Saturday, March 23, 2013

I feel like writing

tonight.  I do recall when I first learned about blogs it seemed they were all about writing.  That quickly changed.  Most of the blogs I follow or even stumble across now rely as much or more on photos than the written word.  Even my journalist friend relies heavily on (his very wonderful) story- related photos.  I have had a fondness for reading and writing since I was quite young, so tonight I indulge myself here.

I miss letter writing.  I developed a mail phobia sometime after buying my house in the 90's, a kind of delayed post traumatic stress disorder reaction to being homeless while pregnant with my 5th kid.  I sailed through the homeless period remarkably well, probably because I've always enjoyed change.  I can always put some positive spin on change, while stagnation can weight me down into deep, suspended animation depression.  Anyway, though I developed the mail box phobia, it was ok because I had email.  I used to love early mornings at the computer with a big cup of coffee on a day off, kids at school.  I'd write lovely, lovely emails.  Now facebook and text messages have whittled down those long rambles of the written word to quick, little, and to the point notes.  I don't ponder and write much anymore.

Thank God for the library and Kindle, I still read plenty. 

It's still very odd to write what I think or what I feel for posting onto the internet.  For all to see, forever, right? 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Teaching my grandaughter

just a little about sewing.  She's got a short attention span and low frustration theshold at age 9.  She cut out SOME of the pieces and she sewed most of one pair of the pants, including learning how to draw the elastic through.  By the second pair she thought that part was fun.

 And now the flannel leftover pile is smaller.  I have to make room for new fabric!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

fill the salt shaker

with salt.  Some great advice I picked up from somewhere regarding what to do if you are so depressed it's hard to do anything.  Picking a simple goal is likely to result in accomplishment and so provide stimulus to continue with greater goals and more energy.  I am applying it to creative endeavors these days, and when I can't bear to contemplate or work on a greater project, I try to get to work on some very simple ones.  The other day I made rice bags for hot or cold therapy from left over flannel in hopes of prodding myself into a bigger project.  It worked!  Nothing amazing, mind you, but I'm pleased enough.  I finished another pair of big butt baby pants (pattern by Rae, here) and made a little ruffle skirt for the younger cousin without a pattern.

These are from vintage printed denim from my stash.  I bought it when my kids were babies sometime in the early/mid 80's, but it looks 1970's to me.  When we tried them on the waist was too low, so I added the waist band out of necessity and the bottom ruffles and waist tie followed to tie in the contrast fabric. The flower is one laying around I just safety pinned on.  I'm pretty happy with the end result.

This rear gusset is what makes them "big butt".  They are so cute on little diapered bottoms!  I added piping to play up the feature. The pattern is $10. but is simple and unique at the same time.  She does have a free downloadable for baby pants without the gusset.

There are two tiny grands at my house, so if I sew for one I try to sew for the other.  This simple ruffle skirt is out of twill or a light weight denim from the stash and scrap lace. It broke up all those polka dots on the shirt and leggings.  I doubled the fabric width for the second tier, I'm thinking now maybe 1 and 1/2 would have been better for the weight and hand of this fabric.   I didn't use a pattern, but I was inspired by this picture and tutorial by Tanya Whelan at Grand Revival Designs.  She does multiple tiers and also a version of a skort ruffle shorts, lots of other great stuff as well.
Now I have to stuff all those trims back into the drawer.  Ah, well, it's a great way to take inventory. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

vintage fabric score (and more jamma's)

All fabric 50 cents! There was a big box at my local thrift store. 

It felt like looking into my mother's fabric stash, were she still alive and still keeping a stash.  I'm pretty sure I had a blouse made out of this in 1975.

This one really made my heart sing!  It looks to me like the old corelle casserole dishes, like a 1970's kitchen.  It puts old country and western songs playing in my head.

Here's another one that I'm sure I had a blouse made up of in the early early 70's.  Very sheer with those bars of almost entredeux like strips.

This looks home dec, but it is calico (quilt wieght) stuff, maybe with a bit of poly blend.   
An added bonus, not vintage but nice quality broadcloth yardage, $4 for about 7 yards of these two grays.
Of course, I feel guilty buying fabric at all, when I have a fairly large stash of stuff from the 80's all the way up to this winter, waiting to be made.  Including some cut out but not yet sewn pajama pants projects from christmas!  I have completed some, 6 of the requested 9.  After my shopping spree I got busy on the almost-last pair, and the only pair I was sewing from fleece.
The fleece was accidental. I bought all the flannel on line and of the two men's patterns, one turned out to be more feminine than I thought would be appreciated.  So I used the fleece, with some heavy cotton plaid from my stash for trim.
I quickly started to remember all those tips for working with fleece, like use a stretch stitch (plain zig zag is a good one) and stabilize for button holes.  That's what is happening above, any paper that is within reach I rip into size and use.  These button holes were not faced and the fleece is stretchy so I used paper above and below the fabric.  Works wonderfully, tears off easily.  You don't need an expensive tear away or wash away stabilizer unless you are working on your wedding dress or a baby's baptismal gown, any paper is fine.  Some other notions/gadgets I used were:
$1. thread snippers from the dollar store.  Performance beat the heck out of some I bought from a well known sewing company. Saves time for lots of pesky thread cutting over scissors.  The little bottle of fray check there is a favorite for button holes and many other sewing jobs.  I've used it for years, good stuff.

The quick turn fabric tube turner!  This was a first time for me, it is an inexpensive tool that I just never bought before because I have safety pins and know that trick, right?  And even if it was cheap, I can always spend those dollars somewhere else in a fabric store.  I've got those cute girl grands, and I figured I might be wanting to turn some spagetti straps.  There are a few different methods but I thought it was time to try this one, and I liked it. Invest if you promise 9 people drawstring jamma pants.  I did the other 8 pair without, no biggie but from now on, I've got my quick turn tube turner thing.

What's this? One of my longtime favorite notions, a soap sliver for marking fabric.  Preferably dried a day or two, then they last for months of marking.  Show up very well and duh, wash out.  This one was hard milled lavender, has the benefit of great fragrence everytime I pull it out.  I do have chalk markers and disappearing markers, but I love the soap best unless I'm working on very light fabric or need a precise fine line, like darts for a Barbie fine.  Otherwise, this works as good or better.
Only 2 more to go, and that Mom didn't want them until she moves into the house she's having built.  They might end up waiting until next year for sewing.  I'm ready for some other projects.