Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Dress is Done!

There is a peculiar amnesia/madness that sets in with me when I contemplate sewing projects: Somehow, I know that no matter how many nutty decisions I make, no matter how many shortcuts I take, that the project will go quickly and smoothly. This is rarely true. There are reasons for the rules, and it is a foolish person who ignores them lightly.

Okay, so I didn't have the perfect fabric in my stash. Did I go and purchase four yards of something suitable? No. I decided to take off my shelf some almost-okay fabric that was a little too thin and had fraying issues. I figured if I doubled it, it would solve the thinness issue (and obviate the need for a slip as well). The result is that the dress is very heavy. This may become a problem this coming weekend. Also, the raw edges have a lot of fraying. After this weekend, I'll probably go in to the interior of the dress and do some folding under and slip stitching. Of course, I just now thought that since I had used two layers throughout, I could have pressed the edges between the layers. Did this occur to me while I was frantically trying to meet the deadline? Noooooo.

The next fudge was that I didn't have a perfect pattern in my possession. I decided to mash together the bodice from a dress and a blouse. Note to self: next time, redraw the collar area (easy) and not the shoulder seam. A good five hours this past weekend was consumed with basting in a sleeve, trying on the dress, saying, "uggh!!", ripping out the basting stitches, carefully measuring and trimming away more sleeve cap (and then repeating this sequence - at least four times). In the end, I got a sleeve cap that worked with very little fudging. Every time I trimmed the cap, I laid that trimmed piece over the other sleeve cap and trimmed that one back. Every other try, I put both sleeves on to make sure that the bodice still worked.

Another issue was the dropped waist. We all remember the late 1990s / early 2000s: Dropped waists were everywhere. I shortened the bodice and redrew the side seams inward to make the dress a little more form fitting.

A final issue was that I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the skirt as long as I would have liked it. So my solution was to add an extra three inches and cover the seam on the outside with some of the lace trim leftover from trimming the vest. In the end, it's not a great dress, but it's perfectly serviceable.

We are Catholics, and my husband is the co-ordinator of the liturgy co-ordinators in our parish. He's also an autodidact (who also has a BA in theology) well versed in theology and liturgy, which means that he is the de facto liturgist in the parish. For us, Easter starts in January when he confers with the pastor and the parish staff. He has co-ordinators in place for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Vigil (I'm one of his Vigil co-ordinators), but he's going to be stressing about the details until it's all over. We'll be up on Saturday night into the wee hours of Sunday. We'll get home long enough to get three hours of sleep and then head back in for the 8:30 a.m. Mass, where I have communion preparation duty. It's a long weekend, and this dress will get a real workout.

I hope that whatever celebration/commemoration you observe this week, that you have many blessings flow from it. I probably won't check back in here until next week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter Dress

Because I don't have enough projects in the queue, this past Monday morning (as in two Mondays before Easter - 3/22/2010), I wake up knowing that I want a new dress for Easter. The last time I had this thought was about 11 years ago, and I went to seven stores looking for something pretty that would fit me and not make me look like the mother of the bride. I ended up sewing a couple of dresses for myself, and other than trousers from TravelSmith and shirts from second-hand stores, most of my clothes have come from my sewing room.

So, I had to pick a pattern (something fairly simple and quick to make). I ended up choosing Simplicity 7220, and I decided to make the dress on the right with the sleeves from the blouse in the middle.

This involved a little redrawing of the bodice pieces of the dress, and because I'm too lazy to make a muslin first, I've just plunged in and cut all of the pieces and figured I would fudge my way out of any difficulties....

Oh, and then I had to pick the fabric. So, I've had this pink fabric forever. I truly don't remember how it came into my life. I am guessing that it is a cotton/poly blend, and it's rather thin. So, I'm using a double layer of it (and pinning like mad during the cutting and sewing phase!).
Then, I got to thinking about that vast expanse of PINK and had various visions of bad jokes. So, I found the pattern on the right in my stash. I've made the shirt in the upper right corner with happy results. I noticed the vest in the lower right, and it just has three pieces (two fronts and a back)! This meant I could use the pretty floral fabric to tone down the pink dress. The floral fabric has some strong vertical lines and lots of blank space. That will visually slim my appearance. I'll use some of the scraps to trim the sleeve hemlines, the dress hemline, and the neckline of the dress. It'll look like an "outfit" without screaming about it. I hope to show pictures early next week of a completed outfit.

Because I can't always be in the sewing room in the evenings, I am working on this scarf:

It is the Argosy pattern found at I've been working on it about a week and have finally (mostly) memorized the pattern.

Until next time, toodles!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Scraptastic Project

Since November, I have been working on a project with my scraps. Now, if you sew, you create scraps. If you're a quilter, those scraps are elements of your work. So, I had boxes and bags scattered around my sewing room with project leftovers. Something like the first picture. My brilliant idea was to sort the pieces by color family and sew them together at random into large pieces.

This past weekend, I started cutting the pieces into diamond shapes.

I have several ideas of where I can take the project from here, but the fact of the matter is, that I'm not really certain where I'm going. This has been such a fun project.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Too Much Information

When I was in the eighth grade, my Sunday school teacher handed out paper and pencil and asked us to list all of the magazines and newspapers to which our family subscribed and to put stars by the church-related publications. My family of five (mother and four kids - my dad died at the beginning of my seventh-grade year) had over 30 subscriptions, about a quarter of which were church-related. In fact, our church-related subscriptions outnumbered most other kids' total subscriptions. Mind you, some of ours were leftovers from my dad, but still....

Here we are, three-and-a-half decades later, and my husband and I have a LOT of print subscriptions. There are four weekly church-related subscriptions, alone. We subscribe to political, general interest, and craft magazines. We subscribe to locally-produced magazines as well as internationally-produced magazines. When you add in the various organizations to which we make contributions (and which generously send us newsletters), we have a lot of print to plow through regularly.

In addition, we both read online. I love SLATE and I read blogs and other news sources. My husband has a similar full diet. There does come a point where one feels overloaded. A couple of weeks ago, we went out and purchased a new side table for the living room. That new table promptly made the mess on the coffee table unbearable. I went through the accumulation and tossed without sorting. A year's worth of assorted magazines I "meant" to read went in the trash. Oh, what a feeling! Now, the "coffee table books" can actually be seen, and the only magazines there are the ones that have arrived in the last month. Sometimes, you have to declare "printruptcy" for the sake of mental peace.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My First Adult-Sized Cardigan!

I am SO pleased to have finished this! I started it in late November. It is a pattern from Cosmic Pluto, and it was really easy to follow her well-written instructions. I used Malabrigo yarn that I got from my favorite yarn store, Busy Hands on Main Street in Ann Arbor.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sat down to type minutes, and created a blog instead

Right now I'm supposed to be typing the minutes for the condo association board meeting, but here I'm creating a blog. I'm planning to check in a couple of times a week. The quilt at the top of the blog is one of my favorites. It started out in a Carol Taylor class, and then went off in its own direction. That's the way I prefer to work. I like not knowing where I'm going until I get there.