31 January 2011

Slight Change of Plans

I've decided that, to get the maximum value out of the Men's Shirt Sew-Along, I will switch to the Colette Negroni pattern Peter and so many others are using. I made this decision partly to give me an excuse to visit Sew LA, where I've never been and which carries Colette and Kwik-sew patterns.


That's a bit of my car in the picture, but it turns out the parking lot is exclusively Domenico's so I had to blow through the store pretty quickly. I did manage to pick up the pattern (the last one), a tailor's ham (I had one on my Christmas list but somehow no one took me seriously) and a point turner before anyone caught me trespassing in the lot. And then I ran back in to take a picture. And to tell the nice clerk/hostess (ashamed I did not get her name) about the Sew-Along.


Turns out the restaurant was closed anyway.

30 January 2011

Your Looks Are Laughable, Unphotographable

I'm nearly finished making Vogue 8151, a Sandra Betzina Today's Fit knit shirt. Here it is lying on the bed:

And here it is 10 seconds later, of course:


The crew-necked version of this pattern has been made and positively reviewed by many; I made the wrap neckline intended to have scrunched-up sides. I am a big believer in scrunching my Tees; as Susannah of What Not To Wear UK advises, when your shirt rolls over your tummy no one can tell whether any particular roll is your tummy or the shirt. However my first try to install the bits of elastic to create the scrunch were unsuccessful. It may not matter; the shirt is snug enough to hold a bit of scrunch without elastic or gathering.

Anyway, I haven't hemmed the sleeves or bottom yet because I don't have the fit right. Next time I make this pattern I'll narrow the cross-over front panels, which gape a bit. But I'd love to be able to wear this one without pins holding it shut--I really like the fabric. It's more gorgeous than the photo reveals--the rich colors don't really show up and nothing I did to adjust the picture made much of a difference. So, do you (either one of you) have any suggestions for how I can take out some of the width across the front? Should I just stitch the crossed-over panel down so that even if it gapes it won't open? Does this make sense?

Oh, by the way, a good friend of mine has this insight into what's happening in Egypt posted on NPR's web site here.

28 January 2011

Joining the Men's Shirt Sew-Along

I bought the pattern and the fabric long ago, so I guess it's now or never with DH's shirt.
Pictured here are the olive bed sheet I thrifted to make a muslin and the ice green linen-ish stuff for the shirt. DH is barrel-chested and round-shouldered so I expect fitting to be well beyond my skillz. But the color will go very well with his hair.

16 January 2011


I made a skirt! Not only is it wearable, I will actually wear it!


A few things I did for the first time on this project:
1. I graded the pattern size (way) up.
2. I redrew the pattern onto pattern paper rather than cutting the tissue.
3. I finished the seams by serging them. I was too lazy to rethread the serger, though, so I used black thread on my gold fabric. I also finished the hem edge by serging it, but then I cut off the serging. The fabric doesn't ravel anyway and the serging was crooked and unattractive.


4. I stitched the hem with the double needle on my sewing machine. Living dangerously, I wound up with exactly enough thread in the color I was using--another few inches and I'd have had to change color!


And, not a first, but I got a lot of help from my familiar William.


Below is my (first) review on Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: Misses'/Women's Dress or top, skirt, pants, jacket and tie belt. I made the skirt.

Pattern Sizing: Size AA: 10-18. I graded (way) up from the 18.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Not really--mine's fuller at the waist, shorter, less tapered, and I used a drapier fabric.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Absurdly easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? What's not to like? I like how simple it is. I also like the wardrobe-building possibilities in this pattern.

Fabric Used: I used a dark gold moleskin I bought at Jo-Ann years ago to make a cloak to go with a Lord of the Rings movie party costume! I never made the cloak; I could probably make the whole wardrobe out of the moleskin I have left after the skirt!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I'm in serious denial about my dumpy shape, so I'm always trying to make too small a size. So this time I decided I'd just start with something way too big and enjoy making it smaller. I took the size 18 (should have bought the Women's sized pattern), shortened it by 6 inches and added 2 inches to each side of the pattern piece. Since the single piece is cut 4 times, that added 16 inches to the circumference of the skirt. Then I cut some of the excess out again and wound up with something that fits without having to think too hard about exactly what size I am. Neurotic, I know, but it worked. Of course, the final product bears little resemblance to the pattern picture.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes. I need lots of skirts and will probably make another before the weekend is over. If you don't mind an elastic waist, this is quite serviceable.
Conclusion: I needed to make something to wear to work and to break a sewer's block I was suffering. This worked.

08 January 2011

If I'm not going to sew on it anymore, that means it's done, right?

I thought I'd make my daughter a little jacket or shrug or something out of some slinky silver and charcoal knit I got at Michael Levine. Here's a picture of my cat sitting on the stuff. I started out trying to make McCall's 6245 view B (the simplest) but I misunderstood how the pleat in the sleeve worked and cut it out wrong. Plus I ran it by my daughter who said that a shrug would be of no use to her because clubs are too hot to want to wear or carry extra clothing. Never having been clubbing I'll have to take her word for it. So I decided to try a tee shirt as illustrated in Palmer & Brown's Sewing with Sergers. Here it is:
A frustrating thing about this stuff is it is so pretty but it photographs (that is, I photograph it) like steel wool.

