. Boobla liked it for a while, enjoyed most of the walk, but he got tired. It was close to nap time. I think I timed it pretty well because I only had to carry him a short block.

While Boobla napped, I tested the waxing process. Goosey discovered that you can buy books at thrift shops. I had to restrain her, or she would have bought all the picture books. She came home with 4, so she was busy reading them to her imaginary class. She likes to play daycare.

It turned out that melting the wax and dipping the leaves was very, very easy and not messy at all. After the first batch, I called Goosey in to help. She got to pick out the leaves to dip and, after everything had cooled, transfer the leaves from the cookie sheet to a basket. I'm not sure what we'll do with them.

We carved one of the pumpkins. It came out pretty cool. I want to take a picture of it at night with candle, but I forgot to last night. Maybe tonight.

And I started on Kwik Sew 3222. Dart sewing is so much easier now that I've sewn 20 or so darts. I barely even need to think about it. Too bad the alteration process isn't that easy. Well, that is, it is easy, but it is tedious.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Joann's Sale

I asked the folks at the Pattern Review message board whether they thought I should take the kiddos grocery shopping or to Joann's last night. The unanimous answer was to go to Joann's. So we did. They were pretty well behaved. I had an anxious moment when I thought they might knock over a wobbly elderly lady, but other than that, I thought they did good. Goosey loves to look at the pattern books, so she read to Boobla while I looked at patterns. I bribed them with pes so that I could look at fabric, but I decided not to buy any. I did get some thread.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Not In Stock

I know there are people out there who buy a pattern, the fabric, and all the notions at one time so they won't have to run out to the store to get something to finish a project. I'm not one of them. My rayon t-shirt would probably be finished by now if I were. I would have bought periwinkle thread when I bought the periwinkle fabric. Alas, I did not.

So off to Joann's I go. Like I needed an excuse. I have my latest credit card rebate ($20), coupons out the wazzo, and I'm hoping they have something for me to spend it on, like the Fall-release New Look patterns which they still didn't have last week. I also need some off-white sewing thread.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Darts & Overly Erect

The extension on the dart is too short to be sewn into the sideseam on my t-shirt if pressed down. This is a big issue for me. The dart extensions make the fabric requirements much greater than if they aren't there. I've played with the idea of pressing the dart up, takes less fabric. I haven't done that, but I have serged off the excess fabric. I'm going to do that on this t-shirt. I wonder what I was planning when I cut this one out.

I stand very straight. Sandra Betzina calls this "figure flaw" overly erect. Who knew that good posture was a figure flaw? In the past, I haven't done anything about it, but I'm noticing that the front of my tops is affected by the extra length in my upper back. So on my next top, I'm going to try taking out a bit there. It's kinda a pain because I won't be shortening the front, and this means that I'll have to take a wedge out of the sleeve.

I think one of the reasons that I like Kwik Sew 2565 so much is that the sleeve is symmetric, so there is less length in the upper back.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Kwik Sew 2565

I worked a little on the latest version of this top, serged the sleeves on. The neckband is pinned to the neck and ready to be serged. The fabric is a rayon-lycra double knit that I found at Joann's in the value fabric section. I think it was $1.98 a yard, and it's very nice fabric, so soft, great recovery. It sold out almost immediately. It makes me wonder how closely Joann's tracks their sales. They had this 100% cotton aubergine doubleknit one fall, and it lasted in the clearance section for over a year. The weirdest part was that they had new bolts of it in the knits for the regular price and bolts of it in the $1/yard section. Get a clue!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

DD Tank

I finished this top for Goosey this weekend. It's cold ... well, for here. It's raining. It was 90F/33C here last week. She probably won't wear it until next spring. Oh, well.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Babylock Embellisher

I want one. It doesn't look like much, but I could really get into making cool fabric with it.

French Dart stuff

I used the instructions on modifying darts from Fit for Real People. If you use darts in your clothing (and I think you should unless you are male or a female with a cupsize AA or smaller; not on everything, mind, but a bust dart adds a lot of flattering shape to a garment), this is the best reference out there. However, they are not hot on french darts, which are french because they take their shape from the french curve, not because they are from France. In fact, the comments they make are discouraging.

I copied the french dart from a burda magazine pattern. The top I sewed from that pattern looks ... well, not terrible, but not as good as it could. I think the altered Kwik Sew t-shirt looks much better for a variety of reasons related to and not related to the french dart. Of course, this was only a starting point for the dart because I had to make it bigger and longer. I'd recommend browsing Burda patterns for a french dart sample. If I run across one still in print, I'll post here about it.

