Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Amber Alert

I've decided to post this when I don't have anything to write about sewing or anything to rant about.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Altering Patterns

Instead of working on the various projects that I have cut out and ready to go, I decided to alter patterns. The jean jacket was a learning experience. The front of the jacket has a yoke above the breasts and 3 panels running vertically from the yoke to the waist. I think the middle panel should be centered over the apex of the breast, so that defined my alteration, but I couldn't figure this out without first pinning the pieces together and doing a regular full bust alteration (FBA) on the 4 pieces pinned together. So instead of princess seams, I attacked the alteration like it was for a top with 2 vertical waist darts. I pinned the pieces together and traced them (again!) as one big pattern piece. I worked thru the alteration without giving it any thought, just like always. :) When I pinned it back on Buttina, the center panel was indeed centered on the apex, and I was able to see that what I needed was a princess seam side adjustment that could be done entirely in the side-front piece. It wasn't like it was obvious at that point. I had to study FFRP several times before I had it figured out. When I pinned the final version onto Buttina, it looked pretty good. We shall see.

I also worked on Neue Mode 23135 and Neue Mode 23061. Both were a very simple affair after the jean jacket.

I won't be able to work on them for a while. I participate in a gift exchange every year on my moms' e-mail list, and I signed up to make a bag for one of the moms.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

My eyes are smarting from the onions, so I'm taking a break from cooking. Things have gone better since the nuts. Of course, it doesn't take a genius to boil potatoes or microwave yams. The turkey is in the oven, and the bread is baking.

I hope all you Yanks are having a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Snuck in a little sewing

I went home early yesterday to make some glazed peacans for Thanksgiving. The recipe said it only took 15 minutes to make them. NOT! Maybe if the cook were someone who had a clue about cooking. I think I used a pan that was too big. The sugar never melted; either nothing happened or it burned. I finally dumped the peacans in the gloopy mess and stirred it up. They look like crap, but they are very, very tasty. So as far as I'm concerned, it's a winner. Taste is what it's all about.

Because the nuts took so long, I only had about 10 minutes to sew before making dinner. Actually, I sewed while I boiled water. The inner legs are attached to Kwik Sew 2529 and topstitched/coverstitched. After everyone went to bed, I rethreaded the serger to overlock and pinned one side to the crotchpiece. I can't run the serger at night; it wakes up DH. I also pinned in one of the french darts on Kwik Sew 2565. Maybe I will finish my t-shirt by the end of November.

Activity: 1/2 day of Work, 1/2 day of Thanksgiving prep
Style; Natural Type: Casual Basics
Clothing: Camel colored flat front trousers/jeans?, purple mock neck long sleeved t-shirt, nomad coat.
Notes: I made the nomad coat, but the pants and top are RTW. Both remind me why I sew. The pants are too short in the leg, and the waist is around my ribs. The top is longer than I prefer; I could alter that, but it's also too long between the shoulder and bust. I get clumps of fabric at my neckline, so I'm always pulling it down. The turtleneck is not the best look for me. I'm full busted, and it's more flattering if I break up the expanse of bust, upper chest, and neck. I suppose I could alter the neckline. I bought both of these items before I got into sewing, and since I'm not made of money and I still wear them, I'm going to keep them in my closet until I've got enough viable replacements.

I'm really disappointed in the style class. Heather is not providing adequate leadership, IMO. She reponds to posts, but she doesn't lead any discussions. Sure, we can read the assignments, but without a teacher present (ie Heather leading the discussions), we aren't getting anything out of the class other than the assignments. Plus, there hasn't been anything new, for me, in the assignments.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Style Experiment 1: Day 2

Activity: Work
Style: Natural/Arty Type: Professional Basics Clothes: Blue twill pull-on pants, white mock turtleneck shortsleeve sweater, black motorcycle boots, upsidedown jean jacket.
Notes: Clothes needed to be easy to change into/out of for yoga class. Still have my period, too.

I worked a little on Kwik Sew 2529, serged the inner leg to the crotch piece and topstitched/coverstitched on seam. At this rate, it will be next summer before I'm finished with this garment.

I think I should have picked a fabric that I'm more excited about for the plus sized t-shirt sewalong. I'm just not motivated to work on it.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Style Experiment 1

So we're supposed to track what we wear for a week.

Activity: Work Style: Natural Type: Casual
Clothing: Boot cut jeans, pink rayon t-shirt, blue boucle jacket, black motorcycle boots.
Notes: I got my period this morning, so at the last minute, I changed what I was going to wear.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Style Class

I'm taking an on-line style class, and I haven't really been keeping up. It's a terrifically busy time of year, and adding my trying to take care of my depression and eating disorder plus my mother going in the hospital, I just don't have that much time to think about it.

