Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Workwear 21 - A totally frivolous dress


Here's a dress that will likely never be worn for choir; just not a color combo that will get worn in tank top season.  But I wanted one nonetheless.  A striped maxi in an old catalog was the inspiration, and when Fabric Mart put this stripe on one of their crazy sales a year and a half ago I got five yards...intending to use a chunk of it for the McCall's 6559 dress.

But it languished.  Choir projects took priority.  Then Carolyn made a boatload of 6559 Maxis  and I was inspired.  I had to make mine.

This is actually a frankenpattern of McCall's 6559 and my TNT Jalie 965.  The neckline is Jalie; the shoulders are Jalie, extended about 3/8" towards the shoulder to brastrap-friendly the shoulders.

I actually prefer binding on knit necklines/armholes...it feels like it stabilizes it a little bit.  Alternately, you could sew clear elastic into the turned-and-stitched hem, but binding is easy.

Assuming, of course , that you cut it to the correct length.  I could use the Jalie pattern for the neckline binding, but the armholes were a mashup so I measured and, despite knowing better, cut the binding the same length.  So of course they were horribly floppy and gappy.

Pulled 'em off, shortened them 2" and put 'em back.  Not perfect, but acceptable.

I steam a seamed basted the hem and then double needled it.   Even with redoing the armholes, it was a really quick sew.

Wore it to work today w/ my CWC denim jacket.  Loved it.

I may make a couple more before the summer's over...lol...


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 07 26 15

Believe it or not, I found a place in California that claims to repair  my Powershot  lens error issue; I boxed it up and mailed it out Friday...so, we'll see.  If it all comes back beautifully, I'll write a blog post.  If it's a dead end, I'll write a blog post.  Either way...blog material is coming. ;-)

But my hubby loaned me his old 7.1 megapixel camera, so I can at least get some photos.  Good enough is...good enough.

So, today was the last day for the choir to wear black, gray and kelly green.  And I wore the cotton/lycra zig-zag print Jalie 2566 t...just because the colors were right...with  Oldcoldwatercreek (as opposed to the new company with the same name) jeans that fit around the middle but are too big everywhere else, and my wear-at-least-once-a-week black cotton twill Burda magazine 05-09-108 vest.

Not real fancy...I'd've liked to do something different, but too much birthday cake and ice cream in the last couple of weeks has limited my pants choices considerably.  (insert rolling eyes).


I took a couple of days off last week...it was youth camp week and 85% of the staff was involved in either the youth event or the concurrent pastor's conference...so I took advantage of the resulting light work load for the DBA and stayed home the last half of the week.  Found the bottom of the laundry basket (yay!), helped The Princess a bit with a costume that she is working on to wear to Disney world later in the fall (she is sewing.  I am helping), did a few oddball projects that have been waiting and waiting...and made myself a McCall's  6559 maxi knit dress.  I think I'm really late to that show...it's got 112 reviews posted...but it wasn't choir-wardrobe-able so it just didn't get high on the list. 

I'll write a review once I can corral someone to take a photo of me in it. ;-)

So...a productive weekend!  And I've still got over a week's worth of comp time to burn...and I haven't touched the vacation yet...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Singin' the 'My Camera's Bonked' Blues...

Sigh.  Who knows when I'll get another photo to post...

Trying to be clever and take a selfie photo before we went to dinner on our quick-out-of-town-to-celebrate-my-birthday weekend; somehow, in rushing to get in front of the camera after setting the camera down just so on the table and activating the timer, I bumped it and the camera fell over.  It wasn't a bad bump, no biggie, right?

Right.

It's only working about 30% of  the time now; the rest of the time it doesn't focus, or it gives me a 'Lens error restart camera' message...and I have to turn it off about half a dozen times before it finally shuts down and stays shut down...so  I can turn it on and begin the whole process again.  Frustrating.

It's been a good little camera; it's a Canon Powershot point-and-shoot.  I'd like to get it fixed, but I don't know where I could get it serviced. 

I suppose I could google it, eh? lol.

So...I might get photos in the next few weeks, I might not.  We'll see.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Road Trip and a Factory Tour

My sewing traveling buddy, Miss A, found herself in need of a new serger; her aging machine finally lost all ability to maintain tension.  She'd shopped around in the Rocket City, but hadn't really found info that was helpful (Not kidding...one local store's 'Expert on that machine' answered every question with, 'I'm not sure, I'd have to check the manual' ...on a machine that she was purported to use and love...).

So, as we had today off for the 4th of July holiday (church offices are closed every Friday, so we got our holiday today) we decided we'd take a road trip to Florence and see if Ken's Sewing Center could be more helpful.

I arrived at her house this morning and, as we discussed lunch plans, she asked if I'd heard of Alabama Chanin.

Um, heck yeah.

Well, when she googled restaurants in the Florence area, Alabama Chanin Factory came up.

And, after a successful visit to Ken's which resulted in a Janome serger joining us for the rest of the trip, a wild goose chase roundabout trip to a fabric store that turned out to be closed on Mondays, we ended up at the Alabama Chanin Factory.






Where, in addition to marvelous eye candy sewing inspiration,  we really did find a gourmet deli restaurant.  Who knew?