DH's Sweatshirt

I offered to put the cuffs on the sweatshirt, but he declined them. He doesn't like the fit of the sweatshirt, so he'd rather I put my efforts in the next version. As it is, he can use this sweatshirt for doing chores and stuff and not worry about having to push up his sleeves. So it's working for him. I'm okay with his doing chores in it. I don't think it looks good on him. It's too big. The fabric was garage sale fabric, and a sweatshirt takes very little sewing time, which means my investment wasn't great.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

French Dart T-shirt

I finished this one, too. I used my well fitting (after alteration) Kwik Sew 2565. I have to add 6 inches to accomodate my breasts, but I'd like to take some of that out under them because I have a relatively flat stomach. Part of my quandry is that I've got full, high hips and a big, protruding butt. So, not surprisingly, I'm a larger size on the bottom. I could just add at the side seams, and I do. That works for the high, full hip. I'm thinking of adding a back seam to accomodate the big butt.

However, I'm pleased with both versions of my t-shirt, so I may not make any changes at all. I appreciate perfect fit, but the reality of the matter is that I have very limited sewing time (don't we all?).

Saturday, October 16, 2004


Check it out. You can even see my face. I think this is my favorite shirt pattern. I got this fabric at Joann's last spring. They still have some in different colors and patterns. It's a linen-rayon blend with the linen? burned out to reveal a sheer rayon. It's a rather crisp fabric. I tried to make a tunic out of this for my brother's wedding, but I managed to overlook the complete lack of drape in the fabric. It works well for this top. I'm going to have to wear a camisole under it, but I figured you-all didn't care if you could see my bra.

The pictures of the the 2 pass buttonhole didn't come out. I had focus problems.

I started another blog for my eating disorder stuff because it's kinda heavy, and I figured you are reading this because you are interested in my sewing efforts not my whining and feeling sorry for my self. But you might have noticed a burst of energy reflected in what I've accomplished this weekend. I'm feeling much better after mostly eliminating refined wheat and sugar from my diet.

Day Off

Friday was my day off. I get one every other week. DH went fishing, and the kiddos went to daycare. Unfortunately, I still need time to do chores, but I did get some sewing in, between loads of laundry, a @#$%ing computer that isn't working again!, and a bread machine disaster.

I finished Burda 8665. My computer is down, so I can't show you the pictures I took. The 2-pass buttonholes came out well, and I used my new button sew on presser foot, and I highly recommend this. It was so quick, and it automatically added the shank. On my Bernina 180, the button sew on stitch sorta ties a knot, so I don't even have to worry about that.

I serged the side & back seams on KS 2565 and New Look 6959. Both are ready for coverstitching.

My bread didn't rise in the breadmachine, so it didn't cook. I ended up with 2 hard rocks with raw dough in the middle. How could I mess up a turn-key system? I pushed the button. I'm going to try again today.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Snoop Shoping

I really like a lot of the clothes at Lee Anderson. The outfit to the right appeals to me, but I don't think I could pull off all the frills in one wearing, and white doesn't thrill me. But the lines of the garments look really good for my figure. The scoop neck on the t-shirt would flatter my rather large bosom, but I think I would leave off the wide collar on the jacket. A v-neck would be better for me, and the fussy flounce on the skirt has to go.

The outfit on the left is interesting, too. I like the overlays, and I like the accent fabric at the waist on the jacket. Again, the big collar would have to go.
The line drawings don't indicate any shaping in the t-shirts, so it must be an aspect of the fabric. I need a dart, and it helps if the top comes in under the breasts. I like the deep v-neck and the scoop neck. The lettuce hems are pretty, but the long sleeve version is too fussy for me. And I don't care for the accent fabric around the hips in the short sleeve t-shirt.

The skirt farthest to the left is straight, but because of the crinkle fabric, it looks pegged with a flounce, sorta an understated trumpet style. That's a very good look for pretty much everyone. It will give womanly curves to most shapes. The off center slit on the cream colored skirt is attractive, but I don't care for the butterfly or patch. I love the buttons on the faux wrap. That gives me ideas. Finally, I wonder if the little ruffle on the skirt farthest to the right would be too much on me. I have long legs, so I'm not worried that it will make me look chopped up.

And a jacket; I think what I like most is the combination of fabrics. I doubt the shape would flatter me. I need jackets to come in under the breasts or I look stones heavier. Who needs that? I like the way the collar doesn't extend all the way to the bottom of the jacket, but I wonder if that would just emphasize my tubby tummy?


I like to do a 2-pass buttonhole. I read about the method in BETTER MACHINE-MADE BUTTONHOLES in Threads 98. It's really made a difference in my buttonholes. Unfortunately, the article is not on-line. I did the first pass of 3 of the 6 buttonholes on Burda 8665. Thanks, Asa for the info on the horizontal buttonholes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Eating Disorder

I'm attempting a whole foods diet. It's not easy because wholegrains aren't readily available in town, and I'm depressed, so I don't have the energy/will to drive to the next town. And the traffic in Pleasanton is TERRIBLE.

