Category Archives: sewing

it’s a 5-day week?

(After a Monday morning “off” in preparation for a long afternoon meeting, am feeling like it’s a repeat of last week: What happened to Monday?)

As you can see from the photo above, I’ve been making headway with this slubbed Italian yarn. Surprise-surprise! It’s going to be a lightweight scarf. The ruler reported 27 inches and I’ve just started in on the second ball. The range of colours continues to fascinate me even if it’s been stashed for 10-ish years. 🙈

Which brings me to this hastily whipped up elasticated-waist skirt. I’m not gonna hem it because it’s a jersey and was cut very neatly. And really – hem jersey?! The length is below knee, for more sedate wearing; hoicked up it’s still long enough to be a dress.

A Nicola Miller design for Joann from more than 4 yrs. ago, it’s one of the two pieces I found in the remnants. Whilst stitching up the casing for the elastic waist I noticed some light staining on the wrong side, which might explain why this buttery soft knit got shifted to the discount table.

I don’t see a thing wrong with the right sides of these two pieces, and they’ve both been washed several times. The jersey’s also got good 4-way stretch! Now what to do with the other piece that’s 60″ wide but under a yard . . . . . . am thinking a loose top. . . . . 🤔 Which reminds me . . .

For yonks I’ve had a couple of smallish tablecloths that just kept shrieking “Make me a top!” so I’m finally paying attention, currently experimenting with a neckline I’m not quite happy with yet.

Thinking loose and boxy so as not to waste too much fabric, and deal with the heavy heat & humidity that’s now here, probably here to stay until….. could I hope for July??? Maaaybe not.

BAH! 🥵

Let’s talk BOOKS!

On the weekend I finished an electronic copy of Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. It was sooo interesting, learning how NASA (National Air and Space Agency) came into being. . . . . . and the Black women who worked there for decades.

Before computers were created, these women were the computers. That was their title, which I found jarring every time it was used in reference to a woman instead of a machine.

Ms. Shetterly has written a superb book, focusing on both how and what several of the women endured in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s in America’s South. (Unlike the movie, which consolidated events and covered a fraction of that time.)

I really cannot do justice to all she’s written, or tell you how deeply so many things in the book have affected me. The movie doesn’t even begin to do that, but this C-Span clip of the author talking about her book is a beginning. At under an hour, it’s time very well spent if you’re at all interested in America or history.

Laters!

thread chicken & pockets

For those who don’t know what the heck the title means, let me explain.

Among sewing. knitting and crocheting enthusiasts, playing thread chicken involves wondering whether you’ve enough thread to complete a specific task or project.

In the case of the above, it was a pocket. Or two…

There appears to be a difference between the colour of the pockets and the shorts in the second photo, which is an error I couldn’t sort out with the lighting. (More about those shorts here.)

The pockets really are the same fabric as the shorts – a heavy stretch denim fabric from my Chicago Collection (a.k.a., Vogue Fabrics). It’s the lining in the first photo that’s different – a lightweight rayon that in it’s former life was the top of a well-loved rayon denim dress (DKNY V1236) that might become a skirt, but the jury’s still out on that.

Speaking of pockets, I ran into some interesting history whilst reading one of Lizzie’s (The Vintage Traveler) blog posts. In the pockets article she lists The Wall Street Journal had this to say:

“Yet for women, pockets are still a privilege, and not just in evening wear. In her 2017 doctoral dissertation, “The Gendered Pocket: Fashion and Patriarchal Anxieties about the Female Consumer in Select Victorian Literature,” Samantha Fitch made the case that a sexist history of oppression is behind the dearth of pockets. Without pockets, women were traditionally dependent on men for essentials—like money. Ms. Fitch wrote, “Women’s pockets, in general, are smaller than men’s pockets, less numerous, or simply non-existent. Possibly worst of all, many times women find that their pockets are actually faux pockets.”

