November 27, 2010


Is there a worrier in your life?  I am not a worrier, not any longer.  I think I blew out my worry chip back in my early 20s, when chronic pain and disability became my destiny.  But my Handsome Man is a marathon worrier!  You name it and he'll worry about it.  He knows it doesn't help but he can't stop himself :(

I think a large part of my lack of worries is that almost none of the issues in my life are under my control.  My income is fixed, my schedule is regular, I live alone, I kick drama to the curb.  Even visits with HM are based more on his availability than mine.  I made the life I wanted, such as I was able, and it's as much to my liking as possible.  Even my feral tabby turned out to be a lap cat :D

Do you have a good way of coping with worrying?  I tell HM that he can always talk to me but he usually doesn't (he worries about that, too).  He reads this so maybe someone's advice can help him relax.

Duvet Cover

Ticking side
I finished a reversible duvet cover, started in a fit of nesting a few years ago.  The lump in the bed is my cat ;)

One side is wide red ticking with a red cotton twill border, the other side darker red with gold fleur de lis and a gold border.  The gold lamé is quite thin so I flatlined it with muslin.  Unfortunately it already has a few pulls in the fabric.  I may have to keep an eye out for a suitable replacement :/

Red and gold side

On the red and gold side I couched rayon boucle yarn down with matching sewing thread and a zig zag stitch.  This breaks up the bright gold border.  I will stitch another line along the outside edge, but wanted this on the bed asap during a recent cold snap.  

There are still buttons and buttonholes to make, and perhaps a flap so the bottom end can be tucked under the mattress.  I dislike an untucked comforter.

Couching detail

November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I had a lovely day yesterday, spent with my 2 favorite people.  My Handsome Man was here all day, just hanging out together--a rare treat.  My mom stopped by on the way to the big family dinner and brought food.  With what I made we had an amazing assortment of tasty things :)

Dinner was roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, spicy roast squash, fancy green salad, and pie for dessert.  I set the table with an heirloom crocheted tablecloth and ruby glass dishes, hemstitched napkins and of course candles.  It was beautiful.  Earlier we munched on ham, puff pastry and cheese bites and mashed potatoes as dinner cooked.  My guy did the dishes while I got to relax :)

I was very thankful to spend the day with people I love, in a warm and safe home.  I didn't get a whopping migraine (that was Wed night) so hooray!  It was a nice, relaxing day spent watching the snow melt, petting the lap cat and enjoying each others' company.

November 23, 2010

Our Very Own Thanksgiving

For various reasons my fella and I are celebrating Thanksgiving together.  Immediate family may stop by but mostly it's just us :)  I have a frozen chicken thawing.  With the roads so icy and one of my tires half flat I'm in no mood to drive to buy a turkey.  I have enough food for a full turkey-day dinner, stuffing included!

I may make a cheesecake, or lemon bars--yum!  Those are our two favorites.  If anyone has a Lemon Bar recipe they recommend please let me know.  I'll try the Joy of Cooking Lemon Curd Bars, but this will be my first attempt.  Puff pastry, angel food cake, buttercream, fudge, meringue, you name it and I've made it, but no lemon bars.

All this is energy dependent, so wishes for luck and stamina are gratefully appreciated.  Wishing everyone else a happy, healthy day filled with people you love.

November 22, 2010

Snow Day

We're having freakishly cold weather, for here, which means snow!  The temp dropped this morning and snow stuck just in time for the morning commute.  It's kept snowing all day--inconceivable!


←The view from my window just as big fat flakes started falling.

The entire sky has gone white, and snow keeps falling.  Usually the sky is gray in Seattle.


Winter City View
Summer City View

I got a super warm winter coat, rated -30 to 0F by Lands' End (shows what a chilly girl I am! it's ~30F).  They won't let me show an image of it, so a description: it's knee length down with diamond-shaped channels and a faux fur trimmed hood.  Nice and warm :)  At least when worn with silk long johns, lined gloves, scarf, and my ever-dependable waterproof Timberlands.

November 21, 2010

Pattern Drafting Book

Metric Pattern Cutting by W Aldrich
Just in this week...Metric Pattern Cutting!  

I gave up on inches and feet about a year ago, after a few drafting attempts.  Imagine my excitement when I heard about this metric drafting book, and found an affordable copy.  It came from UK via boat, so I had to put on big girl pants and be patient.  Now it's here :)

This edition was published in 1982 and shows its age mainly in the hairstyles.  There are basic block instructions and examples, shown in size 12 (88, 66, 93cm).  Then how to take the necessary measurements, and directions for drafting custom blocks plus fitting help.  Once you have created the basic blocks there are directions for drafting patterns for skirts, tops, pants, sleeves, collars, jackets, you name it.  There's even a short chapter on grading.  I haven't had a chance to try the blocks but the reviews are positive.

