Monday, June 28, 2010

The Sucko Shorts

Well I've been knee-deep in making Drew shorts to take to camp. The first pair in Adult Small was a'might big, if you remember, so I didn't get to put the cargo pockets on since I cut off 3 or 4 inches at the bottom. So this time, I tissue-fitted and decided to go with the Boy Large plus an extra inch all over.

Notice my painstaking work with wax paper. I even altered the pocket because he said stuff falls out of it.

I just wanted you to see your two pocket options - the boy's pocket is tiny and the man's pocket is huge. What to do? Well, just draw off your own pocket I guess.

So it took me FOREVER to alter the pieces, and then there's the hated waist-facing to deal with again. I got so fed up with this piece and working around the zipper that I just folded the thing in half and sewed it like a waistband (a bad waistband). This looks awful - good thing he doesn't tuck shirts in.

Oh, yeah, I had already put the carriers on - too bad. And they're the little bitty boy carriers.

And he didn't want a button, so I did the dreaded hook and eye - look at that horrible hand-stitching. Anybody got a professional tip for that?

Oh, and the pocket that got put on a little crooked (look at the hem)? Too bad, so sad. I was so fed up with these things I just didn't care. Drew hasn't noticed it yet...he may have been distracted by the fact that he can barely get his hands in his front pockets because they're too small. However, I did save them by making another secret pocket that is actually functional, so he likey.

So after all that wax paper and measuring and writing notes, I've decided to try the adult small and shorten the leg and crotch by 2 inches each. I also have to make the pockets smaller to fit. We may end up at Academy to buy some stinking shorts before this week is out, but I'm a glutton for punishment so I'm persevering. Also, God is my seamstress - remember Psalm 23 for Sewists - and he wants to try out a new waistband treatment with me, I feel sure of it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fail Shirt...Or Is It?

I had a little piece of white rib knit that wasn't really 60" wide and got cut about 8 inches too short when I bought it. It wasn't enough to make the shirt I wanted, so I decided to try my first Frankenpattern, mixing New Look 6470 and Jalie 2805 since I liked the first one's silhouette but didn't want to worry about the cowl showing my bra. I loved the Jalie V-neck but didn't like the tight sleeves. So here's where I traced the Jalie neckline onto the NL.

Yeah, well that back neckline didn't go so well. Here I have created a faux-hoodie! The fail shirt is born.

So my mom suggested a couple of little darts to gather it up - I tried it but there was so much material the darts ended up too deep. So today I decided there was nothing to lose, and I took the band off the back, cut an inch out of that and sewed it back together, then trimmed an inch off the whole back neckline which was stretched out of shape, and resewed the band on with some clear elastic topping it off. Voila!

Now I also stretched the armholes out when I folded and topstitched them, but who cares - this is the fail shirt. And the hem was getting wavy, so I checked my Kwik Sew book (new from Amazon with the swimsuit book!) and found that if I used an even shorter stitch I could get some extreme waviness which actually is decorative!

So in the end, I decided this shirt does NOT suck, and I wore it to dinner tonight! Lucas and Dean both said, "Why are you so dressed up?" I know it was because I had the long black shorts and funky black sandals, but I like to think it was because of the frilly Fail Shirt.

Oh yeah, Drew got crafty with his leatherworking merit badge and put together some nice moccasins for himself ($14.99 kit at Hobby Lobby or Michael's). We will now look like hippies wearing our homemade clothes and moccasins. Peace out.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fourth Simplicity 2666 - Done

I sat down to get Elizabeth's shirt done for the lake, and look at the disorganization I'm battling on my cutting table! The far left is the pile of swimsuit stuff - 3 fabrics and 2 patterns all mixed up. Plus wax paper for tracing - yes, I actually traced a pattern instead of cutting it up! The red bear was purchased by Lucas at a flea market ("Mom, can we go to the flea market today? Huh? Can we?") and began life looking over his left shoulder. Lucas prefers facing life head-on, so I had to decapitate the thing and sew it back on, but it's coming undone.

Next to the bear are the 2 madras fabrics for the shorts I hope to wear this summer (yeah, right), followed by leftovers from a Jalie blouse that I hope to make a T-shirt for Lucas with, and lastly another pair of shorts for Lucas waiting to be.

Now I love this pattern's easiness, but this is view B which I haven't done before. It has ties at the shoulder seam and an overlapped bodice (is that what you call that?). Well, did I read ahead to find out that the shoulder seam allowance is actually the casing for the ties? No, I noted on the pattern piece that 3/8" seam is allowed, so I very nicely zigzagged a narrow shoulder seam. DOH! So on the other shoulder I sew a straight seam in 5/8" and try to use it for the casing, seen below.

