23 November 2014

New Look 6407: Wearable Wadder?

I don't make wearable muslins.  A muslin is my chance at working on the fit and if I try to make it wearable, then I won't focus on getting the fit right.

But what about a wearable wadder?  Seems counter-intuitive.

The shirt is wearable because it's finished and fits - almost.  There is serious pulling at the center front which is weird because it's the same pattern that I used to make the first version - which I absolutely adore.

Despite the busy print, there is no pulling at bust level. 

I think the purple shirt is a wadder because of the fabric.  I used a stretch-cotton poplin which may not be the best fabric for a structured blouse with lots of seams.  Taming the wrinkles is next to impossible and a bad press job is amplified.  I have a gravity feed iron that gets hella hot with lots of steam and the wrinkles act like the T-1000 from Terminator 2:  I walk away for 5 minutes and the wrinkles are back and with an attitude.

I am totally MEH about this blouse.  I am going to make a third version of the pattern out of a non-stretch fabric to see if my suspicions hold true.  In the meantime, I haven't decided if I will keep this one.  If I do, I will not wear it without a jacket or something to cover the awefulness.

The skirt in the photos is New Look 6053 and was sewn from stash fabric.  1.5 yards down, over 600 left to go.  Good grief.

I'll talk about that project in the next post. 

Have you ever worn a wadder?  What are your experiences with stretch cotton poplin?


16 November 2014

Counting the Stash

It's no secret that I have a lot of fabric.  I've adopted an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of existence by storing all of it in plastic bins.  Since I am trying to downsize, I wanted to get an idea of how much fabric I really had and see if there are some pieces I can live without. So for the last few days, I've been cataloging all of my stash by separating it into categories and measuring each piece.

The totals so far:
  • denim - 29.5
  • light-weight cotton & stretch cotton - 81.25
  • silk - 89.625
  • pants/dress wools - 90
  • printed shirtings - 6.5
  • striped shirtings - 44.125
  • solid shirtings - 78.625
  • bottomweights/boucle - 31.25
  • stretch suitings - 20.5
  • non-stretch suitings - 12.375
  • jacket wools - 25.75
  • coat wools - 49.75
  • skirt wools - 58.75
  • knit/wool boucle - 6.25
As of today, I have approximately 624.25 yards of fabric.  This total doesn't include any ponte, rayon, or ITY knits, linen, or lining.  It also doesn't include the large box of fabric that I plan to give away.  I went through 13 bins of fabric and still have 12 to do.  o_O

Damn.  Shame.

There are some sheep freezing their little asses off because of my addiction to love of wool.   Yes, I know their hair will grow back.  But still.  The amount of wool I have in my possession is beyond excessive.  Over 1/3 of the total yardage is wool. My dry cleaner is a happy camper.  My friend the environmentalist?  Not so much.

I am going on a month-to-month fabric fast.  There is absolutely no reason for me to buy anything!  The only exception is Kasha lining and lambswool or cotton flannel for the thousand coats I need to make.  Aside from that, I am committing to not buy a single inch.  I just can't.

A great deal of my fabric was the result of retail therapy.  

sad face + credit card = the reason for this post

The silver lining to counting the stash is that I am reminded of some of the goodness that I have and that I want to sew.  I've taken out several pieces already and got patterns in my mind to start cutting.  

Someone has to sew this fabric and life's too short to let it sit around collecting dust.  I'm not going to be afraid to cut into the fabric for fear of losing a good piece.  I have so much, I'm sure I can find something else.

This project has created a mixed range of emotions - including excitement, frustration, and a bit of sadness.  I can't believe I let my fabric buying get out of control!  At the same time, I'm getting motivated to do something about it.

Has anyone else counted their stash?  What was it like for you?


On a completely separate note, I will leave you with one of the myriad crazy things students have said to me in the past:

Last year, when I asked a student why her homework wasn't completed, she said that she and her roommate had a five-hour twerk session.

Yes.  Let that sink in for a moment.

Not only was the phrase "five-hour twerk session" used in a sentence, it was also the reason given for not having completed an assignment.  I didn't even know how to be mad.  These are our future doctors, lawyers, and engineers.  I am moving to Mars.


08 November 2014

No One Knows

It's almost 3 in the morning and I'm wide awake.  For the second time in eleven weeks, I went skating tonight.  For someone who used to skate two to three times per week, for me to be absent this long is rare. Nonetheless, I found some energy, laced up my skates, and pressed on.

