Friday, March 31, 2006

Test of Vogue 2719 Blouse

I decided to take a Vogue Couture dress pattern (2719) that I believe is a re-release of a vintage style, and make a blouse out of it instead of a dress. Instead of just altering the pattern to fit me, I used my saran block and made the dart changes on it and then basically traced the style lines from the Vogue pattern onto my pattern. I wasn't sure if this would work or not, and so I decided to test the pattern using a turquoise woven I had on hand. The fit is quite good, but it just didn't appeal to me, and I was surprised as I thought I would like that style quite a lot.

I knew the collar was too wide; it was just a little too "authentic" for its period, so that had to change. I also wanted to change the back zipper for a side zipper. I may not have to use a closure at all, as there's a lot of room with the open neckline. I didn't stitch the back darts in the trial blouse though, and I will in the real one, so the zipper may have to be back in. The sleeves need to be a little longer as well as the blouse in general. I will more carefully adjust the gathers at the shoulder, and permanently stitch them. I also think it's going to be very important to use a print or patterned fabric. It's just too severe or something, otherwise. I decided to use a blue and taupe cotton batik from Timmel Fabrics that I originally bought to use in my 2005 SWAP, but I changed my colors enough that it wasn't going to work. I think it's going to be rather good in this pattern, though. You can see the turquoise test below. The sleeve hems are just pinned at the top, there's no hem in the blouse, and the buttons at the top of the neckline aren't on.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Little Down Time - Stitcher's Guild

If you tried the new forum, Stitcher's Guild at Artisan's Square, you probably loved it as much as I. Unfortunately, a few growing pains have ensued.

Artisan's Square and Stitcher's Guild have run into problems with their web-host.

In a nutshell, the host has pulled the plug on the forum because the membership exceeded 100 people. This was not a problem which was anticipated.

DragonLady is in negotiations with that host and is also searching for another host site to move us all to.

The best that can be said is that this will give us time to sew like mad, with one less very tempting distraction for a while, and we'll all have a lot to talk about when we get together again! (How's that for putting on a brave face?)

Keep checking in here or at SewingWorld in the SW Feedback section, SW Refuge Announcement topic for further updates. We hope it will be quick and minimally painful.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Stitcher's Guild & Blouses

Well, it feels like it's been a wild and wooly weekend. The new bulletin board, Stitcher's Guild, formerly SWRefuge has moved to its new domain, Artisan's Square, and is up, running and fully functional. DragonLady really did a wonderful job of moving the database, and it's like we never moved at all. I have changed the link in my sidebar to reflect the new name.

Pearle doesn't usually say too much about my clothes, but when he does, I listen. On Friday he mentioned that he thought I should quit wearing Tees so much and wear blouses. I was really surprised, but I mentioned this on Stitcher's Guild, and to a few sewing friends, and it really struck a chord with everyone. We're all now hot on the trail of a few good blouse patterns. I told him he was a "celebrity" in sewing circles now, and he was slightly horrified, wondering what he could have done to deserve this! Anyway, he sticks to his guns that blouses look better than Tees, and I suppose he's probably right. I love blouses and actually like making that kind of garment, but it's very hard to give up the instant gratification that you get from sewing with knits. I'm sure I won't go cold turkey.

Patti inspired me to go through my pattern and fabric collections to see what the possiblities were. I find that I have several nice fabrics that I bought with blouses in mind, and quite a few patterns; some old friends and some I've not tried before. I'm still working on the Matka Jacket, but I'm stuck over needing to find just the right shoulderpads, and I may take a break and do a blouse.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Matka Marfy Progress

I guess I'm very silly, but I'm just so pleased with the progress of my Silk Matka Marfy jacket. I stitched the under and upper collars together tonight, pressed carefully and turned the collar, and it's just so gratifying to see it come together so beautifully. Just the change from sewn to sewn and pressed on the point presser is very satisfying. Anyway, I sewed the undercollar to the jacket and tried it on, and it seems to lie very nicely with a great curve. I'm now ready to attach the facings and then stitch the upper collar to the back neck edge. The sleeves are stitched and ready to set in. I looked through my silk stash tonight, and I really don't have anything that looks good that I want to use for a lining except a taupe charmeuse, which would be very pretty. I had my mind set on a print though. I looked around online a little, and nothing really leaps out at me, so I will continue to search. Perhaps the taupe will be it, and that would really be fine too. This jacket has such wonderful shape built right into it. It's even more shaped than the zip-front Marfy jacket. I almost hate to lay it down on the table when I'm done, as it's not flat. It's too early to hang it though.

