Monday, May 27, 2013

At Long Last: The Anise Jacket

Let's see.  When did I start working on this?  November?  That's six months.  Of course, I didn't work on it solidly for six months. There was the time I got sick of it and stopped working, and the time I got distracted by other projects and life, and the time when the project came to a screeching halt because I couldn't find buttons.  But it is done now!  Can I get a Woot Woot?

Project overview: Items I Don't Like.  

The jacket is too large overall. I made a muslin and after making a broad lower back adjustment that caused an upper back adjustment that would have resulted in a full bust adjustment, I just said, "To heck with the muslin, I'll just make it one size bigger."  Now  everything is too big including the sleeves.

The sleeves hang funny.  I'm sure it is something that I did as I was battling setting in the sleeves.  They don't hang straight causing deep wrinkles.  Part of the reason is that they are too big, but that is not the main problem.  I spend my time now in church looking at set-in sleeves in the jackets of the people I'm sitting behind.  They probably think I am kind of creepy.  Anyone who can tell me what I did wrong and  how I can fix it, I would appreciate it.  So would my fellow parishioners   

Project Overview--Items I Like or Love.

Colette Patterns gives great instructions.  The booklet that the pattern came in was over thirty pages.  They also offered an e-booklet that gave detailed tailoring info.  As this was my first jacket with underlining and fusible weft interfacing and bound button holes and welt pockets, well, it was darn helpful.  There was an eight day schedule to follow as well.  Heh, heh, heh,  Eight days.  Pretty funny.  Those jokers over at Colette.   

I loved that I learned bound button holes, welt pockets, interfacing techniques, sleeve caps, basting techniques, and some hand sewing for the finishes.

I love that the lining is purple.  I love my covered buttons.  After a diligent search for the proper buttons, I finally decided just to buy a kit and cover my own.  Do you know how hard it is to find a 1-inch button?  The stores have 7/8 and 1 1/8, but very few 1-inch buttons.  

I love that it is done.  Despite it being too large, I still am going to wear it next fall over bulkier fall clothing!

Even though this took me forever to complete, I am not afraid to try an even harder more structured jacket. I just know that I will need to break up my time with smaller, easier projects.  


My darling daughter took these photos for me.  In the spirit of full disclosure, she had a blast doing a little photo editing, using the mascara tool, and taking out blemishes.  Then she played with finishes and light.  We had a fabulous time playing with the photos.  Did you know there is a tool to "zombify" a photo?  You can do nearly anything to a photo these days. We just couldn't figure out how to button that bottom button!

I do recommend this pattern even if I probably won't make it again. The instructions are clear, and I learned so much.

Here are other blog posts about my jacket.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bold and Beautiful Easy Sew Clothes

Lately instead of sewing, I've been looking at books about sewing.  I get on the library website and place books on hold that I am interested in perusing.  The other day, this book popped up as a suggestion, Bold and Beautiful Easy-Sew Clothes.  I was captivated by the flowing red blouse on the cover, clicked hold, and picked it up today.

Let me say right up front, these are not my "style" of clothes.  They are more experimental, even leaning to the avaunt garde.  The clothing is draping and flowing with unusual angles and shapes.  There is not one piece of clothing in the book that I would wear.  I could see others really liking this style and carrying it off with great panache, but not me.  I also don't need pockets big enough to carry a regulation size NBA basketball.  

I know you are dying to see photos.  But all the photos on line are copyrighted, and taking a photo of a photo in the book ends up a little grainy.  Do a Google image search and you will see what I mean.

The book claims that the patterns are easy.  Having not made any of the patterns in this book, I cannot address this directly, but the construction doesn't necessarily appear to be easy.  On the 'Pinafore Dress' one would have to cut out 32 pieces.  The 'Gathered Skirt' has 26 pieces to cut out.  When I make a skirt it usually consists of two pieces, three if I want a kick pleat, and if I'm feeling really saucy, I might do a waist facing instead of cheating with purchased bias tape!

There are two redeeming pieces of this book, the model is beautiful and the linen fabrics are lovely. 

Unless you have the moxie to carry off unusual fashions and have the patience to make a skirt with 26 pieces, I wouldn't recommend this book.

I can't stand it.  You've just got to see some of these styles.  Here are some grainy photos of photos.  Really, just Google image search!

One last remark from Mr. Foster Reviews It.  He said the the clothes remind him of something Denise Huxtable would have worn on the Cosby Show.  Some of you know what he means by that!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quality Flowers and Plants Wholesale Nursery

I get so excited this time of year when I can get outside and begin to plant my garden.  A few years ago, my mom told us about a wholesale nursery called Quality Flowers and Plants.

Look at this place!  It's huge!