I found out that I have dissociative episodes. I had no idea that's what was going on. I thought that I had a bad memory and that I wasn't concentrating enough. I'm not sure that I can convey how empowering it is to find out that it isn't that at all and that there's something that I can do to prevent them? It made me feel GOOD to learn that. This is the real kicker to get me to eat right.

And just what is a dissociative episode?

Sometimes I'll be in a meeting, and suddenly, it's like I'm somewhere else with another conversation going on (in my head). I tell myself, "PAY ATTENTION!" which usually brings me back to the meeting. Sometimes I stay in the meeting and sometimes I can't. And it truly is like I'm somewhere else.

It came up in therapy because I couldn't remember what happened on Saturday and Sunday. Not quite a blackout because I knew I was at home, and I was pretty sure what happened. But I couldn't tell the therapist. She said that was also a dissociative episode. After that, she gave me the meeting example. That happens to me all the time.

It's like the imagination is dominating reality. I've been having these since I was a young teenage. Only, I thought it was just an overactive imagination, lack of concentration, and bad memory. I had no idea I was whacked-out. And I wish I had because I could have prevented some serious angst in my life if I'd known and had it treated.

Oh, and I think I finally found my higher power (overeater's anonymous speak), so that's a really big thing, too.


I made a test buttonhole for Burda 8665. It's nice to see that I've made progress as a sewist. The first attempt came out just fine. The buttonholes are marked and ready to go.

I had put away the pattern, so I didn't have it out to see what they recommended as a distance from the edge for the buttonhole. Sandra Betzina in Power Sewing recommends 0.75 inches for vests. The other sections refer you to the vest section. I decided to check what my RTW shirts had, and they were closer to 0.5 inches. My button is only 0.5 inches, and I thought 0.75 would be too far from the edge for the little buttons.

The other thing that I noticed on the RTW is that the buttonholes are all vertical. Buttonholes in patterns are almost always horizontal. Why is that? IIf I get an answer, I will post, but if anyone has any insight, let me know.

Rant on Sexism

Some things really piss me off. The media response to the whole Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson/Superbowl/exposed boob thing is one of them. They NEVER talk about how the act was choreographed to look like Justin Timberlake was sexually assaulting Janet Jackson. In fact, they almost never even mention Justin Timberlake. It's all about Janet Jackson. And while I don't think she was a victim in this case, she certainly wasn't alone in culpability.

The core issue that disturbs me is that the act appeared to be a sexual assault and the media focus is on Ms. Jackson alone. What Justin Timberlake did was wrong. He set the example that it is okay to sexually assault a woman on national tv. It didn't look choreographed. That should be where the focus is. What is the message that we are sending to our children and community when we focus on Jackson? I'll tell you what I think it is.

Men don't have to be responsible for their actions.

Women are the ones who are responsible for men's violent sexual behavior.

Pisses me off.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

New Top

I traced it last night. It does have a dart. I'm going to use Debbie Cook's tip on adding seam allowances, but for now, I bagged it and put in line with the rest of the on-going projects. I want to finish Burda 8665 since all that is left to do is the buttonholes. And I'd like to work on the other items that are in that stack.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Weekend Stuff

That @#$%ing monkey costume is almost done. I pity the truly beginning sewist that picks up this pattern. Simplicity seems to think that using velcro for a closure makes a pattern easy. NOT! The jumpsuit that makes up the body was easy enough, but the headpiece had several darts. I had to ease the headpiece together, too. The hat was a pain to sew. It was too big to fit under the free arm on my sewing machine, and it was too small to squash. I ended up sewing it by hand. The vest is a single layer of fabric. It's supposed to be felt, so that may be the source of my problems. There was no mention of stay-stitching, so I got ripples. The soft cotton chamois (from Joann's) stretched everywhere that I hemmed it which would be all the way around and in the armholes.

The only thing left to be done is to figure out how to attach the hat. The hat is like a little cup. There are no instructions in the pattern on how to keep the hat on top of a toddler's head. How did they think it was going to stay on a small child's head?

Since the monkey costume is almost done, I decided to trace another pattern. I'm trying to use up the left over fabric from my cheongsam top and matching skirt.

I bought Neue Mode 23135 for the jacket. It's a shaped blazer type jacket out of a knit! When I saw that, I had to have it. So what am I making out of it? Not the jacket; I like the shell. A v-neck is flattering on me, and I might try the tear drop, too. I read thru the instructions last night, and Neue Mode gives sensible instructions. There are no facings. There are only 2 pattern pieces, and they tell you how long and wide to cut the bias strips for finishing the neckhole and armholes. I hate it when Big4 patterns give you pattern pieces for this sort of thing. Maybe tonight I'll trace it. Hey, I swam today!

