Mushrooms and Monsters

Week 1 mushroom identity parade.

I’m not a gardening person and am rather disinterested in my tiny yard.  I keep it within HOA guidelines, hire someone to do the bulk of the upkeep and call it done.  So the other day I noticed a mushroom growing the backyard.  Odd.  We’re having a three year drought and I’ve got shrooms?  We have had a bit of rain and these poor spores were so desperate the must have said “now or never”.  So here are the week 1 and 2 splits of my very own three mushroom crop.  Isn’t that third one odd looking?  And it’s big!  Boy they grow quickly.  Anyone know anything about mushrooms?  Don’t worry, I’m not going to eat them.

Week 2 after several days of rain. Super shrooms!

Other than watching mushrooms grow, I’m on vacation (!) for the rest of the month so I hope to get some crafting done, despite scheduling multiple tasks every darn day like an idiot.  First up is a shopping bag I made in under an hour for a little gift.  The pattern is  Michelle Pattern’s Grocery Bag (it’s on sale and super easy).  I live in a county with a recent plastic bag ban so bringing your own sacks to the shops is a must.  And why can’t those bags be cute?  This monster bag is destined for a pal with two little boys and we all know little kids like monsters of the cute variety.  Perhaps I’ll make more and give them for Christmas?  They sure are easy and useful, so stay tuned for more versions.  Maybe I’ll find some mushroom fabric ;-)

Monsters and gingham shopping bag.

Striped Hemlock

This little striped fabric looks crazy distorted on my monitor, it’s just playing with us.

Because I lead such a glamorous life, I made another tee shirt.

I know!  I do wish I could show you all the swanky things I make and wear to cotillions and soirees, but alas, my days aren’t like that.  Nor are my nights.  Perhaps in the next life.

What I made here is the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee pattern.  It’s actually a free pattern that has been quite well represented on the blogs.  It’s a simple project, which is all I was up for when deciding what to make.  I sewed most of this on the overlocker so it’s also quick in addition to being easy.

This top should be good for knocking around the house, or “lounge wear” if we’re being fancy with the words.  I’ll “pair” it with “lounge pants” (that’s sweat pants to you and me).  It’s a good basic that won’t embarrass me if the neighbors see me taking the trash.  It will be much worn and used a stashed bit of fabric.  That’s a win!

Can you smell it?

I could say this is in here to show detail, but this made me think of Joey from Friends explaining “smell the fart” acting. Seriously funny.

I’ve been spoiled for choice about what to make for my next sewing project as I’ve got lots of new and stashed fabrics available to me.  What have I done, not much.  There has been much weirdness in my world of late, but I hope I’ve shaken it off and returned to the land of tranquility and harmony.  To that end I decided to finish a dress I’d already finished during the World Series.

I know, the World Series ended 29 October with our local SF Giants winning.  Yay them!  While watching some of the games (I’m not the hugest of baseball fans but the WS is fun) I cut out and made Vogue 1351.  This is a simple DKNY pattern for a bias cut lined dress with a cowl neck.  I’d seen it on the blogs and it’s really a “good” dress, if that makes sense?

Fits much better now!

I had some black and white ponte knit in the stash that I couldn’t really find a use for and thought it would be fine for this dress since the pattern wouldn’t look cattywompus on the diagonal.  The lining I’d just dig out of the stash and it’s insta-dress.

And really, this was insta-dress since there’s only 5 pattern pieces and that includes the lining.  I even omitted the side zipper since I used a knit, and that worked out perfectly in case you’re thinking of doing the same.

My problem came when I tried the dress on.  It was just too loose through the waist.  Perhaps if I’d used a fluid woven, rather than a stable knit I’d have got more drape.  Or much more likely, I cut the size too big.  Either way, I had to take it in after seeing the pictures I’d taken to blog.  I like loose and and even I thought it was too much.

So it sat.  The Giants had their victory parade.  I flew back and forth across the country a dozen times.  And still it sat.  One day I’d had enough of looking at the forlorn bundle and took it in using my machine basting stitch.  Well that was ugly.  Turns out that making curves on the bias makes big old wobbly bumps.  Not so pretty.  Ripped that out and tried a much more gradual straigh-tish line in to the waist and back down the skirt.  That worked.  Much smoother.  Note to self:  cutting a size down would be the way to go if I made this again with knits.

Why did I buy that crazy abstract ITY? What was in my head? No freaking idea.

So here is the much delayed and altered World Series dress.  I even lined the dress with some orange ITY from the stash to reflect the Giants’ colors (that was luck since I wanted to use this fabric up which I’d purchased in a fit of crazy).  It’s still warm enough to wear around here for a little while longer, but it would look good under a cardie with tights and boots.  Or even tucked up to the Thanksgiving table, where I’ll probably be sad I didn’t leave the extra fabric in.