Table of Contents, a la Star Wars

Bodice Block

The bodice and sleeve basic blocks.  
You can see that the sleeve head is drafted from the bodice armscye.  It's an anatomically shaped sleeve as well, such as Kathleen Fasanella advocates.

There are written directions on the facing pages.  The directions are well laid out and easy to follow.
Sleeve Block

Fitted Coats Illustration

An example of the illustrations, this one for fitted coats and jackets.  Instructions are given to draft all illustrated patterns.
The basic dress blocks

November 19, 2010


I've been trying to sew a robe for my guy for over a year.  I'm on the fourth pattern, a vintage men's robe, after 3 miserable failures.  Apparently a man with broad shoulders is unknown to most modern pattern companies.  So I've ventured back to the 60s.

Simplicity 6756
Men's robe w/ raglan sleeves

The vintage pattern fits well but is a size too small for his chest and shoulders.  Funny, I never have to do a full bust adjustment for myself but am learning it for him ;)  I made a mock up with some scrap knit.  I've let out the sleeve seams and am ready for another fitting.  It needs underarm gussets though, not included in the pattern.  I've unsewn the basting to make a nice hole but am having trouble getting the gusset in!  And this is basting by hand, mind.  I'm going to fit the mockup again with a hole, see whether I need to tweak the gusset, and go from there.

I'm working with french terry with a soft brushed outside.  It's nice fabric and I hope to get the pattern sorted so I can cut into it.  He's excited to have a robe that fits, for once, and that's long enough.  The perils of being tall and broad shouldered!

The failed patterns:
New Look 6858: Fail One
New Look 6657: Fail Two

Simplicity 7030: Fail Three
Planned to fit shirt and use to alter pattern

November 17, 2010


Two people have told me that I should write a book.  About my life, how I've dealt with problems, I suppose my point of view.  But people don't want to hear me rambling when they haven't asked for help or opinions.  Replaying the crappy parts of life is far from edifying either, and something I prefer not to do.

So I'm stuck wondering what to write about.  I have a few almost finished projects, but nothing finished.  I did get some pictures hung around my house.  Mostly it's life as usual which involves having little energy, migraines, neck pain and staying home with the kitties.  Not very exciting.

November 15, 2010


Everyone gets lonely at times.  We live in a society where closeness is unusual, whether touching or sharing.  Privacy has been carried so far that it takes extreme effort to make a friend!  We don't have a network of friends and family living close by.  We spend most of our time at work, with colleagues (or me, home alone).  A couple hours in the evening are left for socializing and relaxing.  It's not enough.

Imagine a pioneer family, living and working together.  They work all day but spend that time together.  The work is hard but necessary and with obvious immediate benefits--the firewood you cut keeps you warm that night.  Family is all around; they are your best friends.

That same couple today rarely see each other: each is at work all day, the kids are in school.  They may meet at dinner but scatter to separate rooms for the evening.  Work is not a joint effort, there are no obvious personal benefits from it and children are not taught at their parent's knee the tasks they'll need in life.

We have lost community and are surprised that families are strained and depression and anxiety have skyrocketed.  Everyone is too busy with modern life to stop and say hello.  Instead we sit home, alone, at a computer and search for community.

November 10, 2010

Skirt Issues

I bought two skirts online, a black wool A-line and Pendleton plaid with pleats.  The black one was supposed to be my size (28"w), the plaid I would either wear on my hips or somehow alter (I really really like the plaid!)
Desired shape L, original silhouette R

Unfortunately the A-line didn't fit.  The waist was too big, by over an inch.  The shape was weird: instead of curving over the hip them gently flaring it jutted straight out from the waist.  Very not flattering. ----->

I set about altering it.  I removed the waistband from the back, unpicked the side seams and the darts.  This was a home sewn number with tiny stitches, black on black, so it took a while to dismember.  Then I fit it on my newly customized dress form.

Currently one side is basted to fit and I just need to copy the changes to the other side.  Then I'll double check fit, sew it back together and voila! nice winter skirt.  At least that's the plan ;)

PS: I saw a good warm coat for sale and bought it.  I may still sew a wool coat in the future.

November 9, 2010

Me, Only Foamier

Here's my dress form, her cover newly adjusted to be my size :)  Dressform striptease here

This Uniquely You form is foam, which you squish to your size and shape with a custom fitted cover.  This was a great choice for me since I have a long torso, sway back and my weight fluctuates.  

