Prelude to Camp

IMG_0090Thursday, June 25, 2015
After an eight-hour drive that seemed much longer, I arrived in Interlochen and got the key to my room. As I walked out of the Stone Center with my key, I ran into my dearest son #3, Chip Miller, on his way out of the cafeteria. How exciting that I get to spend three weeks in close contact with this brilliant young pianist, who has been my son’s best friend since the day they met on these hallowed grounds in 1989. An hour later I had unloaded everything and settled in enough that I could sleep peacefully for the night. And I had a long shopping list of items that would make my stay more comfortable.

Leslie

Love her so. Leslie is my son’s partner and one of the most dynamic women I’ve ever met. Last year she suggested I apply to work as a collaborative pianist at Interlochen—and now here I am!!

Friday, June 26, 2015
Breakfast, followed by check-in. Those two activities consumed a couple of hours. Then a trip to Target and Staples consumed another couple of hours. Back to campus in time for lunch, then more settling into the room and practicing my score—”Oliver!” Mid-afternoon all-staff meeting to make sure we all knew what we were doing. (As I didn’t know about the meeting until the last minute and was 10 minutes late, I clearly don’t know what I’m doing!) Dinner at Boone’s Long Lake Inn with my camp family. Back to camp and a long sit by Green Lake with my iPad and my thoughts. Received a call from my “boss”, Dr. Anne Lewis. She walked down to the lake to meet me, and a few minutes with “Dr. Anne” (so dubbed because there are two faculty members named Ann/Anne in the Theatre program) made me hope we’ll be working together the rest of our lives. This is going to be such a great summer! Then to my room, a little more practicing, and to sleep, accompanied by the sounds of diligent kids working in practice rooms. Heard my first loon call of the season tonight while sitting by the lake. The mosquitoes finally chased us away. Anne took me in to see the building where she’s staying, the DeRoy Center for Film Studies. Great state-of-the-art building, which includes some very nice “dorm” rooms.

Chip & Miss C

Son #3, Chip, with Leslie’s daughter, the Divine Miss C, who knows how to dress up any occasion! Chip and Tyler have been best friends since their first day of camp at Interlochen in 1989.

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Breakfast; practicing; working on editing for YSU; lunch, where I picked up an accompanying gig for a singer who will perform at the Staff Recital in late July; 1:00 Theatre staff meeting; 3:00 Collaborative Pianists meeting, where I picked up a daily voice lesson to accompany; editing; dinner; practicing; bed. The Intermediate and High School kids arrived today, and I heard taps played at bedtime for the first time this season.

Sunday, June 28, 2015
Quick breakfast, then editing, then Sunday Brunch with Anne at Hofbrau Steak House for a final celebration of my birthday. See how I stretched that into a two-week celebration? Pretty smart, I am. Next was a meet-the-students gathering for the Theatre program, followed by auditions for our 25 Intermediate Musical Theatre Production students. They had each submitted a soliloquoy and song on tape for admission, but had to audition again in person. That took the entire afternoon, then dinner, then the opening gathering for the entire camp population. There are students from 48 states and 38 foreign countries. And by the sounds of things, each one is very happy to be here.

Tomorrow the real work begins. I smile constantly. I am so lucky to be here!


If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.

On the road again! — feeling excited. (6/25; 9:49 a.m.)

Since the very first time I visited Tyler at Interlochen Arts Camp, I’ve felt it was an absolutely magical place. Now I listen at my dorm room window as I hear the last 10 minutes of flutists and clarinetists and harpists practicing before the magic 10:00 hour arrives. I feel incredibly blessed to be working here this summer. Thank you, Tyler and Leslie, for encouraging me to do this. — feeling happy at Interlochen Center for the Arts. (6/25; 9:54 p.m.)

I think the last time I drank milk out of a plastic cup was in about 1962 at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, FL. It tastes exactly the same – fresh and new. (Somewhere there’s a photo of me sitting on a chair under a pine tree practicing my oboe.) (6/26; 8:48 a.m.)

