09 May 2014

Me-Made-May '14: Week One Completed

I've been posting the evidence of my Me-Mades in the MMM '14 Flickr Group. Here's a composite of the first eight days minus one:

MMM '14 Week One.jpg

The day missing from the composite is Friday, Day 2. Fridays are optionally themed under the very loose MMM '14 rules. The first Friday theme was "Cocktails," so here I am enjoying a lovely cocktail of ice water:

MMM'14 Day 2

What have I learned so far from participating in this challenge? First, that leggings are the most useful items of clothing since clothing was invented. I must make more. Even when they go out of style (are they in style now? Would I know? Do I care?) I'll continue to wear them under skirts to facilitate bicycling and avoid the dreaded chub rub.

There are a zillion patterns for leggings and tights in addition to McCall's 6360 which I've been using. At first I wondered how they could be different--sure, some had seams here and some had seams there, but so what? But my ignorance derives in part from the fact that all the leggings I've made are of Supplex or Dry-Flex or similar fabric. So they "fit" as long as they are big enough to go around me. A fabric without so much stretch would actually have to be roughly my size and shape. Sewing Cake's pattern for Espresso Leggings seems ideal to address this issue, at least according to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow, who has made 8 pair and has worn them every day of Week One. In addition, the variety of seams in the different patterns add style to the basic utility of the leggings I've been sporting. Speaking of sport, Melissa of Fehr Trade offers both workout leggings and duathlon shorts with decorative and (I suppose, but I really have no idea) seaming in both. And pockets!

Another thing I'm learning is that I really have to work on figuring out a personal style that works for me--right now I have no idea. Take Vogue 1291, for example, which I wore on Day 5. It is a lovely top and very easy to make. I've made two. This one, which I decided after wearing it once was too big:


and the one pictured in the composite above, made a size smaller. That one was also too big--the top is supposed to be snug around the hips to create a blousy, drapey effect. So I snugged up the bottom and now the top fits properly, I guess. But I still look like a tree stump wearing it with my circle skirt. Light slowly dawns. Maybe tops that drop straight from the shoulders to the hips are not my best look? Hmm. Do I have a best look? It may be a moot question, since my "look" for the foreseeable future has to fit in the panniers on my bicycle, but I guess I'll give it some thought.

01 May 2014

Me-Made-May '14

I, KC, of The Sewcratic Method sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear and photograph at least one me-made or refashioned article of clothing or accessory, not cheating and counting my me-made pajamas, each day for the duration of May 2014, even though I missed the May 1 deadline.

I didn't actually miss the deadline, I just missed So Zo's deadline for signing up by commenting on her post. I hadn't really thought much about Me-Made-May, having a LOT of other things on my mind, but I looked at the calendar this morning and it is May 1, and I looked at the clothing I threw on to walk the dog and it was all Me-Made, so I took that as a sign. Taking random events as signs is so much less stressful than actually thinking through decisions, don't you think?

So here I am in my Me-Made-May '14 Day One getup:


The top is Vogue 8793, made as part of Marcy and Katherine Tilton's Ultimate T-Shirt Craftsy class. Don't blame the Tiltons for the fit--I seem to learn only one thing at a time, and looking at this picture shows me why I should consider a full-bust-adjustment even on a loose-fitting top! Or I could pretend the longer back is a design element--I did make this to wear while cycling. Cycling tops are generally longer in back to accommodate cyclist who lean forward to ride in the drops. Of course, cycling tops are also generally much more fitted to cut down wind resistance, but whatever. The capri pants (I would call them knickers, but then the Brits would snigger at me) are McCalls 6360 with no embellishments. I think they are made of Dry-Flex Knit, as is the back and one sleeve of the top.

The photo was taken just outside the door to the courtyard of my new and temporary apartment. This is a lovely place on the edge of Los Angeles's NoHo (North Hollywood) Arts District, which also puts it on the edge of the NoHo Auto Body Shop District. It's too expensive for my retirement but I'll be here through May, anyway.

Now I'm off to gaze at everyone's MMM'14 creations on Flickr grade papers.

26 April 2014

Progress and Squeals of Glee!

Well, I anounced some major planned changes in November and, incredibly, they are coming to pass. I sold my house in Los Angeles
for $36,000 over asking on April Fools Day, 2014. I'm now living in an apartment temporarily. I can't find anything here but I'm trying to stitch up some merino wool tee-shirts and tights to wear on my cycling tour of the world or wherever I wind up.

Even more surprising to me, I'm now in escrow on a house in Las Vegas, Nevada!
Las Vegas was not a part of the original plan. However, my son, who is somewhat diabled and may never find full employment, lives in Las Vegas with some of his friends, and I'm planning to rent my house to him and one or two of his friends to cover the mortgage. Coming from Los Angeles, the mortgage on a four-bedroom house in Las Vegas is ridiculously tiny. If only the water holds out. Fortunately, my son seldom bathes or washes his clothing.

Meanwhile, although as mentioned before I do have a touring bike, I have ordered a custom-made folding touring bike: a New World Touristfrom Bike Friday in Eugene Oregon. Plus I have acquired a lightweight tent, sleeping pad, panniers, and stove and I have a down sleeping bag I made long, long ago from a Frostline kit. I don't know if the sleeping bag is any good but I guess I'll find out. I sewed it over 35 years ago and I recall that I screwed up the foot somehow so the feet are warmer but closer to the head than the pattern called for. My feet are also closer to my head than the pattern calls for so I don't remember that ever being a problem.