Think about it for a minute: “Yet for women, pockets are still a privilege…”

Might that have had something to do with my adding pockets to this pair of shorts, something I’d been procrastinating doing for months . . . . .

😉

Hello, 😲 it’s Friday!

And it’s been long time no blog! But I’ve been keeping up by reading everyone else’s, even if commenting has been minimal.

Must admit to being a bit excited about an upcoming event that’s not sewing related. My nevvie is gradating this month with his Masters. However, there’s a wee fly in the ointment, so to speak, and that’s where this sewing peep comes in…

The wrinkled post-consumer plastic bottles need ironing. Photo by Sis2 & used with permission

It’s the robe, that august symbol of graduation. But this one also has another agenda: recycle & reuse. The tag inside the gown reads, “Made in USA from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles”.

When cloth gets wrinkled it can be ironed in some fashion. But what about “… 100% post-consumer plastic bottles”? And that’s the prob.

Sis2 is at her wits’ end. She’s tried hanging it in the shower – no change. She’s repeatedly used a garment steamer, alternately spritzing with hot and cold water. Nothing. “Even dry cleaners in town won’t touch it,” she noted.

Earlier on she tried ironing what she now thinks was a similar material masquerading as a dress shirt. She said it “shredded.”

I’ve asked on IG and so far, no one’s written that they know just what to do. Any ideas you lovelies might have will be very warmly appreciated. Sis2, the one who felts & knits, sends her appreciation & thanks to all. And so do I!!

It’s been a trying last 10 days or so, attempting to get a decent bottle of milk. Sounds simple – right? But no . . .

First there was the totally wrong grocery order, followed by a same-day correct order. So far, so good – phew! But then I happened to look at email after dinner and discovered there was another identical order practically on its’ way.

Frantically I got it cancelled. Running low on milk a few days later I manufactured yet another grocery order for those special things only one store carried. That bottle of milk got squished and leaked all over the bottom of the bag.

Click a pic to enlarge

By this time I had used enough pantry items to make yet another grocery order, and that large bottle of milk arrived with no intact safety seal. So it got poured down the drain.

Today I finally received bottles of milk with intact safety seals, un-squished, and no leaks in sight.

Alleluia.

books
What else have I been doing, if not sewing up a storm?

Reading!

Yep, the itch to read the latest from Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series (The Spotted Dog) has been thoroughly scratched, and I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly. All the usual cast of characters are around, although Meroe was a bit quieter than in other volumes. (Was it you, Kate, who’s also a fan & recommended it? Thank you!)

Also tackled and enjoyed Erik Larson’s very lengthy but riveting The Splendid and the Vile — a practically minute-by-minute account of the first couple years of WW II as it unfolded for Great Britain. Must admit I hadn’t realised how quickly everything escalated against Britain, and how horribly long it took to get FDR to understand what was at stake. It reminded me of how precarious liberty still is.

I also did a second installment of Barak Obama’s Promised Land, and am about half way through the 800 pages. I borrow the version that he reads, as there’s so much nuance added by his inflections. Very enjoyable, but extremely detailed; enlightening, but with moments of dread, knowing what happened after his presidency. Am still very much in recovery mode from the last 4 years, and the gradually abating (🤞🤞) pandemic.

All for now — time to start relaxing as the weekend is here! What have you planned? I’ve already ordered pizza and salad so I don’t have to cook Sunday. Yippee! Might even have time for a stitch or two . . . 😆

Whatever your plans, be safe!

❤️ 💕 ❤️

Easter, a not-so-silent Sunday

I almost never use a feature image, but as this is a hol that I had a photo for, and the rest of this is about my LB Pullover test wearing, it seemed appropriate. Not getting fancy, mind, just making do.

Back story: Back last winter, when I was waiting for a load of fleece from Vogue Fabrics to arrive, I downloaded a copy of the Talvikki Sweater pattern by Named. But when the fleece arrived and I had it in hand, I realised there might be some problems with that neckline and my thick fleece. (There’s fleece and there’s thick fleece – I had the latter, which is great for damp, cold weather.) So I messaged someone I knew had made several Talvikki’s: Anne, of Compulsive Seamstress.