I fight back tears as I think how lucky I am to have this opportunity. — feeling honored at Interlochen Center for the Arts. (6/26; 10:37 a.m.)

I guess everybody has to do it at least once. First full day and locked myself out of my room. Sure am getting my exercise walking back and forth to Stone Center to get and return the spare key! (6/26; 10:29 p.m.)

Two wildlife moments from my first full day in Interlochen:
-Was driving up the highway to visit the gas station, and had to stop for a mama duck and her 12 ducklings following her across the road.
-Last night I was sitting down by the lake observing the sunset and enjoying the beauty when I heard my first loon call of the season. (6/27; 8:52 a.m.)

Overheard in the library: “I’ll go get an LP for the Dvorák.” I’m in some wonderful, artistic alternate universe. (6/27; 9:39 a.m.)

Sounds outside my window:Intermediate Girls going around the circle, getting to know each other. “Hi, Elizabeth; Hi, Margaret.” Sweet sounds. (6/27; 11:29 a.m.)

Just stood for ten minutes with four other collaborative pianists discussing audition techniques and page-turning tricks. Died and gone to pianistic heaven! (6/27; 3:17 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: 7th-9th grade girls singing at the tops of their lungs. In tune. (6/27; 5:09 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: Taps.
So the first edition of “Taps” came at 9:00 for the Junior Girls. Just now I heard a second edition, at a much closer range. That would be for Intermediate Girls. This will be my nightly serenade for the next six weeks.
Accompanying those trumpet sounds are the tones coming from practice rooms. These are soloists preparing for concerto competition. Tonight I have heard two different horn players and a pianist. (6/27; 9:32 p.m.)

This morning’s ear worm:
“I shall scream! I shall scream!
For the safety of my virtue I shall scream!” (6/28; 9:38 a.m.)

And it begins! Here we go, 25 7th-9th graders heading off to auditions for Oliver! (6/28; 1:50 p.m.)

Audition True Confession: Music I’ve never seen before intimidates me. — feeling stressed. (6/28; 3:45 p.m.)

Sounds outside my window: Taps. Followed by applause. (6/28; 9:35 p.m.)

A Look Inside “Fun With Opera”

operaTurning our creativity discussions away from sewing and onto music for a while (as I have absolutely no time to sew right now):

Yesterday I did my last Opera Western Reserve Young Artists performance until mid-August. We performed at a summer arts camp in the neighboring county. Our normal “Fun With Opera” show is designed to last one class period in the normal school schedule. Because this was a day camp, the director requested a 90-minute performance, rather than 35-45 minutes.

Here’s what the show script looks like: There are usually three singers. First they introduce themselves and their voice type, vocalizing for 5 seconds to show what that voice type sounds like. Then they sit and the first singer talks about the elements of opera – how do you know what they’re singing (surtitles), what languages is opera written in and how can you tell what language it is if you don’t understand the words (primarily Italian, French, and German; fluid sounds – spaghetti, pizza, ciao; nasality – words from Disney cartoons with French characters; harshness – ich liebe dich); what other clues can you get as to what the opera is portraying (the music – minor = slow, sad; major = bright, happy). The first singer then sings two opera excerpts, usually 24 or 32 measures. They are in different languages and different moods. After each, the students are asked what language was sung and what mood was portrayed. Then they are asked to choose – by the loudest applause – which they liked better. I pull the chosen aria from my binder and set it aside.

Singer number two takes the stage and talks about the people at the opera. Who writes the music? Composer. Who writes the words? Librettist, and the singer talks about what a libretto is. The various directors are explained. The orchestra. The conductor. The chorus. The singers. Then singer number two performs his or her aria excerpts.

