Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pants Progress Continues; One Gerbil Does Not

Oh, this morning Lucas told me I'd better come look at something. One of his gerbils was lying dead in the food bowl. The other one kept sniffing at his face and putting his paws on him. Lucas said, "I think his brother killed him." I said, "No, he's just trying to wake him up to play." (That would've made my neice burst into tears, but Lucas is tough sometimes.) He finally decided it was his fault somehow, and hey, if that motivates him to be a better pet-owner, who am I to disagree? I did reassure him that their time was officially up last October, so I'm betting on natural causes.

Anyway, he wanted to bury him in the backyard, so after school today we double-bagged him in Ziploc (thanks to Dean for retrieving the body for me) then taped him securely into a box and buried him a foot and a half under a bench in the backyard. Lucas wanted to put some flowers on his grave but didn't think I'd agree to breaking off one of the new pink Taiwan cherry blossoms. When I did, he gave me a big hug - most awesome moment of the day.

In sewing news, I'm learning that you can go your own way with patterns if you know what you're doing. I'm taking Jennifer Stern's jeans class on PR and I paid extra for the videos on how to do it. They're awesome! Here's what Vogue said to do with the coin pocket.

Frankly, I had a Mad Cow moment and forgot how to miter a corner, so I had to pull out a dang book! Then I realized how bulky it was going to be and used Jennifer's suggestions instead - you're not going to see the bottom, after all, and it gets topstitched anyway!

And her fly came out perfect because of an odd way she does the seam allowance using Wonder Tape, but I did it the Vogue way, resulting in a wee bit of wonkiness that I shall photograph tomorrow. Vogue also had me enclose the edges of the fly and fly facing in bias binding! Not sure why exactly, but it's cute.

Anyway, I'm ready to sew seams and place carriers next, so I hope to have some pictures of a final product soon. Off to watch her video on flat-felling...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Taiwan Cherry Tree and Juvenile Pockets

I emailed the newspaper's Gardening Editor 2 or 3 years ago and asked if a Japanese cherry tree would grow here, and he recommended a Taiwan cherry instead. Dean planted it for me, and we thought it was dead because we never saw a leaf or bloom on it. Until now - behold the wonder! (Well, it still looks kinda puny, and so nice with the power lines, but we have BLOOMS, people!)

And this is a random picture of what Jake does while I sew - watch the street for dogs to bark at.

I took the kids to spend the night at the beach, where I tested my pocket-stitching prowess on the Janome. First I traced the pattern I had and pinned it to the denim...

Not too shabby...other than a wonky stitch where I backed the needle up by hand - don't do that.

And here's what the inside of my front pockets will look like. Remember Pammie's fabulous lining fabric with pretty red roses or something that coordinated with her red jeans? Well, this was what I had in the stash.

Yep, I didn't feel like going out to get special lining because this is just not my dream denim. I also found a long run on the fabric after I cut the legs out, so some distressing may be in order....for the fabric, I mean.

Only I will know that I have a tiny spaceship in my pocket.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Butt.

Made another adjustment - took the back inseam in 1/4". I have no problems with the front.

I'm totally comfortable with this - they feel like they fit well, in fact!

Especially because this is what I paid for:

There will always be wrinkles. I am not a Botox woman. My butt may as well match my face! (Which reminds me of an old joke of my dad's...or my brother's..."Hey, got a match?" Unsuspecting person looks through purse for pack of matches. "My butt, your face!")

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

15 Pictures of My Butt, or A Tale of Two Crotches

Well, before we dive into crotches...uh, I mean discussions about crotches...I'd like to share a dating dilemma. Drew has a date Friday night and asked me for some suggestions. They've just been on a double date to the movies, so I suggested dinner, bowling, getting ice cream, uh, that's all I could come up with. Bowling on a Friday night might be a bad idea if you're not with a big group, so we settled on dinner. We discussed various types of restaurants, and my recommendation was to stay away from table service - too much to worry about with a waiter, tipping, the danger of a steak being ordered, etc. (Seriously, we took some of his friends to a Mexican restaurant one year for his birthday and a kid ordered the T-bone steak...in a Mexican restaurant.)

I google-mapped a strip mall near the young lady's house (she lives WAY out) and found several restaurants and a Baskin Robbins - we're in bidness! Now she'd been all, "I don't care, whatever you want," in texts asking for specifics, but she did come out and nix the Chinese place. That left pizza (turned out it was out of business) and Panera Bread. Now it's not so awful to go there for a date when you're 15, is it? I never had a date in high school that I didn't chase down myself and drag to a formal dance, so I don't know these things. Lucas and I will be eating on the other side of the restaurant (no, I'm not dropping them off - I'm not ready for that yet - is that overprotective?), and then we'll go to BR for ice cream. I don't know, this is sounding kinda weird that the mom and brother are going to be so close. Why didn't they just go to a movie?!