So I have one more class to teach, one more commencement to attend, one more batch of exams (and 18 papers) to grade and then I'm pretty much retired. My bike is due to be delivered on May 30 which, coincidentally, is when I close on my house in Las Vegas. My plan is to move my sewing stuff and my excess baggage to Las Vegas in early June, hang around Los Angeles trying to look useful until my paychecks run out at the end of July, then head for the UK and France. I'll pedal my--err, myself around the UK and France until October 25 when I am registered for PARIS TILTON!!! I suspect the description at Marcy Tilton's website:
7 Magical, Inspiring
and Artful days
in Paris
with Marcy and Katherine Tilton
does not do it justice.

I am very excited.

Meanwhile, I made a couple of Tilton-inspired tee shirts. Here's one:
IMG 0889IMG 0887
I actually made a T with some of the same fabric from the Tiltons' Ultimate T Shirt Craftsy class, but this isn't it. This is Vogue 1291.

13 November 2013

Broads Abroad

Where have I been? Nowhere, lately, by which I mean home here in Los Angeles. But I have made Some Big Decisions. I have decided to:

  • sell my house
  • pay off all my (considerable) debts
  • retire from my employment as a law professor (technically, become a professor emerita); and
  • tour the USA and then other parts of the world on my bicycle.

Am I prepared for this? Well, I have a bicycle.

New Randonee

And a tent. I'll have to tour a bit on the cheap. My idea was to take house money and pension money accumulated at ridiculous Los Angeles levels and spend it somewhere less expensive--which is most of the world. DH, who hasn't had an income for over 10 years, does not want to leave L.A. Small problem there. We'll see.

Anyway, the title. Broads Abroad is a network of women who like to travel solo and/or are willing and able to host others of the same persuasion. If you are familiar with Couch Surfing (for travelers of all ages and genders) and Warm Showers (for bicycle tourists) Broads Abroad is similar, although intended to be more tightly controlled, I think. More careful verification of new members, for example. Broads Abroad is the brainchild of Mandy Rowe, an Australian artist and psychologist and author of the blog Midlife Spices.

Broads Abroad is very new and, I think, very exciting. Membership will be $88 AU but the first 1000 people to join will receive the first year free (and without supplying credit card information). It's not for everyone (there are 949 free memberships left!) but it might be for you!

08 September 2013

Open-heart Sergery

I've broken a few needles on my serger lately trying to substitute brute force for precision and sheer determination for knowledge, and I haven't located quite all the shards. Plus I was politely corrected over at Did You Make That when I revealed that I cleaned my serger by blowing the dust around the room with a leaf blower, I mean canned air. So I decided it was time for an inspection and cleaning. I was right about the cleaning, at least!

IMG 0745


I wasn't (very) worried about taking the serger apart because it was half in pieces when I got it from Amazon. To be fair, I paid a bit less for it because the box was opened (and the tweezers were missing). I had to expose the motor, tighten up the electrical connection and put the belt back where it belonged to get it working, so I've been in there before. I removed all the parts of the plastic shell that I could, and brushed and dusted and (I admit) blew all the visible dirt away. Except for the shell, this baby is all heavy metal, unlike today's sewing machines which seem to be mostly plastic inside and out. Anyway, lookie how clean she is now!

IMG 0749

Best of all, she still stitches. I feel so empowered!

And now to serge up some renfrews to wear with my still-hypothetical pants.

01 September 2013

Scary September

BeaJay of On the Road to Sew Wear has challenged herself to step out of her comfort zone to make this month Scary September and I've decided to join her.


BeaJay, inspired by luminaries like Margy, Shams and JillyBe and by her attendance at a Fractured Knits workshop given by Suzanne Gray, plans to release her inner arty trendsetter and become more edgy and eclectic.

Me, I'm not so brave. Instead, I'm vowing by the end of September to leave the house in the daylight in a pair of pants I made. This was also my challenge for Me-Made May '13, but I didn't make any headway on it. I'm working my way through Sandra Betzina's two Craftsy Pants classes (Fitting and Construction*) and I have produced a muslin that fits very snugly yet lets me sit and bend comfortably, but I am NOT ready to go public with it yet. So, Scary September it is.

*Incidentally, Sandra Betzina's classes get a certain amoung of negative feedback because SB's delivery is a little jumbled--she rarely finishes sentences, for example. But I love them. Sandra Betzina has been sewing and teaching for a long time. Watching her sew and think about sewing conveys so much more information and wisdom than she could possibly cram into a scripted presentation that I don't mind having to rewatch bits now and then!

28 August 2013

Keeping Up With The Young Whippersnappers

Or trying to. I don't understand Twitter or Instagram, really, but I added myself to the Sewcialists firehose and Twitter list to try to stay hip. Because that's just how I roll.

While we're at it, here's a skirt I whipped up because I had nothing to wear At first (and in this picture) it was just a tube with a waistband of stretchy black knit. But as I was walking across the parking lot to work it fell down! (As far as I know no one was looking and anyway I had on my bicycle pants underneath.) So now it has an elastic waistband.


I also made the t-shirt I'm wearing. It might be a Renfrew.