Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Nice Feeling

A very nice feeling to have is when your son wants to wear his homemade shorts for the big performance on the last day of school. Another nice feeling is wearing your own homemade pants, even though they didn't turn out too well, but by golly you will wear those suckers if it kills you!

Swimsuit Funk

Well, I worked on those danged boyshorts ripping out elastic at seams so I could tighten them up, and it worked pretty well till I sewed the elastic back together twisted. That was apparently the last straw, because I just got very funky (emotionally speaking, not odiferously...if that's a word). I put them on and it looked a little better, but Dean walked by and said, "Aren't those supposed to be tight?" Right you are, Sir! They're not, and even if I succeed in tightening up the legs, they still don't make it past the cheeks far enough. I do believe I've made my first wadder. (I'll wear something awful if I can possibly get away with it because I hate wasting time and fabric.) So I sadly folded up all the swimsuit paraphernalia and stacked it in a corner of the cutting table to tackle another day.

I decided to do something for instant gratification, so I started on my mother's lake shirt. The whole family goes to the lake every year, and my sister wanted a Simplicity 2666 shirt, so I had the bright idea to make all the women (4 total) this shirt. It was going pretty well but I was still feeling like a failure, when the doorbell rings out of the blue. Well it's the nice postman and look what he's brought me!

Wow! God is smiling at me (or telling me I don't know what the hell I'm doing), because this wasn't supposed to arrive until next week! When is the post office ever EARLY with a package?! So now I can start reading about swimsuits and come back to mine better prepared.

Well, I whipped out my mom's shirt in record time - about 2 hours from cutting to trying on - the fastest ever. I'll finish the straps when she's here to try it on, but it should fit perfect since it's a tad loose on me. And my funkiness is all gone - hooray!

Now you go have a good weekend too, and if you get funky I hope God sends you a postman!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nests in My Boyshorts...Uh, Let Me Rephrase...

My brother asked me if I was going to start charging for the blog, since I was posting such scantily-clad pictures - he said I might make enough to buy lunch at Chick-Fil-A. (Do they have a dollar menu?)

Today I got the Simplicity 3566 boyshorts underway. Now what is it with my bobbin thread? I may as well be sewing nests for homeless birds with the way my bobbin is acting. What is UP? I stuck a woven under there and did the same stitch - no nest. Bizarre. This warrants a phone call to someone who owns a sewing store.

And what is up with boyshorts? I have to google some RTW ones, because I don't remember my old ones waving in the breeze like real shorts. I need to go down a size in the leg, I guess. I took a larger seam allowance and that helped a little, but they're nowhere near my thigh. If I sit and put my feet up you can probably tell my religion!

I'm very sad that these don't go down any farther in the back - I'm trying to brainstorm ways to add length. (Want some cottage cheese with your dinner?) I'm thinking about a Jalie-type band around the bottom to get an inch added to the hem....some type of Hong-Kong finish (careful - illegal in some states).

Anyway, I'll probably have enough fabric to do a bikini bottom too, so I'll see which one looks better on a pear. And looking at these pictures has actually rekindled a desire to exercise. I actually CONSIDERED working out at the YMCA during karate....but you know, Lucas was belt-testing and sparring....I just couldn't miss that!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Morning Update

We had a great weekend with my mom and step-dad at the beach! This is how the dog does a boat ride when any kind of speed is involved. (Hold me, Mimi - I'm a-skeered!)

If you cover him with a towel he likes it even better. (Tell me when it's over, Pawpaw.)

Now I want you to get hold of yourselves, because here's the swimsuit muslin, and it ain't pretty! (But it does hurt me more than it hurts you.) We'll start slow so you can change your mind if you get nervous.

I'm having a problem with my elastic. If I cut it flat with the guide then stretch to fit as I sew, it looks like this with no gathering at all and it gapes on me.

If I stretch it way out it looks better, but I have too much and I think I shouldn't cut that long a piece.

And it's hard to be very consistent with the stretching - see how one spot is very gathered and another isn't?

(Deep breaths through your nose if you feel sick...) So here's the first bikini cup - note that the casing for the tie is too large. They said turn up 1" and thread the tie through, but that's way too much. I know my necktie is twisted.

(Danger Will Robinson! Danger Will Robinson! Proceed at your own risk! Management not responsible! Lifeguard not on duty! Items in mirror may be smaller than they appear!)

If you haven't run to the bathroom, I will say that the bottom coverage seems reasonable. (Dean may beg to differ - he suggested a boy-short, actually.) This was the highest-waisted one, so we're certainly not going to hide the bagel-top but you don't have to see ALL the stretch marks. (And who invited the love handles to the party? Now I just need a big hairy mole!) I like to think that the love handles got squeezed out there because the waist was too tight, and when I fix that, they'll melt back onto the hip fat and be hidden.

