Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saved by Dr. Homemaker!

Whew! Shout out to Susie Homemaker, MD, who resuscitated my binding stat! She emailed me a link to a great Threads video tutorial on applying knit bindings. It was stuff I vaguely remembered doing before, but it laid it out in easy steps and was a piece of cake. I'd repost it, but I don't want to pirate somebody's intellectual material if it's only for subscribers. We'll proceed with a slide show of some different pants pairings.

My only problem was I cut the binding with the grain to get the border I wanted, and we know the stretch was cross grain, so I couldn't stretch this nicely to get rid of gappage.

It did stretch a smidge, though, so is definitely better than yesterday.

You know I had to try the purple suede heels!

I like this the best. This is a Front Door Fashion tucking tip - just the front!

Okay, have a great weekend. If you get bored and want to see something cool, Google Mobile Fashion Week, Helen Legg (sorry I can't get a hyperlink to work on the iPad). Here's a sample of her work posted on, and you can even go vote for her - they're choosing 2 of 3 girls to compete, and her work seems the most creative, though I also like the other girl's vintage halter dress with red sash....

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Half-hearted Sewing

Well, I tried to finish the Japanese AC shirt. I took it up to the machine and serged all the seams instead of flat-felling them so I'd have a little extra security...not that my serging's secure at all, as evidenced by the seams FALLING OUT of that blue Mardi Gras dress last year. Anyway, I cut the blue border strip and pressed in half to make the neckline binding, which I thought I remembered how to do on the machine. This is an overall picture with the binding basted on. I cut this version a little bigger than the Gator shirt since it's for work and not as stretchy.

I'm still in love with the fit, though I did cut the neckline down so it wouldn't choke me, and I like the sleeves with the border, but note how the neck binding stands out away from per my usual, of course.

I didn't quite get the white stripe on the binding out of the way, since I couldn't see that side as I was basting - bleh.

And I was in AC mode, where you just overlap the ends of the binding and stitch them down, no big deal, but DUH! I believe on machine-sewn shirts this requires some type of mitering, or sewing ends together before applying - arghhhhh!!! I'm just so disgusted with myself now. I shall henceforth be known as Dr. Fun, Special Needs Sewist. I couldn't face any more failure and suddenly became very sleepy, so I'm just dropping it for now and we'll see what happens tomorrow. Perhaps I'll sew an AC cretin stitch in regular matching blue thread around that binding to make it lay exactly how I like. Or maybe I'll look up a tutorial on applying neck bindings.

If you're a sewer, you can click away from this train wreck now. I just wanted to save this cool pic for posterity. We were piled up on the couch watching TV last night and Dean snapped a pic of 2 feet. They're the same size, but one's been around 12 years, and the other for 47 years - what a difference 35 years makes! I bet somebody'll offer Botox and dermabrasion for your foot one day, at the rate we're going now. Which reminds me, has anyone watched Botched? We caught an episode the other night - forgot what channel - and just EWWW! But how sad that somebody feels that badly about themselves to go through something like that. Just heartbreaking to see how messed up things can get...kinda like that neck binding.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An AC Shirt out of Nonregulation Fabric?

So here's how the Gator shirt turned out with the neckline bound. Drew says it looks weird. I think it looks like a coed picked up a school shirt and bedazzled it to reflect her own unique personality.

Or it was sold in a boutique specializing in upscale school shirts.

But here's the big dilemma. This is fabulous Japanese knit fabric, which looks upscale and resistant to bedazzling. See the clever thing I did with the sleeve? That border was going to be the hem of the shirt, till I realized the stretch went in the other direction, so I made it be sleeve borders. Brilliant!

But the trouble is that if I flat-fell the seams, the thread will show, and it'll look weird. I tried stitching a second line along the first line to secure the seam, but you can still see the stitches.

Not terribly professional looking...I'm thinking of taking it to the machine and treating it like a regularly-sewn shirt, down to the neck binding. The only other way to handle it is to find matching thread that won't be so noticeable, but that would be impossible with button craft thread, I'm afraid. What are your suggestions? Hey - I even had the idea of outlining some of the geometric shapes with embroidery, but it's just really wrong for this fabric, I think. Maybe on a more playful fabric...that I didn't buy in Japan!

