Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Fabric Takeover

The Thursday before Goid Friday I drive The Geek to the airport at 0500 hours. Her plane had not yet taken off before I dragged my seeing machine, serger, and all my Dolly Clackett supplies into the kitchen. It us so much brighter up here and I've been schlemming about winter since November. By Saturday morning my projects (oh yes, I cut out more than one Dolly Clackettt dress. They are all in various stages of construction) had expanded into the living room. 
The Gerk retuned home at 0100 hours on Tuesday but my stuff is still all over the place. She us being extremely gracious about it. Since she has so many out-of-the-house projects on the go right now the mess isn't bothering her too much. 
The forecast for the next several days is rain so I hope to clear much if this up by Sunday. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's pretty hard core. There's been some fruit used and some very inappropriate gestures.

When I grow up, I want to be like Dolly Clackett. She has such fun dresses, made from great fabric and versatile patterns, cute shoes, and a great attitude toward life.

Sarah's idea to celebrate Roisin and Nic's wedding by having the blogosphere make Dolly Clackett-esque dresses is genius.

I'm off to a good start -I already have a few of her favourite patterns in my collection -Simplicity 2444, Sewaholic Cambie, Butterick 5748, and ByHandLondon Anna (tho' I must be the only one in the world who can't get that dress to work for her).

I decided ages ago I would make Simplicity 2444 - a dress I tried once last summer, and I already had three yards of some cute nautical fabric. Then I ran into a snag -three yards of 45" fabric with a one-way design is not enough to make Simplicity 2444. Three meters, yes; three yards, no. So at my first opportunity I galloped off to Marshall's Fabrics to find three meters of a different print. It wasn't that easy. Marshall's has a wide selection, and while I like a quirky print, there is not point buying something that doesn't speak to who you are. If they had something with bicycles, or rowing shells, or maps, I would have been in-and-out in five minutes. As it was, I had a serious snoop that lasted at least half an hour. But I finally found what I wanted, and the dress has turned out well.

So here I am, by my own colourful door. I would have taken the pictures by our front door so I could also have stairs, but our stairs are still covered in ice.

This is the first time my legs have seen the light of day since September. I should have worn tights.
May I present the Colourful Happiness dress. It's odd how something so simple can cheer you up.

And bring a silly grin to your face. Too bad that grin didn't show up in these photographs. I find it hard to take pictures of myself with the timer because it always takes so long to go off- I can't concentrate that long...

Mandatory hands on hips pose.
 My tripod is pretty funny too. However the snow is still rather depressing -hence my difficulty eliminating my dour expression.
I have no idea what that contraption on the stool is, but it works to elevate the camera.
I had to hurry through the outdoor pictures; it was only 8 degrees today.
We haven't dared put away the snow shovels either.

Here is my dress hanging on the chimney. The colours seem even more vibrant against the brick. Very cheerful.

And if you wondered about the print, yes, those are crayons. You can't tell until you look closely. I feel very subversive! Plus, they are all my favourite colours; green, orange, purple, turquoise, blue.



There was very little fiddling with the pattern. Other than lengthening the bodice by about one and one half inches, I made a straight size 14.

I self-lined the sleeves after removing all the ease from the sleeve cap. They would pucker badly on top otherwise.


Plus, my usual trick for back zippers. As long as I can get my head through the neck opening, I sew the back seam completely closed. I then put the zipper so it's about an inch below the top of the dress. I like the neat finish and I don't have to fuss with hooks and eyes, or other methods of closing the top edge. I haven't tried this yet with a lapped zipper, but I expect it would work just as well.

And a serger rolled hem -I was getting lazy.

I expect I will get a great deal of wear from this dress. I'm already planning on wearing it to my office partner's retirement party.

That's the craic on this dress.

Congratulations Roisin and Nic, my best wishes on your upcoming wedding. May the saddest day of your future be like the happiest day of your past!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Dog's Age

About 13 years ago I made my oldest nephew a big stuffed toy for Christmas. He was six months old and I thought he needed an elephant. So I made him one using this pattern.
The next Christmas I made my niece a lamb. A cow looks like a lamb when you use the correct fabric. I grew up on a farm -trust me!   ;)




Two years later I made a spotted dog for my second nephew.










Not the first tongue cut from this piece of fabric.








My third nephew has a leopard but I couldn't find it when I was looking around my sister's house this past Christmas. It seemed impolite to rummage thru' the closets for the leopard when the elephant and the dog were in plain view.

My fourth nephew has had three Christmases but he still didn't have his animal. I blame his parents, as they have been away for every Christmas since he arrived on the scene. This has been weighing on my conscience as I like to treat all the kids the same, for better or for worse. This was going to be the year he was going to get an animal. Since N2 and N4 are kindred spirits I thought it would be ok if N4 got a dog too.

But as Christmas approached, I found out N4's family was going to be away again and my motivation dropped; I figured I didn't have to rush. I didn't.