Now here's another elastic story: I cut a size 18 bottom but stretched the elastic when I cut it, so it actually was a size 12 flat. Well you just can't do that. So I didn't think I'd get this on until a couple of stitches popped, so it is obviously too tight. And there wasn't enough elastic for both legs (again suggesting I don't know what I'm doing), so I cut it in half and applied one side, then realized this was a waste of time because it was too tight, so the other leg is unfinished.

So, anybody with suggestions on whether to stretch elastic or not when cutting? And if you need psychotherapy after seeing this, sorry 'bout that and send me the bill.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fabric Sale - Waaah, waaah!

Well, the big fabric sale at the church was something of a bust (That was the Debbie Downer theme in the title, if you didn't get it). It was almost all upholstery fabric, and very old upholstery fabric at that (Think Mamaw's floral couch). I did find one roll of what I think is brown twill, so I'll make some shorts or pants out of that. And there was a HUGE roll of this blue/purple striped fabric - do I need that much? Of course not, but it was $5 a roll and I figure I'll recover some chair cushions at the beach (Really? You know how to do that? Of course not, but what could be so hard?) or make the family some matching shorts - look out now!

Here's the really exciting fabric - swimwear! Got it from on sale for $9.98/yard, so add the lining in there, and these bathing suits will have cost me about $18 each. Not bad. Sorry for the poor lighting - everything is more yellowish than in real life.

I think the pink is my favorite one - makes me look like I have a tan. (Yes, I am sometimes overly optimistic and sometimes just downright delusional.)

If I get my "muslin" for my swimsuit together I'll post a picture. And by muslin, I mean that I wanted to get the fit right before I cut the new fabric, so I pulled out another stretchy thing to practice on....that's right, my Mardi Gras dress fabric - ooh la la! I may have to wear this on the dock if it turns out...oh wait, that might scare away the dolphins. I don't want to cause another environmental catastrophe. Strike that, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lucas's Shorts - Fabulous!

Here are the final pics - they turned out pretty well. (Guess he inherited my penchant for making weird faces...pity.)

I feel sure he inherited his fashion sense from his dad - I would never mix tie-dye and psychedelic floral! And he did pick this fabric out himself, as you'll recall. I'd never inflict this on a boy otherwise.

The fly facing gave me fits and I winged it with a hook and eye closure. There's no room for a regular button the way the pattern has you put it together.

But I like the shorts so much I may try and draft a waistband for the next pair.

Now to a bathing suit for moi. (Gasp! Be very afraid!) Yes, I have joined the swimsuit sew-along at PR and have fabric being delivered today - YIPPEE! I'll show you the pattern and fabric tomorrow maybe. I may have to start exercising again to tone things up before the photos start getting snapped (yeah, you WISH).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fabric Sale Friday!

I'll get some pics of Lucas's shorts up here tomorrow, but I wanted to tell my Gulf Coast peeps about a fabric sale - Knollwoood Church on Grelot has over 500 bolts of fabric for sale from $5 and up to raise money for missions. It's Friday from 6-9 PM and Saturday from 7:30-3 PM. For questions call 661-8383. And I'm not affiliated, I just got a flier today and called to check it out. They said it was all kinds of fabric and it came from the missions person, so I didn't get a clear idea of where it came from. I'll be setting that alarm clock Saturday!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jalie 2805 - Done!

Well I don't know that I've ever completed a garment in one day from cutting out the pattern to sewing the hem - hooray! But this was fraught with difficulties, otherwise this would be a one-hour shirt (well, maybe for Katie).

The problems started with my fabric - I had a white rib knit I really liked, but when I laid out the pattern pieces the sleeves didn't fit - gack! Well, the measuring tape told me that they short-changed me 5 inches when they cut the fabric - AAARGH! But it still looked weird so I measured the other way, and it turns out this particular knit is somewhere around 48 inches wide - and here I assumed they were all 60"! Imagine my surprise!

The nice thing about having a little stash now is that I just pulled out another rib knit I got on clearance for $2.99 and forged ahead. Then came the next problem. Now I'm making view C which is the V-neck, so which pattern piece should I use?

I read about this problem on PR, but I thought the reviewer said to go with the picture instead of the words. So I cut that piece, hold it up to see how low-cut it will be, and carefully tape it to the bottom piece (this has 4 neckline variations so the front is in 2 pieces). Then I'm wondering why there's a little tab jutting out of center front, which is when I realize this is the wrong neckline. (Why did I tape it to hell and back?)

