Hello, Lovely Readers — how are you? Life’s been happening since my last post, so this is a mite lengthy.
Hope you’ve time to settle in with something cool (or hot, as appropriate to your weather) and stay for a catch-up, including some sewing. Yeah!
Have cogitated and cogitated over what to do with this medium weight cotton, of which I bought maybe 1½ or 2 yards. Finally decided on shorts with pockets, as my blue pair gets worn constantly at this time of year. How long has it been in stash? Ummm . . . absolutely no idea.
But I couldn’t resist it as it’s that wonderful tomato red that I love but can never find when I have a specific project in mind. Now that I consider it, I was probably thinking “summer dress” but after laundering realised it would be too hot, and stashed it.
At one point I thought “tote bag” and have a piece cut off for that, as well as what I assume were the handles, except there’s a strange “V” cut on one end. Wonder what I was thinking…
Anyway, this is finally out of stash, ironed, and might be cut out by the time you read this. (Not yet, but the pattern’s out!)
Remember that green & mustard ski cap I was working on last time? I got it out and looked at it, then counted my stitches and realised I’d got off about 8 rows from the start.
Yes, I was good and frogged it back, but that put a damper on my crochet ardour. That, plus the early onset of extreme heat & humidity. Managed late last week to pull out of the doldrums a bit, and am almost back to where I was.
See what the triple digit temps have done to the lovely hydrangea bushes dotted around the apartment complex? The roses are too scraggly for piccies and grass that isn’t on a sprinkler system is dead brown because our rain has been sporadic.
Looking on the brighter side… Heat means time to tackle the small unread stack of books on my shelf… and was delighted to have found one I’d forgotten I had!
Back story: Several years ago I discovered the British Library Crime Classic series and ordered Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay. I quite enjoyed it, and learned what a humpty is (a.k.a., hassock), as well as absorbing more bits about British women’s university years.
BTW, if anyone has a humpty pattern they wouldn’t mind sharing, please let me know (sewing, not knitting or crochet).
My forgotten mystery was another Hay book, Murder Underground, which also mentions a humpty.
(I’m blaming my humpty fixation on triple digit heat. That and a desire to stuff one with stashed fabric. Add a zipped top & it might be great storage as well as hassock.)
Hay has a third book, The Santa Klaus Murder, that I haven’t acquired yet just ordered, but I’m also looking for a nice used copy of Bats in the Belfry, by new-to-me author E.C.R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett).
If anyone’s read any of Lorac’s books I’d love to know what you thought. Somewhere I read she was a witty author, and if there’s one thing I like to read in summer heat, it’s something humorous.
(Speaking of witty, just found & ordered Doonan’s Wacky Chicks & another Gerald Durrell. And that third Hay book, too.)
I’ve been puzzling over what to do with some of this cotton batik (below) ordered last summer from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, but now out of stock. It’s heavier than I’d thought and has a funny sort of texture (possibly from all the dyes used to get the particular splotchiness of the pattern). I love the colours, but the texture put me off for a season.
Chatting over t’internet with fellow sewer Jen (Let the Sewing Begin) with fabric in hand, she thought it would make a good duster, and we talked a bit about what colours to wear with it. Afterwards I remembered a green linen camp shirt I’d found at a thrift shop in Arlington and got it out to check. What do you think—a definite maybe?
Lastly, a “goodness, I’d forgotten” moment earlier this past week when WordPress sent a Sixth Anniversary note. It’s been a tough time down here for most everyone, and I’m trying to buck up and stay more focused on goodness.
To that end I really really am valuing all you sewing bloggers around the globe. Reading your posts and seeing how you all are coping with a very turbulent world makes me feel not so alone over here, and sometimes even hopeful for a decent future. To that end, am sharing one last thing, which I hope will make you smile as much as it does me. . . . . . .
I finally read the last bits of Doonan’s book, Eccentric Glamour, and want to share a quote from the “Wallflowers and Big Stinky Peonies” section (p. 217). This might sound a little strange, but hang on as I’ve the perfect example below it.
“As you begin to stick your toes into the luscious lagoon of eccentric glamour, you will experience a jarring increase in the amount of amorous attention you receive… It is simply a result of how gorgeous and fabulous you think you are…” (Doonan’s emphasis)
If you begin to feel overwhelmed at such prospects, Doonan chides us not to “stay at home and watch “Dynasty” reruns…” Instead, he flatly says that is “…a waste of time—yours and mine (meaning Doonan’s)—unless you share it with someone… It’s a “What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play” Liza in Cabaret kind of a thing.”
As promised, here’s one of my favourite bloggers’ recent posts that perfectly illustrates Doonan’s concept. If you don’t already know NYC’s utterly & outrageously adorable Marcy Harriell, also known as Ooonabaloona, click and say howdy.
HEARTIEST THANK YOU’S & CONGRATS TO ALL WHO’VE MADE IT THROUGH!
This was supposed to be about receiving fabric for a weekend of three blissful days spent sewing.
Except the fabric didn’t arrive, it rained all weekend, and I hardly sewed anything.
