24 August 2011

Way Back Wednesday: Old School R&B

I cannot get enough of this song. When it's played at the rink, I'm in skater's heaven. This is classic R&B.

22 August 2011

Recognizing Your Beauty

I read this statement this morning and thought I'd share.

"It's easy to be very happy, noticing things to admire rather than looking only for ways to be admired. You know that feeling you get when you see a lush summer garden, abundantly green and fragrant and riotous with blossoms? Does it bother you that you're not as beautiful as it is? No, of course not; it's a garden. Its beauty has nothing to do with you, takes nothing away from yours. In fact, standing in the middle of a flourishing garden, filling your eyes with the deep and impossibly delicate colors, inhaling the odors, sweet and complex, you might feel more beautiful, more precious yourself, marveling at your own ability to perceive it all."

From the August 2002 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Life Isn't a Beauty Contest: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Women by Val Monroe

21 August 2011

Finished Projects

Over the last few days, I've been working on completing some projects that were hanging around.

Colette Patterns 1005

Fabric & Notions:
  • white stretch linen
  • white polyester lining
  • fusible interfacing
  • 12 dark blue marbled 1" buttons
I finally sat down and remeasured the way-off button spacing for the Beignet skirt. Let this be a lesson in always measuring twice! I last worked on this skirt in June. By the time I was ready to hand-sew the twelfth button, the bottom hem was an inch off. The whole front was crooked, looked terrible, and prompted the removal of all but three buttons. Needless to say, I was not very motivated to start over again. So, this skirt hung in my closet for weeks!

Determined to wear this white skirt before the end of summer, I put all other sewing aside and took my time with marking the front. I placed pins in the buttonholes where the buttons should be and adjusted the spacing after each button was sewn. Instead of sewing vertically from top to bottom, I sewed a few buttons at the top and then moved to buttons near the bottom to ensure that the hem stayed relatively level. While the hem is slightly off, it isn't nearly as bad as before. I can live with it. The top is Simplicity 2614. I blogged about it here.

In the picture, it looks like the skirt falls below my knees. It doesn't. It stops right at the knee which is just where I like it.

New Look 6897 (out of print and on sale until 22 Aug on Simplicity.com)

Fabric & Notions:
  • 100% cotton home dec fabric from Field's Fabrics in Kzoo
  • 7" invisible zipper
  • 1.5" wide petersham cut to waist measurement plus a little more for folding under

I *heart* this pattern. For the second version, I sewed view B without the flounce. Instead, I inserted pseudo-self made piping along the front princess seams. Since I wanted to use this honeycomb print, I knew that the princess seam would interrupt the print's flow. So I exaggerated the break using the piping.

I say it's 'pseudo-self made' because I technically made it from other piping material. JoAnn's was out of the butter yellow piping I wanted. They had some awful green colour in clearance for $0.25. I harvested the cord from the green piping and used some butter yellow bias tape I had in the stash to create the piping I wanted. This task did not go without its challenges. In all, it worked pretty well.

I used an invisible zipper in the side seam and faced the waist with petersham.

BWOF 09-2009-137

Fabric & Notions:
  • 50/50 polyester-wool blend that's just not worth the time
  • 7" invisible zipper
  • 1.5" wide petersham cut to waist measurement plus a little more for folding under
  • fusible interfacing for the zipper edges
In addition to finishing the skirt, this is my first completed BWOF magazine pattern. The instructions weren't too bad, although this skirt is really easy to construct. I cut a straight 46 and added 1/2-inch seam allowances to all edges except the lower back (flounce) edge. On those edges, I used 3/8-inch seam allowances since the curve was so dramatic. I didn't add any hem allowance because I suspected the skirt was long enough.

I made my standard full seat alteration of 1.25 inches and lopped off 2 inches from the length. The skirt as drafted comes to my mid calf and that's not a flattering length on me. As I mentioned before, I suspected the skirt was plenty long. I didn't realize just how long until after I inserted the zipper. I unpicked the zipper and lopped off 2 inches from the back pieces and did the same from the front. I liked the width of the flounce and chose to not shorten it.

See the puckers?! *$&#@% I interfaced the zipper area and pressed the shit out of those darts and CB seam. Nothin. The fabric just has too much polyester in it. I am annoyed and can't stand it. I will try to press one more time and if it doesn't work, this is going in the give-away box.

The fabric was just a poor choice for this skirt. It doesn't have enough drape to not make the folds on the flounce look so stiff. I'll likely make this again and when I do, I'll select something with no polyester and a lot more drape.

