Tag Archives: whining

Madly off in all directions

Despite actually having a wee bit of time that could’ve been spent sewing this weekend, I instead dithered to the point of getting almost nothing done.

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I have started a Hallowe’en outfit—not really a costume, but a fun outfit. Above will become a neon green crinoline.

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And then the blouse will be this spiderweb lace.

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This is the pile of various knits that I want to become leggings and underwear and other handy basics for the fast-impending winter.

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My Victorian obsession continues apace. My post-birthday splurge on some Truly Victorian patterns arrived. But I really can’t even start fantasizing about the outer layers before my underpinnings are under way. The pantaloons are finished (photos pending) so the next logical step should be the chemise, but of course the corset is far more fun to fantasize about even though I haven’t pulled the trigger on ordering the necessary hardware.

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I’m actually contemplating two corsets, one sedate and underwearly, and one more glamorous, using this gorgeous scrap of red and gold brocade that’s too narrow for much of anything else.

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I’m leaning towards this pattern for the chemise, as it appears most similar to the chemise instructions in my Victorian sewing texts—although the same texts refer to patterns that are available that have more shaping.

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This cotton batiste is ready to go whenever I stop dithering. Also a selection of lace.

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But of course what I really should be working on is this pair of jeans for my niece, whose birthday is tomorrow.

/sigh.

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Not dead.

Life.

Life.

Although that might be easier. Er, not. Quite.

Refugee serger camped out on the computerdesk. #sewdontclean

Refugee serger camped out on the computerdesk. #sewdontclean

To start with the good news, the serger survived her little bath. I left it a week, silica gel-packs stuffed inside (although it occurred to me later that the key part is probably the motor, which is actually mounted on the back, not inside where the gel packs were. I tried to get the cover off the motor but the bolts holding it on were not cooperative and I didn’t want to strip them. So I waited.) Anyway, when I finally dared to start it up a day or two ago, after cleaning and oiling (although I really don’t think the water touched anything that actually moved…), she was fine. Aside from her recurring tension problems, anyway. (I continue playing with the bit of extra thread wrapped around the  needle-thread tension disc.) The White (which is my main sewing machine right now despite being a little temperamental) has some rust on the foot pedal I don’t think was there before, but everything is working.

Wedding Dress Trial #1

Wedding Dress Trial #1

Which is good because I have a month to finish Epona’s wedding dress and five bridesmaid dresses. Holy fucking cow. And work is likely to be at least somewhat insane during that time, too. On the up side, the wedding dress itself is pretty simple (the practice version took two days to sew up, obviously I’d like a bit more time with the real thing) and I could’ve had the first of the bridesmaids dresses finished last night if I hadn’t kept stopping to watch bits of “Oz the Great and Powerful” with the kids and hubs.

Bridesmaid dress bodice... in progress

Bridesmaid dress bodice… in progress.

Which kids are done school now. so no peaceful days of working at home, unless I can manage to bribe my MIL to take them to the lake for a week or something.

Wedding dress back. I'm kinda stoked about how the lacing turned out.

Practice wedding dress back. I’m kinda stoked about how the lacing turned out.

Speaking of the children, it has now been over a decade since I was last pregnant. Happy birthday, Syo!

Syo is now ten.

Syo is now ten.

And I have a late birthday dress cut out for the Waif, but unlikely to be sewn up until the wedding is done. DAMN.

Waif's birthday dress.

Waif’s birthday dress.

Waif just turned five. It is a size 3 pattern. I added an inch of length to the bodice, but it will probably still be too wide. Going for the middle view, of course.

And as a result, I’m spending all my “free time” ogling corset forums and adding and removing things from my fantasy cart at Farthingales.

How’s your summer going, stitchers?

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Little to report, Cap’n

V8889

V8889

I got it into my head that I should sew Osiris shirts for Father’s day. Vogue 8889 shirts. Yes, two shirts. Because I’m braindead. I swear when I get these done I am not sewing anything for anyone else ever again. Oh, wait, there’s that bloody wedding dress. Shite. I hate myself, sometimes.

I’d be less grumpy except that I didn’t get ANY time to work on this last weekend. I meant to be done and on to the second shirt by now. I have a schedule here, peeps. But no, every second I wasn’t working this past weekend had to be spent barbequeuing with the family. Sheesh.

