Archive for May, 2008


And that’s why you need a muslin

I got as far as making a polo shirt muslin for Shawn today.  It’s a good thing we didn’t go straight to real fabric.  For one thing, the shirt is too big.  We’re going to move a size down at least.  Then, I made a silly, silly mistake and attached the whole neck slit button flap thingy backwards… probably because I’m used to women’s clothes that attach the opposite way?  But the result is not only that it attaches backwards, but also that it’s off center.  Which means the collar ended up waaaaaaaaay off center.  Classy.  Real classy.

Better shirt on its way soon…


Better pictures of the white dress

As promised, here are better photos of Bonnie’s white dress.  My apologies if any of these load slowly; I went ahead and used larger images than normal so you can see greater detail.  Otherwise, white just doesn’t look that different from … other white.

A close up of the frilly lettuce style rolled hems for the chiffon layers.  Bonnie told me that despite my descriptions, she hadn’t entirely known what to expect of the skirt, and that she thinks the outcome is just beautiful.  The bias cut and lettuce edge both resulted in a skirt that moves nicely as she walks and should be really great when she is moving and shaking up on stage.

This second photo is of the dress bodice, and you can see a bit of the detail (all those seams for the corset!) and that the bust and skirt both have chiffon while the corset does not.  It’s a subtle difference but I think the outcome is very feminine.  Bonnie commented that she felt very secure, and confident that she could move freely without anything falling out of place (which is what 3 yards of boning will do for you) but that at the same time the dress is comfortable and she feels like she’ll be able to breathe deeply enough to really sing.

The whole picture.  Our goal was a flattering white dress, breezy enough to wear alongside men in Hawaiian shirts but constructed well enough to be slimming, and without looking too bridal.  I think this does the job!  More importantly, so does Bonnie.


A shirt for my sweetie

I don’t remember exactly when my husband first asked me to make him this shirt, but I’m sure it was over a year ago… probably around that time that I was just LOOKING for projects to work on, any excuse to spend as much time as possible in that gorgeous sewing room he’d prepared for me.  You’d think that after he had gone to such fabulous lengths to make me happy, I could have done the same in far less time than I’ve taken.

You’d think.

In my defense, there are a NUMBER of reasons why I have procrastinated as long as I have.  Let me start by explaining just exactly what he requested: a Star Trek shirt.  But not anything too obvious, something subtle, like his “Know Your Roots” Nintendo shirt.  Something where only a fellow nerd would get it.  He wanted a polo shirt, red across the chest with black over the shoulders, in a quasi TND uniform style.  (Never mind that my beloved is an engineer… we both agreed he looks better in red than yellow).  I am less than thrilled with this project, for several reasons:

1. I am not a diehard Trekkie.  I like Star Trek.  I grew up watching The Next Generation and I’ve watched every single episode.  I always thought it was pretty when they opened up Data’s head.  Deanna Troi all but epitomised womanhood.  I liked Riker better without the beard when I was a girl (though I’m quite fond of facial hair now).  And, I’m absolutely mortified to admit, I did have a childhood crush on Wesley (although I swear, I swear, I swear it was just because he was the only male character on the show NOT old enough to be my father…. or in Picard’s case, my grandfather).  All of this said, I draw the line at WANTING TO DRESS UP like one of the characters.  And this teensy little part of me that is not *quite* as nerdy as my husband sort of has to cringe at the thought, even though his nerdiness is honestly one of the things I love most about him.  You want to wear what?  In public?  Ahem.

2. Men’s fashion bores me.  I have not yet ventured into the world of men’s fashion.  Women’s clothes have far more variety, in styles, cuts, fabrics, and just the sheer number of garments to choose from.  Men have: short pants, long pants, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, and possibly a jacket.  Within this narrow selection, there are fewer styles of tailoring and shaping the clothes, and fewer fabric selections.  Which is mostly because men don’t generally have curves they are trying to show off (or, in some cases, hide) and so it all gets to be much simpler.  But it’s also… just less interesting to me.

3. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it work.  I scoured the fabric stores and the web to find a men’s polo shirt pattern (because of course I’ve never made a polo shirt before) and then wondered how on earth I was going to get a perfectly lined up straight line where the red and black meet, when this is going to have to extend onto the sleeves?  I’ve pondered this a great deal (over my year and then some of procrastinating) and am of the firm opinion that there is no other way than to make a muslin, draw the line where red should meet black, rip the seams out, cut along said line, and add seam allowances when I cut my real fabric.  Which solves the “how to” problem, but also requires that I sew a garment I’m not thrilled about sewing in the first place, twice.

But, while I don’t particularly care to dress up like a Star Trek character myself, and while men’s clothes fail to inspire men, and while the shirt poses a few practical challenges, I remain madly in love with my husband.  And this is the only thing he has ever asked me to sew for him.  (Well, that and getting around to hemming the curtains in our bedroom…)  He set up my breathtaking sewing room for me, and he keeps Eva occupied while I sew (when she’s not “helping” me at least) and he puts up with me pausing our TV shows to run upstairs “for just a minute” countless times each evening.  And this is just his support of my sewing, not to mention everything ELSE he does for me on a daily basis.  He really does deserve his shirt.

I’ve started cutting pattern pieces.  I’ll try to whip up a muslin tonight.  I will post more on the subject soon.


Reusable grocery bags

About two years ago I bought some upholstery fabric on clearance.   I never particularly cared for the fabric and only bought it because it was cheap.  I planned to make some cushions for our wooden rocking chair.  Never happened.  Probably because I was so uninspired by the bland fabric.

Recently, I saw it sitting in my sewing room closet and thought I might go ahead and put it to use making some grocery store bags.  Then last week another blogger posted some straightforward directions for making your own at home, so I decided to go for it once Bonnie’s dress was done.  Here it is, modeled by my front door.

I made three of them; I could have made a fourth but I failed to cut my fabric as effeciently as I meant to.  I don’t plan to make more… not because I’m dissatisfied in any way (they were easy to make and they work just fine) but because my grocery store is also now selling reusable bags for 99 cents a piece, which is far less than the fabric would cost me if I didn’t have it lying around already.  And honestly, I don’t mind giving them a little free advertising.  Publix rocks!


Coming soon…

Now that Bonnie’s white dress is finished, I have a whole assortment of “next” projects in mind.  (Oh, and yes, she came over yesterday to pick up the dress and to let us take some better photos, which are coming soon, but not right this second).

I’ve just started a few reusable grocery store bags, as a worthwhile use for some fabric I bought two years ago and have never used.  I have also promised to go ahead and finish the shirt my husband asked for a loooooong time ago (there are *several* reasons why I’ve procrastinated on this project, but I admit it’s time to bite the bullet and reward my sweetie for all the evenings he lets me all but ignore him in favor of my Singer).  And I’m going to make myself a few new garments for work.  It’s hot out and I want cooler, more comfortable garments.  I’m thinking of possibly starting with this:

image of B5173

I’ll post details and photos and all the rest as these projects move along.  And better photos of the white dress, too.


Note to self: don’t bleed on the dress

My aunt Bonnie came over this afternoon to try on the white dress – hooray!  Shortly before she came, Eva just begged to go pick blackberries in the back yard.  I always get scratched up to no end from the tiny hook shaped thorns on the blackberry bramble.  So despite a thorough handwashing, I didn’t notice that one finger was still bleeding slightly until I saw the BRIGHT red drops on Bonnie’s dress as I was attaching the hooks and eyes.

Thankfully, prompt application of hydrogen peroxide removed the stain *completely*.  We determined where the hooks and eyes should go on the neck strap, confirmed that one spot on the hem in the back needed to be straightened, and addressed the corset which was bunching slightly in the front.  All three minor issues have since been resolved and the dress is finished!

We took a few pictures when Bonnie was here this afternoon.  I hope to take better photos (with better lighting, where you can see the difference between white chiffon and white satin) soon but for the moment I will go ahead and post what I have.  Looking good, Grantie!  Looking good!



I have been sewing all day (when I wasn’t running errands, which was also all day it feels) and Bonnie’s beautiful white dress is 99% complete – just a quick fitting and a few hooks and eyes to go.  Here are photos for you to admire!

And just in case she should get cold in the balmy Florida heat, there’s a cute little scarf to accompany it!

I’m off to bed.  More tomorrow!

May 2008
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