Let the Destashing Begin

2014-06-25 16.23.20Or “Too Many Interests, Too Little Time”

I’ve been saying for at least a year that I need to decrease the amount of stuff I have. Two years ago (2012) I decided I was going to make a mosaic tabletop for the breakfast nook. I found a great stash of glass and tools on Craigslist and laid down $100 for it. I found the pattern I wanted and bought the plywood to do a sample, and that’s about as far as it got! :(

I stripped wood trim in the breakfast room that summer, hoping to get rid of paint and go to stain. But when I saw the “seam” down the middle of the door jamb between the dining room and the breakfast room, I realized that 1927 construction practices of upscale-ish homes dictated that more expensive wood went in the “public” rooms and the “family” rooms were relegated to lesser quality wood. Once I came to grips with the difference in the woods, I changed my plan for the breakfast room. Gone was the idea of creating a bar table—I had been pondering for a year and couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted anyway!. I found a lovely creamy/yellow/ecru/beige for the walls and a bright white gloss for the woodwork. Two years have gone by now, and that is still my favorite room in the house. Well, that and my office that the Jazzman created for me four years ago.

2013-02-13 08.16.142013-02-23 18.05.57While I was involved with the painting, I also consulted with my interior designer about window shades for my office. When she was here with sample books, we talked about the breakfast table. She showed me some work done by a local consortium of Amish woodworkers and I fell in love. I could choose the exact size, the leg style, the top style, the wood on the top, the wood on the legs. And I could get exactly the chairs I wanted and upholstery that pleased my finicky eyes. That table and chairs are now my favorite furniture possession. Well, that and my 1915 Steinway Model A.

But once that table was in place, I had no more need for all that glass. I loved the mosaic class I took at Ochoa Stained Glass when I lived in Tucson. I loved the glass tabletop I made for an art deco cocktail table. But I also love hot and warm glass work, pottery, wool felting, beading, fabric dyeing, sewing, …. Basically, I love learning. And after two years of walking around six boxes of glass hogging a portion of the garage floor, it was time to let the glass go.

I took the afternoon yesterday to brush the dust off all the glass, reorganize it, and post it on Craigslist. I put a price of $75 on it, although the Jazzman thinks I’m too generous. (I told him I watched it languish for months on Craiglist before I bought it, and just wanted it to go-go-go.) This morning, my inbox held a query from a potential buyer. I don’t want to jinx the sale, but she’s scheduled to come by tomorrow morning (driving an hour to see/buy this glass).

I believe this is just the impetus I need. I released a bunch of glass rods yesterday to a local lampworker who will make good use of them. I have set aside some felting materials, ready to post on eBay. I’m hopeful that, by the end of July, I’ll have pared down my sewing room.

Ah, the luxury of being able to walk through a workspace without watching every step I take!

P.S. Ta-Daa!! All gone. Clean garage. (Picture showing that spot where the glass used to be!)

2014-06-27 08.05.42

A Present to Myself

2014-06-21 16.42.12I have pulled Katherine Tilton’s Vogue 8710 out of my stash several times and contemplated making it, but it always lost out to a repeat of something I’d already done. Then last week I ordered a bamboo rayon/spandex stripe from Hart’s Fabric and decided I wanted to try the horizontal vs. vertical stripe scheme. Once I prewashed the fabric and felt how soft it was, I couldn’t wait to cut into it, hoping to finish the top to wear to a Saturday multi-birthday party at some friends’ cottage on the shores of Lake Erie.

I love this top and want more of them!

Here’s the review:

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, pullover tops have topstitching details. I made View B: forward shoulder, top mostly cut on crosswise grain, bound neck edge, long sleeves, stitched hems.

