Goal for the cooler months

Taking stock of what we have created and what we have “fixed” around the house left a big glowing arrow pointed at my “take to seamstress to fix” bag. I have a few pairs of pants and one dress that need to be hemmed.

We winged it on the hubster’s sleep pants but that does not fly on a gown or pants I would wear out to a nice dinner.

I’ve tried to read about hemming and seen a couple of YouTube videos but something is not sinking in. More research needed.

I WILL figure this out and conquer the beast! *yes I am totally holding my rotary cutter over my head like She-Ra*

Dust covered sewing machine

It’s now September and I realized this past weekend I have not done any sewing in a few months. My poor machine and fabric pile feel neglected I am sure.

Not to say I have not been enjoying the fruits of my previous projects, I have! Lots of traveling the this summer and generally enjoying the lovely summer weather. I am at my best in the warm sun so I have crammed as much into July and August as possible. June was Scandinavia and while I LOVED seeing Norway, Sweden and Denmark it was not warm or even sunny most the time.

I have enjoyed wearing the sundress I made this spring, it’s quickly become my go to item for working around the house and gardening. I must admit not having to wear a bra with it is very liberating in the heat. I’ve used the heck out of my wheelchair handle bag and seat cover. I love the heck out of these things.

But now fall is coming fast and it’s time to focus on the holidays and gift giving. I already have plans and fabric purchased so I am ready to get to it when the weather turns cooler.

Hope you had a wonderful and productive summer as well 🙂

Busy Bee and Leaps of Faith

Wow I have not posted in a while though not for lack of sewing. I would like to say I have been sewing so much I did not have time to post but that would be a bit of a lie.

I have been sewing, lots of fun stuff, but life is busy as ever. Every time I think I will have a slow period to just catch up on correspondence and posting something else pops up. I will tell myself this is a good thing as I am never bored.

Per my usual nothing I have created has been from a pattern, some have been amalgamations of things I have seen on youTube while others have just sprung from my weedy little brain. Lots of ripping out errant stitches, lots of bloody fingers and grumblings but all and all very happy with what I have done.

I made twenty padded can/bottle koozies with velcro closures. They are not as polished looking as I had hoped but they are reversible and very cute. We wont talk about my mix up in ordering WAY WAY too much velcro for the job. I think I have enough velcro for a lifetime. I think I turned feet into yards…yes really. Oh well I have lots now.

I made twenty adorable “Rosie wraps” little tied headband type things. This took several mock ups and test runs to find a size that works. I wear mine quite a bit and gotten compliments.

All those were fun but my prize project was a last moment sort of thing that turned out shockingly well. I made a dress. No idea what I was doing and 48 hours to get it figured out but I did it! I wore the dress and folks loved it.

You see I was in the fabric store looking for fabric to make a couple of sarongs for a camping trip later that week. Easy right. Nope none of the fabric appealed to me or was too costly for something that was likely to get dirty and treated roughly. I did however spot this kind of rainbow/tropical fabric and fell in love. Fabric This went great with the theme of an event I was throwing and looked comfy in the heat. The little free instruction booklets were all gone so what the hell we can do this. Hubby and I bough way too much fabric just in case and headed home. This should be easy from reports on the internet. Measure the bust and take off two inches, sew together.

Not so much, maybe if you are rather boxy shaped.

I am curvy, hourglass, bodacious, curvacious, full figured-whatever you want to call it. Taking off two inches and just sewing straight down was not going to work. I have a heck of a lot more difference in my bust and waist. So we decided to cut the fabric a few inches larger and pin together to match what it would be like if we put together the way the internet said. It looked like a bag was hanging off my chest. Awful, I’m not wearing that even in the house. What to do, I had no idea but I had the hubster start on a side project just in case I figured it out. I had him take some of the left over fabric and remove the elastic shirring so I could make matching halter straps for the dress. I figured if I put the straps in the right place this could help support my bust and hold things in place. He is the king of the seam ripper so off he went. I spent almost 24 hours trying to figure out how to solve my curvy problem and decided I would try to match the angle of my bust to waist on the shirred part of the dress. I held my breath guessed and cut at about a 30 degree angle. No measuring just taking a leap of faith and it WORKED! I feared this funky angle would be visible when I put the dress on but also figured if I got it close to right the angle would end up straight down my back with no one having any idea I winged it.

Sure enough my guessing worked and when I attached the halter straps they did indeed lasso the bosom into place. The whole thing just worked, I have no honest idea how it all worked but it did. I will never be able to repeat this little feat if I tried. Maybe the sewing gods took pity on me, maybe it was luck but I am not going to complain. I wore that dress with pride and will again and again.

I will try to get photos of the dress and post when I have a moment. It’s not my usual style but it’s light and fun.

Status of our Mayhem

So this past December 31 I laid out our sewing goals or plans for the next few months.  I figured we are now the middle of April so it’s a good point to check in and see where things stand.  What has been completed, what morphed and what just fell off the radar due to lack of time or desire.

-Sleep pants: DONE! They are not perfect but very cute and comfy. We learned a lot and will likely make more of these as needed. Probably will see if I can modify them for my more curvy shape.

-Rain slicker for dog: dumped. This one may come back again but we found a wonderful one on sale around the hound’s birthday/adoption day. It does not have undercarriage covering but it works for the most part. I think this project may come up on our “willing to try” list after our summer vacation.

-Hair dodads: in progress. The plan for these has morphed quite a bit after a few test projects. I suspect I am going to be working hard on this one very shortly.

-Table runners: Meh. I started one for my sister and got the numbers mixed up. Totally cut the fabric pretty much in half ruining it. Managed to salvage the fabric to make her pot holders so she was happy. Turns out she had to get rid of the table anyway so the table runner would have been useless. I have not gotten around to making some runners for us. The fabric is there I just don’t feel the omph to do it. Meh.