So have been feeling a bit… fraught trying to account for lost time, feeling guilty, but clearly (in hindsight) just needing time to putter.
So I caught up on chores, read blogs and sewing videos. I enjoyed The Fold Line’s Sewing Summer Trends and tried hard to find something to suit my summer heat & humidity ~ absolutely can’t be doing with anything tight. It was nice to hear what’s doing on the high street s of London.
Then had to check out Hila, over at Saturday Night Stitch. There were two videos I hadn’t seen. Goody! It was great fun seeing what she’s up to, and her industrious stash sort-out made me feel curious about what might be hiding out in my own.
Before watching Hila’s video on organising her stash, perhaps I should give a little heads up: Hila’s stash is sooo luscious I get mega fabric envy and want to move to (or order from) N. Yorkshire’s shops. So hide your plastic, Ladies!
(If any of you Lovelies think you have a huge stash, you might be surprised. However, she has FOUR Little People and a Hubs she sews for.)
I also caught up on the blog over at The Confident Stitch (TCS). (No, I didn’t order more fabric!) In fact, reading one by Kate (owner of TCS) on tidying up fabric stashes she mentioned a book. It reminded me that Hila had, too.
Being in procrastination mode, that was enough of an excuse a reason for me to spend time reviewing both and confirming it was the same book: Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Has anyone else read it?
Now being firmly in exploratory mode after finally putting my unmade heavy winter fabrics back into stash, I grabbed a white plastic sack of fabric I’d bagged up for donating months ago. That’s how I discovered some dark green fabric I’d been hunting for pillow coverings. Dub – what was I thinking when I piled it in there?
It was the ending of Hila’s video that really inspired me, because also in that bag I found a lovely summer cotton sheath I’d totally forgotten. I loved the slightly heavy cotton fabric, but hadn’t gotten it made up into something practical enough to wear in summer heat.
I decided to spent the evening ripping it apart. I’m determined to remake it into something wearable – probably a simple top. I’m also going to take time to enjoy my fabric stash.
As Hila explained about her fabric, “What is this life if we can’t stop and feel the joy in fabric?!”
And I’m feeling so behind with writing – not to mention sewing! So will just make a start …
Scale of barkcloth’s print
sample from Britex
Yes, the high humidity 90℉ days have begun to appear with more regularity, and I have but one comment: UGH!
Work progresses slowly on fitting a couple of new patterns, preparatory to using two of the above three fabrics.
The one that’s cut was a small sample of Dutch wax cloth that I bought from Britex. (Treasure those few companies that send free swatches!) I was not impressed and won’t order. I found the photo colours to be quite different, from what I could tell from the relatively tiny swatch versus the HUGE patterns involved.
I’ve started crocheting a throw using James C. Brett yarn, as recommended by my dear Midlands friend, Samantha. Two huge balls (200g each) arrived very quickly, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Will be ordering more of this from Wool Warehouse!
LOVE these colours!
chunky yarn that looks different when crocheted – comes out in stripes!
packaging is ALL recycleable!
Whoops – time’s up so better hit that “Publish” button!
A squidgy fabric package arrived yesterday from out West and made my week.
In the spirit of ‘when copping a plea, go for the gold,’ I’m blaming it on Mrs. Maile (a.k.a., Tanya Hughes).
Being much taken with the fabric she’d used in her post (previous link), I’d meandered across her conveniently provided link to her fabric source – The Confident Stitch.
As one does, I wondered what else they had, and wandered around a bit, eventually looking at all their barkcloth (or bark cloth). I was surprised to be more drawn to a different fabric, which made me pause, wondering why.
Being thorough, I’d also noticed their stock of independent pattern makers, including the Closet Case’s Charlie Caftan that Tanya used for her barkcloth dress. Then I remembered seeing it several times last year on Karen Ball’s Did You Make That?
Fast forward a bit: Having finally acknowledged the sad state of my summer frocks ~ 3 made at least 3 years ago ~ and also having resolved to remedy the situation, I’d contemplated enlarging my pattern stash. On that note, I spent some time reviewing both ladies’ posts on the Charlie Caftan (Karen made several).
Everything looked okay from my perspective, so I ordered the paper pattern, plus a couple of swatches, including that other barkcloth.
Oh yes, somehow a piece of cotton lawn got into that first squidgy package. Which will be discussed at a later date because I decided it was a bit too sheer for a Charlie and I’d ordered the wrong yardage anyway.
# # #
Meanwhile time passed and because hot weather is arriving down here I was looking forlornly at my summer tops and sighing. Actually, doing a great deal of sighing, and wondering how to remedy. I had that lovely cotton lawn, which just needed matching thread… and a pattern…
Just to relax last Sunday (really!) I went browsing on The Confident Stitch site. Up popped a pattern sale: 25% off through 28 April (Saturday).
Which is how the cotton lawn’s matching thread andGrainline’s Hadley arrived in yesterday’s squidgy package, along with that barkcloth, which very possibly will become a Charlie.
Do tell if I’m the only one making such convoluted decisions.