Anne suggested the LB Pullover instead, noting it could also be used with woven fabrics. After doing a bit more reading up on it, I was taping the pages together. (Incidentally, she makes the case for making multiples of any pattern you like – so why do we feel guilty when we do?!)

Here’s the front . . .

Friday was a chilly day so I test wore this second iteration to see how it worked in real life. As usual when I’m test wearing a make, I did not finish the sleeves or the hem. In addition, I’d left one side open about 4 inches for a vent. (I forgot when sewing the first side seam, and didn’t want to get out the seam ripper. 🙄 There will be a single vent in this version. )

I’d wanted to try cutting the sleeves with the most stretch going around the arm rather than running the length of the arm, but as this was a relatively small remnant I didn’t have that option. Rest assured, there’s a third version in the planning stage, and that one has enough fabric. Maybe I’d better make a little note . . . . . . .

My other question was using two different weight knit fabrics (the orange being slightly weightier). Would they play nicely together, or start fighting from the get-go? Seaming the sides, from wrist through under-arm and down to the waist was a good test. So far, both are doing okay, with not much detectable – as in wavy seams, missing stitches, and so forth. (Will be back with a single fabric for the next version.)

I did notice, when looking in the bathroom mirror, the sizing on this version – although the same as the first fleece version – looks about 2 sizes too big on both sides. While wearing I didn’t notice any problems. Except I got the dreaded purpley side facing wrong way round when I first pulled it on. 🙈

And the back – where I don’t have to see it – hehehee!

My non-stretchy-for-the-washing-up wrist problem with the first fleece version continues with this, but I’m not beating m’self up over it. Needs must, or not enough fabric in this case.

This is a quick pattern to cut and sew up, provided you don’t misread directions, as I did with this version.

Attaching the neck facing is done a bit differently than I’m used to and I managed to make it a multi-step process, with many trimmings necessary, as well as a real fudgey bit. BIG note on the PDF instructions page to remind myself not to do that again.

But really, we can finish off necks and arms and waists any d##* way we choose these days. It’s called freedom. And we sewists, or people who sew, are free to do it any way we choose!

One facet of this pattern is you can also use woven fabric for it. And that’s something I’m also going to be trying. We’ve already had days in the 80’s, and it’s only a matter of time before those higher numbers become “normal.”

And I run screaming into the AC and dig out all my cotton lawn and light-weight challis . . . . . 🥵

LB Pullover #2

1st Try – Front & back from orange? Nope.
2nd try – Front & sleeves? YES, they fit!

Enter a second knit fabric, purchased three or four years ago specifically to be used with this leftover piece of medium weight cotton knit from Vogue Fabrics almost 10 years ago (yikes 🙈).

Normally I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing purple, but this has the perfect orange match for the cotton knit.

Ta-dah! Another LB Pullover ready for a test wear — just in time for our two frosty days right before Easter!

Here’s the front . . .
And the back – where I don’t have to see it – hehehee!

Printer Probs

Just your basic, no frills pullover.

On the left is my first version of the LB Pullover, A Paper Theory pattern. However, I don’t mean to single out Paper Theory, as this applies to most PDF patterns.

My printer automatically cuts off tops and bottoms of pages and I cannot discover any way to reduce the unwanted almost-inch on each end that won’t print. I’ve tried. For years. 🥵

There’d be no problem if every pattern company left margins on all four sides of every page, but they don’t. (Even better if the margins were standardized.) Looking at Paper Theory’s extremely complete Instructions, they appear to print to the edges of pages. I’m worried that’s not going to bode well for fit.

When a pattern is less than 30 pages (as this is) I hate to have to send it off to PDFPlotting (although they do a super good job and I can adjust shipping to UPS-Ground to get them quickly).