Pure suckiness - can you see the hand-stitching I had to do at the bottom of the pic to hold the seam closed over the ties? Awful, although from the outside you can't tell.

Well the little zigzagged shoulder isn't going to work like that, so I decide to fashion a casing and enclose that seam. First I spent 30 minutes trying to put the ties in place with the casing over them and sew it nicely from the right side, but that was ridiculous, so I just gave in and did it the easy way.

It came out looking better than the other one for sure. Note to other sewists doing this shirt - leave a LARGE seam allowance at the shoulder seam, despite what the pattern piece says.

Everything else went together nicely, till I was overly aggressive with the gathering at the left bustline and gathered the fabric right off the thread. Gotta go back and do that again - it' amazing what gathering can do for you. I tried this on and thought, "Holy crap, my right boob is twice the size of my left!" I actually checked to make sure something wasn't going on that I missed in the shower! (Sorry for the crappy picture, but it was midnight.)

So I'm leaving it basted at this point so we can fit it at the lake. I don't know how you women sew for clients when they're not with you to try it on - I'm nervous about the fit, and don't even get me started on the seam finishes!

I did line the front bodice, Elizabeth, because it was sheer, so you won't be selling raisins at the lake! (Heard that from a fellow PR reviewer of this shirt.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pity Party's Over; Moving On...

Sorry, sorry, sorry for the pity party last night. I normally handle stuff better than that, but it all piled up at the time of the month when I'm prone to cry anyway, and I just couldn't suck it up. Thanks for all the encouraging comments. To quote that girl from The Sixth Sense, "I'm feeling much better now."

So I got my sister's lake shirt finished the other night, but I may need to go back and tighten up the side seams after trying it on.

She used to be MUCH better endowed than me, but I think having children evened us out (and down) so we wear the same size now.

So now to my SIL's shirt - it's view B of the same pattern - ooh, mixing it up! This one may need a little more fitting, plus my niece doesn't want to be left out of the girls' lake-shirt club, so I'm thinking of taking my machine to the lake. (As long as it doesn't interfere with the Rook games, we'll be okay.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Very Bad Day

"I got your baby's autopsy report." I've said that phrase twice in two days.

"Your baby's going to have to go to Birmingham and have heart surgery immediately." I've said that twice TODAY. (One of those babies already went through his first heart surgery 2 months ago.)

Sometimes this job sucks.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oil and Butter

My mom and I hit Daphne Fabric and Lace the other day - an OLD store in a metal building that you'd drive right buy and never notice. They are famous for elastic and stuff to make panties....uh, underwear sounds better. They've even been reviewed on PR! On the back wall are WIDE rolls of fabric with most of it being knits and swimwear, though I'd be scared to pull one out because it looks like a place that rats would love. Did I mention that wall is all $2 a yard (maybe because you might need some penicillin or perhaps a rabies shot after reaching into the gloomy depths)? But in front of that I found this blue cotton that's like butter.

I don't know if you can tell how drapey this stuff is. It's linenish-looking, but the softest thing I've ever felt, and it was $2 a yard too, so I had to take 5 yards...I mean that's only $10! So I'm thinking of a shirt and pajamas. What else can I's too thin for shorts or a skirt...any suggestions of what you've made with thin, buttery-soft material?

So the other thing to notice above is that I got my sister's lake shirt cut out and hopefully will sew it tonight. And that stack of madras fabric you can see at the top right is destined for shorts, since I think I found a decent pattern to try on PR. (I think I put it in my wishlist and was waiting to hit the 99 cent sale at Hancock...I can't quite remember..dang Mad Cow!)

Oh, the other thing is that Mobile now smells like oil to me. Other people have told me they smelled it, but today is the first day it's really hit me. Lucas said it was just gas in the parking lot, but we smelled it the whole way home with the windows down. Dadgummit! And did you hear they now are saying 1.75-2 MILLION gallons a day? WHAT??? !@#$*!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lucas's Shorts - Done

Well, I downsized since the other shorts were huge and I had to take them up a lot plus put darts in, so these fit a little snug. He's making a pitiful face here because I wouldn't let him point the Nerf gun at me for the picture.

They fit perfectly everywhere except they look snug in the rear, but he says they feel fine.

So here's what's special about this pair. See the nice cargo pocket? He picked out the webbing to go with the fabric - good job!

Oh, when you look down at them a certain way there seems to be something wrong...did I forget to stitch the flap down?

No, it's a "secret" pocket!

Dean's cargo shorts have this extra pocket, so I studied them and came up with a way to add it to Lucas's shorts. It just entailed an extra facing cut and stitched under the real pocket, but I figured it out on my own and I so proud of myself!!! (Hands clapping and big grin on my face - picture the Sonic commercial with the guy saying "I'm BIG boy! I'm BIG boy!")