The regulars were there.  My skate buddy, who also missed last week's session, was there.  A friend from high school, who I hadn't seen at the rink in a long time, was there.  Byron, another long-time regular, was also there.

My skate buddy and I had just exited the rink after a fast song to sit and get hydrated.  We both saw Byron hit the floor.  We commented that Byron NEVER falls and that it was a shock to see him on the ground.

It turns out that he didn't fall; he collapsed.  A couple of skaters started administering CPR until an ambulance was able to respond.  They worked on him in the truck on site for what seemed like an eternity.  When the ambulance pulled away, a few of us went to the hospital and waited.  And waited.  His family showed up and we waited some more.

He didn't make it.

He woke up this morning to do what he usually does on Friday - no doubt with an anticipation to roll later that evening.  He didn't know that this would be his final skate.  No one knew.  No one ever knows.

He always had the largest smile and most genuine of greetings.  I can't remember if we've ever skated or not - perhaps once.  I do remember that he always said hello.  ALWAYS.  He was pleasant, cordial, and just enjoyed skating.  The skaters that were at the hospital said that they've known/skated with him for over 30 years.  

He was a good guy.

The suddenness of his passing is unreal.  Everything seemed so normal.  He waived and spoke like he always did.  While I was skating backwards, I watched him and his skate buddy do their graceful turns together - again just like normal.

Why am I writing this?

I am sorry.  I forgive you.  I love you.  Thank you.  I don't want to leave this place without saying these things to people who've entered/exited and continue to exist in my life.  I hope we can all do the same. 

Be well.


04 November 2014

Pattern Review Sewing Bee

Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee (squeee!), PR is hosting its own version for four weeks.  The platform seems the same:  weekly challenges, weekly winners, eliminations, grand prize.  I figured I could channel my inner crafty chemist and join the contest.

But.  You know there's always a "but."

The first challenge is to sew an A-line skirt.  Ruh?  That's it?  No twist?  Piece of cake!  The last 394 skirts I made were A-line.  I could make one of these from start to finish in one day.  I was all on board until I read the requirements:
  • zipper - check
  • lining - check
  • hem - check 
  • button, hook, or any closure - check and check
  • waistband - ch....wait, what??
The skirt must include a waistband? Why?  All of my skirts purposely do not have waistbands because WHY??  Ugh.  This "rule" caused me way more stress than it should have.  I spent two days searching my pattern stash for A-line skirts with a waistband.  I found TWO.  Out of over five hundred patterns (including BWOF), I found two freakin' patterns. 
The pattern I ultimately chose was New Look 6843, view D.
The pattern has three pieces and should be really easy to sew. Remember, there's always a "but."

Contestants will be judged on construction, adherence to the rules, and creativity.  Yes, a pattern like this presents a great opportunity to do something creative.  BUT, my creative side is apparently on hiatus at the moment.  I drew a complete blank on what to do with this skirt.  I searched the internets for ideas and settled on adding pintucks.

Easy, right?  Not so much.

I came up with a few ideas:  diagonal pintucks that emanate from the waist out to the hem like a star burst; vertical tucks that start near the hip and end at the hem; and twisted tucks.  I sewed small samples of each idea and didn't like them enough to proceed.  Accuracy in measurement and sewing is *very* important to get any of these to look right.  Given the tight time constraint, I knew I wouldn't be able to get it done.

So I chose to do a simple pintuck across the bottom an inch above the hem.  To make things easier (so I thought), I decided to pintuck the fabric (a light-weight denim) first and then cut the pieces out of that.

Not.  Even.  Close.  I don't have pictures because...well...Halloween is over.

Trying to pintuck fabric that is 60 inches wide is just not a good idea so I scrapped it.  In fact, I'm not even motivated to make an A-line skirt anymore.  Sad-but-relieved face.  My heart is just not in it.  

So I'm not going to participate in the contest.  Sure I could make a simple and well-constructed skirt, but I probably won't enjoy the process because my true intention is not there.  It's actually a good thing because I don't want the pressure of a deadline at this time of the year.  We have exams next week and my duty as a caregiver just got remarkably more difficult.  Sewing (when I actually sit down to do it) is my outlet and I don't want to ruin what little sewjo I have!

Speaking of aint-got-time-for-that... 

I am totally over it.  It's a wadder and trashed!



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