Monthly Archives: September 2011

Wicked Girls

Today, I’ve been rather bad. Or decadent, if you’d like…I started my purse project this morning, but then spent most of the afternoon and evening catching up on TV (with breaks for meals and to ferry around the spawn, of course).

I always feel vaguely guilty about spending the better part of a day sitting down because it used to enrage my mother. She’s a hyperactive extrovert, which I am not, and sometimes likes to brag that she punished me as a child for reading. I particularly enjoyed fantasy stories, which she doesn’t like nor understand (bizarre but related event of adulthood: finding out my mother had gone to see the first Lord of the Rings movie and “didn’t get why everyone thought it was so good.”  I had to say, “Well, you’re not the target audience.”). Anyway, I spent a good deal more time in Narnia, Oz and Neverland than I ever did at home which may be why this song resonates with me.

In Which I Suck at Accepting Gifts

People keep giving me things. I have no idea why they do this and I wish they’d stop. No really, I wish they’d stop because when I get nice things then I have to….have feelings. And be grateful.  And do things that come about as naturally to me as giving a camel a sponge bath. If you work in a Middle Eastern petting zoo and regularly give camels sponge baths, please hold the hate mail. IT WAS AN EXAMPLE.

This morning, I was cranky. I’m cranky most mornings, but for some inexplicable reason, this led to a discussion with Hubs on expensive sunglasses and the fact that he buys them and I don’t. I don’t WANT expensive sunglasses, to be fair. My BFF once watched me collapse a stroller one-handed and send my sunglasses flying into oblivion and she remarked, “Oh, that’s why you don’t buy the nice ones.” Damn straight, skippy. However, for some reason, the Hubs felt guilty enough to suggest that I splurge on $50 at Spoonflower.

$50 isn’t a lot at Spoonflower, but seriously? THEY HAVE DOCTOR WHO FABRIC. I’m just going to yell that until the novelty wears off, which might be a while. Buy earplugs and feast your eyes on this:

They have other prints I like a bit more, but I’m all over all of them because DR. WHO FABRIC. Sorry, I’ll try to stop with the yelling.

I still haven’t spent the $50. I felt guilty for wrangling it out of the Hubs, and now I feel guilty because I haven’t spent it. I need to either get a grip on the guilt or convert to Catholicism so at least that way it’ll be useful.

On a more practical note, I’ve chosen my next project. No, not pants — this will involve even more swearing and wrangling, but mercifully, no fitting. I desperately need a new purse, and given that I like the backpack style which I can never find, I’ve decided on McCall 6176, view D which looks like the bottom two pictures here:


Although I’ll hopefully be making it out of something with a bit less childish of a print (I originally wrote “a lot less childish” then decided that was a tall order).  At any rate, the instructions are already byzantine and I simply refuse to follow some of them — I’m not fusing regular interfacing on top of fleece, then not interfacing a lining, thank you very much — and so I’m planning to improvise some of this. It should go swimmingly. Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies, as my mother would say.

Progress of a Sort

Today, I cleaned out the closet — one large bag full of clothes went to the Salvation Army. That leaves one bag to give to friends and one bag of refashion-potential clothing.

I mentioned that I’ve been working on something and here it is:

I got the pattern from this book — remember Custom Couture?

I’m going to be using the designs in the book to revamp some clothes. I still need to finish the embroidery on the white shirt, and that’s not all. I have:

7 short sleeve shirts

1 long sleeve shirt

and 2 sweaters

that need some work. On the plus side, I can do a lot of the hand-sewing in front of the TV. On the negative side, a design this elaborate takes a couple days to stitch.

I still need some bottoms, but I laid out a cargo pant pattern today and realized that I only have enough fabric in denim (which I think looks odd in a cargo style) and military camo, which I don’t want to use in a cargo pant because it’ll look too realistic. I live in an area with a lot of military personnel, and I feel weird about wearing anything that might be mistaken for a uniform, even though I’m pretty sure this fabric design is not the same as any of the armed forces approved prints. Better to save it for a cute jacket or skirt.

I also need a new purse/bag/backpack but after looking at my patterns and fabric stash, I’m thinking I might just buy one.

We’re currently watching a Sanctuary marathon on Chiller network, which is hugely promoting a movie tomorrow night called “Zombie Women of Satan.” Query: who watches these things and why, aside from the bikinis and blood? Did I just answer my own question?

New Look 6538 – the Laverne and Shirley skirt

Here it is, y’all — the final iteration of New Look 6538 and the one that gave me all the fits.  I’ve decided that it reminds me very much of something that would have been worn by Laverne or Shirley — maybe even with a fitted sweater and neck scarf — so I’ve mentally christened it the Laverne and Shirley skirt.