Now Lucas and I are off to a party. Have you ever been invited to a party and asked if you could bring something? The answer is usually either, "No, just yourself," or maybe, "You could bring a dessert." Well, the answer I got was, "Yeah, you know, can you bring some pizza toppings? We're going to make pizzas and we have the dough, but if you could bring the cheese and some toppings that would be great!" Uh, okay. So I call from the grocery store and say I have cheese, pepperoni, and ham, but how much should I bring. I'm told, "Well, we're making 24 pizzas, so bring lots of mozzarella, parmesan, pepperoni and ham, and we need marinara sauce too. We've got the dough plus beer and wine." (We'll just pause here for a minute so you can let that sink in and think of what you would say in this situation. Keep in mind I'm not hosting this party.)

So I repeated back, "You're making 24 pizzas?"
"Well, yeah, but they're small pizzas, like 6 inches or something."

So I'm carrying $50 worth of toppings over to the party (guess I shouldn't be late!), but I'd really like to bring any extras back home with me. That's rude, though, isn't i; like taking wine over and then carrying it back home with you. Anybody been in a similar situation? Suggestions for how I should have handled it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Well, Lucas made it to camp safely and comes home tomorrow. Dropping him off was an exercise in maternal self-control, and I struck out. Before we got there, he asked if I could help him make his bed and set up everything, but when he saw the roomful of boys and only 2 other mothers, he became intimidated. I unpacked a few things, but when I told him I had put his "jammies" and Blue Dog in his sleeping bag (I thought I was very clever to hide them from view), he hissed, "Well you don't have to say it OUT LOUD!" (Strike 1)

When I heard they were going swimming straight away, I offered to put sunscreen on his back (so clever; he would be embarrassed if I did everything, so I'll just do what he can't reach), at which point he hissed, "Nobody else has THEIR shirt up!" and refused to lift his shirt, so I sat down and just reached up under his shirt to do his back. (Strike 2)

I forgot to snap pictures for Dean, so I snuck back around the corner of the building to get some while they all stood waiting to swim, and when he saw me he covered his head with his towel. (Strike 3 - yer OUTTA there!)

Oh well, I didn't cry, and we haven't gotten any phone calls yet, so it's probably going to be okay.

So here's what I accomplished that night - finishing Drew's shirt with my Brother, which turned out NOT to be broken, but only a victim of user error. Turns out that the piece that moves up and down at the top left of your machine holding the thread is hidden in my machine and I didn't know I was not getting the thread in it reliably. (That's what a knee-control will do for ya' - I got sloppy.) That results in nests and skipped stitches, so I look forward to swimsuit sewing with a hopeful attitude.

Anyway, back to Simplicity 9499. Turns out I forgot to staystitch the neckline and it stretched out some, so Drew is not such a fan.

(He also appears to be a hoodlum in this shot. Turn to the LEFT!) He did eventually smile, but the shirt is better seen in this pic. And to prove that I'm an equal-opportunity photo critic, I'll show you my shot where you can see the shirt best.

See, I'm not afraid of a half-closed eye and an ear giving a high-five (WHADJA SAY?). There was a nice one where my eyes were an ocean of blue and the ears were under the hair, but the shirt was blurry and I'm about the clothes, not the model. You know that from the swimsuit post last year.

So anyway, I think this shirt looks just fine on me, but he wants to sleep in it till I get a replacement made. Sort of a success, I guess. Now off to finish Lucas's shorts.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kevin the Heron

So did you see the animated movie Up? It's about an old man and a boy in a house that floats away with balloons. They are pestered by a giant bird that the kid names Kevin. Well, we met Kevin at the beach Sunday. We noticed him near a bush while we were walking on the beach, but as soon as the cast net made an appearance, Kevin turned into a stalker.

Of course, when a giant bird is following you around, you can stage some pretty funny pictures. Uh, Lucas, you have a bird in your hair.

A heron in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.

Of course, he just really wanted some fish. (Hey lady, make 'em hand over the fish or I'm eatin' the little one.)

Isn't he just beautiful? The best picture would've been when he first snuck up behind Dean, who was cast-netting. Dean turned around and here's this heron standing straight up at full height just staring back at him. Priceless. Too bad the camera phone was on the boat.

And here's a little video where the kids threw him all the fish they caught. He was mighty appreciative, and even looked a little misty-eyed when we left. Nice to meet you, Kevin! Stay away from tar balls! (This is on the sound side of Pensacola Beach, so I hope he'll be safe.)

Back From Vacation - yay.