Stylish and her haul

Stylish and her haul

AND then there’s Stylish, who’s grinning like the cat who got the cream because, well, she did. My father-in-law pulled a large box of old patterns from a neighbour’s trash, all for his precious baby!

Pattern diving

Pattern diving

Ok, so I really, really enjoyed going through these patterns with her. There were some gems amid a matrix of 80s monstrosity, mostly 70s, a fair sprinkle of 60s, and even a few 50s patterns. They are well-used, but seem mostly intact. And after she had picked out the ones she wanted to keep (some of which I am totally tracing off at some point, by the way), I got to go through for ones I wanted.

Patterns for me!

Patterns for me!

It’s possible that I kept more than she did… >_< Although she is definitely developing an eye for seeing past the cover art.

Anyway, weren’t we talking about a man’s shirt? Oh, yes.

Shoulder tucks.

Shoulder tucks. Pre-ironing

My favourite feature is the shoulder tucks.  Osiris is the kind of guy who’ll wear his tux shirts around just for kicks, so from the first time I saw this detail I figured it was perfect for him. They are, though, by the nature of the pattern, off grain which makes them ripple a little unevenly. We’ll blame that, rather than my sewing skillz, K? Also, I love my wash-away fabric marker.

Yoke, with tucks.

Yoke, with tucks.

I should’ve photographed the flat-felled seams on the side-panels. They turned out rather nicely, or at least rather more nice than my previous flat-felled seam attempts. This marvelous textured cotton is probably the easiest thing to sew in the known universe, though. The topstitching (I’m using a light grey) isn’t quite perfect—I’m blaming that on inadequate lighting in my sewing dungeon, combined with the lack of working lightbulb in my Featherweight, which is the machine I’m doing the topstitching on. I should really get that poor thing a new bulb. I haven’t sewn with it since before Christmas, really, and I had forgotten how nice it is to use. I really need to re-arrange my basement workspace so… well, so I can do ANYTHING, really.

I didn’t much care for the Vogue yoke instructions. They have you slipstitch the inner shoulder in place and then topstitch. Not a burrito in sight. Sheesh. I’m still up in the air over whether I’ll do the collar. I’d kind of like to try it because it’s cute, and different from other collars I’ve done before, but on the other hand Osiris prefers his shirts mandarin-collared.

The instructions also have you sew the buttonholes after (long after) you stitch down the top and bottom end of the concealed-button-placket-covering-part. Which just seems kinda silly, so I did mine as soon as I had the placket folded up. Which is a nifty piece of fabric origami, by the way. I thought I had it, stitched, and wound up having to rip it out, but once I went and played with the actual pattern-piece the method became clear.

Secret buttonholes!

Secret buttonholes!

I used my Greist buttonholer to make the buttons. It works really well on my White machine (which is what I was sewing the non-topstitching seams on; it’s still set up for straight-stitch only from the wedding dress, and the feed dogs drop, which makes setting up the buttonholer much easier). Of course, since no one can see the buttonholes, it doesn’t matter if they’re a little manky, which makes this a super-awesome style now that I think about it.

Next up: plackets. Possibly collar. Wish me luck, down in my sewing dungeon. I’ll try for a less whiny post next time, but no promises. At least the weather has been gorgeous!

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Close Encounters of the 4th Kind

Big 4, that is.

I did something a little while back that, in hindsight, is new to me. I made a Big 4 stretch-knits-only pattern.

I made View E. Duh.

I made View E. Duh.

I mean, I have lots of them. I just haven’t really made any up before. (The odd kids’ pattern excepted) Not really intentionally, but just because Jalie and Kwik Sew or Burda or a few other indie patterns always seemed to have something a little more what I was going for.

But then Simplicity 1612 threw itself in my way, and, well, how could I resist?

Simplicity 1612 and Border Print

Simplicity 1612 and Border Print

I mean it, how? Especially View E done up in this gorgeous knit—drapey without being too fiddly, with a crazy-perfect border print. How could it go wrong?

Above-bust adjustment. I made it stepwise so as not to raise the neckline.

Above-bust adjustment. I made it stepwise so as not to raise the neckline.

It started well. I decided to make a 10 (I often make a 12, but I was pretty sure smaller would be better for this pattern. I made my usual changes to the bodice—shortening both between bust and shoulder, and between underbust and waist. I took advantage of the rear seam to do a swayback adjustment, and mindful of Sunni’s advice, (and some previous personal disasters) I reduced the amount of gathering at the front just a smidge.

