Tag Archives: maintenance

sunday’s sewing

Isn’t this a lovely design! I thought so, which is why I decided to fix the reason it wasn’t worn at all last year.

This was my third update today. Well, I thought it would be. Those belled sleeves trail into all the wrong things, which is why it didn’t get worn.

Even though I’d found it at a charity shop, it is mostly silk, so I decided it was worth a bit of TLC, and a lot more wear before returning it to another charity shop for someone else to enjoy.

Examining the sleeves, I had a hard time flattening the seam. And even more time figuring out how get it to stay flat long enough to figure out what kind of stitch was used. I’d originally assumed it was overlocked, as it’s a knit.

But it wasn’t.

That’s a single stitch with what looks like not-the-average (read, super skinny) thread.

Hmmm.

I think I’m gonna live with it . . . . . .

about the disappeared Comments section

The only solution I can think of is to change the theme, so I’ve been looking at different ones. Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Just wanted to let you know, so you won’t think it’s you.

Please do not hesitate to let me know your thoughts as things shift.

in search of …

Over on the left is a photo of a much loved, 10+ year-old tunic (nightshirt? minidress?) I’d love to re-create. It’s never piled, feels absolutely wonderful, but has developed holes along strain areas—elbows and sleeve head, etc.

Last year I tried shortening the sleeves and adding a remnant, but the fabric just didn’t work. I couldn’t face making a new version, but I kept the original.

After resurrecting it again during Autumn’s Wardrobe Review & Grand Purge I thought again about recreating it. If only I could find a similar fabric. So the search began.

There’s no fashion fabric store nearby, so online is my only option. After searching a few sites, I got to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, just outside Chicago.

After finding an option or three and procrastinating for weeks as we do, just to be sure, I finally tried to order swatches. Paypal seems to be permanently blocked, or their system can’t handle my having used two different emails over the years, so I called the store a couple of days later.

In talking with the office I realised they sell past copies of their seasonally-curated collections—$3 for over 40 swatches, some of which would be out of stock, but not the ones I wanted. And they also had a swatch card of all their combed cotton-Lycra knits (17 swatches for $5).

The downside was waiting a week before these were mailed, and 3 more days before receipt; however, no postage fee. If memory serves, they didn’t list a faster service unless I wanted to fly to Chicago & pick up in-store. Not!

What else is new? Two full bags of donations waiting for a few more additions before being dropped off at Goodwill… Finished another great Louise Penny book and am in the middle of her A Rule Against Murder… A nice holiday on Thursday followed by a long holiday weekend, lots of wonderful fabrics to be grateful for and continue sewing, and some of the nicest sewing friends all over the world.

🍂 🦃 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates this week, and Happy Week to those who don’t! 🦃 🍂

🍂 it’s friday ❣️ 🍂

Lots of reading/listening and a bit of sewing going on here at Chez CnS, with colder weather (YEAH!!!) ushering in last weekend’s time change, and again this weekend.

Results of my thimble experiments are in and not good. The Medium is too big for my finger. Whaaaaaaaa! 😣 However, I’m hoping they will not be unused for long. . . .

FYI: A Size Medium thimble may fly off your finger if a tape measure wrapped snuggly around your thimble finger’s digit is smaller than my 1-7/8″ digit. Not written in stone, because fingers are different with different amounts of taper, and differing styles in hand sewing. Just saying Mediums flew off my finger. 😉

The new “ergonomic” seam ripper is fine, but I’ll probably wrap something around its’ too-slippery handle as my hand slides down it towards the metal. I keep having to move it back up into my hand. The handle is longer and thicker than others, but other than that, ergonomic it ain’t.

An updating project to change the pockets on my only denim skirt was completed. The skirt got lots of winter wear when I lived farther north. (Be aware that if you’re out and about in snow in a skirt this long, the bottom of your skirt may get wet.)