Well, Lucas is off to camp tomorrow for 3 nights! First time in his life he's spent more than one night away from home. And he's only spent one night away from home once with someone other than family. He wanted to go to Camp Mac for 2 weeks, but I told him he was too young (7), and it was 4 hours away so we couldn't come get him quickly if he got which he replied, "Mom, I spent the night with GEORGE and didn't get homesick!" (What was I thinking?)

Then this camp near home came up, but none of his peeps were going, so I asked him if he was SURE he wanted to go if he didn't know anybody else which he replied, "Mom, it's called 'making friends.'" (Where did this kid get all this sarcasm?)

Anyway, I'm sad my machine was broken because I didn't get his other shorts finished, and now we have to go BUY pajamas for him. I made him some long flannel ones, but he's outgrown all the short ones. I feel like such a failure buying clothes! But I did borrow my mom's machine so I can get some stuff done this week hopefully. Let's see, there was Drew's T-shirt, Lucas's shorts, my sister's shirt, my SIL's shirt, and my 2 bathing suits to finish.

And a delightful thing was that my MIL saw Lucas's shorts during vacation last week and asked him where I bought them. I wasn't present at the time but Lucas said, "She even lifted up my shirt to see the belt loops!" So she asked Dean if I would consider making her a pair of pants if she buys the pattern and fabric! Pretty cool to have your MIL ask you to make something, even if it IS the most complicated thing with a need for several fittings...uh...well, IS this actually cool? Yes, it definitely is and her birthday is in August, so maybe I can get it done by then. (And maybe she'll just want some elasticized-waist pants with no pockets.)

So I better get moving. I DO have some hilarious pics from the Fort Pickens area of Pensacola Beach to show you tomorrow if I can get them off Dean's phone. We were stalked by a heron - it's priceless.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Last of the Pristine Beaches?

Thank goodness we went to Johnson's beach yesterday in Florida. It's just down the road from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and kind of adjacent to Pensacola Beach.

We spent all morning there and were amazed at the little crabs running everywhere (I snapped a pic but they blend in with the sand).

The waves were great for the boys' boogie boards.

We only got Lucas to leave after a dozen stingrays swooped in around him to feed on little bait fish. Dean grabbed him up under the arms and shuffled out to safety, with Lucas holding his legs above the water the whole time. Talk about strong abs!

But we got lucky, because here's what it looked like in Gulf Shores, and it was similar in Pensacola. It's just unbelievable. Not to mention the poor animals that bring tears to your eyes when you watch the news. (Amazingly, the BP station was doing a brisk business!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dining in Luxury

Well, that's what the menu said. This is a historic restaurant in Foley called The Gift Horse and it is over the top. Now my mother adores this place and I mean no disrespect, but I had to stifle a laugh as we we were seated. This is what you see when you walk in the door.

Then you go around the corner.

Then you approach the hostess, host. There was nary a woman working in that joint as far as I could tell...interesting. And I don't know what to make of the gate here. Uh, should I touch it?

What was making me laugh was the Liberace-ish music playing, though. Very dramatic piano numbers. You can see that Lucas does not appreciate it. Can you also see the cakes behind him? One was coconut - my grandmother would love it.

Drew also does not appreciate the decor. The boys declare this an "old people" restaurant.

In all fairness, the buffet was good home-cooking. The sweet potatoes had praline sauce in them, the "famous fried biscuits" had a touch of pineapple in them if you like that kind of thing, and the meat casserole was my favorite. The service was excellent. They also have a gift shop and attached antique mall which was fun to look through. So when in Foley, Alabama, if you're looking for some good food with character, be prepared to get your granny on!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Now My Machine Has the Funk

Well pooh, I get all fired up and bring the machine to the beach to sew, and what does she do but lock up on me. It was a thick knit and I was putting the band on Drew's t-shirt when things went wonky. I've done everything I know, but she's bound for the shop. So I'll just cut out Lucas's shorts and read the Kwik-Sew books and call it productive. (Probably don't want to read those books on the beach - I might get funny looks - you saw the covers in that last post, right?)

And I can't upload pics out here but I'll tell you my 2 favorite scenes. The first was Monday afternoon - the boys had raised the flag at the dock (good to have Scouts around), and the ice cream boat (yes, a pontoon boat goes around the area selling ice cream - isn't the Gulf Coast awesome?) had stopped by. So the flag is flying, my kids are sitting on the swing eating ice cream, and Dean is in the water on a float. I call this "blessed."

My second favorite scene was this afternoon, when we got back from the library and the boys and I were sitting on the dock all reading books (now its been raining, so that's why you go to the library when you're at the beach). I was just so happy they weren't missing the tv.

So the broken machine is a disappointment, but how can I complain? Oh, uh, Drew just hooked a stingray off the dock. (And we're swimming in this water?) And that oil is rolling in tomorrow....nope, still not going to complain!