The front isn't as bad, though there are puckers at the hem. Stupid fabric. The skirt is unlined and finished with petersham at the waist.

That's it for now. I'm working on finishing up a few other PIPs (projects in progress) and adjusting my trouser draft to crank out some pants for fall.

Until then, be well!


16 August 2011

Quick Trip to the City

Last Wednesday morning at the crack of stupid (i.e., 3 am), I ventured out on a road trip to New Jersey. My friend, Lady T, recently moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE and wanted to take her car. I offered to drive it to the shipping company outside of Newark and, in return, she paid for my flight back home. She booked the flight for the following Saturday, which gave me the chance to spend some time in NYC.

Having made the drive from Detroit to Brooklyn over 20 times, this trip wasn't so bad. From door to door, it took me 10 hours, 15 minutes which included 3 stops and a minor construction delay at the Delaware Water Gap. Big thanks to Ohio for finally stepping into the present day by raising the speed limit on the Turnpike to 70 mph. Big WTFs to Pennsylvania for that throwback to the past by dropping the speed limit to 65mph...or was it always 65 mph? After 20+ times, you'd think I'd remember. I don't. Anyway...

My hotel was in Brooklyn close to Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy, the neighbourhood in which I lived. Though the landscape looks pretty much the same, gentrification in many areas has set in. There were quaint little boutiques and coffee shops sprinkled throughout. Given the astronomical increase in subway/transit fares (a 7-day unlimited Metro Card is $29; it was $17 when I was here last), I didn't even bother to ask about rent. =/

The Atlantic Avenue Transit center in Brooklyn is *finally* finished. Anyone from Brooklyn who frequents or lives in this area knows what I'm talking about. Man, that was one hot mess of dirt, darkness, wires, and construction debris. Now that it's finished, it looks nice - in need of some artwork - but nice nonetheless. There's a multi-level mall with a Target and other shops. Also, a new football stadium for the Jets is being built right across the street. I struck up a conversation with an MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) worker about how he felt about the new development and surrounding area. e said Magic Johnson recently bought a nearby building and that apartments on the ground floor are going for....wait for it... one million dollars. In Brooklyn?! Wow.

I visited the high school where I taught and chatted with former colleagues. It was nice to see them again and meet a couple of current students. I also took a trip to Brooklyn College - the school where I went for more degree work and certification. It felt great to be back on campus; I had forgotten how beautiful it was. Though, I didn't have much time to visit old professors, I did pick up a T-shirt.

As a sewer, a visit to NYC would not be complete without a trip to the garment district. In fact, I think it would criminal not to go there. I was granted the divine opportunity to tour the garment district with Peter from Male Pattern Boldness.

He was gracious to take time out of his day on Thursday to visit with me. We visited the Sporting Life exhibition at the Museum at FIT and next had lunch at a very nice restaurant in Chelsea. Oh, the stores we visited! I begged Peter to take me to his favourite dive Fabric shop - the one that always seems to be going out of business. We went to Chic Fabrics, Steinlauf & Stoller, Spandex House, Pacific Trimmings, C&C, and a few other stores whose names I do not remember. We also stopped by Metro Textiles where I got to meet Kashi and be granted a sewers-rite-of-passage picture with him.

Peter is a great and funny writer. You can read his words on our adventure here.

Now to the good stuff: the NYC haul. I bought seven pieces of fabric - three of which will coordinate with my fall 6PAC and others that will be used for garments next summer. I also bought lots of belt-making accessories, petersham, interfacing, and buttons.

elastic and buckles for 1-, 2-, and 3-inch stretch belts

white carbon tracing paper and 1.5" petersham

buttons & leather trim

weft insertion fusible interfacing in black and white and hymo canvas

black bamboo-cotton lycra

yellow medium-weight wool

top: wool-acrylic-nylon (?) sweater knit, interfacing, stretch cotton sateen
bottom: silk border print, cotton shirting, cotton shirting

In all I had a safe, successful drive in and a good time shopping in the City. I always have fun while I'm there and look forward to visiting again...

On the sewing front, I am almost complete with the polka dot shirt and the BWOF skirt. Once I complete the yellow pintuck blouse, I'm going to officially close out summer and get started on fall. In the meantime, I've created Blogger pages to manage my progress. Although I welcome anyone to read it, the pages exist really for me to keep track of what needs to be done with each garment.

Be well!



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