Singer number three talks about the parts of an opera. The overture; the recitative; the arias. What’s the word for when a singer sings alone? Aria. Two people? Duet Three people? … But are they always singing the same thing at the same time? No! They can be singing different words and expressing different feelings all at the same time. So now we’re going to give you an example. But first, we need you to decide what kind of character each of us will be: a chef, a dancer, a cowboy riding an ostrich on Mars, a sumo wrestler whose fingers are turning into Jell-O.

When we got to this part of the performance and Robert asked the students to assign a role to Dean, one boy held up his hand and called out, “you’re a mink who was abandoned by his cousin…in the desert.” I think that was the most elaborat role ever assigned. Robert was assigned a very athletic role, on a hot and humid day. By the end of four rounds of our chosen aria, he was dripping.

And what is the aria we choose to perform for these kids? Why, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” of course.

After that, we talk about the opera chorus, and have the students become the chorus. We divide them into three groups, tell one group to choose their favorite farm animal, another to choose their favorite animal at the zoo, and the third to choose their favorite …. You get the idea.

When that’s over and they’ve all settled down again, singer number three performs his or her two aria excerpts.

Except on this day, because we were trying to slow the clock down, each singer also performed an entire aria. Here was my Facebook post after that performance.

fwo

This is the end of the teaching portion of the performance. But then there’s the improvisation portion. We tell the students we’re going to create an original opera and it’s set at a bus stop (or in a car on a road trip, or in the doctor’s office …). They have to decide what each singer is doing at the bus stop. Who is he? Why is he there? I begin the overture, the singers race off stage and decide how the “libretto” is going to go. As the overture closes, they come on to the three chairs on stage that are the “bus stop.” We knock out some recitative, then the first singer says, “Let me tell you about it,” and I start into the introduction for the aria excerpt that was chosen after each singer sang in the first portion of the performance.

These singers—oh, my goodness. They are all so talented. Such beautiful voices. Such great rapport with the students. Great personalities, nice, dedicated kids. I’m old enough to be the grandma to most of them, and I love them as if they were my kids or my grandskids. Honestly? They keep me young.

Anyway, when the improvised opera concludes, they take their bows, acknowledge me, and then take questions from the kids. The kids can say anything, from “I went to the opera once,” or “I like to sing,” to “How long have you been singing?”

And then we pack up our props and equipment and go back to our real lives.

No moral to the story. I just thought you’d like a little insight into how we present opera as an art form to children of all ages.

Another Camp Top

Frances-sideThat danged clock keeps ticking. I’m now less than a month from the day I leave to drive to Interlochen. I’ve got to go to Asheville this weekend for my mother’s 102nd birthday, and the 19th through the 22nd we’re going to Toronto and Niagara Falls with friends to celebrate my [there’s a five in it] birthday. I refuse to look at the calendar and calculate how much I have left to do before I leave. I’m just sewing and sewing and making myself crazy.

This afternoon I finished Green Bee Patterns’ Frances dress. It was easy to procrastinate, as I just didn’t love it. But now that it’s done, I do kinda love it. It’s very different from all the knits I’ve been sewing lately – all those Lagenlook-inspired flowy tops. But it’s cute—especially with leggings—and a nice change. If northern Michigan gets hot this summer, it will be cool and nice.

<Short Story Time>
In 1989, my younger son went to National Music Camp (now Interlochen Arts Camp) as a 14yo percussionist. The camp sessions in those days were eight weeks long. We had carefully packed everything he’d need to live in a cabin in the woods in Intermediate Boys Division. A few days later he called me and said, “Mom, can you please send me another blanket and a fan?” I laughed and have been laughing about that for 25 years. That’s what northern Michigan is like in the summer. It can be cool and rainy, or warm and rainy, or lovely. And it’s frequently chilly at night. He used both that extra blanket and that fan all summer long.
<Short Story Time End>

Frances-backSo I’ll need sweatshirts and cool cotton shirts.