Now we're back on track with the right pattern pieces all cut out and I decide to try out my walking foot for the first time. Here she is:

Now she freaks me out a little because she makes funny noises. (Think Forrest Gump running with his leg braces - "Ah mye be stupid Jen-nay, but ah know what a slippery knit is.) Only problem is, if the fabric isn't on BOTH walking feet, it disappears into the throat of the machine - YUMMY! (Remember I had this problem with my last knit top?) This is what I end up with if I try to do the 1/4" seam allowance called for.

So I just have to move the fabric over like so, yielding a beautiful seam, but with about a 1/2" seam allowance.

Well, anyway, it all works out and the shirt goes together lickety-split - Look Ma, no wrinkles or gaping at the neckline!

However, the sleeves are snug as Jalie's apparently usually are, and what up with the extra fabric at the waist? (I've got saddlebags, but definitely not lovehandles!)

Well, what up is that I tapered from a size U at the waist to a size V at the hips, and when I was sewing that seam it did something funky. You can see it from the back too, plus I apparently have a sway back.

So I'm going to try this again with a larger size I guess - definitely will enlarge the armholes and sleeves. But that V-neck is just so dang cute - now I wish I could find a cute knit print so I can get away from boring solids.

I Stayed Up Till 2:30 AM

Well here are the boys at the Hangout Music Festival - cool sand sculptures, huh? I think what Lucas is showcasing is the fact that Drew is wearing his me-made shorts, though. (Thank you Carol-Marol - who remembers the show?)

The pattern calls for webbing on the cargo pocket flap which I didn't buy, so I looked in Lucas's closet for ideas. Black webbing on a backpack, nah...white webbing on a duffel bag, maybe...then I found this:

It couldn't be more perfect! So here are the almost-finished shorts with a closeup of the pocket (I know you can't see too many details because of the fabric, so I skipped a lot of topstitching I had done on Drew's shorts.)

I'll review these soon - there are only 2 reviews for the shorts on PR, and one of those had the same trouble I did with the waist facing at the fly - so confusing!

So here's my favorite SNL clip from last night - stick with it because when Alec Baldwin comes in it's just hilarious (if you share my odd sense of humor).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Call Weekend = Sewing!

Well they left me again to go to the Hangout Music Festival at Gulf Shores, and I can't go because I'm on call, but it's all good because I get to SEW! Now Victoria was talking about how her TV distracts her from sewing, and apparently this blog is distracting me from sewing.

I was working on Lucas's shorts and Lady Gaga came on the TV (I was bouncing between Fox News and CNN trying to be bipartisan). Well I started composing new words to Telephone, which I have now been working on for an HOUR! Of course I had to check the video, which was quite shocking - who knew Beyonce would agree to that? But now I'm working out the logistics of getting it on here - I can link the song so you can listen and read the words at the same time, because just reading it doesn't make sense. But I think I need to sing over the music so you'll get the beat, so I'll need a microphone. (This is where my family commences to vomiting and denying any relation to me.) So I'm headed back upstairs to work out the rest of the words in my head while finishing Lucas's shorts and hopefully cut out a top for myself. And just you'll get some Lady Sister later tonight or in the morning! (Is that a threat or a promise, Sister? Oh, if you knew how I sing, you'd know it was a threat.)

Lady Sister - Just a Taste

Okay, shorts are done as far as they can go till the boy gets here to try them on. Plus that damn waist facing around the fly messed me up again, so I put it down till tomorrow. Here's what I got so far on the Telephone song by Lady Gaga and Beyonce:

Hello hello baby you called
I can’t hear a thing
I have got no service
in my sewing room, you see.
Wha-wha-what did you say?
You’re breakin’ up on me
Sorry I cannot hear you
I’m kinda busy
K-kinda busy
K-kinda busy
Sorry I cannot hear you I’m kinda busy.

Just a second
It’s my Jalie shirt I'm working on.
And I can't get it cut out if I'm talkin' on the phone.
You think I'm lonely 'cause I'm here by my-self all alone,
But this is the first chance all week I've really had to sew.

I'm sewin'
I'm sewin'
Workin' on that Sim-pli-ci-ty
I've basted it, now I'm sewin' the real seams.
I'm sewin'
I'm sewin'
Those shorts are almost finished now
I'll hem 'em up when he gets back in town.

Stop telephonin’
I’m busy e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e
Stop telephonin’
Can call all you want but there’s no one home
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone

‘Cuz it's late at night,
Checkin' pattern web sites
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone
(Thanks to for the originals.)

That's about as far as I got - did you want to hear a little? (No, you don't - trust me.) This is the 1st verse and the chorus - I couldn't get the 2nd verse to play. Just trust me that if you say it right it all fits.

