Archive for February, 2013

Why is it so hard to find shirting fabrics?  My daughter, A, could always use new shirts for work, but the proper fabrics are very hard to find.  One of these days, I am going to have to go over to the last remaining Hancocks in the area and see what they have.  We don’t go over there very often because it involves a long drive and a $5 bridge toll.

They are having a big sale over at Joann’s this week.  Some of the cottons are 50% off and I have a 20% off your fabric purchase coupon, too.  Since I didn’t spend any money at all at Stitches this year, I went ahead and bought some pretty cottons for summer tops.  Here’s a photo of the first batch with my hand stuck in for size reference (and also the camera cord, but ignore that):


The mustard print and the polka dot are going to be more New Look 6871 tops, and the blue and the black prints will become New Look 6027 tops.  NL 6871 is a very easy top to sew with only 4 pattern pieces (plus some bias binding) so that should also spark the sewing mojo.  The shirts I make for A have collars and cuffs and princess seams, etc., so it’s better to make something simple first before diving into shirtmaking.IMG_8305

Fullscreen capture 6132012 44531 PM

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Jumpstarting The Mojo

I can feel the knitting jag I have been on fading in strength, so I decided to sew a little something to get the sewing mojo going again.  I really needed a new checkbook since the plastic one they give you when you get the checks had worn out, split, and had sharp little plastic points waiting to stab an unwary hand.  I had made some checkbooks some years ago for Christmas presents, and there was one leftover one after Christmas was over.  When the old plastic check cover went bad, I remembered the leftover fabric checkbook and hunted it down.  I liked using it so much that when the second checkbook cover went bad (I have two checkbooks), I knew I had to make another one.  Here’s the first one: DSC00048   This was made of one of my many upholstery samples given to me by the upholstery brothers.  All I had to do was go to an upholstery shop and ask if they had any old samples to get rid of, and they filled my car up to save themselves a fee at the dump.DSC00047-001

The upholstery fabric is fabulous for this.  The pockets that hold the checks and check register are made of quilting cotton on this one, and the lining is flannel.  They close with velcro.

I needed a different colorway for the second checkbook so I could tell the difference right away when reaching into the purse.  I chose one that was lighter.  This fabric was more ravely and harder to work with and needed more rows of topstitching to prevent the seams from unraveling, but it all worked out in the end, except that the flannel lining stretched out and wrinkled a bit, I think because it was incompatible with the Pellon interfacing.  Only I will see it, though, and the whole thing still works fine.DSC00049


The basic idea for these checkbooks comes from this booklet that I have had in my stash for decades:DSC00055

I think I changed the pattern a little, but it’s been so long that I don’t remember.  Obviously, I left off the bias tape for a cleaner finish, so I must have altered it a lot.  Anyway, this is an excellent booklet with patterns for all sorts of wallets and cases and is definitely worth owning.

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Summer Clothes

My summer wardrobe contains mostly house dresses because it gets really hot here.  In my quest to spiff up my wardrobe a lot, I have decided to make myself some summer skirts and tops that can go to the library or grocery store without melting me.  Here are my pattern picks:

Fullscreen capture 2142013 40952 PMThis skirt is an A-line skirt, which makes it comfortable and cool, it has pockets, and sits only slightly under the natural waistline.

Fullscreen capture 2142013 41405 PMI’ve been wanting to try this top pattern, View B.

Fullscreen capture 2142013 41447 PMIt looks attractive, neat, and easy to sew.

There is a great store in town that sells decorator fabrics at a discount (very very big discount in some cases).  Lots of the fabrics have the same weight and drape of a not-too-heavy denim so should be good for making skirts.  Some of the prints are wild and bright, just what I want.  In the fall, I could wear a skirt and the top with one of my many new cardigan sweaters.  I was wondering what length to make the skirts since it has been so long since I wore any, but my daughter, who likes to be my fashion consultant (or critic as the case may be) says she will advise on length after I get the first one all sewn except for the hem.  Probably just below the knee or the mid-calf length shown in the photo on the pattern envelope.



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A long time ago when I was in junior high, my grandmother gave me an old coat.  She was always bringing us old stuff when she came to visit us, and this coat dated from the 40’s or 50’s.  The wool in this gray coat was fabulous, thick and warm.  We took the coat apart and I made myself a 6-gore skirt.  I wore that skirt for years, all the way through college.  I saved the scraps and still have the skirt saved somewhere.  I used the scraps to roll up into a bobbin lace cushion when I was teaching myself bobbin lace making, so the coat was eventually all used up in a useful manner.  Because of this, I have always had an interest in remaking outdated clothing.  I picked up this booklet at an antique sale a few years ago:IMG_0003

It has pages of instructions for using old clothing to make new items during the wartime years when it was hard to get fabric and required ration coupons.








In addition to thinking about sewing, we have been working in the garden a bit.  Here in California, Spring is on the way and we will have a week or so of nice sunny weather followed by several nights of frost.  This morning is really frosty.  Over the weekend we drove to the nursery in Sebastopol and bought what we thought were 4 raspberry canes.  When we got them home, though, we saw that they were 5 canes tied together in each packet so we are going to have raspberries all across the back fence.  I’ve never grown berries before except for a few volunteer blackberry plants, so we have been reading the gardening book to see what we are suppposed to do.

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