Snow isn’t a problem down here so I left the length for now, but those pockets bothered me. I took them off, adjusted the linings so the white didn’t outline them, removed the cute buttons, and discovered my phone fits with room to spare. Unfortunately, boots won’t get worn with this skirt in this climate. Not cold enough. 😪

A huge Thank You to whomever recommended the Louise Penny books, and my apologies for not remembering who it was. I’ve listened to the first, Still Life, and the 13th, Glass Houses. I listened to the third, The Cruelest Month, the week of Hallowe’en. Perfect timing. 👻 🙀

It is wise to start with the first book, as a Lovely Reader suggested—whose name I also don’t recall so please forgive me. Although I was fascinated and horrified by the subject of the more recent Glass Houses, there were a few things I didn’t understand because I didn’t know past history; however, that did not detract as far as I could tell.

The 13th, Glass Houses, includes an interview with Ms. Penny and the voice and stage actor Robert Bathurst, who took over reading after voice and stage actor Ralph Cosham’s death. More on their creative approaches to writing and acting in another post.

Any Elizabeth Peters fans amongst you, Lovely Readers? Does famed Egyptologist Amelia Peabody Emerson ring any bells? The last of that series, The Painted Queen, read by the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat, also came home for a rollicking listen. (click the pic to link to site)

Author Barbara Mertz has herself gone to that Great Pyramid in the Sky, so this story was completed by Joan Hess, as mentioned at the start of the audio book. As Ms. Rosenblat came to the end, I must admit regretting there will be no more.

The first recorded book I ever listened to was read by Ms.Rosenblatt, and she’s thoroughly spoilt me for anyone not up to her standards. If you like to listen whilst you sew/crochet/whatever, you can’t go wrong with something she’s done.

Today’s Friday and I hope everyone has great things planned for their weekend. I know I do… fingers crossed… 🍂 🤣 😂 🤣 🍂

Monday, monday

First, the BIG news: That cold front from Canada is pushing into the area.

HUGE THANK YOU ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 😍🥰😍

And so we go from 100 plus to low 80’s (or from over 40 to 20’s).

The Not So Good News is the heat seems to have migrated over to dear U.K. and European regions. That is seriously NOT a Good Thing. 😾 🤬 😾

Opened my curtains (thermal blackout fabric to keep heat/cold out) for the first time in almost two weeks. See here, here, and here for more information on blackout cloth and some photos.

An update on mending…

I dug out my book on mending and discovered 12 pages on mending knits. TWELVE pages! At the very end I discovered another suggestion, which seemed more practical (meaning a lot less hassle than reweaving).

Deciding that cotton embroidery would be too heavy for this light weight knit, I remembered ribbon embroidery and did a quick search for some books at the library. Nada. 😳

Then I remembered I had a book on ribbon embroidery from ages ago (1995). Surely I hadn’t tossed it out…

Nope, found it and started working through the endless bits of a large unsorted collection of ribbons and laces and such. Spent lots of time pulling out bits of lacy stuff and placing on green knit. Just for effect, you know… and didn’t like any of it.

I did manage to find two ribbons that might look okay, then wondered if I had enough for the repairs.

Time to get serious and count how many holes there are:

  • 3 on back right shoulder
  • 1 on back left shoulder
  • 2 on lower back toward center
  • 11 on lower front right

Uh-h-h.

I think a lot of the joy just left . . . . .

monday mishmash

Hello, Lovelies! It is Monday. Again. And the First Day of July. Where is this year speeding off to, and why? Herewith, despite despair at all that wasn’t accomplished, are a few of the bits that were. . .

I’m thinking of changing my gravatar…

You know, this thingey that pops up whenever I write here or comment elsewhere.

My sticking point is this gravatar connects to two things—the C with CurlsnSkirls, and the thistles with my Scots sewing and crocheting grannies, bless ’em.

What do you all think ? ? ?

Pleeese be very honest and say if you think it’s a nutty idea. I promise I won’t be upset.

Oh. What would replace it? Am considering this, if you can imagine it reduced to 1/4 inch-size.