Anyway, onto my muslin. Side seams are straight.

That's not the real waistband.

Legs are loose for jeans. I'm going to use this pattern for work pants, I think, but I would also like some jeans that fit like jeans - gotta work on the wrinkles.

So Jennifer Stern talks about sitting room in your jeans (Won't you come in? Care for tea and crumpets? Wait, that reminds me of milk, milk, lemonade; round the corner - never mind!), so I scooped out the back crotch to get some.

But the shallow scoops didn't do anything and the deepest one did this:

Ewww - I don't know how to say this PC other than it looks and feels like they're creeping...I'll leave it at that. So I got the pattern piece from the Betzina jeans and used that rear crotch curve, which is drastically different. This is what I ended up with - double EWWWW. And so tight for some reason - good thing it's fuzzy - you're welcome!

So I think I'm sticking with my original crotch curve and I may just tighten up the legs and see what that looks like. We have another chat Thursday night.

Oh, and the mother of the GF just called and recommended dropping them off at PB because it's a very safe area, and said that Lucas and I can go eat at a nicer place. Now does that mean she thinks this is a crappy date?! No, I'm just kidding - I know what she meant. Ah, the joys of teenagers!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dolly.....A Knit Shirt.......

Uh, things that are cloned? That's right - you've won $10,000! Thanks for watching, I'm Dick Clark. (Quick, name that game show.)

Let's see, I started with my favorite shirt that I've worn for about 10 years. (I didn't say it fit well...it appears to have stretched out, in fact.)

Damn, I'd say I've done a good job! (I wish we could say the same for Dean's photography.) Aside from the shoulder seams being a little lower and the neckline being shallower, I've got the same drag lines on the front and the same baggy sleeves.

Mercy, these sleeves are REALLY stretched out.

I sewed this muslin and had to take almost 2 inches out all the way around because it was so baggy - there's something to be said for cloning a top that fits well.

What I'm proud of:
1) I finished something.
2) I did a nice banded V-neckline using my Jalie instructions from a previous shirt.
3) I stuck with my Forrest Gump foot through the whole project since it's a ribbed knit, and there's not too much ruffling of my hems.

What I'm disgusted about:
1) I still can't find a nice stretchy hem - I'm sure wooly nylon in the bobbin would help but I just didn't have the time....or the wooly nylon.
2) The drag lines around the bust - I still feel like I don't understand shoulders (see posts about Betzina's shirt attempt). But what the heck, it's just a knit shirt after all, and they ARE so forgiving! You can't even tell how I mangled the sleeve cap on the pattern, can you?

Okay, now to try and catch up on the jeans - first webcast is tomorrow night!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weekend in New Orleans

We went over Saturday because Dean had to do some business for Mardi Gras (oh my goodness, Mardi Gras is next month!) and ate lunch at Parkway. That was the juiciest roast beef po-boy I ever had (I guess it's like a hoagie if you don't know what a po-boy is...but what if you don't know what a hoagie is...you know, just Google it), and look at the yummy sweet potato fries.

You can sit inside, but it was such a gorgeous day that we sat in the courtyard. (Yeah, I guess it's more of an empty lot, but the food's still good.)

After that the plan was to go to the WWII Museum, but I was graciously allowed to drop them off and go to Promenade Fabrics. Now that link is to an article about the owner, Herbert Halpern, and I didn't even think to take a picture of the guy, but there's one in the article.

You may remember I shopped there last year and put some pictures on the blog.

This year he's pinned pictures of clothing to the appropriate fabric for inspiration...or to show you that he carries that exact fabric.

I sure wish I knew how to make a wool coat.

So I pick up a bolt of a gorgeous print that I thought was just a knit, and he tells me it's $48/yard. Huh? He says, "Isn't it a gorgeous 4-ply?" (What's a 4-ply?) Turns out it's silk, and darned thick silk - the thickest! - and very hard to find apparently. He made me wad it up - "Just SEE if you can wrinkle it!"

So I buy a jeans zipper and topstitching thread, but he tells me to use the jeans thread he has - he sold out last week and doesn't understand why it's so popular all of a sudden. I tell him that everybody's making their own jeans these days, and he says, "You teenagers, you like to make your own jeans!" (Teehee, I'll take any flattering statement I can get.) I laugh and he says, "You ARE a teenager, aren't you?" (This old guy's still got a bit of a flirt in him!) I say, yeah, I'm 44. He gasps and says, "Oh my heavens, to be that age and still be able to walk around and sew - you're doing great!" (I also bought a yard and a half of silk knit at $22/yard - go figure!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cloning a Shirt (Well, reading about it really...)