Pattern Sizing: Y(XS-S-M), ZZ(L-XL-XXL) I cut L, which tends to work for me on most Katherine Tilton designs. I’m thinking I might have had to go up a size – or this would have been a snug-fitting top – if I had done the front and back vertical instead of horizontal. As it is, I love the fit. Just love it. Did I say I love it?! :)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for the horizontal/vertical switchup.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Y. On the side front, I pressed to the side and topstitched 1/4″ from the seam. On the side and armhole seams, I did double-stitched seams. I interfaced the hems with tricot fusible and used a double needle.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved the flair in the “skirt” – although I added to the flair with my drafting when adding the 2″ to the length.

Fabric Used: Bamboo rayon/spandex knit – like buttah! – from Hart’s Fabric.

2014-06-21 16.42.31Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I’m 5’8″ and find I always need to add a couple of inches to Katherine Tilton’s tops. Because of the shaping in the front and side front, I ended up tracing from the large at the “lengthen here” lines out to the XXL at the hem. Because of this, I got a fuller, more twirly top that is great over skinny pants. The combination of this soft, supple fabric and the fuller hem is a dream!

As I was cutting – in a hurry and not referencing the pattern – I cut the stripes the opposite of how Katherine envisioned them. My front, back and sleeves are crosswise stripes. Only the side fronts are lengthwise. I think I like this better than the pattern illustration. (I’m also very proud of how my stripes matched. (Patting self on back.))

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes!

Conclusion: I made this to wear to a group birthday party for which I was one of the honorees. What a great birthday present to myself!

Me-Made-May ’14, Segment 2

Here’s my second installation for #mmmay14, pulled from my daily Facebook posts. I believe I only repeated once or twice, and that only because I was traveling and wanted specific highly-wearable tops.

May 16, 2014 StyleArc Sunny Top

May 16, 2014
StyleArc Sunny Top

May 17, 2014 Honey Cowl

May 17, 2014
Honey Cowl

May 18, 2014 Butterick 5891

May 18, 2014
Butterick 5891

May 19, 2014 Vogue 8831

May 19, 2014
Vogue 8831

May 20, 2014 Vogue 8831

May 20, 2014
Vogue 8831

May 21, 2014 Butterick 5925

May 21, 2014
Butterick 5925

May 23, 2014 Butterick 5925

May 23, 2014
Butterick 5925

May 24, 2014 StyleArc's Sunny Vogue 8590

May 24, 2014
StyleArc’s Sunny
Vogue 8590

May 25, 2014 Tilled Scarf Malabrigo Rasta and Silkpaca

May 25, 2014
Tilled Scarf
Malabrigo Rasta and Silkpaca

May 26, 2014 Vogue 8831 Vogue

May 26, 2014
Vogue 8831
Vogue 7597

May 27, 2014 Vogue 8817

May 27, 2014
Vogue 8817

May 28, 2014 Butterick 5925

May 28, 2014
Butterick 5925

May 29, 2014 Vogue 8582

May 29, 2014
Vogue 8582

May 30, 2014 Butterick 8817

May 30, 2014
Butterick 8817

May 31, 2014 Cutting Line Designs 41357 Stars in Heaven

May 31, 2014
Cutting Line Designs 41357
Stars in Heaven

End-of-school-year teacher gifts

zipbag1For most of the past seven years, I have taken advantage of my sewing and knitting talents to create handcrafted gifts for the grandkids’ teachers at Christmas and at the end of the year. I’ve even heard that some of the teachers tell my daughter-in-law they look forward to those gift occasions. (Whew! Sometimes I worry that they’d rather have a gift card.)

zipbag2A month ago a Tucson friend of mine posted on Facebook a small zippered bag she had made. She shared the link to the tutorial on Amanda Niederhauser’s “Jedi Craft Girl” blog. I thought the bags were cute, and decided to make these for my end of year teacher gifts.

zipbag4Fabrics I used:
Windham Fabrics Collage – scratch
Windham Fabrics Collage – alphabet
If you look at the other fabrics in this collection, you’ll recognize some of the fabrics I used for the notebook covers I made for the teachers last Christmas.

zipbag5Dear Stella “Piper”
Dear Stella chevron stripe
Dear Stella circles
Dear Stella Sprinkles (Multi)

I think the only thing I changed on the tutorial was to trim the seam allowances off the fusible fleece before fusing to the face fabric.

zipbag3And my only reminder to you is this: make sure you left the bag unzipped. Always check before you sew up the boxed corners. (You hear my “oops”, don’t you?)

