30 June 2011

Farewell to June

June Challenge1

Alas. I pledged to wear me-made clothing or sport me-made accessories all month, and I pretty much succeeded, but with such mind-numbing repetition that I could not bring myself to pose for one more picture of my me-made bag or jammies.

And I pledged to make 4 dresses this month. Well, there's 45 minutes left to the month of June in Los Angeles, and I've made a dress! So, yay?

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Now, I grant you, it hasn't been hemmed (I thought it should hang overnight) and it needs a couple of alterations (I think I'll nip a half-inch out of each shoulder to raise the decolletage and the arm scyes and take in the side seams a bit, but it is a recognizable dress, no? Which I would not have made (well, not tonight) but for the Naked Seamstress's June Challenge. So, I have failed but the challenge has succeeded?

About the dress: it made from Simplicity 2580 using a yummy silk jersey I bought from Mood in Los Angeles with a Groupon. I had decided to use the Groupon ($15 off) on silk jersey, but the selection was uninspiring. This is a nice rich brown with cream polka-dots, though, so it's ok. I decided to treat my mother to an expedition to Mood--she sewed beautiful clothing for years and years buying all her fabric in midwestern US suburbs so I thought she'd find Mood interesting--but she got carsick on the drive from the San Fernando Valley to greater Beverly Hills and spent the whole time at Mood perched on a folding chair with her eyes closed dreading the return trip. Oh well. It still looks to be a pretty useful dress.

25 June 2011

An Update, A Miracle and a Give-Away

Hi all!
The Update: Although I located her belt and oiled her treadle, I decided to put Virginia's head up on a pedestal (hmm, that does not sound right) in my totally '70s family room,
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and to move Elizabeth's head to Virginia's cabinet. Here's my new little corner of the family room (complete with cat post and, of course, cat).
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The Miracle:
Well, it seems like a miracle to me, anyway. As long as I was fiddling with my old machines I decided to try out some of the wonderful attachment feet that go along with them. Elizabeth came without feet, apart from the basic presser foot, so I bought a box for her on ebay. The ruffler is the most elaborate little gadget I've ever seen, but the most mysterious little critter in the box was this one:
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Fortunately, it has a part number on it, and a little googling took me to Susan's lovely blog Spare Time (for Sewing), where in 2010 she demonstrated the Multi-Slotted Binder. So I bumbled around with it for a bit, shoved some scraps of fabric through it, and did this!
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Amazing. Susan, by the way, shows how to do even more amazing things with this attachment here and here.
The Give-Away: Although I'm still short of 100 posts, and well short of 100 followers, I've now had this blog going for a year and a day. So that makes it time for a give-away, right? It so happens that I have not one but two boxes of attachments for vintage low-shank sewing machines (not counting the antique puzzle box) because in my inexpert ebaying I "won" two auctions.
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My gain, your um, gain, too. If you would like this lovely box of mechanical marvels, leave a comment congratulating me on my blogiversary and I'll pick somebody at random to send it to. To win you must live somewhere on planet Earth and tell me some way to get in touch with you. Okay? Good.

D'oh! I guess I have to say when the deadline for entering my fabulous give-away is. Let's say June 30, midnight PDT--when the last day of June drags her last tattered remnants into the Pacific Ocean with nothing but Hawaii between her and the day after tomorrow. I think.

21 June 2011

I Can't Help Myself

Only last week I was complaining that all of my sewing space had become my DD's bedroom and walk-in closet. So the obvious solution is to turn the rest of my house into sewing space, right? I already had Elizabeth, my 1953 Singer 15-91, just inside the door to the family room where there is just room to open her up and let her straightly stitch. But Elizabeth seems to have spent too much time sitting up to her cabinet ankles in water or something that has rotted away a few inches of one leg, and has to stand on a folded dish towel to be level. So I've continued to scan Craigslist for a replacement table for her. Just a table, mind you. Of course not a whole 'nother machine. That would be silly.
Then I ran across this beauty for well under $50.
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So pretty!
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But this lovely cabinet is already occupied by a 1901 Singer Model 27 treadle machine.
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She sports pheasant decals, many of them silvering, but all of them otherwise intact.
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And beautiful vines on her face plate.
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The belt is broken (and, for the moment, lost between here and the car somewhere) but everything turns smoothly and in silence.
Now what do I do? I'd love to get my new friend (Virginia, I think) sewing again, but I can't see using her for regular (or even occasional) sewing. The vibrating shuttle mechanism is maybe just a little too quaint, and look at the bobbins!
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I think I'll move her to a place of honor (i.e., out of the way), put my 15-91 in her place and get rid of the peg-legged cabinet. But that leaves the universe out of balance, because a 15-91 can't actually be converted to treadle. Hmmm.

20 June 2011

I Have Made An Acquisition!

Here's a peek:

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and another:

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and another.