Well, I actually worked on cloning a shirt that I started a month or two ago when I took the online class at PR. It involves lots of pinning and sketching and unpinning and lining up and drawing and repinning, and I finally got tired of that and just used weights on the paper and organza while I drew the lines. It's just a simple knit shirt so we'll see if that works or not. I actually finished the pattern pieces and started to cut them out yesterday, then I realized I forgot to add seam allowances. So I did that to the front and back, but I forgot to do it to the sleeve - DOH!

I found some old knit fabric to use as the muslin and barely had enough to cut it out. I had to cut 2 back pieces instead of cutting on the fold, but I did get that serged together (I'm just so happy that I actually turned a machine on yesterday). And I realized how much I rely on pattern instructions for the layout, etc. So that made me pull out my Easy Guide to Sewing by MacIntyre and Tilton to learn how to construct the shirt and do a neck binding. (I thought there was a way to put binding on flat before you sew the shoulder seams, but they don't mention that...maybe Betzina said that...maybe I just made it up.)

Anyway, so now I'm dug into the book, and it seems to be an excuse to keep from going up there and just sewing the thing up! Why do I do that? Of course I don't want to screw it up, but seriously, I can sidetrack myself so easy with books and DVD's and googling techniques, etc. Does anybody else do that?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Good Weekend

Alright, we found something to get them out of the house! We gave Dean a paddleboard for his last birthday, and it was promptly overtaken by the boys Saturday. (Nothing will make you realize time is flying by like seeing your kid fit into your husband's old wetsuit.) Drew hasn't shown much interest in surfing or kayaking, but it was hard to get him off the paddleboard.

And of course Lucas had to try it too...without benefit of a wetsuit. Luckily the weather was great and the water wasn't freezing cold, plus he didn't fall in. They spent 3 hours doing this - I did not once have to say "Step away from the iPad!" They would've done it all day, but it got cloudy and colder, so that was all for now.

What you're missing here is the photo of me, because I attempted it in shorts and hooded top, to much derision from the boys, and guess who else didn't fall in! Of course, there are no pictures because they were so concerned for my safety that they couldn't be bothered to grab the camera (or more likely, they wanted to be the first one on the board if I fell off).

In sewing news, I decided to hold off on the skinny jeans till I take the class at PR and have Jennifer Stern's workbook in hand. Now, I DID get a package from her already - she mails it out fast! - and it had 3 yards of muslin as promised, but it had a workbook on turning a pair of jeans into a skirt - DOH! Oh well, great excuse to continue cloning my shirt today, which I'm trying to get finished.

In exercise news, I haven't danced as much as I should, but I have continued lunging around the house (not a drunken lunge, mind you, though the daily red wine really is keeping my cholesterol LOW...and my liver well-toned). Not only great for your thighs and derriere, lunging is a great exercise in balance if you tote a laundry basket while you do it.

And speaking of thighs, we were talking about boats last night and Lucas told us he likes boats with cabins. He said, "Well, it's nice to have a place to lay around since mom's thighs are getting smaller." WTF? (Mom, that's short for "What in the world did he mean by that, Friend?") And what he meant was that on long boat rides he usually lays his head in my lap, and he knows I've been trying to exercise, so he found a way to flatter me. And yes, he did get dessert after that comment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Great granny pete - I look awful! I put the waistband on the skinny jeans muslin and tried them on - is that you gagging or me? This pic demonstrates (besides my big flat derriere and terrible panty lines - I have GOT to get some new undies that don't show!) one side with lots of wrinkles and the other side not so much, because I pinned them out a la Silhouette Patterns - got the link from either Gwen or Pammie, I think. THAT's why there's that big wrinkle under my right derriere - that's actually not a panty line.

And what's UP with the yoke? Now these seams are not ironed or trimmed or anything, so hopefully that'll look better in denim, because I don't see how that looks good right now. (Dang, I look old....I mean mature....in my glasses.)

And this is just to show you that it was a muslin, so I didn't cut out full legs - I was concentrating on the crotch and hips. And these go on without unzipping the zipper, so I may need to size down, huh? (This reminds me of an old man we saw on vacation years ago who was wearing shorts, black knee-high socks, and sandals.)