We had a yummy quiche and salad, and learned that they gave factory tours at 2 PM.  As luck would have it, it was quarter to.


 So we did the tour of the factory, which was very interesting.
Our guide, Erin,  works in the media department and was very knowledgeable and articulate and did a really good job of describing not only how the Alabama Chanin factory operates but Natalie Chanin's vision.    Their hand sewing is done by local artisans who are independent contractors, but the prep work (cutting and stenciling) is done in the factory before the work is sent out.  They also do a small amount of indigo dyeing, and they do have some machine sewn work, some of which is under the Alabama Chanin brand and some of which is work for other brands...ie, Patagonia, who recycles jackets into scarves in partnership with AC.


There is a DIY section, with fabric and such for sale; I wasn't in fabric buying mode but I did get one of the AC books that has been on my Amazon wish list for a while....when I opened it I found it was signed by the author as well! 

What a treat we had!  If you ever are in the Florence, AL area, drop by!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Choir Wardrobe 7/5/15

July's choir colors are kelly green, black and gray.

Actually, it's pretty much crayola green, so it's not too hard to find.  We've worn it before, so I had a couple of wardrobe residents that would work (no doubt they'll show up here before the month is out...)

But I found a great piece on the 75% off remnant rack at Textile's moving sale back in May, and snagged it for the predetermined purpose of making a top to wear in July.  Despite the color resolution on the photo, it really and truly is kelly green on black lace:

I mulled over what to make of it for a couple of weeks, then had the idea of using Louise Cutting's Stars In Heaven tunic pattern.  I'd made it up before in linen and linen/rayon blends, so I knew it didn't require stretchy fabric.

But, at some point last winter I'd made some adjustments to it...I'd added a slight FBA, and I'd increased the curve on the front a bit, as I really like that style line.  But I didn't really remember how much I'd done. 

I pinned the sleeve pattern pieces together and just cut the sleeve as one unit; the seaming wasn't going to show at all on the lace so there was no real reason to put seams in the sleeves,  I just turned and stitched all the edges, although I did miter the hem corners.  I intended to get some black lace trim to use on the edges, but Hancock's didn't have anything that would be at all suitable so I just left it.  I used a serpentine zig zag to topstitch and it literally disappeared; doesn't show at all.

The color in this photo is even worse than the closeup of the fabric, but you can see the lower curve.  I think I overdid the lower curve; it looks odd to me as it is longer than the back (didn't think of that).  I'll pull some of that back out before I make it again.

I've got a black Jalie 965 Tank Top under the SIH tunic; I've got a BUNCH of different tanks I can wear with this if I choose.  White,  green, gray, cream...and the ladies at Textile said if I  put yellow, orange or red under it it really pops.  Not sure I'm that brave, but, well, we'll see.

I think I could put a turtleneck or long sleeve crew neck t under it as well for a different look this winter.

It may be more versatile than I expected.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Just A-Swingin'....

 Cushion #1 finished.  I probably should've made it a little wider so that it would hang over the front a bit; it scoots back when anyone sits down.  But that's a minor issue.  I'm actually pretty pleased with it and it makes the swing MUCH more comfortable.

Credit where credit is due; I found this tutorial most helpful.  Only I put the zipper along the long back edge instead of on one end...two zippers, actually, that meet in the middle.  Worked great.

Next up:  cushions for the chairs 'round that table...

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Workwear 20

Just because I'm putting together stuff I have not put together before.

It's a really lame jump-in-front-of-the-timed-camera selfie.   But the Flute Player *still* has stuff from her move-back-home frenzy piled in  my usual jump-in-front-of-the-camera spot,  where I can set the camera on a shelf at approximately chest height.   

This photo was taken with the camera sitting on the porch railing, at about waist height.  So the angle looks a little weird.   But I'm wearing something that makes me happy...the guipure lace tank I purchased in Dallas last fall for a lower price than I could ever have bought the lace yardage.  It's over a navy bamboo/lycra jersey  Jalie 965 tank top with midnight navy tropical wool Sewing Workshop Plaza pants.  And my old CWC denim jacket, with the lapels turned up in what is supposed to be trendy hipness and just looks kinda strange...I don't think they ended up curled Just Right.  Messing with the camera and then moving quickly to get into place rarely ends with everything Just Right.  So I'll settle for ok. 
Haircut appointment next week to put the shape back in it.  Amazing how it goes from cute and curly to just bushy almost overnight...


Completely off-topic:  for years, I 've used Sitemeter to kinda track visits.  It doesn't give really good data, but I get an idea of whether or not I'm getting any traffic (I'm not going to say 'much'...'any' is good enough) and whether folks just click in and click out or if they actually read a page or two while they're here.  But lately it has been more and more useless.  For one thing, I think people are wising up and using software to hide their visits so they don't get tracked.  But Sitemeter itself has just been weird.  It's been down more than it's been up ('The data base for your site is not available now.  Try again in a few minutes')  and the numbers are whacko (176 page views in 3 seconds?  Really?).  So I'm about to ditch it, I think.  Can anyone recommend a similar service that seems to work that I can switch to?  Although, to be honest, I may be better off not knowing that no one visited for three days (that would be the other blog; this one usually as at least a dozen or so visits in a day.  I think. )