Here’s the pattern review:

Pattern Description: This classic shirt dress features a short or 3/4 sleeve variation, front and back darts for subtle shaping, a yoke which the dress front and back gather into, a button placket, and collar. Stitch it in a single fabric for a classic look, or add a contrast fabric to the collar and placket.

Pattern Sizing: Women’s sizes XS-XL included. I cut L and it fits the hips fine – see below for bust thoughts.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes – I used solid color, no contrast. I chose the short sleeved version.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, with a couple of exceptions.

  1. I wasn’t clear on how to attach the collar. I spent some time picturing it in my head, then sewed right side of color to wrong side of yoke and front, pressing it out and hand sewing the folded edge of the collar to the right side of the yoke and front. That way, when the collar is folded, the whip-stitched part of the collar is hidden.
  2. The instruction step for stitching the sleeve band to the sleeve was missing, although an illustration was there. This was another step I spent a lot of time working on and trying to envision.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s not really my style. I thought it would be fun to do the sewalong on Craftsy with Alexia, but life got very complex around that time. Then as I started preparing my wardrobe for six weeks as an accompanist at Interlochen Arts Camp this summer and the requisite dark blue bottoms/light blue tops uniform, I decided to do this top in solid light blue and save the Cotton+Steel yardage for another Swoon bag.

Fabric Used: From Fashion Fabrics Club, a pale blue shirting with 98% cotton and 2% lycra. Nice stretch, and it was on sale for $3.95. Can’t miss!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I’m pretty particular about having my inside look as nice as my outside. The yoke is outside only, leaving all those edges hangin’ out on the inside. So I scratched my head and tried to remember how to do a double yoke – from probably 20 years ago. Yea, not too many cobwebs in my brain!

I jury-rigged the inside yoke, as I didn’t think about this technique until I had sewn the back to the yoke and topstitched. I folded under the seam allowance on the back of the inside yoke, then top-stitched it into place. You pin the front pieces to the left and right of the outside yoke. You can baste them in place if you want. Then roll the back up from the hem and wrap the other piece of the yoke around it, pinning the two yokes right sides together with the front pieces sandwiched between them. You stitch that seam, them you pull the back and the front out through the side and everything magically turns itself rightside out. Your raw edges are enclosed in the yoke, and the insides are beautiful.

When you attach the collar to the yoke and front neck, the folded seam allowance on the collar will hide all raw edges. When you attach the sleeves, you’ll have those raw edges, but you sew a second row of stitching about 1/4″ from the first row, then trim the raw edges close to the second row of stitching. Those will be the only raw edges you have and they’re not at all unruly.

This “burrito roll” is easy to do and fun – sorta like a puzzle. Here’s a YouTube video that explains it better than I did.

The other change I made was to fold several inches out of the body front and back. I wanted a tunic rather than a dress.

Frances-2Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I won’t sew it again, as it’s really not my style. But I would recommend to others, especialy beginner sewists. Nice pattern.

NOTE: If you are busty, or low-busted, I recommend doing a muslin of the top as far down as the darts go. These darts hit me right on the bust apex and the pocket kinda points right at the “hill.” (I’m a DD and somewhat low-busted. I had a conversation with Alexia before starting the pattern, and she thought it would be okay because of the gathering at the front shoulder – that I wouldn’t need to do a FBA.)

When I get to camp, I’m going to see if it fits my Texas friend any better than it fits me through the bust. If so, and if she likes it, it will move to her wardrobe. If not, I’ll probably wear a minimizer with it. But really, with the lycra in the fabric, it’s not terrible. I’m just overly sensitive about drawing attention to the “girls.”

Conclusion: I had a hard time getting through this project, as I wasn’t in love with it. But once I finished it and slipped it on over calf-length leggings, I wanted to dance around. This will be a perfect summer outfit.

You can still get the kit through Craftsy. Honestly, the high-quality fabric and the pattern and as I write this it’s on sale for $24.50 — a steal!