The left side is undyed

Things are ticking over at the usual hot summer pace, which isn’t spectacularly speedy.

I decided to fiddle about—again—with the dotted duster. I took a good look at it whilst outside at high noon one day and decided it was too white and I wanted a more subdued effect.

Soaking in hot tea

My solution (no pun intended) was to tea dye it in the kitchen sink. Not something I do often, but there were tea bags left from the last bout.

I wrote about it even before that session, so that giant box in the photo was good value.

(For tea drinking I prefer decaf English Breakfast, and other black teas which never get used for anything but drinking!)

Hey-ho. Not much photographic difference, but to me, in full sun, there is. 🤣

Stop the presses! I cleaned off my sewing table! And resolve to stop piling things on the end except when I’m sewing.

It’s about 14″ x 22″

One of those little but pesky (aka, put off forever) sewing projects is done: I cut down an extra pillow case for a little pillow made years ago. It’s gotten a lot of use, and always needed a pillow case. Minorly major or majorly minor, am not sure, but pleasurable every night when I see it.

Slowly but surely more rounds are being added to the crochet project. Baby steps, but that’s fine. No rush!

We have a strange week here in the U.S. At least it seems strange to me. The Powers That Be usually move whatever day a major holiday falls on to the following Monday so everyone has a three day weekend.

However, this week it’s Fourth of July/Independence Day on Thursday. I guess moving that to Monday would not be appropriate. So we have a national holiday on Thursday. It just feels odd.

Maybe we’re practicing for Thanksgiving? 🤔 🦃

Downtown Chicago’s Grant Park, 2008

pleasant double needle seam ripping

an offending 3/4-length sleeve (right side)

Impossible? That’s what I thought, Lovelies, and why I kept putting off the task. Probably the rest of you know already, but its a discovery for me.

Yesterday I had a nothing-matches-these-trousers crisis.

“Oh, yeah,” I thought. “There’s that RTW tan 3/4-length sleeve tee that I never wear (face of shame) because I hate the sleeve length.”

the bobbin side (wrong side)

Immediate crisis averted by my orange renfrew, I decided to let down those sleeves. Not a pleasant prospect. Grimly, I went for it.

Collecting my seam ripper & short nippers (see reference at end), and after downloading a recent BBC Women’s Hour podcast to sweeten the task, the ripping began.

After inserting the ripper on the right side of the double stitches I saw how much the pressure to cut the threads tightened the threads on either side, making it more difficult to get the ripper into the next stitches.   Hm.

i clipped both top & bottom rows simultaneously even though the bottom row doesn’t look as clipped as the top

As I had my thread nippers I tried them. Perfect. I was quickly round the first sleeve, nipping every other set of stitches.

 

couldn’t hold the camera & the nippers at the same time so had to put the nippers down to take the piccie

On the criss-crossed (bobbin) side,  remembering a recent, seemingly endless battle with a seam ripper, I decided to keep going with the nippers.

Again, they worked beautifully. I cut down the centre of the criss-crossed bobbin threads.

Then the fun part: Pulling out all those short threads. Apart from static cling, everything went quickly.

one done!

Success and one sleeve done!

A quick break for a cuppa, and the second sleeve was done before the podcast ended.

As this is an old tee I don’t mind the un-hemmed look, and am chuffed to have it done.

PS/Did I mention that Vogue’s having a sale? Maybe I shouldn’t… forget I mentioned it.

😄    😄   😄

click to go to Vogue Fabrics’ listing for the top thread clippers – only $1.49 and they’re all metal!

creativity vs. ennui

Currently, ennui is winning, but hopefully not for much longer. Seen this past week ~

SCAMPER: 

S-ubstitute, C-ombine, A-dapt, M-odify, P-ut, E-liminate, R-everse

As comic relief to weather, world events, and general January doom & gloom I pulled out some old DVDs of comedy-dramas, this last being New Tricks.

The original starred Alun Armstrong (Brian), James Bolam (Jack), Amanda Redman (Sandra, the boss), and Dennis Waterman (Gerry). The men were all retired London police officers, with Sandra the only serving officer.

