Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm a tease.

The other night I met a stray cat. He was friendly, and not excessively afraid of humans, but collarless and world worn, so in my mind, he was homeless. I pet him, although my companions thought that was gross. But he was cute, and I don't get much furry small animal action, and although I don't think I'd like to have a small furry animal living in my home and getting their fur all over my clothes and furniture, I do still crave furry interaction. If he had been my cat, I would have named him Boots, or Blackie McWhitefeet, or Bootstrap Bill, or Cowboy, or Bugsy, or Buster, or Harry McHarrington, or or Kitty. He was black with white feet. Cute, thin, scrawny little cat.

I met him down the street from my house, and I spent a few minutes petting him and calling him to me. He seemed to appreciate the attention. When TC and I started walking home, old Bootsy followed us. I thought that he would lose interest, but he didn't. He followed us all the way to the door of our building. And I felt so sad that I had to leave him outside. But I felt really sad when TC pointed out that I had led the fur ball on, and that I was guilty of doing what so many women do: giving the guy false hope.

I decided that if I come across Boots again I will let him determine our relationship. If he wants a pet, I'm there for him. But I don't want to be a tease.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The $5 Jacket

A few weeks back, the Huz and I ventured into Ann Taylor Loft (like my favorite clothing store ever, aside form Nordstrom Rack) just to look. I was determined not to buy anything for me since we went to the mall specifically to buy clothing for the Huz. But, when I saw a jacket marked down to final sale $4.88, it almost didn't matter what it looked like, I had to have it.

Luckily the jacket was cute, and practical, and fit me. So I snatched it up.

I wore it a few days later for an improptu date night with my man. Lots of detail. And from my perspective, the metal buttons alone must cost more than $5, so I got a heck of a deal.

Definitely worth $5 in my mind.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Look 6942

I've been MIA and I really have no explanation. I've just been content reading other people's blogs rather than updating my own. And once I realized that I hadn't blogged in a while and imagined what excuses I would give you, and I couldn't come up with any good ones, so then I decided to put off writing for even longer. It's a vicious cycle.

Today I am here to share with you the amazing story of New Look 6942.

A long time ago I fell in love with this pattern. Against all odds, and against all better judgment I got it stuck in my mind that I was going to make view D, come hell or high water. I HAD to have a sleeveless vest with ruffle poufies. I just HAD to.

I chose my fabric: yet another fuchsia cotton I had in my stash and waited for the perfect moment to introduce myself to 6942. I finally found that moment a couple of weeks back. I cut into the pattern with courage and love. I sewed with adoration and accolades. But in the end, 6942 just didn't love me back, at least not in the way I loved her. *sigh*

I look happy, but I'm really fighting back the tears. All of the cute details I had imagined were distorted into bulk and ugliness. I had imagined the double ruffle so: one row of fuchsia ruffle, and another row of white and fuchsia paisley ruffle. It would be so cute I would hardly be able to stand it.

In reality, the double ruffle was pouffy and exaggerated and emphasized my broadish shoulders to the point of caricature. Dejected and alone, I decided to include only one ruffle: fuchsia lined with paisley.

The resulting ruffle sleeve was less bulky and added a measure of cute. So I pressed forward and finished the vest with love.

I used bias tape to finish the edges of the facing, and lovingly pressed and trimmed each seam like it was my own.

In the end I'm left with a vest that's cute enough, but completely impractical. I don't wear sleeveless jackets/vests. It's just not part of my everyday life. And even though this project has been finished for a few weeks, the only time I put it on was for these photos. It's another case of "what was I thinking?" It happens from time to time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Simplicity 2413

I technically finished this skirt last week, but, well, you know, it took me a little while to photograph it.

Just to refresh your memory, here is the pattern cover.

I made the mauve version in a fuchsia stretch twill.

I really like this skirt. It's easy to wear, and different. Plus, it has pockets.

There was one teensy complication with making this skirt and that was that there is an invisible zipper in the side, right where there is a pocket. I read the instructions (not very carefully, mind you) and felt annoyed at the incomprehensibleness of them (they really weren't incomprehensible, I promise). So I decided to try to figure it out on my own. And I eventually did, after a whole lot of stitching, seam ripping, and more stitching, then realizing I just sewed the thing exactly the way I had when I decided I needed to rip out the seam in the first place. *sigh* I'm such a slow learner.

Here's the back. The pleated look expands my hips and back end, however I'm okay with that. It just serves to make my legs look even skinnier (apparently I have a thing for skinny legs?).