And if you have the slightest question in your mind, yes, I am still excited about working at Interlochen this summer. I have moments when I say, “Hey, Lady, you’re old. WTF are you doing?” But then I remember how sweet the kids at Joseph Badger High School were to me this past year, and how sweet my opera kids at Opera Western Reserve are to me, and I know it will just be more of the same. I guess I’m just everybody’s favorite GrandmaPianist.

The Eva Dress

Eva-1Blogless Anna, whose writing and sewing I love, made a Tessuti Eva dress a few months ago, and it stuck in my mind. I thought if Northeast Ohio ever escapes winter, I might like it for a summer dress. A couple of days ago, on one of my 25 mile drives to accompany a high school chorus, I stopped at Olive Grace Studios, a sweet little quilt shop about ten miles north of my house. There, tucked under the front counter, I found this great linen covered with Xs, sorta sashiko quilting, but not really. It called out “Eva” to me. Link to the dress pattern.

I won’t write a full review right now, as today and tomorrow are actually summery. The Jazzman just got off work and we’re racing out the door to drive up to the lake (Lake Erie, if you’re not from around here) and hang with our pals.

Here are my thoughts:

  • If you’re making the dress, a softer fabric is probably better than a midweight. I feel this is a little stiff and, hence, makes me look a little more portly than I actually am.
  • I love the bound neck and sleeves. The bound hem? Not so much. In fact, tomorrow while the rest of our friends are golfing, I’m going to sit with some nice music or an audiobook and rip out the hem. Then when I get home, I’ll interface and turn up the edge by ½”, giving it a smoother, softer, and less obvious hem.
  • The pocket instructions are a little wonky, for my taste. There seemed to be an emphasis on sewing to the notch and sewing the pocket bag completely separate from the side seams. I sewed and ripped and sewed several times.

<Side Seam Pocket Tutorial On>

imageI believe the better way would be to sew the each of the four pockets RS together to the front and back side pieces, matching the notches. The seam width would be a smidge smaller than the seam allowance for the side seams. So in this garment the seam allowance is ½”, so my seam to attach the pocket pieces to the side pieces would be about ⅜”. After sewing those four small seams, I would press the seam allowances toward the pocket, then on the front pieces only, topstitch the pocket to the seam allowances. (In the picture, you see the front of the pocket and its topstitching at the top of the picture. At the bottom you can see the back seam with no topstitching. You can click the picture to enlarge.)

Once that’s done, pin front to back on the side seams, pinning the pockets together. Stitch from the top (backstitching to secure the first couple of stitches) down to the notch, reduce stitch length to 0 and take one stitch to secure, then raise presser foot and pivot, lower the presser foot, return the stitch length to the previous setting, stitch around the pocket bag to the bottom notch, reduce stitch length to 0, take securing stitch, raise presser foot and pivot, lower presser foot, and stitch to the bottom, backstitching at the end of the seam to lock the stitches.

Serge or zigzag the raw edges. Clip the seam allowance at the notches, being careful not to cut the seam stitching. Press the seam flat, then press the seam allowance to the back and the pocket and its seam allowance to the front.

<Side Seam Pocket Tutorial Off>

It sounds complex when written this way, but once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s very logical. To me, this method avoids grabbing bits of seam alliances where you don’t want to grab them–and therefore avoids a lot of seam ripping.

There was one more disappointment with this fabric. I finished the dress, drove to the lake, and sat down in a wicker chair in our friends’ lake house. When I leaned over to pick up something, I realized a rough edge in the wicker chair had snagged one of the thread Xs and pulled it out about six inches. My heart sank to my feet. Now that I’m back home, I’ll take a needle and try to pull it back through and secure it. But I may get to the situation where there are so many thread snags that I have to just pull them all out and have a plain linen dress.

C’est la vie!