What is it about women that whenever we get together to talk about style and clothing that the discussion inevitably drifts over into the judgemental condemnation of how certain other women dress? What is that? It drives me nuts. What's worse is that the ones who are doing it also comment on their good taste. What the hell? I suppose it's possible to have good taste in one area and still act in a distasteful manner in another, but over the e-mail the only evidence of taste is the typed word.

Here's my post:

    Early in the 20th century, women's skirt lengths shortened so much that their ankles were visible. This was considered indecent by many at the time. Did "they" grow out of it? No, and the rest of us grew into this style and worse: we even show off our knees. [sarcasm]Scandalous![/sarcasm]

    I find the judgemental discussion of what others are wearing to be very distasteful and culturally myopic.

Heather spanked me for denigrating other's opinions. So I had to ask if it's okay to diss how other women dress when they aren't present. I guess I'm in the minority, and I'm the only one who sees the hypocrisy. I know I can come off as being harsh. I'd say blunt, but I know that's not how the other person hears it or reads it. One aspect of my style is concise, to the point.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Found a Hancocks by the Antioch Kaiser

Right next door to the pill dispensor's office there was a Hancock's Fabric. I arrived early because I didn't know how long it would take me to drive from Livermore to Antioch, and I'm sure it varies with traffic. The store was well lit, clean, and well organized. They had a large home dec section that I didn't look at, and lots of cottons for quilting. The Asian style brocades were 100% rayon instead of 100% polyester like at Joann's. Too bad they didn't have any in colors for me. I didn't care for how they piled some of the bolts up on tables. How is anyone supposed to get at a fabric on the bottom of the pile? They had some polyester knits in the clearance section that I did like and buy. Two were onionskin types and one was a buttermilk type in interesting prints like EOS sells. I need to get cracking on t-shirts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

New Boots & Stress

My new boots came from Zappos. They have a couple of Harley Davidson boots on clearance now: motorcycle boots and a fashion bood. Chungita is wearing the motorcycle boot, and Pulgito is wearing the fashion boots. I'm wearing the black motorcycle ones today, and they are very comfortable. Plus, they give me a certain I-can-kick-your-ass feeling.

My stress level is thru the roof. My mother is in the hospital with pneumonia. My father, who is 85, isn't handling it well; when she told him that she needed to go to the hospital, he went into the bathroom and threw up. Things haven't improved. My nephew is arriving tomorrow night. My husband is on travel, so I am home alone with the kiddos. I have to drive up to Antioch today to see the pill dispensor and get my "happy pills". I'm concerned that I won't get home in time to pick up the kiddos from daycare, so our neighbor is doing that.

I petted the jacket for Pulgito, but that is the closest I came to sewing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

My Webpages

I received an e-mail, recently, asking if my blog was my webpage. I think it came from a comment here, but I can't find here, and, of course, I deleted the e-mail.

I decided, after having to move my webpages and contact a zillion people about udating links and such, that I needed my own domain. So, http://www.oaktrees.org/ is me. My sewing stuff is at http://www.oaktrees.org/wearableArt/.

I'm under a serious crunch these days, so pictures will lag project reporting by quite a bit. Here are some Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns. I think I do a pretty good job of freehand carving.

Cool Artwork

I recently discovered Tania's Blog. I just love her artwork.

I see it printed on fabric or as an embroidery design. Hm. I wonder what it would be like if I digitized it?

Okay, so that one is terribly cute, but still, I like the colors.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Sweatshirt Done!

DH tried on his sweatshirt and liked it very much. The medium fits much better. He liked the unhemmed lengths, so I used woolly nylon on the edges to finish them instead of folding back a hem and coverstitching. I should point out that this fleece is a double layer fleece, so it's rather thick/bulky. I think the pattern is drafted for a heavier weight fabric which is one reason that this version fits better. But the large would have been too large in any weight fabric. Oh, and I used the same fleece for the neckband. It had sufficient stretch.

Pulgito's jogging jacket is almost done. Assembled the stripes on the sleeves look much better than they do when the jacket was in pieces. I've very pleased. I need to get a zipper to finish it. Another trip to Joann's; maybe they won't have any new fabric.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Friday Stuff

I have got to stay out of Joann's. I didn't have any orange thread for my t-shirt, and Simplicity patterns were on sale 5 for $5. Well, I have all the latest Simplicity patterns that I want, and I did get the orange thread. They had a really cool polyester brocade in purple paisley that I just couldn't resist, a neat knit in purples, pinks, and navy for $1.50/yd, and a white embroidered stretch twill.

I bought some navy Rit dye for the twill and a white gauze that I already had. After the other 5 loads of laundry that fill my Fridays with joy and anticipation (NOT), I dyed the white fabrics. They came out more of a dark cadet blue than navy. That's okay; it still works with my SWAP color scheme. I suppose I got what I deserved for using Rit.