In other news, I have to participate in a Jeopardy style game of attendings vs residents next week, and we have to dress up with a team name and music. The Avengers movie seems popular right now, so I suggested we be....the Attenders - get it? The other lady agreed to get a Black Widow costume (she's younger, skinnier, and should be able to pull off leather pants in a professional manner), and the guy is getting an Ironman costume. Should be entertaining....

especially if I leave this costume as is! Who do they think would wear this without lengthening this skirt? I'm headed to JoAnn for blue taffeta so as not to reveal my assets when I sit down!

Have a great week!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Alabama Chanin on Call

By that, I mean that I'm on call so we can't go to the beach, but it was quiet enough to get some sewing in - yay! First I ran to Books-a-Million to get the 4th and final AC book.

Now I've been working on my AC couched skirt again because I'm at an impasse on my knitted lacy top - the sleeves have to decrease 2 stitches every 8th row in the lace pattern, which apparently involves drawing your own chart, which I've never done, so I'm stuck. Any help there? The up side of the dilemma is that I was forced to stop knitting and start sewing again, so I'm now halfway through the second panel of my 4-panel skirt I started last summer. Now the ADHD-sewing thing kicked in, plus my sewing buddy Robbie and I were planning to have an airbrushing session soon, so I needed ideas for something ELSE to work on! That took me upstairs to look at fabric, and I decided to try the T-shirt pattern from her third book, I believe. But I read that the fourth book had all the patterns plus a few extra, so I got it first.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the new book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. There are only 2 or 3 new patterns (wrap skirt, a VERY blousy dress, and maybe one other thing I'm blanking on), and there are NO embellished items. The third book was my favorite because of all the eye candy with the sequins, beads, fur, etc., but this one is more about how to alter all the patterns, and it's very basic stuff. Plus, the patterns are all on a CD and you have to print them out yourself, or take them to a printer - bleh! You can order the paper patterns extra for $30. Oh well, back to the fabric. I found this slightly stretchy knit that I think I bought in Japan, and decided to test the T-shirt pattern on something else first to get the fit right before I make a shirt out of this.

Cue the XXL t-shirt I bought at an outlet center.

I decided to keep the Gator - maybe we'll go to a game this year....yeah, I doubt it.

Had a couple of these orange shirts donated to me, and this makes great sleeves that are hemmed already.

Well, hot damn at the fit! This is my first AC garment with sleeves, and I am pleased!

Still need to make the swayback adjustment...

and I haven't bound the neckline or blue? I was planning on using white thread with a cretin stitch on orange or blue binding, but Drew thought that sounded weird, even though I explained that they don't make those colors in button craft thread. He suggested I use regular thread, but I kind of like the contrast with my white-felled seams on the shoulders and armholes.

Well, obviously I need to loosen it just a bit for work, but we'll see if I can get this done in that Japanese fabric. Then of course to the original plan of airbrushing some cotton for aNOther shirt....or skirt...curse this ADHD sewing! Hey, how was YOUR weekend?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Graduation and Dinner

Drew graduated this past weekend, and I didn't know if I'd be able to stop crying. Does everybody get depressed when their kid graduates? The school gave him a packet at graduation practice with his final transcript, all the standardized test scores, shot record, birth certificate, and the picture we had to submit when he started - awwwww!!!!

I did some sobbing after the senior breakfast while I was alone in the bathroom, and had some tears running down my face when he and Lucas left our family pre-graduation dinner at Jerusalem Cafe to get set up, but I was oddly emotion-less at the actual ceremony. (Could've been the 3 antsy kids sitting in front of us drinking Capri Suns and eating purple suckers.) An added bonus was that Lucas played the drums with the school band, and of course the song was Pomp and Circumstance, or as Lucas thinks it's called, Pompous Circumstance.

One other fun thing was that I volunteered to be a chaperone for the "don't go out drinking, stay here in the gym and be sober" party afterwards, which involved a hypnotist making these kids do the craziest things for over an hour - that was something! We're still waiting for videos of the valedictorian ripping off his shirt while dancing to make it onto YouTube...including the valedictorian himself, who can't remember anything. Good stuff.