Eva-3

P.S. Ran back to the quilt shop today to identify the fabric. It’s Diamond Textiles’ Primitive Collection, very similar to PRF 707. To my eye, the base fabric is taupe-olive, and the threads are cream and a blush pink. We’ll see how long these threads last. :)

One Pattern; Two Very Different Looks

7020-1-angelI have an ongoing love affair with Eileen Fisher. This affair is about 20 years old, and is quite passionate. Oh, the hours I spend looking at her various styles online at Nordstrom, Naturals-inc.com, Neiman-Marcus, and the EF website. Whenever I wear a piece of EF clothing, I feel très chic.

I recently discovered McCall’s 7020. If you look at the line drawings on the pattern back, this pattern is very similar to several of my favorite EF sweaters. Pairing the boxy top with a skinny pair of pants and flat shoes or boots gives me an instant put-together look.

You’ll remember I’m assembling a sky-blue-over-navy-blue wardrobe for my six-week gig as a collaborative pianist at Interlochen Arts Camp this summer. I found a sky blue cotton jersey at Mood Fabrics that I used for the Sewaholic Renfrew t-shirt that I blogged about here. I had enough left for one more shirt, and—after being reminded by my DIL-Equivalent that all shirts must have collars—decided to make the McCall’s boxy top with the cowl neck.

7020-1-front 7020-1-side 7020-1-back

purpleNow that it’s all done, I don’t love it, but I will wear it. The fabric doesn’t have enough “oomph” to it, as I intimated in the previous post. I think I would love it in a nice sweater knit, like the purple one I wore to show off my latest knitting project. I would also like it in a rayon/lycra knit or an ITY poly/lycra knit—just something with a little more body and a little less chance of my bra showing through.

birchsweatshirtAbout the time I was making the first blue t-shirt, I found this Birch Organic Sweatshirt Fleece online at Hart’s Fabric in Santa Cruz. Yum yummity yum! You want oomph? This fabric has oomph. It has cat sleeping on your lap warmth and comfort. As I was trying it on during the sewing process, I kept thinking it might just be something to sleep in on cold Northeast Ohio winter nights!

Story time: When DS#2 went to Interlochen Arts Camp—then known as National Music Camp—for the first time when he was 14, I packed him up with all the requisite navy chinos, navy shorts, sky blue polos, red sweaters, and linens for the eight-week session. He would be living in a cabin, and his linens included a blanket. About a week later, he called me and asked if I’d send him another blanket and a fan. That tells you a little about summers in northern Michigan. It gets hot, and it gets cold. So I’m trying to make sure I have enough warm layers to keep me comfortable no matter what Mother Nature throws at that magical land between the lakes.

So, anyway, when I saw this sweatshirt material, I grabbed enough to make a sweatshirt. Indie pattern designer Jennifer Beeman, of Grainline Studio, recently introduced her Linden Sweatshirt and I quickly downloaded the pattern, thinking it would be an enjoyable project. But then after looking at McCall’s 7020, I thought it would be interesting to make a second version in the heavier fabric.

Okay, I’ll admit that the sweatshirt fabric, as yummy as it is, isn’t really the right fabric for Eileen Fisher’s boxy drop-shoulder top McCall’s 7020. Will I wear it? Absolutely. I’ll probably wear it over and over this summer. I have a couple of tanks in a similar blue that will give me an extra layer if it’s that cold. And it’s the right length to shove my hands in my pants pockets without destroying the line of the top.

7020-2-front 7020-2-side 7020-2-back

And—she said, patting herself on the back—the double-needle stitching and the binding is fricking brilliant!!


Here’s what I’m talking about.

I was short of fabric, so I cut the top and the sleeves at a shorter length. For the neckline and sleeve, I cut a binding strip of 2⅛”. For the hem, I cut two binding strips of 5″.

The body has center front and back seams, which I sewed, pressed open, then double-needle topstitched, centering the seam between the two needles. I think I use a 4.0 needle. After sewing, I trimmed the excess fleece from the wrong side. Love the look!