So hopefully these pictures are so awful that ANYTHING in denim will look better, especially with full leg length! This just shows that I blundered into awesome-fitting Betzina jeans with her help, and I really don't what I'm doing with pants. That's why I'm thinking of signing up for the jeans class at PR...because that last Clone a Garment class went so well, right? (It's all in a bag where I left it after the final chat - never had time to get it really started.)

Anyway, we'll see if I can actually get my changes transferred properly to the tissue....I DOUBT it!

(Ooh, just a little PS after I visited Jennifer Stern's blog and purchased her jeans workbook (thanks, Pam!) - I was thinking that I had similar wrinkles on my Betzina muslin and Sandra lengthened the back crotch tip to make them go away - which is what Jennifer talks about too - so I don't think pinning these out will help. Guess we'll find out!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fleece Jacket Mayhem

Nothing will touch your heart like seeing your children wearing their custom-made (not homemade) jackets to school on out-of-uniform day. Today was 32 degrees so heavier coats were in order, and both boys opted for their fleeces. Lucas was revved up about it, in fact.

After school I asked him if he got any comments on it.
L: "Well, let's just say that we may need to wash it."
Me: "Why?" (Did somebody push him down in the dirt and make fun of his jacket?)
L: "Because there were so many hands on it! Everybody wanted to touch it! And you have been told what a good sewer you are."
Me: "Oh yeah?"
L: "Yeah, a bunch of people said it looked like a North Face jacket."

BUT....he decided he's ready to have it embroidered. Now, I'm thinking something like Drew's "The Derp Face" in a font and location similar to the North Face. Well Drew refused to let him get "Derp Face Junior," so he thought about "Make Mine Decaf." Kind of cute...but he decided finally on "I'm with AWESOME." Now that'll be 2 lines of text with an arrow pointing up at the end.

And that's going in red thread (as suggested by the monogramming chick)...on the BACK of the jacket just below the blue overlay....in BIG letters.

I didn't cry in front of him, but he saw the look on my face and again made his case that this is HIS special jacket. And he was impressed that the monogramming chick was very serious about fonts and placement and not smiling at all. (Oh well, the sleeves were a little too short anyway.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

What Year is It?

Man, my legs are sore from the 20 lunges I did yesterday, and you bet I'm doing more today. I will lunge, dance for 30 minutes, and sew today in keeping with my resolutions. I also played Qwirkle and chess with the kids last night, so the resolution to have less screen time and more family together time is off to a good start.

Now I want to share a newspaper article with you. My first thought was, hey - those girls in white look like my great-aunt's wedding photo where she had all her sisters wear white too!

Then I saw it was a debutante ball. So my second thought was, does the rest of the country do this, or is this just a southern thing? Is this how the Kardashians and Paris Hilton came out? (My third thought was that somebody could make a killing sewing white dresses in Mobile!)

Then I looked at the whole page and I thought, wait a minute - what year is this again?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I found out how to get depressed and motivated at the same time....go back and read your own blog! I saw that on January 1, 2009, I rode bikes with the boys and did my equivalent of circuit training with them afterwards. In 2010 I was walking on the treadmill and attempting to get in shape, plus sewing a lot. I also seem to have had a rip-roaring sense of humor too! Wonder where all that stuff went?

So at 11 AM I got out of my pajamas and helped Lucas rearrange his room (he was eager to do this, so it's not child abuse). This is the kid who asked me to help him clean out his closet yesterday. He also did a great job of tossing stuff that was "cute," but said he thinks he's more like a girl in that respect - the things that he thinks are cute, that is. And apparently one of Drew's female friends has told Lucas she thinks he has taste like a girl too. But he's okay with that.

Then we went to Arby's for lunch just to get out of the house. They had a special - 2 French Dips for $5 - sign me up! But wait a minute - are you kidding me?

I'll give you that this is worth about $2.50. But Drew wanted another one, and if you don't buy 2 for $5, they're $4.89 a piece! What a scam.

Anyway, I also got my skinny jeans muslin cut out and most of the way sewn. Except this has a separate fly and I've only done a one-piece fly, so my world has been rocked. I called it quits on that temporarily, and danced for about 30 minutes on Just Dance 3 with Lucas, who was promptly discouraged by my superior moves and quit. Junior, did you see they had Jester's song "Jump ON It," about Tonto or whatever? Fun moves.

Okay, so back upstairs to put on the waistband. Thank all you people for reading my blog and for inspiring me with your blogs (like Sheila's infinity scarf, which I am totally making...after I finish the jeans). Oh, and I found a new one my SIL sent me - this chick cracks me up and went viral after her Elf on the Shelf post - good stuff!

Here's to continued productivity, good health, and maybe finding that sense of humor again in 2012!