Interfacing

Interfacing

I was worried about the crisp, cut-out appearance of the bodice, so I used lots of knit interfacing. (The pattern only called for a little right at the front opening.) I’m not sure if I used not enough or too much, but I sure didn’t get it just right…

What's right

What’s right

Ok, so off to such a good start, right? And, well, let’s start with what’s right. (Apologies for the craptacular photos, by the way—I’ve been sitting on this hoping I’d get better ones taken but it hasn’t happened yet and I figured I should just get this posted before I forget everything.) Anyway. Fit—good! Bust was at a perfect level, sizing was right on, a little bit of tweaking of the back seam helped a bit there, and overall just WOW. Look at that fabric. Love it. Long, sleek, elegant shape.

Flippy shoulder

Flippy shoulder

The devil, as always, is in the details. Worst is the neck-circling shoulder-thingy. I’m not sure if I should’ve interfaced this entire circle, or not interfaced it at all.  Or maybe done a bound edge all along the arm-area-opening. Anyway, one side flips up. The other doesn’t. The neck-band-tie isn’t stretched enough to lie flat (I matched markings and everything!) and was wavy and bubbly, so I topstitched, which wasn’t a good idea, either. I think it’s a bit wide, really, too. The bodice is lined and the princess-seams don’t tend to line up perfectly, which makes some weird ridges; I should go in and hand-stitch them together, except that hand-stitching knits just irks me. Irrational, I know, since I’m perfectly happy to hand-stitch the snot out of anything else. /sigh. I guess I’m just feeling like the whole construction and finishing of the dress is, hmm, not quite as “knit like” as I’m used to.

Back view

Back view

One last, maybe piddling, little point: scroll back up to look at the cover art. See how smooth and sleek the dress is in the back views? Ok, so I’m not perfect at back shaping, but here’s the thing. In order for a dress to hug the back like that, the front needs to be snug. At least with the way my back curves… maybe you non-swaybacked people out there have different experiences. Well, the only way to make that happen in this dress would be to totally get rid of the gathered looseness in the front. And, well, I like a little bit of looseness over my belly these days, thanks. Plus, y’know, it’s part of the design.

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Rolled hem!

On the bright side, after fighting with my serger tension issues for almost two hours, I finally managed to get it to produce a nice, stretchy, rolled hem! (I wrapped some button thread permanently between the tension discs for the needle thread. It holds them open enough that they have a normal tension, now.) I used white thread and Oona’s trick and coloured in the black areas with permanent marker, although real fabric marker would’ve been better.

Purty?

Purty?

I keep hoping that some time in the magic closet helps me forgive this dress’s flaws, because really, it’s black, who’ll actually notice them? People notice the crazy print and that’s pretty much where it stops. But so far, I notice them (especially that flippy-up shoulder!), and it’s been a couple of weeks already. Maybe I should just re-do that neck band? maybe with some FOE instead?

At least I got one Me-Made May wear out of it...

At least I got one Me-Made May wear out of it…

Grum.

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Moving day

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In a couple of hours, here, I go to pick up the van so we can move our furniture into our new house.

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Can I just skip to Sunday, when the worst is over?

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I am so looking forward to the reunification of at least the majority of my sewing stuff (especially my serger!) though I will miss using my Stylish sister-in-law’s Janome Memory Craft as my main machine.

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Just to celebrate (?) I went through the pattern collection and grabbed the images I most want to make.

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There were twenty three that jumped out and screamed MAKE ME, and that’s not even sewing for anyone else, or counting projects I already have traced/fabric picked, or are otherwise under way.

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And, of course, no sewing this long weekend, because moving. So I thought I’d share a few of the pictures, so you can share my frustration.

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Another Blogiversary

The dress formerly known as Simplicity 3965, alias the Star Wars Dress.

The Star Wars Dress, probably my crowning achievement of the year

My blog is three today! I had totally forgotten. It would’ve been so nice to make a pretty dress, too. I didn’t do anything special like make up a little pattern to share, and since I still can’t seem to manage to mail things (don’t ask about all the Christmas cards still sitting, in stamped envelopes, on my computer desk) I don’t dare even do a regular giveaway. In fact, the only reason you’re getting a post at all is that a) I happen to be off work today, and b) I am bumming around because I have a cold, and c) WordPress sent me a notification via the mobile app reminding me it’s the blog’s birthday.