I've styled the skirt with a 3/4 sleeve tee in charcoal grey, my black Guess belt that in my opinion goes with pretty much everything I own, and my Michael Kors sandals.

I wore this skirt on Sunday to church, and styled it pretty much the same, except I switched out the tee for a white button down top. I was teaching Sunday school, so I really enjoyed the pockets as they gave me a place to put my hands when I was feeling awkward and didn't know what to do with my hands. I was smart with my hair on Sunday, though. I pulled it all back (to beat the heat), and even pulled my bangs back so I didn't have an excuse to obsess over pushing them back behind my ears. So many nervous ticks I have!

I have a few more updates for you, but I'll pace myself in posting them. Thanks for reading and for the encouragement with my projects.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jemima the Girl Giraffe

Remember Jimmy? How could you forget such a unique giraffe, right? Well, Jimmy ended up going to a good home, and although I've missed him, I know he's being loved in ways that I am incapable of loving him.

So a good friend of mine just had a healthy baby girl. And we are so happy for her. So happy, in fact, that I decided to make Jimmy's little sister, Jemima.

Jemima has a few more details than Jimmy did.

She has cute little horn-nub-thingies.

An actual mane (she apparently got all of the hair genes in the giraffe family).

She has colored paws/hooves. And there are little bells inside her paw/hooves. Now the bells are all tightly packed, so there's no jingling. She does rattle however. So, that's cool, right?

She also has colored ears. She does not have eyelashes like Jimmy.

Overall, I think Jemima is lovely. She lacks the rugged appearance of Jimmy, but she'll make a fine "Welcome to the world" gift for a baby girl.

Friday, September 10, 2010


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Do you enjoy taking photos of yourself?

Do you find yourself wanting to make people laugh?

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Or look like a serial killer.

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*Silly Pics 3000 is not an actual product. Silly Pics 3000 is a state of mind. A strange state of mind. One requiring you to want to take embarrassing photos of yourself, text them to friends, and then maybe post on the internet for all the world to see. Void where prohibited.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


My sewing box is a bit ridiculous right now. I have several unfinished objects (UFOs), ideas for new projects, and scraps leftover from projects that are too big to throw away. Yesterday I worked on cleaning out my box, and decided that I need to learn when to cut my losses and determine that a project is not worth finishing. Here is a peek into my UFO pile.

Numero Uno: McCalls 2401

A simple sheath, this dress was intended to be office-wear. I started it a few years ago, found the neckline to be wonky, tried to cut corners which didn't work out, realized I had cut it a size too big, got frustrated and put it in the sewing box for later.

Yesterday I pulled it out again. All I needed to do was sew on the neck facing, put a couple of darts in the neckline in the back, and hem it up. 

But it's still too big. So I need to take it in. Will I? TC says I should because we both like the fabric (it's a black with gold pinstripe suiting fabric with stretch) I really like the sleeves. Plus I already wasted a zipper on this thing, so I might as well, right?

Here you can see the darts I added in the neck line because there were major gaping issues. What a strange pattern, or maybe it's the fabric? Or maybe it's the size I cut?

Numero Dos: Simplicity 2497

I cut out a hybrid of basically all the versions. I picked the length of view B, the sleeves of view A, and the ruffles of views C and D. The problem with this dress is simply the fabric I chose. And honestly, this seems to be a problem of mine: I buy inexpensive fabric in the hopes that it will not look inexpensive. I should have the common sense to figure out that if it's $1.95 a yard, there's a reason for it.

This is what I've done so far. I need to install the zipper, sew in the sleeves, attached the ruffle, and hem it, which is maybe 3 hours of work. It's nearly finished.

This is the fabric I bought. It's "designer" but it hangs horribly. It feels like plastic. Blech.

I'm debating whether it's worth it to finish. I think I would rather start again using a silk dupioni, but I have a problem justifying the expense. I don't have any occasion to wear such a dress. It's a bit dressy for church. So, I'm undecided.

Numero Tres: McCalls 5391

I was excited about these shorts. I love how they look on the model, I love that they are long and loose and look comfortable.

My shorts are anything but loose.

They are really just missing belt loops and a hem. However the problem is this: the fit is horrendous. They are tight in the front, give me a wedgie in the back, muffin top all over, and there's a weird smoothness around the abdomen that is just odd looking.

It's disappointing to go from excited about a project to frustrated and disillusioned.