P.S./ Almost forgot. A couple more swatches also arrived yesterday, which look like great next additions to the summer wardrobe. Final decisions in a bit… you know how that goes.😉
Aside from the grand news about the Sewing Bee, it’s been fairly quiet round here, aside from furious crocheting during the news.
(We’re forgetting that little 3-day kitchen drain issue that “allowed” maintenance to buy a new tool. Some people are always glad to need a new tool.)
We had a recent spell of 80’s which didn’t exactly energize me. (Not the February spell, a March-April one.) Too uncomfortable to walk over and shop library shelves, I started re-reading from my meagre supply: the first Hodge book, Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence, M.C. Beaton’s excellent The Skeleton in the Closet, and Miss Read’s Village Diary.
Have also read Tanya Maile’s excellent 2-part tutorial on pattern grading. The first part is for grading up multi-sized patterns. The second is for mostly vintage one-size-only patterns.
I’ve a certain 70’s Very Easy Vogue pattern crawling slowly up the To Do list, now I know Tanya’s second tutorial is the one to use. All-in-all, it doesn’t look too bad a thing to do, I write glibly, never having enlarged a pattern before.
(Further hints, suggestions, cautions, or dark European chocolate gratefully accepted.)
It would have taken a crystal ball to predict what’s happened with that bamboo tee shirt. Would you believe after half a season’s wear it’s pilling inside and out? (Edited to add: The pattern is called bamboo, but there doesn’t appear to be any in the fibre, unless it’s in the 30% rayon that’s been made from bamboo. See Comments for details.)
Seems any friction at all — draping a sweater on top or leaning against a sink — is enough to bring up piles of fluff.
I tried brushing them. Big mistake. That moved even more of the black piles onto the white and vice versa. Unless any of you Lovely Readers has a magical solution, this is binned bamboo, along with remaining scraps.
Meanwhile somewhere I’ve got a black gauze duster started last summer. It just needs a sleeve, front facings and a quick hem. . .
U.K. Lovelies can view on their iplayer, but ‘usins’ everywhere else must resort to an alternate (youtube).
Having watched the second episode last night (they’re about 28 minutes each) I decided to start at the beginning and not get distracted…
But alas, lunch did it. Plus a growing list of Things To Do that will include a spot of long distance natter and tea with one of my Yorkshire friends. (The Atlantic is a bit of a drawback, but Edison and the internet make it easy.)
So what’s been laying on my sewing/cutting tables seems like forever, whilst my sewing mojo is MIA?
Up top it’s a crazy print from The Rain Shed bought last January & designated for exercise togs. Don’t laugh! My idea is more yogic so the trews will be very loose, and I’m using the renfrew pattern for the top. Again. (I’ll get it right eventually.)
Just to liven things up I got this tissue rayon knit cut last week, using the free Hemlock pattern
Granted, I’ve had this pattern ‘aging’ and I understand they withdrew then reissued it. This is probably the original. Heigh ho, we’ll give it a go.
Meanwhile, am enjoying these from last week’s mini-Galentine’s Day celebration and hope they brighten your Monday as well!.
Love this quote (thanks to Prof. Pski’s blog) from Poirot in Christie’s 1947 short story, “The Capture of Cerberus” (The Labours of Hercules):
“All these young women who surrounded him- so alike, so devoid of charm, so lacking in rich alluring femininity! He demanded a more flamboyant appeal. Ah! To see a femme du monde, chic, sympathetic, spirituelle – a woman with ample curves, a woman ridiculously and extravagantly dressed!”
But, wait . . . Searching for a better link to this story after declining to use the official Christie page (“BUY” written everywhere), I found the excerpted story and a newsy bit: Christie’s Poirot, hints of “s*x,” and why this story went unpublished for 60 years. U.K. readers & Christie aficionados may know all about this, but it was news to me.
So take a break from today’s “reality” and escape into Poirot’s world, where method and order prevail.
~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~
last fabric order
Got my fabrics from Vogue Fabrics and immediately checked to see if they were on-grain before serging the raw edges and tossing into the washer. Of the 3 pieces of cotton, one of the six edges was cut properly.
Perhaps because I got the end of the bolt, the touch was rougher than the swatches, and I was disappointed when it came out of the dryer. Have just washed it again and am air-drying over the shower rail. (Noticed the fabric is translucent both wet and dry.)
So, am re-thinking the turquoise/teal group of fabrics… Perhaps the turquoise would make a better Victoria blazer (By Hand London, or BHL) but I’d have to try squeezing out the cropped version. And find a lining. So am still very much in planning stages for that group.
The orangey batik is lovely and light weight, but I’m wondering how badly the off-grain printing is going to affect my plan for a duster with an opening straight down the front (like this one).
Check out the lower selvedge and the left serged edge in the photo. Do please tell me what you think. Am I being too nit-picky?
Had thought an asymmetrical front instead, but am afraid it might look a lopsided mistake rather than planned.
Lastly, the neutrally-dotted lawn’s texture is good and should pair with a lot of the greens I already have (as shown). It will be another duster to blend over the greens and the few browns in stash.
Lastly, from Lizzie’s latest Vintage Traveler Miscellany is a 20-minute film I found utterly charming, scenic and informative. Thank you, Lizzie!