Tag Archives: summer

happy, hot july

white loops on red medium weight cotton

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!)

this is what I frogged back to – 😳 – but next time maybe I’ll count better

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!

piccie courtesy British Library Crime Classic site

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).

British Library Crime Classics
originally published in 1934
Click to go to book on British Library Crime Classic site

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).

click to go to the book on British Library’s site

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!

Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate, or GnT for All!

❤   ❤   ❤    Happy Sewing!    ❤   ❤   ❤

 

 

meltdown

After a slight meltdown last weekend  over wrong style hair colouring (it’s growing out), the whole area is now into a real meltdown. Unfortunately, my old air conditioner’s compressor protested Thursday, packed up, and left town.

In other words, no cold air speweth forth-eth.

With ‘feels like’ temps in the 90’s this is not something to mess around with. Thankfully, Maintenance was ready: They moved in a room unit so I could have a cool bedroom – yeah!

Then after closing time the supervisor came by to try his luck on resurrecting the old compressor one more time. Yep. He raised that puppy from the dead, and had the new one installed by noon Friday. Phew!

For which I am very grateful as this weekend begins some seriously hot weather… probably ‘feels like’ temps in triple digits.  Seriously. Not. Nice.

What am I sewing? Welllll . . . I did get the thread changed twice last weekend, and sewed a seam. Does that count? LOL! 😇

But I have been industriously crocheting and even picked up knitting needles.

You’ve seen what I call the peacock colours currently and slowly being crocheted into a throw for the bedroom. Six 200 gram balls should do it, I hope.

I succumbed to a sale yarn, which is crocheting up nicely into a ski cap (pattern here). Am having to concentrate a bit more with this yarn as the two colours (green & gold) are twisted together to form the strand. When I single crochet into the back post (to create the stretch) often those two strands will appear to separate. But the acrylic is softly agreeable to work with so I’ll persevere.

The other has autumnal colours that are so enticing I couldn’t keep my hands off it. As soon as it arrived I knew I wanted to knit a long scarf and maybe crochet another cap. I love how the colours are shading into each other. It’s like working with soft acrylic angel’s hair.

Other than that I’ve been reading Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour, just finished listening to Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing magic of tidying up, and re-read a couple of M.C. Beaton mysteries.

The Kondo book is quite a different sort of organising book, stressing quite different things than other books I’ve read about organising. And I’m not certain I should have listened to it. Might take a look at the actual book to see if there are pictorial examples illustrating her methodology. I would enjoy hearing from any Lovely Readers who’ve read her book.

What did you think of her way of characterizing “things?” Am not certain about her concept that “things” all have energies of their own, and we should thank them for being in our lives and  bringing us joy. Maybe it’s just a word thing, because I am frequently grateful for the joy of having the right tool for a job, or a yummy yarn or fabric.

A good contrast has been Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour (2008). I’d never heard of Mr. Doonan until Hila (Saturday Night Stitch) mentioned him, and piqued my curiosity. (Thanks, Hila!)

I found the book humorous, enlightening, occasionally upsetting, yet affirmative. I particularly appreciated his concepts and explanations of Gypsies, Existentialists, and Socialites.

A section with much food for thought was “Growing Old Ungraciously.” Considering he wrote this 10 years ago and Things Have Changed, I’m not going to quote anything. . . but here are a couple of brief ones just ‘cause I couldn’t resist–

“Confidence, not physical perfection or power, is the ultimate aphrodisiac… Children and dogs and God do not discriminate against people based on their looks.” (both p. 217, Eccentric Glamour, American edition)

Like to read a bit more by Simon? See here, here, and here.

And now for a Grand Finale — a brief (16 min.) TED Talk by someone all Great British Sewing Bee enthusiasts will recognise, Patrick Grant. Saw this on Lizzie’s Vintage Traveler blog – thanks, Lizzie!

❤   ❤   ❤    Enjoy!    ❤   ❤   ❤

yesterday’s squidgy package, or thought processes for summer clothes

Oh happy day!

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.

click to go to The Confident Stitch

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).

Divine Intervention!

Which is how the cotton lawn’s matching thread and Grainline’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.

culottes and maybe a Grainline Farrow dress… and 2 sweet labels sneaked in!

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.😉

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.

monday snaps

A few photos of what’s been doin’ round here lately.

Caution!  If you’re hungry, have a snack before continuing. 😉

click any photo to read full captions

during last week’s heat wave . . .

Just so’s you don’t think the urge to sew/serge has gone. . . 😱

Besides reading the Cleeves & Durrell books I also did a bit of sewing prep.