-More napkins: Yup! I have made a few more with one last batch to be done for the summer. I am pretty much over making napkins for a while. I have a wonderful selection to choose from and love them. Did try rolled edges but still have not figured out how to do the corners so that bit is a bust.

-Cane bags: mixed bag. Sister decided to make one for herself and I use a prototype of a dance shoe bag. The shoe bag came out great after a few false starts. The test bag works great for a cane bag so it’s “done” if not exactly done FOR that job.

-Wheelchair seat cover:not started. I was thinking about this the other night when I could not sleep. We have been looking at buying a more compact chair for me so the whole thing may need to be remade. Must get this sorted out in the next couple of weeks.

-Blanket:likely given up. Trying to find the right fabric is a bust and scant few ideas online for making the blanket. Just going to use a rain poncho to keep any water/wind off my legs and suck it up. No huge loss.

So looking over this list it’s a mixed bag but pretty happy with what we have done. Sewn, or in progress of sewing a few other things not on this list. With late spring/early summer plans pretty busy I doubt we will get much more done before July but summer projects are already brewing in our collective brains.

 

Best tool ever?

For quite some time I have been gushing about how much I love my rotary cutter and mat, they are “the best tool ever” but I have changed my mind. The best tool ever is not something picked up in the store, ordered from Amazon or anything of the like.  For ME the best tool ever (for sewing) has been YouTube.

Yup YouTube.  I am not sure if the loving husband and I are just not good at understanding written instructions for sewing or what but seeing someone else do whatever we are trying to do really really helps.  We can find five or more ways to do something with a few clicks of the keyboard.  We can replay the same video over and over until we get every step right.  Heck we can even find videos of folks with the same machine we have doing something.

Sure some videos are down right horrible but kudos for folks at least trying to help or explain things.  Some are still well beyond our level of understanding but most turn out to be great.  I have lost hours and hours falling down the YouTube rabbit hole as I click from one video to the next.  Usually ending up nowhere related to what I was originally looking for.  But I have to credit a number of my projects to ideas I picked up on YouTube.  Often the project is modified or not at all the same but the seed is planted and I am off to plan my project.

Sorry rotary cutter, you are still hold my heart as I hold you up and belt out “I have the POWER!” once in a while but the best tool, for me, is YouTube.

What tool does it for you?

Pants, we made PANTS!

One of the things on my list of projects for the first part of the year was a pair of sleep pants for my loving husband to wear on our Norway cruise this summer.  Something fun that fit with the trip but was still soft and warm for cold damp nights.  IMG_3052

Finding fabric my dear husband liked that worked with the pattern we bought was the first problem.  Nothing too thick, not too thin, not girly but yet still fun with bonus points for Disney/nautical print.  Yeah Olaf from “Frozen” would be great but it was all the wrong fabric or a bit…girly for him.  Settled on dark blue with white anchors.  Works great, can’t see through them on those quick late night runs to the hot cocoa machine but still FUN for a cruise.  Hubby loved how soft and cozy the fabric felt-WIN!

We have had a heck of a time getting these pants done, from buying the wrong sized pattern to being intimidated by the whole thing.  I freely admit there have been moments I looked at the fabric with it’s pattern sitting on top just waiting to come to life and thought to myself “I can just go BUY sleep pants from Disney, they are even on SALE” but I said I would make them with the hubster and now that it’s over I am so proud of what we did.

I must say right now we have crappy luck with patterns, even “easy” ones assume you have enough experience to figure out the missing information or steps.  I think we sewed and then seam-ripped these pants three times before we figured out what we were doing wrong.  Hubby is an expert seam ripper, I just jab myself and bleed all over the place.  Division of labor  and knowing one’s skills is important!  All in all once we truly got down to putting the garment together it went relatively quickly.  A few scraps of fabric became something right before our very eyes and that was pretty darn cool.

I learned I need to learn more about hemming pants, I eye balled these and got them pretty darn close but it was a total fluke they turned out OK.  After all they are sleep pants so folks are not looking too closely.  I will pay more attention to the cording I pick for drawstrings, the thick cotton the pattern called for was a PITA to thread through the space left and it’s just too thick for the feel of the pants.  Thinner and smoother is key and finding a good way to make shoe lace type ends on cording would be a huge plus.  Though the red cording was a great color choice, the contrast really pops on the dark blue background.

All in all very happy, I may or may not make myself a pair though I will have to figure out how to modify the pattern to fit my shape, “unisex” does not work for curvy very well. The best part, the hubster is wearing them around the house and making sure I know he loves them.  Happy wife

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More useful “stuff”

Over the summer I noticed how many paper napkins we were using and found it disturbing and wasteful so in late August I decided I was going to try a new idea.  Home made cloth napkins. These would be easy to make, help me work on my sewing skills and be festive all while making less trash.

Turns out they are indeed pretty darn easy to make, a good bit of pressing to get the mitered corners done neatly but they are worth it. They hold up well in the regular wash and feel so much better on the skin than paper. I love decorating for various holidays and seasons to this was a neat way to do it and of course reason to raid the fabric store for lots of quirky prints. I have made so many of them that others have noticed and inquired about me making a set for them.  Sure I can do that…humm maybe I can get good enough to bring in a few bucks to support my fabric habit.

Each set I make has between 8 and 12 napkins depending if it’s for our formal dinning room or the breakfast nook.  That way there are always extras when some are in the wash. The only real problem is where to store them all.

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A small sample of a few of the napkins

The best part is we have not purchased anymore paper napkins! All in all I am rather proud of myself with how well they turned out.