Yeah, it is OBVIOUSLY time to go to bed! Just take this with a grain of salt and file it away with the zipper dance and the Coldplay piano performance - temporary insanity.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Little SNL

Betty White rocked! She's awesome - just her facial expressions are funny. There were a bunch of good skits and a digital short that they haven't put up yet - I'll keep an eye out.

This is along the lines of "Schwetty balls," for SNL fans. Mildly offensive - no kids allowed!

This one's funny and not offensive at all...I don't think.

Now I'm off to cut out Lucas's shorts...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

What a fabulous Mother's Day weekend I had! Drew made homemade calzones for me Friday night (cooking camp last summer - priceless!). He also refused to smile for a picture, but we'll cut him some slack since he's 13.

Lucas made me a beautiful photo holder and wrote a nice letter about how great I am at sewing (flattery is always appreciated!).

Dean cooked me a special dinner Saturday night and a fabulous breakfast this morning complete with 2 pots of my favorite flowers.

Jake was a good boy and came back from chasing herons without my having to call him. (He asked me to post his "king of the world" pose instead of his usual boat pose with his tail between his legs.)

Now I'll tell you the best Mother's Day gift I got this weekend - my children enjoyed each other's company and had a blast with each other the whole time. Of course your kids love YOU and are nice to YOU, but when they're nice to each other it makes life worth living. And I'm proud that when Drew wasn't wearing a bathing suit, he was wearing the shorts I made him (yes, for 3 solid days - I washed them Saturday night after he went to bed). Now he's asked me for a matching shirt...let's not discuss where he got his fashion sense.

Now you say, "But Lynn, where are the pictures of you?" Well here they are - keep in mind my bathing suit is modest and you'll see no shave or wax marks, so these photos are from G-rated spots (not to be confused with "the" G-spot, I don't even know where that is...exactly). But there's no need to try and guess where they came from (uh, my shoulder and my knee - satisfied?); I only post them to show what happens when you don't sunscreen because it's OVERCAST, and of course you can't burn when it's overcast, right?

Well, the sun DID come out for 20 minutes. And my shorts and Tshirt got wet at the beach so I took them off and had the bathing suit on underneath. But I didn't EXPECT to do that so I hadn't sunscreened that area. Take a lesson.

So I hope you all had a happy Mother's Day weekend as well, and remember your skin cancer prevention. (I hear that train a'comin'...)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Junior Kicks Ass!

Well I'm so proud of my little sister, who used to go by "Sister" here till we realized how confusing that was, so now she's "Junior." She told me that yesterday she and my nephew stopped for gas and while she was filling up, a man on the other side of the pump filled his tank then watched her a while. He then started to approach her so she knocked on her van window and my nephew jumped into view with a cell phone to his ear (I'm not ordering a pizza here, mister!) The guy then proceeded to ask her something about her car and made unintelligible conversation at her while stepping toward her, and her ladies' self-defense training kicked into action.

Now first I have to tell you our background - we are meek little Southern belles who have never spoken ugly to anyone not related to us. When she and I were living together my first year of medical school, a man knocked on the door selling magazine subscriptions. I looked over his paper and he told me he was so hot and thirsty, could he possibly have a drink of water? (Well of course, Sir, come right on in!) I had a bad feeling, but I said I'd get him something and he asked to come into the air conditioning. Tracey shot daggers at me when I let him in, but she fetched him a glass of water. He then smiled at us and said, "Now I need you to do one...more...thing for me..." This is when I'm picturing us bound with duct tape and stuffed in the trunk of a car - why am I so stupid and gullible? We both must've looked like deer in the headlights, and he said, "I need you to have a great day!" I think we both soiled our pants in relief (then she ran to the phone as fast as she could to call our mother and tell on me).

So you're wondering what Tracey's training has enabled her to do at this gas station....well she looks the guy straight in the eye and says loudly, "If you mess with me, I'll kick your ass."

HOO-AHHHH - go Sister! I mean Junior!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Do You Wear With These Shorts?

Here they are on the actual child. This is what he wore to dinner. (But you know, it was to eat oysters, so obnoxious shorts and non-matching T-shirt are totally in order, and where are the flip-flops?).