And the back. The back of the shorts is really kind of odd for pants that aren't slacks. They just have two darts and other than that are plain. It's a weird look for denim shorts that are supposed to be casual. Really weird. Plus, in my opinion, the waistband should be thicker, taller, whatever. It's too narrow.

I think if I am going to permanently scrap any of these three projects it will be the shorts. They are a disaster on me. The only way I could see finishing them is with the intention of donating them so that someone thinner than me could possibly enjoy them, but even at that, I don't know if I'm that benevolent.

Now you know three of my deep dark secrets that lurk deep in the darkness of my sewing box.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Son of a bee

I took a long walk yesterday with the express purpose of taking pictures of my lovely surroundings before the leaves fall off the trees and every turns brown.

That was a downer for so early in the morning. Sorry about that.

I stopped to rest in a beautiful park for a while. There were tons of dragonflies and bees and butterflies. I tried to photograph the dragonflies, but their flight is far too erratic. The butterflies were fleeting. But the bees, they tend to stay in one place for a few seconds. So here are some of my bee shots.

In case you can't see him, he's in the cluster of light pink flowers.

And just to keep things interesting, the bee moved to the flower just on his (and my) left.

Then the little guy flew off. He may have been sick of the paparazzi invading some of his most private moments.

Then his attention hog of a brother came by. He was all about the photos.

He was eager to be caught in action, so I naturally, being a people/insect pleaser, indulged the bee.

P.S. Don't worry, I wasn't close. I am actually pretty frightened by bees and wasps and all stingy-type insects and tend to scream and run in the most obnoxious fashion whenever one comes near to greet me, so I kept my distance. In fact, I used a telephoto lens. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Coming up: Simplicity 2413

Next up in my already cut queue is Simplicity 2413.

I really like both the paper bag version of the skirt and the fuller style too, but next up is the paper bag style (the mauve colored skirt in the photograph on the right). 

My fabric is a fuchsia stretchy twill weight fabric. I seem to have a lot of fuchsia fabric in my stash. Now that I think about it, it's kind of odd. Most of my fuchsia fabric was given to me. Hmmm...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And the award for thread hog goes to...

Vogue 1086!

I have finished this dress, and I have used much thread. But first, let's enjoy the finished project.


So here's the story. In an effort to ensure that I didn't get lazy with this dress and start cutting corners, I decided to finish it quickly, while my interest was still piqued. 

On Monday I spent a good part of the day sewing and unsewing as I tried to figure out what I was doing. The instructions don't call for a full lining, which I added since the fabric is so sheer. But I wanted to avoid the pitfalls I experienced the last time I made this pattern (the bulky v in the back, and the wonky v in the front, and the weirdness in the armscye). So it took some experimenting to figure out how to construct this dress.

I spent part of yesterday sewing and got the bodice nearly finished, but by then I was getting annoyed at the project (I know, I know. I have a short fuse), so I took a walk.

Look at my hands. My natural reaction to being photographed is to make a fist. I'm not sure why. I think I'm protecting my thumbs from flash exposure. Yeah. That's it.

This morning was a new day. I set out to finish the dress, and I did. At about 2:30pm, having started work this morning at 7am. Whew! That was time intensive. The french seams (sew once on the wrong side, then once on the right side to encase the raw edge), and basically making two dresses since it is fully lined took time and a whole lot of thread. I started with a new spool, and I've worked my way past the halfway mark. Of course, I could have used less if I had made less mistakes requiring me to rip out and resew, but...

The back of the dress. I am wearing a little white t-shirt underneath for modesty, so that's what you see poking out at the top and at the sleeves.

Just a few details I want to point out:

The v-neck. It lays flat and looks like a v. Crazy awesome!

The topstitching, which you can't really see in this photo, is nearly flawless. I would be comfortable having my Mom inspect this herself.

The lining hem. I hemmed it with lace. Cayute!

I hand sewed the lining and the dress at the armscye, then machine topstitched. There's no weirdness.

And I need to point out the eyelet. I just adore eyelet. I would put it on everything if I didn't like variety.

So the low-down on the pattern. It's an advanced pattern. It requires more than just following the directions, which leave details out, like how to finish the front and back neck lines so you don't end up with balls of fabric wadded up. Lining the entire thing allowed me to simply sew the lining and the dress together at the neck lines to make for a perfect v both in front and back. However, the pattern calls for facing, which is tricky to get just right. The french seams are a nice touch, but are time and thread consuming.

Overall, I probably won't make this dress again because I'm satisfied with this one.