Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In pursuit of the perfect t-shirt

I am happy to lose weight, really I am. In fact, when I turned 52 last month I felt better that I had since my late 40's. It dissolved my fear that "it's all down hill from here". What's my secret? Wheat /gluten intolerance! My doctor figured it out and after only 48 hours of a wheat-free diet, the pain was gone. That means I cut out 95% of the bread, cookies and cakes. (I still have treats now & then)
I lost about a pound a month without noticing much (after all, the belly seems to be exempt from the weight loss process - HA!)
One day I forgot to bring a baggy t-shirt to pilates class, and what I saw in the mirror caught me off guard! I ran to the scale and discovered I was down 8 pounds. Since then, I am working even harder at pilates and yoga, out of sheer gratitude for this happy by-product of the wheat intolerance.

Why do I tell you this? Becuase none of my patterns fit anymore! waaaaaa! After all that pattern work and all that sewing for the last 2 years, I am back to an empty closet.
And despite all I have learned, I am as puzzled as ever when a garment doesn't fit well!
Enter the sewing buddies at Stitchers Guild. I can post a picture and get great feedback immediately. You know, is great, too. I spend more time at Stitchers Guild mostly because there are fewer women there and I am able to keep track of who is who. Patternreview is a huge community!

This gives you an idea of how much tweaking I did before I even got to the coral colored top in the photos below. I am using the t-shirt that comes out of Bernina My Label as my starting point. But it has no darts & no shaping, so I am adding some.
With a chest larger than an A-cup, I prefer darts and curved seams to work with the bod.

I whipped this up on Sunday and wore it to bebe Ilse's 7th birthday party (sorry Laura I forgot the camera!) The front is not bad, but it feels like there is fabric bunching under my armpits.
The back view is kinda hilarious. The area under my shoulder blades is where I have lost weight and toned up (pilates is a mysterious but very, very effective exercise regimen!)
So, in my glee, I thought, "hey let's show off that weird small space on my back!!" But now I think it looks just weird! ha ha

I have re-drafted the pattern to lower the armsyce and increase the area in the sleeve where it meets the bodice. I have also re-drawn the lines to hang straighter.
Now I am deep into work week, but next weekend I'll post the next version and show you the specific pattern adjustments.
At least I've got the neckline and the shoulder seams making me happy and comfortable. That alone is worth the effort.
OK- now I will just sew up another wardrobe. No biggie, right?
Hey it's Hump Day, wooooo
Now that my daughter and Howie's kids are young adults, it strikes me as the perfect time to become a stay-at-home mom. I mean I could sew all day, right? Kelly could use some work clothes that don't reveal her midriff when she writes on the chalkboard, Laura loves those crafty gifts I send her way. And Daniel, hmm, a skateboard slipcover? Dust cover for his guitars and basses? Oh yeah, he would love it.
OK, enough silly daydreams. But if I win the lottery, there will be an explosion of sewing!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

this is like eating candy

I am loving my crafty little project; this color wheel quilt. It is like eating candy!

Quilters' cotton is delightful to cut, press, sew and handle. The instructions are easy to follow. The fabrics are so cute!

And look at all the leftovers!! This bundle came with 52 fat 16ths. I noticed quite a few Anna Maria Horner prints in there. I just love her aesthetic.

Happy sewing, all :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

a beautiful day for shopping

Barbara was in town visiting her son and we got to meet up at G Street Fabric in Rockville.
If you haven't been to G Street, it is huge and they have tons of everything. They sell Bernina sewing machines. In this shot, you can see the wool platform where all the suitings are:
(click to enlarge)
There was a sale and we had coupons. Barbara doesn't have a great fabric store nearby, so she took advantage of the wonderful selection.
We also went next door for coffee and quiche and lots of talk. We are both parents of extraordinary children, so we have a lot in common!
Can you believe all that fabric??
I am glad that Barbara's son has moved to DC. That means more visits in the future! It is wonderful to meet up in person with online friends.
Yay for the interwebs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

roman shades: check

I finished the roman shades and they are hanging up. I used Thermalsuede® lining and I love it! It lets in some light, but it is quite effective in blocking drafts.
Instructions and notions from Terrell Designs. Fabric from IKEA. (click to see the whole pic)
I am just sitting back and enjoying the view.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

update to Bernina My Label

I had to update my measurements in Bernina My Label pattern-making software, and, BML updated their styles with a new 5 pocket jean. And thank you, Bernina, for making it a free download. I appreciate it. Because you were not cheap.

So, anyway, when you work with BML, the first step is sew a tunic as a test garment.
Then, you "qualify the measurements". By following the instructions, you will check the shoulder slope, dart position, armhole (armscye) depth, width across shoulders, bicep, and front and back length measurements.
On my first try, I wound up with an armhole that felt a little too tight. The instructions told me it could be an armhole too high, or, too low. The intended fit of the tunic armhole is 3/4" (2 cm) drop under the arm. I think my armhole is too low: To remedy the problem, I decreased the armscye depth measurement by 3/4". And, according to the instructions, the armhole depth is also influenced by the center back neck landmark. Sure enough, when I checked that, it needed to be shortened by half an inch.

I sewed version #2 and it seems OK to me. I will finish off both tunics- they are wearable for weekend chores.

Now, I can go ahead and print off other styles to use as basic fitting blocks. I am sure this fit could be improved by someone with more fitting expertise, but to me it seems comfortable enough.
Each test garment took under 2 hours to print, cut, tape and sew. Of course, each one still needs a little more time invested to be finished, but I am very pleased with how efficient this software is.
I really do not have a lot of time to mess around with, you know?
pretty cool.
update to this post:
I was reading sewing blogs and I saw that Carolyn just finished a gorgeous pants-suit with a sleeveless jacket. Chic. The sleeves came off when she had trouble with the sleeve and it reminds me of the trouble I am having with the sleeve in this tunic.
Then I read Georgene's post where she explains how to fix a sleeve problem on Hilary Clinton's jacket.
As I drove the hour from Rockville to Baltimore this morning ... it came together in my head.
I shall try again!
Thank you Georgene! Thank you Carolyn!!
Happy Sewing!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

what I got for my birthday ;)

For my birthday, I usually like a dinner date where we dress up and go out to a fancy restaurant. I usually sew something pretty to wear (of course). This year I asked for this:
I am not a quilter- I don't have the natural desire to design and execute something artistic, I am really just a homemaker who wants to make something pretty. This appeals to me because everything is already figured out, even all the pretty little fabrics.This book, Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts by Joelle Overson, has quite a few other projects that appeal to me. I love her aesthetic!! For example, this quilt. Sooo pretty.
And these pillows - sharp.

And this quilt. I love it.
I am not entirely sure I would give any of these as gifts. Well - if I was 100% sure that the recipient would truly like it, then I would.

Well, in other news, I have a couple projects underway. The glue is drying on the battens of the roman shades! yay! This has been quite an undertaking and I will share the whole thing with you in a single post, so you can see how it all came together.

And, in honor of my weight loss, I put my new measurements into Bernina My Label, printed and sewed the tunic. Perfect fit, oh my goodness, I love that software! So now I can update my TNT's.

Coming next, my sister agrees to be my fitting guinea pig. She is allowing me to photograph and blog the process of fitting a basic bodice. I think I will use Wild Ginger Pattern Master Boutique for that. Once she has a basic block, it can be used to fit any commercial pattern. Someone asked me, "oh does your sister sew?". Um, I didn't really ask. We didn't get that far in the conversation. I know she CAN run a sewing machine. I wonder if she will be willing to be my Mo Rocca. hee hee