20 Bernina 1080 years

20 year old receipt!

Twenty years ago I bought my sewing machine and serger. I didn’t remember when I’d actually bought them until I was moving stuff out of one drawer to another.  Voila, a receipt slipped in between two other things.  It’s a testament to the Bernina quality that those machines are just as good today as when I bought them.  Which is good because they were pretty darn expensive.  I’m sure I made payments for yonks.

Cute pink and green skulls.

I wish I had a dramatic and glamorous garment to show you to celebrate my machines’ and my 20th anniversary, but what I’ve got is pretty much cake and not frosting.  That really does sum up what my machines have made for 20 years, so I guess it’s only fitting that I’ve got pajama pants.

Yes, another pair of flannel pajama pants made from the Tofino pattern.  Same mods as the last two times, 28″ inside leg measurement (this pattern is REALLY long!) and omitting the bow belt thing.  The fabric is cotton flannel and is covered in cute skulls.  It was pretty difficult to find skull fabric for these pjs.  My friend (the recipient) wanted skull pjs for her birthday and I thought it would be a snap to find fabric since skulls and pirates are kind of popular now.  No, I was mistaken.  There are several quilting cottons I found with skulls of varying scariness, but this was one of the only fabrics in flannel.  Nevertheless, they’re cute and the pjs will hopefully be well received.

Pajamas that are hopefully not scary.

Finishing up

Tees and remnants made into pants.

I’ve had some projects sitting around for ages that involve upcycling or mending.  Sigh.  Dullsville.  Well yesterday the dam of ennui broke and I finished up a few straggler projects.

First up was some boy short knickers made from a remnant of black jersey.  I’d already cut them out and they’ve been waiting patiently for sewing up.  The two pairs of colored knickers are made from thrifted tees that I originally planned to wear for work out tees but ended up not liking.  I made those into bikini undies.  The white scalloped elastic is from Fabrix and is 25 cents a yard so these were pretty cheap undies.

Five bananas in the bread and one more sliced on top. Delicious!

I find sewing undies fiddly so I don’t make too many of them, but I wanted to reuse these materials.  I’ve sewn the elastics in the round and flat and much prefer sewing in the flat – much easier.  I’ve also found I get a much nicer elastic fit if I make the elastic almost as long as the length of the leg or top, rather than using the 10% less rule of thumb.  Maybe it depends on the elastic, but the almost at parity length works for me.

Another reuse came from bananas.  What?  Yup, when bananas go brown I peel them and freeze them.  I don’t like bananas that are terribly ripe and freezing them for later use makes sense.  I had a bunch (ha!) of them to use up so I used a new banana bread recipe and made up a delicious batch.  Ultimate Banana Bread.  Plus it used five frozen bananas up and gave me some valuable freezer space.  I wonder why I never have any left over chocolate?

Still looking for my aloha

Burda Style #124 from 7/2014 magazine.

I had high hopes for this bodice.  This is Burda Style #124 from 7/2014 magazine.  In the magazine it’s a cute beach-y empire style with a full skirt.  I lengthened the bodice 2″ to make it less empire and more grown up and nixed the sweetheart bit.  I thought this style would be it.

Then I tried on the muslin.

The shoulders fell off my shoulders (and I’ve got pretty broad shoulders) and there was too much fabric at the center back.  I pinched out the shoulder and back excess and it fit ok, but somehow I knew it just wasn’t it.

I was pretty frustrated since I’d put a fair bit of work into altering the pattern, but sometimes you just have to call it like you see it.  Not good enough was the initial verdict, so better just admit it and move on.

And moving on.

See, fits much better than the one up there.

The last bodice that fit me pretty darn well was Simplicity 1419 of my “galaxy fabric” dress.  Why not go back to that one and make some changes there.  I photocopied the front and back bodice pattern tissue and taped them together like a ransom note.  I drew in a rounded neckline and thought I’d try a muslin of this version.

As you can see it fits pretty darn well, as did the original dress so that’s not a big surprise.  It’s just nice to finally make something that works.  I will redraw the neckline curve so it’s a bit more open and I’m going to go forward with this version for my Aloha dress.  Well after I go to work tomorrow.

Seriously, this dress has been hard!

Turns out I’m still a Madonna wannabe

Imagine this a non shiny day dress. No trim, no nothin’

I have some Hawaiian fabric I got in Honolulu over the 4th of July and want to sew up and enjoy it.  It’s not a particularly precious fabric, it’s a poly/cotton blend with a floral border print.  Pretty darn inexpensive (about $5/yard) in fact.  I just like it and don’t want to make a hash out of making a dress with it.  I was attracted to McCall’s 6833 because it had that nice pleated skirt I’ll need for the border print skirt, and the bodice looks pretty cute too.  I decided to make the view C bodice because I wanted to get a lot of wear out of it and my need for a strappy, un-bra-wearable dress isn’t too greatl.

maddonaSo bodice muslin commenced and my first reaction was: Madonna cone bra.  Check it out, I snapped a boob picture in profile so you could see the pointy darts.  I’ve made my muslin from a gorgeous remnant of Japanese

So pointy and wrong.

cotton, much more gorgeous than my poly Polynesian print fabric and it still looks like ass.  That doesn’t bode well, does it?

