March 31, 2011

Quadruple Vintage Pattern Giveaway!

I missed my 100th post so am going all out for #110.  Help me celebrate by entering to win one of four vintage sewing patterns.  This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada (sorry everyone else).

To enter leave a comment saying which pattern you'd like, before April 7th.  You don't need to follow my blog to enter.  If you do follow my blog or mention this giveaway on your blog you'll be entered twice (please leave a comment so I know).

Simplicity 1942, size 20.5 B39 wrap dress.
A 1940s wrap dress with gathered waist and shoulders, and triple darted 3/4 sleeves.  The pattern pieces are printed and include the pocket embroidery transfer shown in the lower right corner.

Simplicity 8140, sz 14 B36 "step-in" dress ©1969
This fun double breasted dress has a bias collar and midriff.  I'd love to see this dress sewn up!

Vogue 9029, sz 12 B34 
"Loose-fitting dress or tunic has shaped partially standing side buttoned collar and buttoned side front inset band."
This dress is missing the instructions, maybe a brave sewist is willing to take on the challenge?

Butterick 3709, 14-16-18 (37.5-41.5" finished bust)
Lastly, an 80s wrap blouse for 30% stretch knits, in factory folds.  This could work with a woven with a few adjustments.  I especially like the sleeveless version.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for entering!

March 29, 2011

Job Offer

Waiting for the bus yesterday I saw a woman from the local utility connecting the electric and gas for a new business.  She had a great big wrench and put her leg against the wall for leverage to tighten a fitting.  We started talking about tools and the even larger wrenches she has.  Then she said, "you should come work for me."  In my head I said Absolutely! while knowing it's impossible.

I've had three or four experiences recently of realizing a job would suit me well, then I stopped myself.  I haven't been able to work for years, and then only part time from home.  Maybe there is something in my future, a reason for these thoughts.  At least they don't make me sad anymore.  I would love my body to heal but have no faith that this will happen.  If I could just have enough energy for daily life plus a little extra for fun that would be amazing!

March 25, 2011

Almost Sewing

I did get some jumper fitting done (yay!) and think I've nailed the problems.  Except that I was all set up to resew the bust dart, removed the pins, and the machine jammed.  Then the bobbin was out of thread.  So by the time I basted it by hand the seam came out wrong.  At that point I was done for the day.

Maybe tomorrow I can pin myself into the beast (I really should put a zip up the center!) and pin the dart correctly.  It's looking good, the parts I can see, so hopefully it's even better in photos :)   Meanwhile I'm in pain so spending the evening in with the cute Ella cat.

ETA: I just realized that this is my 108th post!  I'd like to do a pattern giveaway to thank my readers.  Please let me know if there's a type of pattern you'd prefer (vintage, dresses, men's, etc).  I have some 41" bust Mail Order 1950s patterns if anyone likes them.

March 22, 2011

Android 2.2 Wifi and Bluetooth Issue

We interrupt this crafty blog for boring software crap.

My phone's speaker broke.  I sent it to the manufacturer and the speaker was replaced along with a factory reset and 2.2 upgrade.  Now the Wifi and Bluetooth features won't work!  It says it's turning on Bluetooth but never does.  Wifi has an error message when it tries to connect and does nothing when I push Add Wi-Fi network.  Apparently this is a known issue but there's not app or whatever to fix it that I can find.  It worked fine before the upgrade.

I thought I'd throw this out there, in case anyone has some software knowledge.  Next step is harassing Google and calling the idiots at Samsung technical help.  Oh boy.

Update 3/27/11: Went to the AT&T store and they gave me a new phone :)  Now my problems are solved and I'm back to liking the phone.  Still need Captivate Keep Alive app.

March 20, 2011

Jumper Fitting 2

Since yesterday's jumper fitting I pinned some adjustments to the mockup and took more photos.  The main changes were adjusting the back torso for excess length and reading the wrinkles.


The initial fit on left, today's fit on right.