 How much does a flat of annuals cost at your favorite store?  At this nursery a flat of flowers is about half that of Home Depot and Lowes.  All the plants are grown locally in giant green houses.  

Here is a happy but somewhat unrelated tidbit.  My favorite fabric store, Yellow Bird Fabrics, rents their retail space form Quality Flowers.  So you can walk down the street and pick up a little fabric after you get your plants. What could be better than that?

Last year I got all my flowers and vegetable starts at Quality Flowers.  Everything did exceptionally well except for the tomatoes.  Now, no one I knew had a bumper crop of tomatoes last year, so I don't know if it was the quality of the nursery plants or just a bad year.  The nursery has tons of tomatoes, and yet the variety of tomatoes is slim. I didn't want to take my chances on another poor tomato crop, and since I had a Home Depot gift card, I bought my tomatoes there.  Nearly everything else was purchased at a wholesale price at Quality Flowers and Plants.

I would give this business a 5 out of 5 star rating, except I don't know if last year's tomato issue was because of the quality of the plants or just a bad year.  Plant quality would bring the rating down to 4 out of 4 stars.  Let's go with a happy medium of 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.  Besides, local readers, you will save money! You will then have more to spend at the fabric store!

Friday, May 17, 2013

John Williams With The Utah Symphony


There is probably not a soul in the modern world who doesn't know the music of John Williams.  Star Wars, Indian Jones, Schindler's List, Harry Potter, Jaws...daaaaa na,    daaaaaa na,  daa na, daa na,  da na da na da na da na.  You are all singing it in your heads now, I know it!  Of course, there is so much more.

I took my son to see the Utah Symphony perform the music of John Williams.  Jerry Steichen conducted and started the performance of with a good laugh from the audience as he came out wearing Anikin Skywalker's tunic!  I love Jerry.  He makes the performances even better than they already are.  

The Music of John Williams

My son's favorite performance was 'Star Wars'.  But he was more enamored with 'Catch Me If You Can.'  While he has never seen the movie, that afternoon at his percussion lesson he began learning the vibraphone.  The score of Catch Me If You Can has a jazz trio that includes a bass, sax, and the vibes.  He thought it was amazing.  The percussion as a whole was fabulous.  Normally the percussion section is stuck in the back corner of the orchestra, but on this night the percussion took the entire back of the stage and curved up around the edges.  My son was enthralled with the enormity of percussion section.  He even commented on the xylophonist's handlebar mustache.  That's how closely he was watching.

All of the pieces were amazing.  I can't think of one criticism.  I even learned a few things.  You know the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic theme that NBC uses every year? John William composed that.  

Fantastic performance! Cool enough to keep an 11 year old boy entertained. Five out of five stars.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

1930s Button Dress Upcycle

#3007 1930s Button DressDo you remember the Decades of Style 1930s Button Dress disaster?  If not, you can click here.  But don't spend too long, the whole thing is sort of embarrassing.  

I thought it might be time to do something about the unsightly mess and turn it into something I could use.  So I picked out the side zipper and lopped the bodice clean off.  Then I replaced the zipper. and began the process of taking it in using darts and pleats.  

Because I didn't want to draft a waist facing, I used packaged quilting bias tape that I had sitting around to finish it off.  I also thought it needed a little more pizzazz so I added bias tape to the hem as well.  

I didn't feel like modeling it the day I finished it so it is hanging on my new shepherd's crook.  It's that whole natural light thing. 

Here it is on me the next day on my way to work.  It was still a little big, but I did get complements on from my co-workers!

Please look at the skirt and the petunias, not the weeds in the crack of my sidewalk!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gifts for Me

The pleasant thing about being a blogger is sometimes you get little gems in the mail from fellow bloggers.

A little over a month ago, I got this cute clover pin from Kelley, who is no longer blogging but is still a friend, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.  

Just recently I won two giveaways.  I don't usually win giveaways so I was completely surprised.  Catherine from Urban Rustic sent me this quilted, pot holder.  

I had to really find a good spot on my table so the stains on my tablecloth wouldn't detract from this darling homemade gifts.  Thank you Kelley and Catherine!

I did say I won two giveaways, didn't I?  Well, this second one is unusual.  I won a bra pattern from AJA at Farmhouse Garden who was sponsored by Ohhh LuLu Lingerie.  This is the PDF pattern I won.

Thank you AJA.  When I make this pattern dear readers, you will never know because, I'm not modeling it! Or even taking a photo.  This photo is as good as it gets! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

And the Winner Is.....

Thank you everyone for entering these giveaways.  The response was fantastic.  Hello to my new followers and thanks for all the support from the old gang.

Here we go!