7020-2-necklineNeckline: With CF and CB seams already sewn and topstitched, sew the shoulder seams. (I always reinforce the back seam allowance with a strip of tricot interfacing.) Press the seam allowance to the back and topstitch from the outside. Trim the excess seam allowance on the inside. Run your measuring tape around the neckline, standing it on its edge and holding at the seam allowance (not the cut edge), in this case, ⅝” in from the cut edge. For my size L, the length was 27.5″. Multiplying that number by .8 (The Gospel According to Marcy Tilton) gave me 22″. I cut my 2⅛” binding strip a little longer than 22″, probably 23″ (to allow for seaming), lapped the ends, and made a diagonal seam.

(Quilters know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, here’s a little tutorial.)

Here’s the challenge: You want the seam on the wrong side of the binding strip, and you want the fleece to be the outside of the binding strip. So pin it and check it a couple of times to make sure you’re sewing the fleece side together and making the seam on the sweatshirt side. Don’t do what I did: First I made the fleece the wrong side. When I realized what I had done, I made the seam on the correct side, but I turned it the wrong way before pinning, so I ended up with a mobius strip!!! No. Good.

The seam (when correctly sewn) becomes the center back—mark it with a pin. Fold in half and find the center front and mark with a pin. Match the binding CF and CB to the garment CF and CB. Now pin cut edges together, fleece side of binding next to sweatshirt side of garment neck. Pin 1:1 from CB to the two neckline seams, then stretch the binding from the neckline seams to the CF. This will make the finished binding lie flat and hug your neckline. Sew with a ⅝” seam. Press the binding toward the neck opening, then wrap to the back so it just covers the seam. No need to worry about folding the raw edge under, as this is knit and will not fray. Place pins on the right side just under the binding seam and catching the edge of the binding raw edge.

Topstitch the neck binding with a double needle, running the seam centered between the two needles, catching the fleece binding with the right needle and the sweatshirt with the left needle.

7020-2-sleeveSleeve: This binding goes on after flat insertion of the sleeve into the armhole, but before sewing the underarm seam. Cut the binding strip a little longer than the cut edge. Sew with a ⅝” seam and press the binding toward the sleeve end. Wrap as you did the neckline, and press well. Now trim the ends of the binding to match the right side of the sleeve, including that wrapped ⅝”. When you open the binding out, you’ll see an angular hourglass. Finish the garment hem before topstitching the sleeve binding.

7020-2-hemHem: Cut the 5″ binding strip wider than the front and back hems (you still have not sewn the side seams). Pin the fleece side of the binding to the sweatshirt side of the front. Being careful not to stretch the binding, sew with a ¼” seam. Press binding away from the body. Turn the garment wrong side up and fold the strip to just cover the binding seam. This should give you about a 2″ hem band. Press well.

Sew side seams. I always start under the sleeve and sew to the end of the underarm seam, then go back and start at the same place and sew to the hem. This lets me make sure my underarm seams match and the seam allowance gets cleanly sewn toward the sleeve, and also helps me make sure my garment side seams end up the same length. It takes a few moments longer, but that’s my ripper use prevention technique.

Press the seams to the back.

Now pin the sleeve bindings in place, so the raw edge just covers the seam. Turn the sleeve wrong side out and place under presser foot. Double-needle topstitch, centering binding seam between the needles. Trim excess binding from the inside and press again.

Repeat with the hem, being careful not to stretch.

I hope that makes sense to you and that you’ll try it to see if you like. I’m thrilled with the result!


7020-2-rudiAnd Rudi likes it too. Oh wait, that’s Rudi we’re talking about. He likes anything that involves his getting a little lovin’.

One last note about the side view of the sweatshirt. It probably could have had a length adjustment in the front, in lieu of a FBA. But I didn’t. I’m thinking that after a few washings, it will soften up a little and not stand out so much. At least that’s my hope!

About DS#2 who went to National Music Camp in 1989 at age 14—you do that math. He turns 40 tomorrow!!!!!