The back darts need to be closer to the center, especially below the waist, so they point to the fullest area.  The left dart is further from the center and creates more drag lines.  (I really slapped this mockup together and it shows).

I like how the armhole hits at the shoulder line on right and am planning to gently scoop out the back neckline. 

I'm pretty happy with the fit above the waist, at least in this stiff fabric.  There's enough room to move but it doesn't look baggy.
Diagonal drag line :/

I don't know what to make of the diagonal drag line below the waist.  Maybe it's a symptom of the other problems. 

The front still has some problems as well, but nothing major.  Resewing the side seams from upper hip to armhole, with the fabric evenly distributed, should get rid of the drag lines from dart to side seams.  I think.

The hip adjustment has been pinned but not sewn.

Now to: adjust the back darts and side seams and check the fit.  Also rotate one bust dart so it's horizontal, leaving the other side as a control.  

I'll try the jumper on with a blouse to see how the armhole fits.  My initial idea was for the dress to be wearable on its own or with a top, then realized that sleeveless velveteen rarely makes sense ;)

March 19, 2011

Jumper Progress

I've been planning a jumper since last year.  I started with my dress block, cut that out in cotton twill to create the jumper.  I'll use cotton velveteen for the final version, with chocolate brown velvet trim.  It will button down the front, or maybe a faux button closure with underarm zip.

I really liked My at Creative Accomplishments' plaid jumper from last summer.  I hadn't considered a below-knee hem or scoop back until I saw hers.  Plus, who doesn't love plaid?

Fitting Notes:

Front: I prefer the right side above the bust (my left) and left side below it.  I like wider straps as on the left.  A square neckline seemed like a good idea but would need to be cut lower to work.  This is an everyday dress, to wear alone or over a shirt, so the neckline can't be too low.

I marked the bust apex and took a few tucks to fine tune the fit, which I'll continue to do in the flat patterning.  I hope the waist wrinkles disappear with a softer fabric.

Back: The back is not terrible but needs a swayback tuck in the worst way!  It looks like the waist is too low but doesn't feel like it on.  I'll double check next time I try it on.  Nothing like seeing photos to highlight flaws.  I trimmed the armhole on the left side and need to trim it further.  The neckline is high but includes the seam allowance.

The next step is to continue tweaking fit until I'm satisfied, then trace it and make the pattern.  I'll lengthen the hem as well.  The hips fit surprisingly well and it's comfortable to sit in.

If I just stand with my hip cocked all the time it'll look fine!

March 18, 2011


This blog has gotten very thinky-talky lately, since I've been in a lot of pain and unable to make noticeable progress on projects.

I've been thinking about friendship a lot this week and how people move in and out of our lives.  I know quite a few people.  I'd call many of them friends.  But how many can I call when life is terrible?  Or who know me well enough to offer just what I need?  This week there were none, then one.  One is a much better number.  

The other things I've been thinking about I'm afraid to write for fear of sounding crazy.  Mostly about God and pain and the impact all this has on people around me.  I was aware that my life was very difficult and stressful for friends or significant others.  I am newly aware of just how difficult.  It makes me afraid to start another relationship, honestly.  I was focusing on finding a church and making and strengthening friendships anyway.  If I can manage the pain long enough...

March 15, 2011

Bad News

My grandfather died yesterday.  I'm a bit of a wreck--OK one minute, crying the next.  I don't know whether I'll be able to make the memorial this weekend, for the usual health/pain reasons.  Moments like this I hate my life more than usual.

I loved my grandpa, and still do, but I didn't know him very well.  I grew up across the country and he had pretty strict gender roles and mostly let my grandma talk.  He was fun and warm and a wonderful man.  The last couple years he had dementia.  I saw him last summer and knew it was goodbye.  He's removed from suffering and with family and friends, and I'm grateful for that.  But he'll be missed, so so much.

March 14, 2011


Or, What do you call wanting to do X, Y, Z, but being physically unable to?  That's my life.  I want to go dancing!  I took some Lindy Hop lessons a few years ago and it was fun.  I lived too far away and hurt too much to continue.  I now live close to lessons and dances but my body won't cooperate so I can't dance.