The group was called UCOS (Unsolved Crimes and Open Case). For details I refer you to the first episode, which explains many of the on-going and humorous references.

I’m explaining this because an episode in the second year’s series (“Creative Problem Solving”) applies to sewing. In the video, its the framework for how the case gets solved.

✂️       ✂️       ✂️

We sewers don’t have old criminal cases to solve (I hope !), but we do sometimes have old creative problems to (re)solve: those pesky UFOs (unfinished objects) for one.

I’d also include some (many?) of the items hiding at the back of closets, in the bottom of drawers, and stashed away amongst out-of-season clothes.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this!)

Which brings us to the photos below ~

They illustrate how I’ve just spent several weeks frogging (unwinding) an unused (5± years)  3”-wide looong knitted wool scarf, then  crocheted it into a 6″-wide & much shorter fringed scarf.

See all that crinkly stuff in the first photo? That’s how my loosely wrapped & frogged ball of yarn looked as I started crocheting. When it came time to cut the remainder up for fringe I did get a little worried, and hoped I was remembering correctly that it would all straighten out once washed.

Fearlessly I washed everything. All went well.

(I think I owe this explanation to Felicia but I couldn’t for the life of me find her post, so my apologies. And apologies if it was someone else. Edited to add: It was Felicia – see her comment below.)

Am right chuffed to have re-purposed good wool into a more usable object, whilst also enjoying its softness running through my fingers during the reworking.

(He-he! We are tactile creatures, aren’t we? 😉)

Anyone else care to share a creative solution?!

✂️       ✂️       ✂️

stash busting for extreme weather

some of my swatch collection from The Rain Shed – VERY superior fleece

Whether its heat or cold, look to your stash!

Insulation across windows and doors (to the outside) needs a small air space between the glass or whatever and your temporary fabric curtain. That air space is key to providing more insular effects.

I currently use tension rods for window curtains and generally have a few extras  just in case. If that’s not a possibility for you, there’s always tape & tacks.

Any tightly woven fabric can help, as the tighter the weave the less air (and temperature) can pass through.

Here’s another section I just looked up on Polartec®, which I like to use because of its light weight and wash-ability (and further use as blankets if I’ve extra pieces).

source:   The Rain Shed
“If you have questions regarding a fabric please email or call.”  541-791-8900 or Contact. They ship internationally.

About Polartec®
FAQ
Care
Polartec® Windbloc     “Polartec(R) Windbloc(R) fabrics block 100% of the wind and offer maximum protection from the cold and the elements. A soft hand, stretch and a durable water repellent finish (DWR) make this the highest quality, most comfortable windproof fleece product on the market.”

Polartec® 200 (one of two swatch sets)     “Polartec Series 200 is a mid-weight, non-pilling, double-faced fleece from Malden Mills/Polartec LLC. Made of 100% Dacron Polyester. It’s light, non-absorbent, and wicks moisture, dries quickly and retains body heat even when wet.”
“How does it work? The 100% polyester velour, pebbled, or shear ling surface create air pockets that trap air and retain body heat, providing outstanding warmth without weight. These fabrics off excellent breath ability and dry quickly.”

Polartec® 300     “Polartec(R) Series 300 is a heavy, non-pilling, double-faced fleece from Malden Mills. Made of 100% Dacron polyester. It’s breathable, wicking, dries quickly and retains body heat even when wet.”

I’m not affiliated with The Rain Shed or Malden Mills/Polartec.® I just appreciate their products.

I’ve also written on extreme weather here and here.

books that keep on giving

click to go to amazon listing

Summer heat is here ~ time for gentle thinking and reading rather than activity. And so this book has come out of hibernation.