Thursday, October 07, 2004


I'm doing pretty good this week. I went swimming yesterday for 35 minutes and went to the pilates class today.

China Tea

I haven't had time to sew, so I thought I'd show off a rose from my garden. When we bought the house, we thought it would be a really good idea to have a rose garden. 40 roses and 2 kids later, I don't have time to take care of the roses the way they deserve.

This particular rose is a China Tea. It smells heavenly and isn't particularly bothered by pests or diseases. The buds ball when they get wet.

Fall isn't the best time for roses, but this one continues to bloom well into December. Sure it's sporadic, but a single beautiful rose stands out more when there isn't much competition.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Originally uploaded by neefer.
On the way home from Half Moon Bay, we stopped at a pumpkin patch on Hwy 92 (just after turning off of 1). They had the best variety of pumpkin types that I have ever seen. There wasn't much else at the patch besides the pumpkins, just a very simple hay bale maze. Usually, we go to a patch that has pony rides and stuff for the kids, but this spot was so much fun for me that I think we're going to skip the pony rides in the future.

In addition to the variety, the farmer had spread out pumpkins in a field so that it felt like you were actually tromping thru a pumpkin patch with live vines and picking the pumpkin off the vine.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all of them. I certainly can't carve all of them for Halloween, but maybe I'll save them and carve a couple for Thanksgiving and Xmas (if they last that long).

No Sewing

I looked at the hat pieces for the monkey costume. Does that count as sewing? I was going to bond the timtex to the hat pieces, but I realized I should edge finish the chamois before bonding. It's not very ravelly fabric, but I like to secure the edges with the serger. I know the costume isn't going to see a lot of hard wear like a t-shirt would, but still, I like to edge finish. I can't run the serger when Goosey is trying to go to sleep. Maybe I'll have a chance to do some work on it tonight before the ASG meeting.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

What to sew next?

Decisions, decisions.

Ignoring for the moment the items that I have listed to the right as in-process ... hm, or maybe I shouldn't ignore that list. It seems that I have several unfinished tops, a pair of chafe guards (aka bike short style underwear) that I probably won't need until next summer, and the @#$%ing monkey costume, but no bottoms or jackets. I need more pants. I don't like the fit of my RTW jeans. I made a pair of palazzo pants, which I like, but I decided were too dressy for work. I have a burda plus magazine pair of pull on pants pattern that fits and is ready to go.

I have enough skirts for the moment. I made a bunch of that KS pattern that I like, um Kwik Sew 2743, so I'm set for skirts for work. I'd say I needed shorts, but summer is over, so I don't need them for a while.

It's chilly in the mornings, and my office is freezing, so I need jackets. There are a bunch of jacket patterns that I want to do. I'd like to make jean's style jackets in different fabrics. I wonder tho if this style is too boxy or if I can alter it to fit me better. They may not use them as such, but it has darts. I was thinking of using the front panel to hide the FBA dart that I'll be adding, so why not use it to bring the jacket in a bit on the waist? I'll have to see what it looks like on Buttina.

So jackets and pants. Let's see how long this sewing plan lasts.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Monkey Costume ... Still

I finished the head piece. The ear instructions are stupid. They get sewn in at a dart, so why aren't they sewn in when sewing the dart? The instructions tell you to sew them on after the head is finished. I wish I had greater forethought when going thru the instructions on a pattern, but I don't. I'm starting on the hat. I'm going to timtex as the interfacing. I think I'm going to fuse (Bonding Agenet 007) it to the hat fabric (cotton chamois from Joann's), and I might add a cross-hatch pattern to keep it secured. I decided to baste the stitching lines in on the hat pieces so that I could get the interfacing the exact right size. I don't want to try to trim it out of the seams after the hat is sewn.

I think I've successfully decaffinated. I wish I had the same attitude approach to food that I do to drugs, like caffiene and alcohol. I really like both of them, but I really don't like what happens when I over-indulge. So I don't over-indulge. I am absolutely not able to do this with food. My therapist said that that's why I'm not an alcoholic, and that's one of the reasons we know that I have an eating disorder. Well, yes, but why? Why is the one so impossible and the other so easy? It's so frustrating. Hopefully, the time will fly by until I can see the psychiatrist and get my meds for the depression. Therapist says the depression contributes to the eating disorder, and that is probably why I'm so out of control right now.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Energy to Sew

Last night, I finally had some energy to sew. I decided to trace Kwik Sew 2976, and I realized that I had two copies of pattern sheet 1 of 2. So very sad.