I'd also like to sew or go for a short run, but tonight is all about lying on the couch resting after PT.  I want a relationship with a good man but nobody wants a sick person.  I guess this is my day for feeling sorry for myself, after a terrible date yesterday and high pain.

March 10, 2011

New Bedmate

I have a new snuggly guy.  Walking by a toy store this afternoon I saw stuffed animals in the window.  So I walked in and picked out a big soft one :)

Oddly enough I didn't sleep with stuffed animals as a kid.  A friend bought me one while I was in the hospital, when I had to drop out of college and go on disability.  It was very comforting.  I've had one off and on since then.

New bear (L), old bear (R)

March 8, 2011


How my brain's been working recently:

No, my toes haven't rotated 90° around my foot.  I just knit it that way.  Just another fun way that pain affects my life, I suppose.

Luckily I only need to redo the toe, the rest of the sock fits quite well.  Even this wonky toe doesn't feel too bad!

I do have a happier success to share, one I meant to photograph better then forgot about.  I was too busy wearing it :)  I made up the pattern myself [ETA: I designed the shawl pattern, the lace pattern is traditional]

I finished this shawl/scarf on Valentine's Day and noticed that the pattern looks like hearts, though they're meant to be waves.  We had a couple weeks of winter weather after an early spring, just in time to wear it.  It's super soft merino :)

March 7, 2011


Fun weekend here, on Fri someone bashed into my car then drove away.  The bumper's cracked and half on the ground and other bad stuff :(

I talked to the insurance people today, and called to file a police report.  The police operator asked why I waited so long to make the report.  Because I couldn't figure out how to do it online!  I also felt awful all weekend--adrenaline is not my friend.  It seizes up all my muscles even more than they already are.

One good part: I can walk or bus to almost everything.  Hallelujah!

March 4, 2011


Lately I haven't had the energy to sew.  I was feeling guilty about it, that if I just pushed myself I could.  Then last night I realized I'm in a lot of pain so maybe I should cut myself some slack.  It's hard to read about the wonderful things other people are making and remember that I'm sick.  I look ok, I manage to get out with friends, but everything is harder.  I'm also always sick, so this is my normal, and I forget how not normal I am.

It's sunny today, after a rainstorm yesterday, and I wish I could take a walk today.  It's still relatively early and it might happen, but I'll try not to beat myself up if it doesn't.  I'd like nothing better than to have the energy to go for a walk and try to replace my broken phone.  For now I'll settle for snuggling with my kitty.

March 2, 2011

Jacket Fail

I've been working on sewing a jacket for a while.  I started working on the shell today and realized I'd switched the front and facing pieces.  I've sewn and fused the facing to side front!  I'm sick of all the mistakes I've made on this jacket and ready to start over with something else.  Maybe I'll rip out all that stitching and fix it someday, but not today.

So I have a french terry sweatshirt or a Maggy London dress up next.  I own a ML dress and love it!  The fit is great, it's very comfortable, and the pattern drafting looks identical to my dress just a different style.  I just need to have a good day to cut it and another day or two to sew it up.

For the sweatshirt I want to incorporate an idea I saw for polar fleece: faux ribbing using twin needle stitching.  I think it'll look good and fit better at the hem and cuffs.  Need to sew some samples first, though.

March 1, 2011

Captivate[ing] Silence

Some phone drama this week: my 2 month old Samsung Captivate stopped making noise.  I could still talk to callers but it didn't ring, alarms didn't sound, and silent reminders aren't helpful.  Google turned up many people with the same problem but no solution.  The big tip was pushing on the speaker :p

Tonight I tightened the screw next to the speaker and so far so good.  Hopefully this is a permanent fix.  And maybe I can help someone else with the same issue.

ETA: The next day the speaker cut out again.  It appears many of these phones have poor speaker connections and there's no fix.
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