I did one smart thing tonight after I got the collar on. I decided I was too tired to continue, and so I knitted a row or two and am now going to bed. This is real progress. Usually after a "success" I am tempted to continue until I do something really stupid out of tiredness. So, maybe I'm finally wising up?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Here's the Snow!

Yes, we had a little snow here. It started Saturday and continued pretty much non-stop through last night. You can see my little pagoda above with the weighted-down evergreens behind.

Here's our main bird feeding area. One of my poles went bad yesterday, during the storm, so I had to put it on a chair. Naturally the birds think this is very dangerous, so they're not really using it yet. The other one's getting a lot of traffic.

This is the view up from my sewing room, which is in the walkout basement.

Monday, March 20, 2006

An Announcement - Stitcher's Guild

In case you noticed the new link I added to my sidebar, this will explain what it is. It's a link to a Bulletin Board (discussion site) called Stitcher's Guild.

If you're a regular Sewing World participant or reader, you have probably noticed that SW seems to be becoming more unstable all the time. Threads are unable to continue to their former length, more and more often a white screen appears while trying to access the site, things disappear without warning more than once a year, and the Search feature, which was never too great, no longer works at all.

Over the last couple years, I have become practically addicted to Sewing World, and especially to the Sharing, Inspiration and Project Photos thread. I knew others felt very much the same, and when Kathryn (fzxdoc) seemed to also be looking for a solution so that everyone could regroup in case of a Sewing World crash, I was very pleased. We put our heads together and have been working for a while on this.

What we have come up with (with the extremely generous help of DragonLady) is SWRefuge, (now renamed Stitcher's Guild) a wonderful board where we can all regroup if necessary, or anytime actually. If you use the link above or on the sidebar, you will find a lovely board with very modern features. We hope that you'll like it as much as we do.

I want to introduce and say a special word of thanks to DragonLady. You may remember her from her posts on SW, and she was also very aware of its problems. She runs a couple other boards and is very experienced at it, and was willing to quickly solve our problems. We have been overwhelmed by her kindness and her expertise.

So, that's the scoop, and I hope this explanation is clear and complete. Kathryn and I have emailed a similar explanation to those SW posters for whom we happen to have email addresses, and it will also be posted on SW. We want to be very aboveboard, and hope that you will all realize that we've done this from our hearts, not to gain any sort of advantage (and what that advantage would be, I don't know).

(3-27-06 This post edited to reflect the new board name and URL. All links are now correct for the new site.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Snow Day Sewing

Yes, winter has returned with a vengeance, and we're supposed to get up to 12" of snow by Tuesday. I know I didn't order this, so who can we blame?

I decided to use a Marfy jacket pattern that I haven't made before for the Seafoam Silk Matka, shown in the previous post. It's very similar to 9419, but has a one piece front with a vertical dart instead of princess seams. The backs are the same. I like the alterations I did to the 9419 (shortening above the bust on the sidefront and sideback) and found that I could just overlay those pieces onto this pattern to get the same changes. So far, so good, but I realized after cutting the second front that I forgot to do the overlay on it. Luckily, I cut large seam allowances, so I'll be able to make the change after the fact. Very annoying, however! I'm also changing the sleeves from 3/4 to full length, and using the 9419 sleeve patterns entirely, as they're exactly the same except for my alteration. I won't be doing the appointed lace overlay on this jacket; it will be plain, with a button front.