I have a plastic box full of various trims suitable for embellishing fiber projects. I dug in and found suitable embroidery threads that I pulled through the zipper pull to make it easier to grip.

Took the four bags over to the grandbabes’ house tonight, then came home and finished one more to put in my stash. For this bag I used the same cotton batik that I used in the zippered mesh bag I made a couple of weeks ago.

I’m preparing to add ecommerce to my website. Watch for this bag to appear there.


Fabric With Memories

2014-05-28 07.41.19I posted last week about the fabric I bought in Germany last November and my lack of sufficient yardage. I pulled five swatches from Mood Fabrics and subsequently ordered “Chocolate Rayon Jersey” for the sleeves and pocket trim of Butterick 5925, View A.

2014-05-28 07.41.53I finished it yesterday morning, just in time to leave for a road trip to Western NC to celebrate my mother’s 101st birthday. I slipped it on for the Spousal Equivalent to see. He—who is usually rather quiet about my wardrobe—immediately said, “But you already have one of those.” Hmmm. What I have is a similar print in a very different top. But I should be happy he noticed that much, right?!

I have mixed feelings about the bands at the bottom of the sleeves. I’m wondering if I should have omitted them and just left the sleeves solid brown. I’d love your comments—love ‘em or hate ‘em? They’re just zigzagged into place, so would be easy to remove.

Here’s the review:

Pattern Description: Pullover top has neckline and pocket variations, seam detail, and shaped hemine. A: slightly draped neck and pocket bands. This is my second time with View A. Made a View B in a solid red RPL a year ago and it’s my go-to top!

Pattern Sizing: Y(XSmall-Small-Medium), ZZ(Large-XLarge-XXLarge) I’m 5’8″ and generously-busted. I cut a Large, adding 2″ to the length at the shorten/lengthen lines.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Love the style. Love the offset neck and pocket binding.

As I mentioned in a previous review, I found the pocket bottom to be challenging. I didn’t have enough of the main fabric for both pockets in this version, so just made one. I interfaced the hem of the inset/godet first, then laid the bound pocket on top of the inset, basted the sides, but also basted the bottom of the pocket to the interfaced hem allowance so that the basting would not show. Then I folded and pressed the hem allowance on the inset. I moved to the sewing machine and slipped the presser foot inside the pocket, sewing the inset hem from about 1.5″ in from either seam allowance. To clarify: the hem on the pocket/inset is sewn before attaching the inset to the front and back side seams, but I’ve left enough free so that I can sew those seams.

After inserting the inset and sewing the side seams, I [double-needle] sewed the hem from the edge of the pocket/inset around the back, the other inset, and the front, ending a half-inch into the pocket/inset. I had about an inch on either side of the pocket that was not hemmed, so just whipped that into place invisibly by hand.

I’m pleased with the result. The pocket bags down a little below the hem, but I didn’t have the bunching I experienced with the pocket/inset hem on the previous version.

I haven’t checked this theory yet, as I was rushing to leave on a trip, but I believe the pocket should be sized to the inset—should be cut the same width as the inset—not one-size-pocket-for-all-sizes. I suspect the pocket is cut the same size as the XL or XXL.

Fabric Used: A rayon/lycra (maybe rayon/poly/lycra) blend that I picked up in a department store in Frankfurt, Germany, while on tour last year with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus. Lovely memories every time I look at this fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: See note above re pocket. Interfaced the back shoulder seam allowance and the hem allowances with a lightweight tricot fusible interfacing. (A trick learned from Marcy Tilton.) Next time I’ll trim the pocket to match the inset.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Probably will make one more – in black for performances. Would absolutely recommend! This is a beautiful top!

Conclusion: Make it! Wear it repeatedly!

One more picture for your enlightenment, from the hotel bathroom.

2014-05-28 07.41.39