So after moping around the house all weekend being depressed, I started call this week, but decided since I finished early that I should cook dinner. Pinterest sent me a timely email about quick dinners, so Drew, Lucas, and I whipped this up after a trip to the grocery store:

If you know me well at all, aren't you proud of me for cooking this?! And it tasted delicious! Okay, you just cook a pound of bacon, boil your pasta then throw in the broccoli, heat up your Bertolli alfredo sauce, shred some Publix rotisserie chicken and crumble up the bacon into it, and toss it all in a dish. Didn't leave too much of a mess for Dean to clean up...

Alright, anybody else have a depressing graduation story? Or a great pasta dish that I can't destroy?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another 5K Win!

Dude, I came in 3rd for my age group (45-49) again - wish I'd stayed to collect the prize! Anybody know what it is? Another plastic water bottle? And yes, there were only 4 of us, why do you ask? If they hadn't subdivided 40-49, I would've been out, because there was a 41-yr old who was faster than me. Anyway, I'm making Lucas join me for Lulu's Hot Trot in June so he'll get some exercise, and I'm still trying to work up to a half-marathon in the fall. Alright, more gin and tonics for everyone! Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Good Restaurant and A Bad Talk

But first, the beautiful little roses growing on the fence - forgot what their official name is...anyone?

There's a little Mediterranean restaurant nearby that doesn't seem to do any business, and we blame the location, because EVERY restaurant that's ever been there has closed within a year or two. Surprisingly, they were advertising for help, and Drew's now officially finished with high school, so we ate dinner there just to check out the working conditions before he applies. Here's the hummus, which was really runny, oddly, but had the best flavor - even better than our usual hummus joint.

And here's my chicken curry, which was very tasty...

and Lucas's softshell crab - also yummy. I didn't get a picture of the best dish, which was Drew's lamb with cranberries, mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar sauce - that stuff was fantastic!

We were the only table for about 20 minutes, which was quite awkward, but then 2 other tables came in to save us. Now they had bottles of wine on display on a table, but no wine list, and my Mom and I were up for a glass. You should consider the volume of business when ordering a glass of wine, and I was worried that it might have turned if it had been sitting a while, so I ordered a whole bottle, since it's legal to leave with a corked, bagged bottle here (according to Carrabbas). Now the poor waitress looked about 18 years old, and went to get a Chardonnay off the display table before I realized there was not apparently not a wine chiller (don't I sound snobby about chilled wine!), but Mom said she could drink room temperature wine, so I went with it. Sadly, the smell hit me before the taste did, and let's just say we didn't drink much of it. I even rushed to get in the car when we left, lest the owner chase me down with my "forgotten" bottle! I just googled Oak Leaf Chardonnay, and apparently you can get it for $1.97 at Walmart. I was thinking how affordable it was at the restaurant, but I see now that he did mark it up to $13. Sheesh, you get what you pay for.

Okay, on to the talk. I was asked to present a lecture to a conference here in town, and they implied they wanted one I had just given to another group, so that's a piece of cake, right? I agreed, but then the official letter said they wanted the focus to be slightly different, and I found out while doing the research that it didn't actually pertain to the heart at all. I was very bummed and had a hard time starting to work on it, and I've been dreading it for WEEKS! So Wednesday I get an email with the whole conference listed, and the woman in front of me is speaking about a broader version of the SAME topic. She was furious that the organizer didn't tell either one of us about the overlap, and fully 50% of her talk dealt with my subject. Now if you're a teacher or a lecturer or something, has this ever happened to you? Would you believe that she and I even used the SAME Powerpoint slide theme?! We had slides of the same 3 studies with the very same graphs, and I spent a lot of time saying, "As Dr. Serious mentioned...."

The saving grace (if you could call it that) was that she used much bigger scientific words and got down on a molecular level, whereas I kept it on a more lay-personable level (you can use that - I just made it up). The biggest words I used, in fact, were "microvascular obstruction," and my Mad Cow nearly screwed those up! Note to self: always ask for everyone's topics when presenting at a big conference.