Must hold onto it to simulate the weight of the skirt. Good news, that makes the neckline even more low cut.

So my options are to redraft the front cups and raise that neckline while I’m there.  Heck, I’m not breast feeding so that’s too much cleavage for a day dress.  Which is a fair bit of work.  Then remuslin.

OR

Pick a different darn pattern!  Maybe take the bodice from my super fabulous, much worn Simplicity 1419 dress from May (! where’s the time gone!) and frankenpattern it to the McCall’s skirt?  I’d redraft the Simplicity neckline to a simple round neck, leave off the collar, sleeves and slit and that should work, I think.

Why is this dress so hard to bring to fruition?  I may just think all that over and make something else while I mull it over.  A palate cleanser so to speak.    I’m tired thinking of it.  No wonder I’m obsessed with jam.  Hull fruit, squish and cook!

A muslin on purpose this time

Selfie with a purpose, can you see that neckline?

As the title intimates, I’ve made another garment that’s not “best”.  I came across Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren Vintage and thought I’d give it a try.  I’ve been looking for a pattern with that lapped kind of neckline and couldn’t find one until now.  Because I have lots of knits hanging around I thought I’d make up a quick version to check fit before cutting into one of my striped fabrics (I see this as a sailor type top you know).

Bronte was quite easy to make up and seems to fit pretty well.  There are a few tweaks to the length and sleeve length that I’ll make, but I think this is a pattern that is ready to go.  So here is my muslin made from a burnout rayon that sticks to itself (yes, like that striped dress from the entry before).  I didn’t like sewing this fabric so the remainder will go in the Goodwill bag.  I think this muslin will make a good workout top so it should have a full sweaty life outside the house.

A muslin of many stripes

Easy tank dress with flared out sides. Awful fabric makes it dangerous to wear.

I inadvertently sewed up a muslin for a dress that I was trying to make “for real”.  How did that happen?  When I chose the fabric I totally ignored/didn’t notice that it was super drape-y and sticks to itself.

I dutifully laid out may pattern and cut it in a single layer to get a better chance of stripe matching, never thinking that this dress REALLY wants to stick to itself and consequently show my unmentionables to the world.  Seriously, I have a photo of me in this dress with my ass cheek showing because it’s stuck to itself.  No, that one won’t be on the internet ever thankyouverymuch.

So this is Jorna Dress and is a super easy make and would have been quite wearable, but as is, it’s too dangerous to wear this out of the house.  This is DEFINITELY a house dress.  I will wear it cleaning, cooking and knocking around these four walls.  It will never again go out in the front yard and scare the neighbor children with it’s hidden assets (well, my NOT hidden assets).

Hope you all have a good 4th of July holiday if you’re in a place that celebrates it.  I shall be working, as one does on most holidays.  I will be a quite sad for myself.  In Honolulu.  Lost you on that last one, didn’t I?

Safe celebrating!

Decades past

Linen sweats avec wife beater. Admiring nature.

Having unearthed this tan linen (and an even bigger piece of blue linen) the other day, I thought I’d find a use for it.  Thinking back to where this linen came from was rather difficult.  I believe that I purchased it in NYC in the mid ’90s when I lived there.  So after aging for 20+ years the least I could do was use it up.

It’s very Calvin Klein-ish isn’t it? Blazer and sweats…

Linen warm weather type trousers was the idea I came up with. Essentially these are linen sweats.  I’ve even modeled them here with a wife beater to class the joint up.  Now honestly, I don’t think these will get much wear outside the house.  I see these as “all my sweat pants are in the hamper and I don’t want anything tight on my body” wear.  Paired with a tee of course.

The pattern is from Burda World of Style (which is now called Burdastyle) from February 2003.  The pattern is old, but still a decade younger than the fabric.  As to why there are beach trousers in the February issue of a pattern magazine I can’t think.  Maybe it’s to give the Germans hope for summer in the heart of winter.  What evs.

Cut up magazines and crushed food and I don’t know what else.

What you see here are wide legged trousers with a drawstring waist worn slightly below the waist and hemmed to work with flip flops.  The pattern is Burda WOF 02/2003 style #103.  The linen is from the Clinton administration.  We shall see if this is a winning combination as the warm weather wears on.

As an added bonus I present you with a photo of the biggest mess left by passengers any of the crew had ever seen.  REALLY awful in person.  This was two kids and a dad.  No, I didn’t work this flight because I’d have made them clean it up themselves.  I’m like that.