She's not a perfect match to me but close enough for fitting and a huge help with tissue fitting!  Fitting the cover skewed most of the vertical seams.  I'm considering sewing another cover, to go over this one, from slippery stretch knit with key lines marked.
Waist stay closure

For some reason everywhere except the bust pushes the cover out.  Her breasts needed some help, hence an old bra stuck on top.  It also helps with bust point location and strap placement.  I added a grosgrain waist stay, since that's been the area of greatest strain.  

Wonky breasts :/

The finishing touches were a jacket (for modesty) and a self-esteem boosting Sexy mask.  Anyone stuck wearing khaki 24/7 needs a little pick me up ;)

I'd love some help naming her!  Comments in general are a highlight of my day.  Thanks to everyone who reads this!

November 6, 2010

Cute Pincushion

Inspired by Johanna at The Last Stitch, how I store my sewing machine needles:

Backstitch numbers and various stitches for the lines.

I'm altering a skirt, this was handy to hold the bar.
Misc is meant for needles that don't fit elsewhere.

I had an extra tomato pincushion so embroidered yellow labels and lines, to hold my machine needles.  There's a section for each size, plus room for stretch needles, misc, P for paper (to mark seam allowances) and a section for hand sewing needles.  A glass head pin holds the place of the needle currently being used.  Unused needles stay in the original holder.

This is new, and already much better than the old system of trying to read stamped numbers on needle shanks, not knowing whether the needle is new, and too many needle cases in my machine's accessory case.

November 5, 2010

New Toy!

It was my birthday recently and I bought myself this:

I'd been wanting a larger rotary cutting mat and this seems perfect for me.  I can use one or two sections on my sewing table.  I can also stick them all together and cut on the floor or a large table in my building's community room.

I have a knit dress to cut, as soon as my neck pain subsides.  Imagine cutting an entire garment at once!

Only issue: they stink.  The cure is soaking them in a tub in vinegar water.  Except I don't have a tub, only a shower.  Hmmm...

November 4, 2010

The Best Coat Ever!

Once upon a time, when I was in college, I bought a winter coat.  This was no ordinary coat: a US Navy Bridge coat, an unbelievable deal at a surplus store (~$90 for coat and boots and tax).  Now they run $200+.

Please forgive the surly man; he can't find the perfect winter coat either.

The coat is 32oz black wool (more than double the thickest civilian wool coats), nice sturdy lining, a buttoned walking flap, and was so warm and dry!  I switched to black nut buttons, flaring them out a little to give room for my hips.  I also narrowed the back belt for waist definition.  I wore this coat for years--my last year of college, seven years after that, and it was just showing signs of wear.  Then I gave it away...

I could still buy another, but I'd prefer to leave the perfect memory intact.  Instead I'm thinking of sewing a new winter coat.  Perhaps for next year?  This time in red!  Or I may be lazy and buy another country's military cast-offs ;)

Making Progress

Instead of reading other blogs and thinking how little I've done this week I'm listing what I have accomplished:

1) Finished knitting a super-top-secret project.  More to come when it's completely done and delivered.

2) Finished knitting and blocking the Sweater Without End.  Now to sew it up and crochet the button bands.  Or I may knit on button bands...we'll see whether I need extra bosoms room ;)

3) Photographed a large box of sewing patterns, added them to my computer catalog and uploaded them to Flickr and Picasa.  They are all titled and most have been appropriately tagged.  I noticed a few patterns are missing from the photo catalog so will remedy that soon.  Still need to organize and store them with the other patterns.

4) Mended two moth holes in Handsome Man's grey cashmere sweater.  It was its first outing this year and the mends are barely visible.  Repairs on my own black sweater are going slowly, due to lack of good lighting and the size of the mend.

5) Designed and knit a cowl/collar for myself.  I'll post when it's finished; first need to shorten it a little and add buttons.

Not bad!  Perhaps I should do this weekly to remind myself how much I get done.

November 1, 2010

Teh Halloween

I made part of my costume this year...the vest.  I was a Lady Explorer.  Initially I was thinking Adventuress then realized that has very different connotations, lol.

I got no good shots of the whole costume.  It had brown knee-high boots w/ brass buckles, khaki pants, Edwardian-ish embellished blouse, awesome vest I sewed, and a large brimmed hat with blue shawl.  People guessed what I was right away :D

The vest was finished for an August Steampunk wedding and I seem to have shrunk since then.  So the vest is loose and heaving bosoms not so much :/  It still looks good though.  And I was comfy!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...