Clambering languidly up on my soap box, herewith a favourite para for your consideration, or not, as you choose. . . 😉

“Like home economics, dressmaking is traditionally a womanly endeavor that can explode gender stereotypes. Scientists say that the average man has a better capacity to imagine a three-dimensional object than the average woman, but how can this be true of the dressmaker starting from scratch? She not only imagines the dress, she also makes a blueprint of the pieces to achieve the shape she wants and figures out the steps to put the whole thing together. Dressmaking is a form of engineering. And in order to make the final product look good from the outside, a dress is put together inside out. Show me a bridge builder who’s been asked to do that.” The Lost Art of Dress:The Women Who Once Made America Stylish, by Linda Przybyszewski, p. 282

And,

“…the American Association of University Women issued a report in 2010 about how to get more women to succeed in fields of study that were traditionally dominated by men: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–the STEM subjects. One of their recommendations was to teach girls to work with their hands in grade school and junior high. They suggested encouraging them to draw and play with construction toys.” Ibid., pp. 282-3

Then she goes on to write about Mary Brooks Picken, who was weaving and sewing at five, founded a national mail order dressmaking school, authored decades of sewing books, and was the first woman trustee of Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

I decided to check out details and found the report mentioned by Ms. Przybyszewski here.

The sections I felt specifically applicable to the quoted passages are cut & pasted below.

Typical summer heat and humidity, reminiscent of walking through warm treacle, has slowed me down enough to troll through happy memories of my own mechanical tendencies.

And to interesting blog posts written by many of you, Lovely Readers, who hack up patterns or design your own, clean and repair your own old and new machines, and share your experiences on-line with words and pictures.

Examples include Mel of The Curious Kiwi and Linda of Nice dress! Thanks I Made It!!.

At $100 or more per service, I sure clean and oil my machines regularly, and have been known to take out screws and clean a few gears.

What about you?

Ever thought about yourself as an engineer? Know anyone you’d consider an engineer!

off topic: reducing photo file size for online use

is this a big file or a little file? compare them!
is this a big file or a little file? compare them!

Perhaps because yours truly started with the old Apple iWeb in ’08, before progressing to WordPress blogging, I discovered early on there’s a little program called iPhoto that comes pre-loaded on Macs.

Its less technical than Photoshop, so a quick and easy way to alter photos before publishing on whatever platform you use. And it sits on your platform, not someone else’s (under someone else’s idea of “security” 😉).

 

One of the handy-dandy things it can do is reduce the size of your photo file. I went hunting for this because I was a mite concerned about on-line photo theft. Yep. Even way back then.

Smaller photo size means photo quality is also reduced. Not a good thing if you want to print an enlargement, or to re-use a stolen pic in huge highway signage (it’s happened!).

  • Smaller file size = Fewer potential thefts/mis-use.
  • Smaller file size = Doesn’t bulk up your online storage (i.e., your WordPress Library).

My current WordPress Library capacity = 8%. That’s eight.
Notice any quality issues with my photos? There’s a tiny test up top for you!

I discovered, and continue to use, an easy method for decreasing MB photo files into under 100 KB photo files that look just as nice on-line. And yes, all the huge files of photos are stored off- and/or on-line, depending on age & whether or not I choose to archive them.

[Sorry I can’t recommend a free programme for non-Mac users, but betcha some Lovely Readers can . . . please enlighten us in the Comments – THANK YOU!]

iPhoto basic: get ‘em in, reduce ‘em, get ‘em out
add photos: Either download directly from your camera or use this command string:

File/Import to Library/pop-up screen to choose which & where files to Import are located/click Import.

[In iPhoto there are organisational choices for how you want to organise your photos. Personally, I organise using Events, which I label by years. There are also options for location & facial recognition, which I don’t use.]

export smaller file photos: Click on photo(s) to download, then use this command string:     File/Export/window pops up & I use JPG/Medium/Medium Size/Use filename/ click Export/window pops up asking for where you want photos to go/click OK.

And that’s how I don’t fill up my online WordPress Library.

Hope it all makes sense, Lovelies, and you soon have all worries behind you!

Please ask questions or provide answers below. And don’t forget to give a guess as to which of the photos is the larger file!