I finally cut out the little beast in the middle of January when I went to visit my parents. I sewed the face togehter a few weeks later.

Interfacing to stabilize the fabric and a button to hold on the eyes.

And there it sat. For weeks. And weeks. Impeding any other projects I had because I felt guilty about not working on the dog. Does that happen to anyone else? You can't work on things you want to because of things you feel you should do?

At any rate, I called my sister and asked when would be a good time to get together so I could give Miss S her Christmas present and N4 his dog, even tho' the dog was still at the face-only stage. I work better with close deadlines. I got a tight deadline. She said she would be in town the next day and she would drop by with the kids. Yoikes!

I dragged a sewing machine upstairs and put it on the kitchen counter. It was a machine I found at a garage sale - a Singer 185K- but more on that later. I spent about five hours, on-and-off, fiddling with the tension before I could get started, but it worked like a dream after all that. And I finished that dog.

Its not a difficult project so I can't imagine why I was dragging my heels so.

Here is the dude. Finally.


N4 seemed pleased by his very, very late Christmas present and that albatross is no longer around my neck.

I have a question. Does it count as stash-sewing if the fabric was bought for this pattern and this specific project? Probably not, but at least there is two less meters of fabric and a one less bag of stuffing around.

And I can move along to other projects with a clear conscience.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Separation Anxiety and Singer 318K

About 10 days ago I took my sewing machine in for a tune-up.
I've had my Kenmore for almost 31 years; it was a high school graduation gift from my parents and probably the best gift I have ever received.
The machine has been oiled and cleaned 'regularly' and I have had no problems with it, but I thought it could do with a once-over every 30 years or so.
I must admit to feeling a pang when I walked out the door. It has been with me almost every place I have lived and it feels odd not to have it around.

 An addict always has to have a back-up plan. In my case, it was a Singer 318K I found at a garage sale last summer.

 It came in what I think was it's original carry case, plus an old toiletries case, both smelling slightly musty.




I was puzzled to find two power supply cords in the cosmetic case.


The green one proved to have a patch job, a scary thing in electrical stuff, so I used the black one.

 The little beast comes with loads of cool attachments like these fashion discs which provide hundreds of stitch variety options.


 A box of all sorts of attachments. I have yet to figure out if they all belong with this machine.

 And a buttonholer.
 These switches allow you to toggle through various stitch options when used with the above discs. Plus the dual thread holders/


I downloaded the users manual and I tried it out by sewing it a cover.  Recycling at its finest -I used the a leg from these trousers when I turned them into shorts.





Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sew Grateful Pattern Winners

 Here are the winners of the patterns. Since I couldn't find the slingshot (I hate it when we clean up) I had to use a different method to determine a winner when there was more than one person requested a pattern. If only one person asked, they got it; when there were multiple entries (Butterick 4018 and McCalls 9361) I wrote the entrants names on a piece of paper and did Itsy, Bitsy Spider to decide.

So...

 McCall's 8770 goes to Phillipa . She has the most beautiful pair of knit gloves in her lastest post. And it hadn't occurred to me to have someone else knit my stuff, since I am so dreadfully slow. Well, it had, but I wasn't sure who I could get to do it. I will have to look into it. Thank you for the tip.
.

To Meriwether goes the McCall's trousers. Unfortunately, Meriwether didn't leave any contact details. If anyone knows her, could you ask her to drop me a line with her mailing address?

McCall's 9361 was, by far, the most popular item. I hadn't looked that closely at it until Jackie mentioned the princess seams. And sonofagun, it does have princess seams. I wonder if I have time to trace it...no, I doubt wrap dresses do well on bicycles. Maryall, this is going to be heading to you. Maryall has a number of links to free patterns on her blog, and she looks so very elegant when she models her versions.

And Butterick 4018 goes to Rachel. Rachel knits, and spins, and sews. Am I the only one who didn't know Christchurch had an earthquake three years ago?  Rachel and an number of people she knows are still rebuilding.













Thank you all for entering. I have enjoyed finding new blogs to read and, as always, finding out about other little corners of the world.

Ladies, please check your my email so I can get your mailing address.

Take care!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sew Grateful-Pattern Giveaway

(ETA: Blogger is driving me batty. I have no idea which pictures, if any, are showing up; please scroll all the way to the bottom. I will publish this, and try to edit it (again) in the morning. Maybe Blogger is just cranky from lack of sleep. Gah!!)

It certainly doesn't feel like the end of February so Debi's Sew Grateful Week rather took me by surprise. I'm sure I have some fabric and other things to giveaway, but I am running out of time (I'm going to my visit my parents in the morning) so the patterns will have to do.

Without further ado...







































Please tell me which one(s) you would like before midnight CST on February 28. If I have multiple requests, I will use the same 'random number generator' I used last year to pick the winners. I will mail anywhere, but please leave your contact information either with your comment, or have it easily accessible on the link to your name.