By judiciously utilizing early morning minutes before the blast furnace cut in, I managed to cut out another duster (ancient pattern copied & origin no longer remembered) plus another of my favourite summer sleep shirts (NewLook 6871, gifted by Ali).

I also managed to totally forget not to cut down the centre back.  Which will now be seamed. Ah, well . . .

I’d hacked the back a bit on the previous duster by cutting down the centre back of the pattern piece and pulling the 2 pieces apart to create a bit of a flare in the back. I really liked it, so did it again for the gauze. In the photos above that back piece is in the lower right of the photo.

The fabric is a black cotton gauze from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, and still available. I must report it shrinks like crazy, but I think I might have washed it in hot water and machine dried it. 😳  Face of shame as I know better. Just figured if its gonna shrink, then get it over with.

Vogue has a redesigned web site.  By the way, I don’t get a thing from anyone for blogging about them ~ receiving freebies is against my policy. They’re nice people who know & love fabrics and I shopped at the Evanston & Roosevelt Road stores when I lived in South Loop.

So on to the serging (overlocking) bits… Should say I have a 3-thread BabyLock BL3-407 almost an ancient as me. This week I decided to tackle serging all the edges of both cottons before sewing. Which meant the dreaded serger rethread operation because I knew all-white thread would not do for that all-black duster. Deep sigh.

Plenty of chocolate to hand, a fan, cooler outdoor temps on Monday so I began.

rethreading

Being lazy, and hating to change thread colours, I decided to try something I’d just read over on Grainline Studio’s blog. Incidentally, they’ve also redesigned their web site.

They use neutral colours when serging (as do I) and just change the top looper thread colour. Yeah! I gave that a try on the dark gray (“ey”? never remember which is correct) and decided it was ok, but wouldn’t do for the solid black gauze.

Then I rethreaded the needle.
Which took about an hour.
Or so. . .

Am promising myself I’ll serge the duster pattern pieces today.  And if that doesn’t happen, then definitely tomorrow. . . Maybe.   Done yesterday!  😇

ps/
If you haven’t been to the post office lately, you might want to drop by and get a set of the Oscar de la Renta stamps for (U.S.) First Class mail.

 

 

 

catching up

perfectly suited for a joint reading spree!

Summ-ah heat has arrived, and luckily I had a grand solution to hand:

Books.

When the hottest day started I dove into the coolest room ~ luckily, the bedroom ~ and cracked open a new-to-me author. Gerald Durrell.

It’s the only Durrell available from this (insert your invective of choice) county library, and it wasn’t listed the last time I’d looked. Its a Penguin edition, so I was doubly pleased to have it.

What can I say . . . It was the perfect antidote for hot weather. Although A Zoo in My Luggage is about collecting animals in a hot jungle it was delightfully minus the heat and long on charming, light-hearted descriptions of hilarious high-jinks by four- and two-footed creatures.

The perfect opposite to Ann Cleeves’ latest in her Shetland series, Cold Earth. Reading brief descriptions of wet and cold were also a perfect solution for the heat wave.

On Friday I only put one book down long enough to pick up the other with one hand, and a cold glass in the other.

Now I’m attempting to line up more from both authors before the next heat wave hits.

Lest I forget, I read bad news about my much-loved rayon fabrics recently, and thought I’d pass along some things originally from Lizzie Bramlett’s The Vintage Traveler blog. This and this detail the pollution some factories product whilst making rayon. Thank you, Lizzie.

On a brighter note, another favoured blogger, Linda Przybyszewski’s blog, The Lost Art of Dress, included this and this about hats.

Do take a look if you’re at all interested in chapeaux, or women who purchase hat factories. 😉

Now, as The Fon of Bafut might have blogged,

My good friend[s],

… I am glad you have arrived once more to [the end of my post]. I welcome you. When you are calm from your journeys come and see me [again].  p. 64, A Zoo in My Luggage, Gerald Durrell

off topic: survive extreme heat

 

see difference between right & coated wrong side

Reading Karen’s post over at Did You Make That? reminded me it might be appropriate to do a post about insulating fabrics available on the U.S. side of the pond.

Karen includes a delightful vlog about her latest Liberty purchases. It left me drooling with envy . . . but that’s another story!

(To read my earlier post about curtains, click the photo on the left.)

Here are some suggestions, from make-up to general health. Please feel free to add your own, too!

Adding to my list with your suggestions, Lovelies. . . . .