OH - I have to say that American Idol was much more interesting last night, mainly because Harry Connick, Jr. volunteered his services to clean up the suckiness. He literally came out and said that he wanted to do the arrangements for each contestant and play with them on stage, and by golly, that did the trick! The contestants still sucked but at least HC provided comic relief. My #1 is now Lee - they had some fun chemistry together, and #2 is Big Mike because he's good at Sinatra, which was the theme. Sister Girlfriend (why can't I remember that chick's name?) did well, though the judges no-likey. And I liked Aaron, but Casey was BO-RING! Let's see, what did he do on stage....he blinked, and he took a few steps, and he blinked some more, and at the end he waved his arm around a little bit to indicate the big band was wrapping it up. I don't believe he bent his knees or his waist during the whole song - maybe we need to get him to a chiropractor or orthopedist - he could be suffering from spinal fusion or something! (I need to send him some jeans with zippered pockets - that'll inspire some boogey.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where did "Storm's a-Comin'" Come From?

Uh, yeah, Drew said the waistband of the shorts was itchy where the zipper comes up too far. Gotta fix that. He also asked me if I was sure I put the button on correctly. (No, baby, you know Momma's got Mad Cow.) He asked me if I could redo the fly with a normal button, so I shall close the existing buttonhole (Really? How you gonna do that? I don't know, but stop talking to yourself.) and put a new one on the front like a RTW pair of shorts.

That aside reminded me of a poem:

Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.

But that crazy kid liked the shorts enough to wear them to dinner out! (I didn't say we were happy that he wore them to dinner.) And yes, we had a dozen oysters at Sunday lunch and 2 dozen oysters at dinner last night. Gotta get 'em while the gettin's good, people. (Oil spill's a-comin!) Maybe I overdosed on wine tonight...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Camping and Boys' Shorts

Well the Cub Scout campout at Blakely State Park was a great success, if you call 80-degree weather with 100% humidity and overcast skies a success (I know I do!). It was so hot at night that we had to sleep with the tent door/window open and just the screens closed, and Lucas slept in his underwear, but that's not really an option for the mothers on the trip. You know I would've preferred to do it the BOW way, with a bottle of wine and my short PJ's, but I suffered it out in the jeans and T-shirt to avoid embarrassing anyone passing by and glancing in the tent. I DID take the bra off to maximize sleeping comfort (Hey Lucas, when did your brother get here? Oh, that's your mother).

I actually kind of have today off, so I finished Drew's shorts - yippee! Now I branched out again and did what I think is a flat-felled seam...could be a French seam...I have no idea. This is the seam allowance of the inner leg seam - look, Ma, no raw edges!

This is how it looked on the outside - a topstitching 2-for-1 - I'll definitely do this from now on.

I also did some extra topstitching like his RTW shorts, since the pattern doesn't call for any except the hem, fly, and pockets.

Based on a RTW pair I did 3 rows around the waist, which was faced, and can I tell you how much that facing sucks? I would've finished these last night but I got stuck and couldn't figure out the instructions at all. What I realized this morning is that I used a Betzina fly which is already topstitched, and they want you to wait till the end to do that, so I couldn't fold out the fly to attach to the facing. I just turned under the facing ends 1/4" then attached, understitched the seam allowance, and topstitched the facing down.

And notice there's no button on the front. For some reason they make you button it toward the inside, which always leaves an imprint on my belly - we'll see if Drew minds it. I don't understand this, except that the pattern calls for a webbed belt to be worn with it.

And notice how far away the button is from the fly edge. The buttonhole is actually like the 5th step, but I should've saved it for last in case of fitting issues. I debated adding a hook and eye closure but decided Drew won't care. I can add it later. Anybody with facing tips at the fly? I couldn't find anything in Power Sewing. You may also notice I have trouble with my zipper going all the way to the top on the right front. I'm sure there's a point where I'm supposed to cut it off and finish it nicely. Hmm....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Boys' Shorts - Almost Done!

(This is what you get with a 7-yr-old and an iPhone - blurry pictures!)

Got Drew's shorts underway - that's a pretty fast pattern! It's got about 12 pieces for the shorts, rivaling the Betzina jeans, but I'm done except for fitting, hemming, and carriers. Now it's awfully big, as evidenced by my fitting in them (Drew's competing at a tech fair today), and they're WAY too long, so I may have to forgo the cargo pockets because we'll be cutting these off just above the knee.

On Lucas's I think I'll downsize, although this would make a nice pair of pants!

And here's what Dean saw near sunset yesterday at the beach. I'm hoping that bodes for a lovely rain-free Cub Scout campout at Blakeley today. I also hope that bodes well for oil-recovery efforts in the Gulf. Nice that there are already several lawsuits filed from Mississippi to Pensacola, and oddly enough, the same lawyer was on the news Thursday representing the residents of Dauphin Island and then again Friday representing commercial fishermen in Pensacola. Funny that he didn't look terribly upset about the whole thing. Oh, I better not even go there - and I apologize if you resemble that remark! Gotta go pack the tent and sleeping bags.