Using a random number generator, the winner of the vintage simplicity pattern is 'thatmoxiegirl' !  

The winner of Quilts from The Quilt Maker's Gift is 'Renee G.'  

Congratulations and I will be contacting both of you via email.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Simplicity 2606 From a Vintage Sheet

This is how the conversation goes:
Me:  That skirt is too short.
Daughter:  I don't have any skirts.
Me:  Did you look on the floor of your room?  Since I haven't seen your carpet in about 4 months, I'm sure there is something on your floor. 
Daughter: No mom, I really have grown that much and nothing fits.
Me: Well, I guess a lot of growth can happen to a teenager in 4 months.  
Daughter with a healthy dose of eye rolling: Whatever, Mom!

My daughter loves the quirky in her style of clothes. And since it is increasingly difficult to find any skirts in junior styles that don't barely cover the behind, she agreed that I could make a skirt from this pattern, Simplicity 2606.

I started by lengthening the pattern about an inch and a half.  Then I began cutting into this cute fabric. 

Ooops.  I had mad a huge mistake!  I cut it so the print would be upside down.  Dang!

Luckily, my daughter saw me looking at a vintage sheet set when we were at the thrift shop.  I asked if she liked the print and if she would want a skirt out of it.  I couldn't believe she said yes!  Normally, anything I suggest is an automatic no!

I underlined the skirt with the same fabric so there was no need to have a lining.  It turned out pretty cute.  Please note that I am going against her express wishes of only one photo of the skirt.  I didn't make any promises and I have to show you more than that.  After all, she is my beautiful daughter.

Here is a closeup of the fabric, underlining and hem.

This is an extremely easy pattern even with the addition of pleats and pockets.  It is the second time we have made it.  I would recommend it for the beginner and for someone who needs a quick finish. 5 out of 5 stars.

LINKING TO:  I Gotta' Create

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6th Giveaway #2

I'm so excited to be participating in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day.  I am doing two giveaways.  You can find my first giveaway for a vintage pattern by clicking here.  

I have two copies of this lovely book, Quilts from the Quiltmaker's Gift, so I thought I'd give away one of them.  This book is used but in great condition.  Inside the front cover the book is described as, "20 traditional patterns for a new generation of generous quiltmakers."  

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment stating your favorite homemade gift from a generous person.  Also, consider becoming a follower.  It isn't a requirement for this giveaway, but look around and if you like what you see, please follow.

This is open until May 10th at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard time.  This book will ship to U.S. residents only.  Good luck.

May 6th Giveaway #1

I finally decided to stick my toes in and participate in Sew Mama Sew's biannual give away.  I will be doing two giveaways.  The other, for a quilting book, can be found here.

I am giving away this darling 50s era vintage pattern, Simplicity 2321.  

This pattern is a size 18, bust 38.  It is cut but complete.  It comes in an acid free bag with a piece of acid free cardboard to separate the pattern envelope and instructions from the actual pattern.  I find it charming that this is a "Slederette" pattern because if you look at the drawing, the head is bigger than the waist.  Love the jacket art from the 50s!  

Recently I saw this at a vintage pattern website for $16 and on Ebay for $24.  Just think, it can be yours for free.  All you have to do is leave a comment telling me your recent sewing or creative accomplishment.  Also, consider being a follower.  It is not required, but pop around my blog a bit and if you like what you see, please follow.

I will ship internationally.  This is open until May 10th at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Good luck and happy sewing.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Desk is Refubished, For the Most Part

My son needed a desk, and I didn't want to pay top dollar.  I also didn't want to go to IKEA where their furniture is significantly cheaper.  The last time I bought a desk there, it was truly the worst design and construction.  (I still like their Swedish, meatballs, however.)

A few weeks ago, I found this great little desk for $17.99 at Goodwill.  I snapped it up with visions of new paint swirling in my head.  

My son decided he wanted to paint the desk Utah Jazz colors.  After we bought three small cans of paint, he began to sand the desk.  He wore appropriate attire to paint his Utah Jazz desk.  

To my surprise, he also began the painting without me.  I was in the front yard pulling weeds.  So by the time I got to the back yard, he was half-way through.  Oh what to do?  An eleven year old paint job for sure.  Crafty women everywhere sensed that a upcycle project was in need.  Do I re-sand and start all over?  No way!  I let it go.  It is his desk.  It was only 17.99 plus paint.  And unpainted spots, drips, and all, it is a pretty awesome Utah Jazz desk.  One of a kind.  

Note the burnt orange outlet cover.  Burnt orange is for the University of Texas.  Is my son a sports fan, or what?

To finish off the project, we added a Utah Jazz sticker.  This is the best Utah Jazz desk ever.