31 August 2009

Other Passions: Painting

I've always wanted to take a painting class and for the first time I finally did it. Even though I like my pieces, I was not terribly impressed with the course instruction. I expected to learn about techniques to painting. The instructor was nice and supportive, but left everyone to do what they wanted. This method of teaching works for some people, but not for me. I need structure and basics. Once I know what I'm doing, then let me explore. "Paint what you want." Um. Okay. That works on walls, not canvas. Though I will not take another class with this instructor or at this school, I will continue to "explore" for free at home. I have a couple of canvases, tubes of acrylic paint, and an easel. When the mood is right, I'll pick up a brush.


29 August 2009

Other Passions: Skating

In addition to sewing, I have other creative passions: roller skating, jewelry-making, ceramics, and painting. First, my absolute must-do:

Roller Skating (All skate. Roll, bounce.)

I have been roller skating for nearly 29 years. My first experience on skates was at a school field trip to the now defunct (and demolished) Wheels Roller Rink on 8 Mile in Detroit. I was in kindergarten and distinctly remember falling every time. It was also the first memory of physical body pain that I had.

My first pair of skates were bought at Kmart and were white with blue wheels. I wore them for about 4 or 5 years. My second pair of skates, also purchased from Kmart, were white with hot pink wheels. They were made by Roller Derby - a name brand in skates (so I thought...). I wore those joints until December of last year. Yes. You read that right. I have been skating on the same skates for over 20 years. This might sound like a wondrous feat. Let me tell you. It isn't! I did not realize how bad those skates were until I got some new ones! First, the boot is vinyl and was hard to break in. The plate is stationary - which makes movement very difficult. The wheels are made of rubber and have ridges. This is not good because the wheels grip the rink like mad! The bearings were old, dry, and fuzzy with lint. Bad bearings do not allow the wheels to turn at will. This means that you put a lot of unnecessary energy into moving.

I finally broke down and got new skates when I realized how bad I was damaging my knees. One day in December, I was at the rink for about an hour and had to leave. My knees were SOOO sore, I could barely walk. It was time. People at the rink kept telling me that my skates needed to be retired. They were so right.

Old and Busted

New Hotness

Here are the specs:
  • Fomac Premier wheels (REALLLY slippery. They grip nothing! I can slide on carpet.)
  • China Bones bearings (wheels keep spinning around and around and around...)
  • SureGrip Classic plate (non-stationary and allows for movement)
  • Leather Riedell boot (supple leather...mmmmmm....very easy to break in and I wear a thinpair of socks)
I freakin' LOVE these skates. It took me a few weeks to get used to the fact that they are really slippery. Yes, I fell...a few times. These skates are a HUGE improvement from the old. It felt as if I had to learn to skate all over again.

Skating is my passion and I skate at least twice per week. It's great exercise and loads of fun.


20 August 2009

New Look 6508 (jacket)

I am bad at blogging. I know this. I actually have several posts in queue, but I haven't posted them because I feel compelled to close out this one. I don't want to make a habit of starting a topic and not finishing it. I've done that once already with the woven blouse.

In my last post, I mentioned getting a jacket to fit. I started the jacket as part of a class on Pattern Review and am happy to say that after a substantial hiatus, it is almost complete. It took me a long time to finish the jacket for two main reasons: family drama and fit. I will not bother going into the details of the family drama. It's around me enough every day and I don't want this space to be invaded or consumed by it. As for fit, I thought the muslin looked really good. But, when I put on the actual garment, I saw a few problems: the bodice fit isn't that great, the shoulder seams are still too long, and the sleeves look too long and full.

At my last sewing get-together, I took it to show my friends and get their opinion. Nicole and Rachelle both had very positive things to say. They did not see any of the issues that I saw and thought I should just finish it. Here's how the jacket looks so far:

Fabric used: The fabric used a a 100% wool tweed from the Fabric Warehouse in Romulus. I love this fabric. I love it so much that I went back and bought enough to make the dress from this pattern and a pencil skirt to go with the jacket. I even went back a second time to get more of the fabric and made Simplicity 5914. More on that in another post...

Fit and size: As mentioned before, I did not do any alterations to this jacket. I simply cut a myriad of sizes and blended when needed. Thinking that the fit wasn't that great, I decided to alter the pattern for future use. Eventually, I will try this pattern again in a stretch corduroy from my stash. I am going to participate in the upcoming fall wardrobe contest on PR and don't have this pattern worked into the rotation.

Construction: All seams were sewn on my machine. I only used my serger to finish the armhole edges. I cut 2"-wide bias strips to bind the neckline. I was going to just serge and press up the lower hem. But this pattern does not have any hem allowances; which struck me as odd. After studying the instructions and consulting Shannon Gifford, we discovered that the jacket is finished by bagging the lining and thus the hem allowance is the same as the seam allowance. Since I don't like that finish on this particular garment, I will go ahead and bind the hem as well.

This is part of the reason the jacket remains unfinished. I do not know how to mitre corners and something has to be done so that the front corners look smooth.

Wearing it: I don't think I'm going to wear this jacket with a skirt in the same fabric. I think it's colour/fabric overload for me. Instead, I'll probably wear this with a pair of jeans or slacks and some nice loafers. Classic, chic, and preppy.

I hope to have this finished by the end of next week. I've checked out some videos on YouTube about mitring corners. We'll see how that goes!



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