❤     ❤     ❤

  • “…if people are designing and building new houses in hot climates (or adding to an existing structure), high ceilings, verandahs and overhanging eaves make a huge difference.” from jennyrecorder
  • “One of the many good things about old French houses is the shutters. I’m usually very British about it and have them all open all day every day but in the heat we’re having at the moment, they are staying closed.”  from tialys and she adds, “…[her house has] Very thick stone walls – which also help of course.”
  • From Jen: “… ditch the polyester if you can and live in lovely rumpled linen or other loose weave fabrics… Oh, and don’t forget about hats!”
  • In extreme heat go s-l-o-w.
  • Don’t wear anything too tight or too long. You want air to circulate between clothes and you.
  • Caffeine & alcohol take moisture out of your body. Even if you don’t indulge, sip cool water continually to stay hydrated.
  • Use fans or air conditioners.
  • Carry a fan in your purse & use it!
  • When outside keep to shady areas.
  • Revive parasols! If you have to be out in the sun unfurl your prettiest brolly (umbrella) and make your own shade.
  • Wear lightweight make-up & sunscreen if you have to go out.
  • Use lightweight moisturizers on face and body.
  • If you use a facial toner, stick it in the frig before using.
  • Be prepared to gently rinse & damp-dry your face, neck, arms and legs periodically. Let the cool water evaporate naturally to cool your body.
  • If you sweat heavily, give your physician a call and ask about salt tablets.
  • A water-filled spray bottle cools everywhere. Just be careful of any clothing that might unintentionally be on show if wet. (Undies showing through damp clothing is not a good thing!)
  • Stay out of hot crowds if you can.
  • Don’t let sunlight in through windows – a darkened interior is a cooler interior, particularly with a fan circulating the air. If you don’t have insulating drapes on windows consider making some. They help in hot or cold weather, and deaden street noise.

Need I remind you this is not the time to cook a roast or a bake a batch of scones?

Fabric resources:

  • Roc-lon makes Blackout cloth. In the U.S. find it at Joann’s 
  • 3M Thinsulate is insulation for coats, etc., in cold weather. In the U.S. find it at various small fabric stores (The Rain Shed, Vogue Fabrics, etc.)
  • Polartec® makes many different kinds of fleece with wind-proofing up to 100%. In the U.S. find it labelled as Polartec® and also at The Rain Shed.

One more thing… How many times have you gotten a call from a friend and known just from tone of voice something was wrong? Everyone’s voice is extremely sensitive to stress.

So if you notice your voice starting to get raspy, pay attention! That’s the signal your body’s not doing well.

How do I know? Aeons ago in a galaxy far, far away yours truly taught voice/speech, but those  stories are for another time . . . 😉

Stay safe and sane, Lovelies!
☀️ ☀️ ☀️

working that ufo pile…

red shorts from the outside – centre back casing remains open a bit (top centre) for any changes to the elastic during wear testing

The pile is getting smaller!

This time I got out some wonderful rayon/viscose summer sleep shorts I’d cut out earlier in the year.

Had enough fabric to experiment by cutting them on the bias. Used TNT Butterick 5432.

But sewing is completed and they’re in the wash now.

On the inside: I sewed using regular machine with red thread, then serged the seams using white thread. Used rayon bias tape for sewn hem.

This rayon has been in stash for a few years and originated from one of the Chicago stores, but not Vogue… I don’t think… really don’t recall!

Just know that it is wonderfully cool and silky and just right for this horrid summer humidity!

not bad ~ but maybe i won’t wear these inside out! 😉

a button, horsehair braid, ribbon & a cat

Completed my handkerchief linen duster this week and gave it some good wear testing, but totally forgot to get any photos.

(click any pic in today’s entry to go to large photos & comments)

Decided to use totally different buttons, which suddenly reappeared and are the ones I’d originally thought of before the others seduced me.

I sewed on one of the favoured, large plain buttons (the one below in photo) but it was too heavy and bright. Apologies, Dear Readers, for asking your opinions and then ignoring them.

The orphan dresses I’ll mostly wear with this duster are more subdued, and this button sets the  mood. Shoulda toldja that before, right? Sooorry. 😢

In a package from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago was more petersham ribbons, and that horsehair braid I hoped would be perfect for a hat brim. Nope.Too flimsy for the denim. No idea what to try next.

Reading is still in progress, with an addition from Nanacathy‘s latest list. Blue Monday was written by a husband & wife team, Nicci (her) French (him). I found the premise interesting, but too wordy, and a bit too psychological just now.

Some pretty shots to hopefully brighten your week.

From my soon-to-be retired used bookstore owner friend Keith, in Chicago. Lovely comments from Keith, and delightful poses from author Hodge, Chicago’s Most Famous Cat, at the end.

Enjoy your week!