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18 June 2011

June Gloom

We're not actually gloomy here. "June Gloom" is the name for typical June weather in Los Angeles--foggy haze all morning, burning off to sunny in the afternoon. Every. Single. Day. It saves us from broiling under the brutal 16-hour sun of the Summer Solstice. Killer summer doesn't actually settle on Los Angeles until September when, thank goodness, the days are shorter.

But I'm a bit gloomy about my me-made June progress. Technically I'm fully complying with my pledge because I sleep each night and wake each day in me-made jammies, and carry my me-made suede bag whenever I go out. But I'm not about to post daily pix of my jammies.

I did run up a Top 4 from April 2011 KnipMode in a brown jersey remnant I picked up at Mood.

Top 4

The plan was to finish it in a couple hours, put it on and take a picture, but I took what must be the world's most foolish shortcut--I did not stabilize the neckline before sewing on the facing, so FAIL. But the whole process of figuring out my size in centimeters, tracing the pattern, remembering to cut seam allowances, translating the instructions from Dutch and actually sewing is so challenging that ending up with a wadder is not too bad, paradoxically. Like doing a difficult crossword puzzle in ink and nearly finishing it.

Anyway, I declare today a victory. Yesterday I stopped at Goodwill (with my me-made bag) on my way to Costco--I'm so the jet-setter!--and bought this lovely madras dress:

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I thought the fit could use a little tweaking, so I went to work on it today (switching between my sewing machine and my serger on a corner of the dining room table) and produced this:

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which I am currently wearing. I removed the sleeves and replaced them with the cap sleeves from Simplicity 2580 cut fom the foot of fabric I removed from the hem. The sleeves are a little comical and I will probably reduce their size, and maybe add self ties at the high waist, tomorrow (so I can count it as another new dress) but for now I am happy.

16 June 2011

My Sewing Space

I have a lovely long dining room table to sew on. Here you can see it stretching into infinity, and with the addition of yet another leaf, not shown here, it goes to infinity and beyond.

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However, DD has moved home from graduate school with her shiny new MESM degree and all her stuff. Here is my table today.

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and my "sewing room".

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I guess it's time to do some gardening.

09 June 2011

Mothers and Daughters

Hey all,
I'm in Santa Barbara, CA, on my DD's 26th Birthday and the eve of her graduation from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Master of Environmental Sciences and Management degree. I'm here with my own mother, grandmother of the birthday girl/graduate. My mother is 82 and has been saddled with organizing a reunion of my late father's family in rural Ohio, without getting credit for being the hostess--it just happens that she lives near the old homestead which long ago passed out of family hands. She has done a spectacular job of arranging food and lodging for a weekend in July in a very popular regional tourist attraction where, contrariwise, there is nothing open after 9 pm on any day and nothing at all on Sunday. The only problem is, at 82, she keeps forgetting which problems she has solved and goes back to fretting about them all over again.

Meanwhile, DD has decided that she finds my new purple hair deeply disturbing and is personally offended that I decided to make this change coincide with her graduation. WTF? So, if you are following my MMJ photos (and seriously, why wouldn't you be?) you may have noticed that the purple has already faded to a dissolute periwinkle. I figure I've made my point, whatever it was, and there's no point in prolonging the purple so I'm washing it with the harshest stuff I can get my hands on. (Plus purple shampoo to highlight the blonde.) I'm getting no credit for this capitulation, as a lifetime of capitulation should have led me to realize. Oh, well.

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03 June 2011

What's Done is Done, Temporarily

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So, I found my way to Manic Panic today. What a reassuring name for a hair salon--what could possibly go wrong? Nikki warmly greeted me and didn't even ask if I was lost--just what did I want her to do to my hair. I whipped out my trusty photo of Annette Bening ...

Annette Bening+June 11 2009

... and told Nikki "Like this, only with some purple," and she got to work.

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An hour or so later, brown and grey gone, we added the purple:

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And here's the result.

Photo on 2011 06 03 at 17 11  2

Whaddya think? I'm not entirely thrilled with the purple, but I love the blonde. Which is a good thing, because the purple will fade in no time, but the bleach is permanent. All in all, a pretty good day.

01 June 2011

Day 1, and D-Day Minus 2

How did it get to be June already? Well, thanks to my relaxed summer schedule, I managed to sally forth in a brand new me-made top this afternoon. Technically, the new top was not necessary to hold up my end of the challenge today, because I woke up in a new pair of me-made jammies, which you do not need to see, made of the same stuff as the cycling/field hockey dress. Here's the top:

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The top is Simplicity 2580 cut down from dress to top. That's a cowl neck folded over there. I relied entirely on Melissa Fehr's instructions for assembling the top (you can see them printed out in the pic) and I'm pretty pleased with it.

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As for D-Day minus 2: I have an appointment for a hair cut and bleach and color at Manic Panic Salon on Friday. What color should I go for (in furtherance of my campaign to embarrass my daughter)? I'm leaning toward purple with lavender and blue highlights.