I finished the front of the cable/bobble sweater last night, and cast on for the first sleeve, so that's going well. I find that I have to quit around midnight or 1am lately, as I am losing stamina or something. Maybe all my late nights are catching up with me. With this weather, I should have plenty of daylight hours to work, though.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Green for St. Patrick's Day

I realized after I took this photo that these fabrics are all in the green family, loosely speaking anyway.

I think I really missed doing the SWAP this year, and I have tried since doing the first and second year's contests, to think about my wardrobe and sewing possibilities with "SWAP-Vision" at all times, rather than just making things I like, but which may have no "friends".

I've been thinking about my next project, which I think will be a version of the jacket in the post just previous to this, but not in the fabric I had originally planned. That fabric suddenly became the centerpiece of a completely different outfit, and much better there than here. So, it was back to square one on this, and I decided to really look at my stash.

I came up with the 3 fabrics you see above. The center piece is a Silk Matka from FabricMart, which will be the jacket. The Embroidered Silk Organza at the top is from EmmaOneSock, and will be a Little Blouse with button front, tie collar, and possibly cap sleeves of some sort. The bottom fabric is a silky polyester landscape border print from JoAnn's that I just fell in love with. It will be a skirt. I'm kind of excited about the whole group, and I have various other fabrics that can step in as pants or other pieces too, so I'm feeling as if my spring wardrobe is at least taking shape. None too soon, either, although it's supposed to snow this weekend, perhaps a lot.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Flowered Marfy Jacket

This is the test version of the free Marfy jacket pattern included in the Spring 2006 catalog. I thought it was a very nice, basic jacket pattern with some cute style details, and I think it turned out fairly well.

I plan to make it in a much softer, handwoven type fabric next, and I will use long sleeves, and instead of the fabric binding, I will use a braid trim, and just turn the binding to the inside for a nice edge. I may use self fabric for the binding, or I may try something else.

I need to try to figure out something that goes with this floral jacket. The pink skirt is not quite the right color, and I'm seriously thinking about using some fabric paints to change the band color somewhat. It actually looks pretty cute with jeans, so it may be just a throw-on jacket for spring. It looks pretty Eastery to my eye, though, so we'll see what happens.

This is the illustration for this pattern. The skirt and top patterns are also given with the catalog, and I think they're pretty cute, too.

Marfy 9828

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Spring Jacket

This is a heavyweight cotton print that I'm using as a test for the free Marfy jacket pattern that was in the Spring 2006 catalog. It's a princess-seamed cardigan-style jacket with 3/4 sleeves, contrasting front edge and sleeve bands and single welt pockets in pink. The sleeve bands have a slit which is banded also. That's what's giving me the trouble right now. I'm just doing it as I go along, and I should have made a real plan. I think it will be fine when I'm done; it's just taking some time to get the details right. I like the fit so far, and am hoping I will be able to use this pattern with an interesting silk fabric that I have. I think I will do full length sleeves on it, however.

I took my Silky Wool knitting along to an appointment yesterday, and ended up spending 2 hours in the waiting room, which would have been great knitting time, except I forgot to bring the chart I needed to start the body pattern on the front, so all I got done was a row and a half, which finished the bobble pattern at the bottom. What a waste.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Well....Who Knew?

This is just a weird, weird, funny thing. You may know that when you begin to have "mature" eyesight, small print can be a challenge, and you may end up guessing a little now and then. This usually works out well, since by the time you need to start guessing, you have lots of experience reading, and it's often pretty obvious what some "mystery" word is.

Once in a while though, mistakes are made. If you look at the page of music below, you'll see that it's from a choral version of a spiritual called "Elijah Rock." It's a very old arrangement, written in dialect, and in fact we did it when I was in high school, so I knew what the words were. When we ran through it in church choir this winter, a fellow soprano got a wondering look on her face when we came to this page, and asked questioningly, "Satan's a librarian?" Look below, and you'll see what she saw.

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I've resisted posting this for a while, as it's not sewing related at all, but every time I think of it, I laugh, so why shouldn't we all enjoy? My personal modus operandi is to not hear exactly what someone said, and then I guess. That can be very entertaining, too.