I serged up DH's latest sweatshirt. Everything is done except for the coverstitch. I decided to try it on him before hemming, and he wants me to keep the sleeves and hem at the length they are now. I'm going to finish the edges with some wooly nylon. The fit of the medium is much better than that of the large, so those of you who are using Kwik Sew for men, take note. The sweatshirt was very oversized. DH's chest is 41.5 inches, and the large is for a 42 inch chest.

I worked a little on Pulgito's jogging suit jacket. The piping in front came out very well. I decided to piece the sleeve instead of appliquing the stripes. That was a mistake. We're just going to live with it. I'm not buying more fleece since this was made with scraps from DH's sweatshirt.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jogging Suit

I traced the jogging suit and added 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) seam allowances. When I went back to look at it last night, I noticed that it called for 1/2 meter of fabric, not 1/2 yard. I'm pretty sure that I took that into consideration when I was picking patterns. I decided to look closer at the pattern pieces. I'm pretty sure they will fit on my scrap. The middle section of the scrap is more like 1.25 yards (1 m) long, so I should be fine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Rant on the Lack of Understanding of Math and Statistics

Well, not that there isn't some sort of basis for concern, not that Wen Ho Lee is innocent of breaking security rules, and not that all members of congress and the senate are total idiots, but the whole flap about polygraph testing everyone who works with classified information has convinced me that as far as understanding statistics and other technical information, the people in congress/senate are complete and total morons who can't tell a 1 from a 2, and those people pursue things like this not because of any desire to improve security but because it buys them political prestige AND because they can simplistically point a finger at a scapegoat without perturbing any brain cells.

I know that there are problems with maintaining security over national security issues, but I am so cynical of congress/senate motivations and capability of truly understanding the issues that ... that ... that ...

Well, I don't know what. I am fustrated that so many people don't understand math and numbers and science and engineering and statistics. I don't understand why it's allowed. I had to take a foreign language, I had to read classic literature, and I had to write papers in upper division social science college classes, so why isn't the opposite true? Why was my sister able to fulfill her science requirements by taking one (1) lower division class called Physics without Math using a book called "Physics for Poets".

RANT,RANT,RANT Can you tell this just pisses me off?

And you know what makes me even madder is that as a society (USA) we actually encourage our girls and racial minorities to fail at math. We deliberately socialize them that way. It's the same as if we cut off one of their arms or poked out an eye. We certainly disable them economically because when you don't have math skills you don't have access to certain jobs. This weakens our entire society because we have a segment who cannot completely engage, and so the rest of us end up supporting them. (Of course, I'm a liberal, so I'm not opposed to welfare, AFDC, food stamps, but I don't think that's the answer.)

And by math skills, it's not like they need to solve a differenial equation. Too many people don't even understand the concept of percent. When polled about 10 years ago, the overwhelming majority of USA adults said that algebra was the most useless class they took in high shool. How many of them understand percent? How many of our congressial representatives and senators would say that? Keep in mind that these people are interpreting (NOT!) the results of studies that are presented statistically and then legislating the rest of us based on their interpretation (NOT!).

I have some sympathy for the students when they are learning. I have taught high school algebra, and because it was so easy for me, I had no understanding of some of the problems that people have for whom it isn't easy. But you know what, writing wasn't easy for me when I was younger, and look at me now. It wasn't acceptable that I not be able to write.

I find it so frightening that people who don't understand the technical issues and who are more concerned with looking good in the papers are making legislative decisions. I find it frightening that our economy is moving more and more towards a technically based service economy when we are disabling more than half of our children in math and science because of the way we socialize them. The consequences for the future of our children is huge.

A real picture

That picture in the upper left corner is a real picture of me. It was taken with an infrared camera instead of an optical camera. Quite frankly, with my hair the length it currently is, I think the image to the left is a good likeness, especially considering a 4 year old drew it.

DH's Sweatshirt, 2nd Try

You can see the last attempt in the image to the right. That was an L. This time, I cut an M, but I'm concerned that this will be too big in the neck, too. An M is only slightly smaller in the neck than an L. I cut out the M with the length of the L, and I altered the arms to be the correct length this time (I hope). I'm using some polyester fleece from Joann's. It's bulkier than I thought when I bought it. I don't really remember what I thought when I bought it, other than it was cheap and an acceptable color, navy, for him. He's not that finicky, but I don't think he wanted the pink floral that I have in my stash.

Once again, I'm left with 1/2 yard. I found a pattern in the Ottobre magazine for a jogging jacket like was fashionable in 1978ish. Are those babies cute or what? Tony is in the largest size, and the view without a hood only needs a 1/2 yard.

I do like Deb C's suggestion of the underware for the 1/2 yard of cotton knit, but alas, I'm still working on the fitting toile for Kwik Sew 2529 now discontinued. It would probably work well for that. Once it's TNT, that is.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

This would make cool fabric.