So, on to something else.

02 January 2011

Sew Clever

When I started this blog last June I thought I was so clever to come up with a punning title that reflected two facets of my life--my work as a law professor (still teaching according to a version of the so-called Socratic Method) and my hoped-for return to sewing. As it turned out, not only was my actual title not original--soon after launching this blog I ran across Kristen's Sewcratic Method, quiet for the past 3 years--but the blogosphere is full, full of puns.


First, there are bloggers like me, who substitute "sew" for a more or less similar sound in their titles:
LNikia's Sewl Sista #1;
Lynda's Haute Chocolate For My Sewl;
Mistyluc's A Sew-cial Butterfly;
Heather's SEWspicious Minds.

More numerous are the SO = SEW titles. Of these, many use use "Sew" as intensifying modifier (a grammatical practice criticized here):

Lisa's Sew Random (btw, do check out the hilarious tea towel Lisa got for Christmas!);
Psycho Sue's Sew Misunderstood;
Sew Shy's Sew Shy;
Liana's Sew Intriguing;
Audrey's SewTawdry;
Christiana's Sew a Musing'
Aminat's Sew Fit;
Lucinda's Sew Wrong;
Cindy's Sew Blessed;
Meg's Sew Liberated;
Jessica and Ruth's Sew Chic;
Rosanne's She's Sew Unusual;
Mary's Mary is SewFast;
Omega's Sew Hooked;
Summer Flies' Sew Darn Tired;
Sandi's Sew Much, Sew Stylin', Sew Fast;
Christy's Sew Much Fabric, Sew Little Time ... So Little Closet Space;
Kelly's Sew Much To Do, Sew Little Time;
Julia's Sew Sweet and Special Occasion Clothing for Children;
McVal's Sew Not My Day!
Group Blog Sew Retro;
Sew Lovely's Life Is Sew Lovely.

Maybe in deference to the grammarians, a few bloggers have left this usage of "Sew" behind them:
Angelia hides her "Sew Much to Sew" in the url to Every Day Is Better Than the Last;
Heather seems to have given up on "Sew Many Things To Do" in favor of Heather's Blog; Terri has apparently moved from Sew Sophisticated to Sew Terri.
Tanya substituted the very dangerous Eating Pins for "Sew Sassy Again"; and just today,
Elizabeth has abandoned the inappropriate Sew A Beginner, (Peter has long called her "Sew An Intermediate") for the elegant Sewn.

Others use "Sew" as an introductory syllable, a conjunction perhaps indicating that what follows sums up some unstated exposition that came before (according to BoingBoing, Microsoft employees take credit for originating this usage):

Sew Darn Lucky's (see above) Sew That's All Folks;
Carol's Sew, I've Been Thinking;
Ruthie's Sew Ruthie (fka Ruthie K Sews);
Jayme Grace's Sew It Seams;
Angie's Sew I Thought ...
Tammy's Sew There Tammy.

Several bloggers play on "so and so", ordinarily a euphemism for appellations unfit for sewing circles. One wonders what the uncensored titles would be?:

Jane M's Lucky Sew and Sew;
Capital Sew and Sew's Capitol Sew and Sew;
Becky's Sew and So.

Shrinking Self Esteem

Meanwhile, Lisa H promises a monotony her lively blog Sew On and Sew On does not deliver, while if Judy, who has 5 children including 2-year-old twins, really manages to keep Everything Just Sew she's a better man than I.

Sticking with "sew" but moving away from the sew = so association, we find titles based on so = go:
Lori's Sew Forth Now and Lynelle's You Sew Girl!; and, maybe, Linda's Sewin' Like the Wind, although that one could be sew = blow, or maybe not a pun at all but an indication of Linda's stitching velocity. And sew = show: Lilian's I'll Sew You!!

After "sew", but running a very distant second, the favorite word to pun with is "seam":

NuJoi's Seams Enjoiable;
Karin's Making the Seam; and, deserving special mention for the twofer: Jayme Grace's Sew It Seams.
And let's not forget Gigi's Behind the Seams, now retitled Gigi Sews.

And finally, some sewing bloggers manage to play with words other than sew and seam:

Peter's Male Pattern Boldness;
Moggy and Kitty's I Wanna Frock and Roll All Night;
(Added)Melissa's Fehr Trade; and
Christina's Assorted Notions.

Have I left any out? What is your favorite blog title?

Another Year

2010 had its highs and its lows for me. I spent 7 weeks traveling in England, Wales, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary, but I did not do the writing I wanted to do, and was expected to do on my sabbatical. I acquired a serger and a vintage Singer, and learned a great deal about fitting and garment construction, and built a bit of a stash of fabric and patterns, but I did not successfully complete a project. I saw my beautiful daughter bloom and grow into a responsible professional woman with humor and grace, but my son and my husband drift further away from satisfying or gainful employment. I spent much of the autumn depressed.

So, 2011. More cycling, more sewing and crafting, more reading and writing, more structure, less TV.

Happy New Year to all.