As with all PDF patterns I print at home I then spend inordinate amounts of time with a glue stick. But I find that no matter how much glue I apply there’s always something that won’t stick. Frequently there are several. Often I just give up and get out the tape.

Then I swear (a lot) and vow never to put myself through the agony again because it winds up costing me too much time, it kills my creative urge, and I wind up tossing everything into the Corner of Doom.

Which means days/weeks/seasons can go by before a highly anticipated project sees light of day again.

In this specific case, I tried hard not to let “the paralysis of analysis” (as Dr. King wrote in one of his books) overtake me. The Vogue Fabric fleece is green, my fav colour. So I bit the bullet, took some educated guesses, measured lengths, and specifically checked the neckline piece.

Surprisingly, the sleeves didn’t need shortening, and the front/back are okay. I did have to add to the length of the neckline piece, which might have been a factor of the lower fabric stretch. Next time I’ll try cutting on the bias.

But I did manage to finish the green version. I’ve worn it several times now, and it seems to be okay, except for the sleeves, which won’t stay out of the washing up. Elastic. Eventually . . .

I’m giving myself a medal.

And possibly another version of the pattern in a stretchier knit.

March’s Virtual Tea Party ☕️

Welcome!

So glad you could join us today – help yourselves to a tea of your choice, and some soda bread. Here’s the toaster & spread in case you want to try a warm slice.

I posted the recipe here in case you’d like to make your own. 😉

This sweet bread has a different consistency partly because it uses almost 2 cups of buttermilk. I’ve still got about 2 cups of b’milk left! Anybody have or know of a scone recipe using buttermilk? I’d like to try one, if it exists.

Please feel free to introduce yourselves.  How was your journey? Hope the day’s going well for you. Yes, today is unusually warm for March, even down here.

What do you think about this herbal tea assortment? It’s the first time I’ve tried it. I’d like to be growing my own, if a window box in a sunny window would work.

Any gardeners here? What do you think? I’ve one south-facing window, but later afternoon sun gets blocked. Do you think I could grow some herbs?

Your invitation
Please feel free to celebrate with Su of Zimmerbitch and me  with a post of your own, a recipe, or a piccie of your own cuppa.

I’ll update this post with a ping back to your post. If you’re an IG person, we’re at  #virtualteaparty2021.

******************************************

Margaret (From Pyrenees to Pennines) has invited us over for a sit down in her lovely garden and a slice of her delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Deb (The Widow Badass) has brought some delightful muffins… well, minus the one I grabbed as soon as she came in the door. I can reliably report they are well worth a taste!

🍀   Thank you for coming!    🍀

Monday

Click to enlarge

Thought I’d post my traditional recipe today instead of on ☘️The Day☘️, in case any of you’d like to give this a go yourselves.

Wednesday is St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S., and I’m combining my part of Su’s tea party with St. Patrick’s Day. *

My post will be up on Wednesday at 3 P.M., United States’ East Coast Summer Time. *

Su is posting hers at 3.00 pm on Thursday the 18th, New Zealand time. *

Sadly, it’ll be our second St. Patrick’s Day of hunkering down &  staying masked up here in the U.S.  The good news is we can get our shots now! But remember . . .

…  virtually, the bread’s always exactly as you like it, tea’s always hot, and we can all natter till forever without a calorie in sight. 🤣

Please join Su of Zimmerbitch in New Zealand and my poor self as we nibble & natter with you here, at Su’s, or on IG at #virtualteaparty2021.

☘️       ☘️       ☘️

PS/Just in case you’d rather have a PDF version, it’s here: Irish Buttermilk Soda Bread

*Edited

Save the date: Wednesday 17 March

As close as I could find for ☘️

Wherever you are, please join Su (in New Zealand) and me (in U.S.) next week for our monthly tea party.

It’s virtual so come as you are, even if it’s your day for jimjams at home.

I’m be serving up my traditional St. Patrick’s Day Irish Soda Bread, and I think Su is planning a delicious surprise or two.

See you soon!