Tania showed off some of her artwork, and I think it would make the coolest fabric.

Sandra Betzina

Sandra Betzina is such fun. Her talks are always informative and entertaining. It's totally worth driving a bit for, and it's worth the money. She lets you try on her clothes, even when you 60 pounds more than she does. She's got some new patterns coming out. And Vogue is retiring the straight skirt, so stock up at the next sale.

It was great to see Jennifer and Tamtay. Of course, I bought some fabric, a light weight knit of unknown content in blue and brown with illegible writing on it, a cotton border print Asian-style, and a cotton print with big chrysanthemums on it.

Elna 744

I have an Elna 744 serger. Here's my review. I'm really happy with it.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Coverstitch & Stonemountain

I like to wait until I have 2 or 3 items requiring coverstitch before I switch over on my Elnal 744. When I do, it's WHAM,BAM,THANK YOU, MA'AM or serger, as the case may be, and all of a sudden, I have 2 or 3 new articles of clothing. I finished Kwik Sew 3222, and I'm wearing it today. I'll review it soon, but I decided I need to wear the item before reviewing it. What seems so wonderful when I first put on a new garment often pales after wearing it for several hours. I finished Kwik Sew 2565 out of the rayon-lycra knit. It's pretty heavy. The fabric is so soft that, even tho it has a horizontal stripe, I couldn't resist it.

I even worked on Kwik Sew 2529 which has been languishing in the to-do pile since May.

I started cutting out another sweatshirt for DH. Goosey threw-up in her bed around 9 pm last night. It's quite an adrenalin rush, so I couldn't go to sleep after that. I can't run the machinery if I expect Boobla and Goosey to sleep.

I couldn't work on the t-shirt for the Pattern Review plus sized November sew along (PRPSNSA?) because I did a test serge, and the off-white thread is just too visible. I don't really have anything matching, so it's off to Joann's I go.

Tonight is Fashion Fabric Extravaganza with Sandra Betzina! at Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley. I can't wait. I get to see Jennifer, again, and meet Tamtay. Fun! Fun!

I'm takig that style class with Heather Klauss. I'd put in a link and check my spelling, but her site isn't working for me right now. I'm eagerly awaiting my catalogs which don't seem to be coming. Where are my catalogs?

Friday, November 05, 2004

What to do with 1/2 yard of cotton jersey?

I made myself a promise that I wouldn't put any small pieces of fabric back in the stash after I cut out the primary garment. After I cut out my t-shirt, I had approximately 1/2 yd of 60" fabric left over. It's really not enough to make anything for my kids except for a skirt or tanktop for Goosey. Goosey doesn't wear a lot of tank tops or short skirts in the winter, so I'm not wild about making one for her right now. I have a doll clothes pattern for knits, and it's okay. The shirts have snaps on the shoulders, and I'd really rather make the shirts with the overlapping shoulders like on real baby clothes. I think that would be even easier to Goosey to get on and off the babies than the snaps. And that brings me to the baby top that I could make instead. In one of my Ottobre magazines, they have a pattern for baby shirts with the overlapping shoulders. There are no babies around or on-the-way, right now, but it might be nice to have a stock of them for the next one. And I'd learn how to do the overlapping shoulders. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


I decided what fabric to use for my latest t-shirt. Since this is a test, I decided not to use anything that evoked an emotional response other than "what was I thinking". I picked a 100% cotton jersey orange and grass green paisley print. While I had it out, I cut out the top. I've still got enough fabric to make something for Goosey. I made a rule for myself a while ago: if I cut a fabric, I can't put it back in the stash unless it's long (like over 3 yards); I must use it up. So I've got to decide on that and cut something out for Goosey before I start sewing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Books, Books, Books

I'm a book junkie. Last night I was going thru Fabric Saavy and More Fabric Saavy, trying to decide if it was worth it to keep both. The pictures of garments are different between the 2, and there are enough different fabrics (5?) in the first version to convince me to keep both. It didn't take much.

Blogging Sewers are Democrats?

It was interesting to note that none of the sewing blogs that I link to endorsed Bush. Most didn't comment on the vote at all, and some, like mine, simply told people to vote. But the ones who endorsed a candidate, endorsed Kerry. I'm sure the sample is not statistically significant. But it was interesting to note.

I had to rip out the bias tape from one of the armholes on KS 3222. I sewed it to the wrong side instead of the right side. This time I sewed it to the right side. It's pinned and ready to be stitched down. The the only thing left to do is hem the top.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


It does make a difference! Vote!

Kwik Sew 3222

It's almost finished. I think my back neck got stretched out. The instructions didn't call for staystitching. Is that the usual case for a mandarin collar? I had some trouble getting the collar to look neat at the front. Tucking the shirt into the collar was difficult with my easily frayed fabric. Next time I do this top, I'm going to try the instructions from one of my books.