A lot of things have been intersecting lately that make it harder to blog. At least, harder to blog well. I’ve never had a backlog of projects unblogged the way I do now—at least three or four items, although none are terribly spectacular. Winter, of course, is always a problem in the photography department, and I don’t have a good indoor photo location here. Having the family and old friends around is awesome, but it means we have more stuff to do and people to see than we ever did in Cow Town. My sewing stuff is scattered over three different locations, so when I do get a few minutes here or there, I am often stymied by needing this thing or that. Worst of all, my growing kids are no longer going to bed at 8:00 every night! I depended on that two hours of “me time” to do most of my sewing and blogging. (I don’t have my train commute to read blogs anymore, either, so I am way behind there as well.) Now, by the time they’re in bed it’s pretty much my bedtime. I rarely do any sewing on a weeknight, and if I do get some done on the weekend it’s usually a little bit stolen in the morning before everyone else gets themselves going. And I’m not a natural morning person, either.

This is not a goodbye post, mind you. I’m still a diehard obsessive. I fall asleep thinking about sewing at night. I wake up thinking about it in the morning (if not the middle of the night). My fingers itch with the desire to be making something, or talking or writing about it, pretty much every minute of the day. And there are lots of great things about sewing in my hometown, from meetups to brainwashing mentoring my sisters-in-law, to fun and quirky fabric stores other than Fabricland (even if they are small.) And I’ve been having a tremendous amount of fun doing the digital linework for Cake Patterns—almost as satisfying as making the patterns myself! I’ve mentioned on twitter that we’re moving again at the end of the month—I’m hopeful that I’ll have better photo locations, if nothing else, once that goes down, although the prospect of moving again, even just within town, is exhausting. I should be able to get all (most) of my sewing stuff back together, too!

And on that inspiring note, I think I’ll maybe go have another cup of tea and tidy my little sewing space. The fact that it’s always an insane mess probably doesn’t help my productivity one bit.

Want to cheer me up? Tell me about the most exciting thing in your sewing queue right now! 😀

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Fleece Pants: A Family Odyssey

Episode 1: Failure
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Those of you who follow me Twitter or Instagram may have caught the odd hint of one of the winter obsessions Chez Isis this year—fleece pants. The perfect antidote to a Saskabush winter, especially for people who spent the last five years in balmy southern Alberta. And yet, and yet, they have remained curiously absent from the blog. Unforgivable, no? I agree. I kept waiting to get them ALL DONE, and do a great big family fleece pants post.

I have come to the conclusion that if I do that, I may still be waiting come next winter. So, here I go with one installment at a time.

Dredging deep, deep into my memory, may I present my first attempt at making fleece pants? A veritable antique by blog standards, stitched in the fall of 2012.

I used the pattern for the Jalie 3022 yoga pants, of Pink Suit fame (or infamy), with the same alterations to length and rise I had had success with in the pink pants. Fleece is really a nice fabric to work with—bulky, but not slippery, and with enough stretch to make the fit forgiving, right?

Well, I had double-checked the stretch requirement on the pattern envelope, and the fleece matched it, but I neglected to think about one startlingly important aspect, the difference between “two way” stretch and “four way” stretch.* In particular, this pattern needs something that stretches both in width AND length.

The fleece stretches in width, but when it does so it loses length.

As it turns out, a lot of length.

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Enough length that the vertical seams, which were beautifully smooth when I topstitched them, bubbled out like crazy. The length which had been more than adequate on the pink fabric (I cut off two inches of the four I had added) became inadequate even for hemming. But most disastrously, the rise, which ended up perfect (after tweaking) on the Pink Pants, became somewhere between risque and just plain indecent. And if it’s too low for me, dear readers, well, it’s too low to show you. 😉

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Which is not to say I didn’t wear them. Oh, no. Many a dark and icy winter morning was softened by reaching for my fleece pants. Long shirts and oversized sweaters compensated for the problematic rise, and they were particularly perfect for walking the kids to their bus stop, which has to be one of the most grueling treks of the Canadian prairie winter.

But finally, I had to admit that they really weren’t adequate. It would make much more sense to make myself another, larger pair. And, well…

They fit Tyo perfectly.

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All the photos in this post, as you have probably noticed, are of the pants on Tyo.

Coming soon: Episode 2, the Sister-in-Law Edition.

*And I’ve seen this defined differently in different places, so, in the absence of a Central Fabric-Describing Authority, I’m going with what is convenient for this particular post.

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