No idea why my t-shirt went all glow-y in the flash?

It’s very comfortable and fits pretty well — my one regret is that I cut out my corduroy wrap version of this pattern with a 14 back and a 12 front, and I think I could have cut this out in the same size to get a slightly tighter fit in the waist.  I cut it in a straight 14 all around.  I did add belt loops, partly because I think denim skirts look weird without belt loops and partly because it’ll help the whole thing stay up.

I was lucky enough to find buttons in two sizes that I liked – 7/8″ for the waistband and 11/16″ for the rest of the skirt.  I think that gives a nice RTW effect since the waistband button is usually larger.  The buttons did cost a mint, but I don’t plan on making another version of this skirt for a while — the styling is too distinctive.

I had a Sci Fi Sunday post planned out, but the weekend got away from me.  I’ll save it for next week, since this is a book I think you’ll want to see.  On the plus side, I’ve been putting in a lot of work into a project that I’ll be showing you soon.  Also, I said the next thing I did would be a pair of pants, right?  Well, you know me and my promises….stay tuned!

Excuse me while I go love on a needy cat.

I’m Bringing Sexy Back, Because It Didn’t Fit

I’m blaming today on Shane. Yeah, that’s right, the whole day — I was going to confine myself to this post but then I thought, why aim low?

In case you don’t know Shane, he’s the very funny blogger at Wag the Dad ( who gave me a shout-out this morning. Which I appreciate — I do, I’m not ungrateful or anything — but then he had to go and say, “This is a site about sewing, which didn’t turn me on until I had to buy a sewing machine for Barbara and discovered how sexy domestic life can be.” Frankly, that’s way too much for me to live up to…..not to mention that once he discovers how unsexy domestic life can REALLY be, he’ll probably blame me. That’s just how we roll around here.

So, I have my newly highlighted (very sexy) hair, I’m sewing buttons on a skirt (I know you’re getting excited) and listening to this song:

That’s the sexiest thing I’ve done today, aside from having another woman shampoo my scalp.

Pinky, I am in Considerable Pain

This is my hundredth post.  That’s kind of impressive, given that I started this blog to track my progress in a jeans sew-along.  The sew-along is long over, but I’m still here.  Ow.

I’d be profound and all, but I have a headache — the type that feels like the back of your skull is trying to push your brain out through your eyes. Yes, I’ve taken painkillers and they’re keeping things down to a dull ache but the headache isn’t going anywhere. I’d love to be able to show you my second finished skirt, but my progress today went like this:

1. Run to JoAnns to buy buttons. Discover the only buttons I like cost an arm and a leg. Use coupons, buy buttons anyway for $9. This still seems outrageous.

2. Come home, make buttonholes, use Fray Check on fabric. Wait forever for Fray Check to dry.

3. Cut open buttonholes. Make a mess of that because the edges are not finished enough.

4. Attempt to hand-finish buttonholes. Give that up quickly as a bad idea.

5. Finish the messy buttonholes with small zig-zag on machine. This works but makes holes a bit uneven and bulky.

6. Realize the only way to put in the hem is to rip out topstitching. Toss skirt aside in frustration.

7. Use online tutorial to make a supposedly “easy” skirt. Realize too late that back part is cut out way too small and “easy” skirt will now be considerably more difficult. Toss skirt aside in frustration.

8. In process, discover that sewing machine light bulb burned out and needs to be replaced.

9. Give up and devote yourself to good works among the poor and hungry.

Ok, not so much that last part — I just put sewing aside and went to do something less frustrating, like parenting preteens. Hopefully this headache goes away by the morning.

The Missoni Modeling Caper

That would be an awesome 70s movie, wouldn’t it? Something like the Barbra Streisand vehicle, What’s Up, Doc? which I wholeheartedly recommend from both a fashion and a comedy perspective.

Anyhow, I finished the corduroy skirt (New Look 6538) and thought I would show it off with the Missoni sweater:

This would look even better on a bicycle.

The color isn’t a perfect match, but I do think they look okay together — probably because both evoke something vaguely 70s in the styling. I would wear the sweater with a black tank top or lightweight shell underneath, so this is a fairly accurate representation of how the outfit would look.

I have a t-shirt that is a better color match and shows off the buttons at the yoke. By some weird fluke, I had perfectly matching buttons in the stash. When does that happen?!? Never, that’s when. So another option would be this outfit:

The t-shirt is from Threadless -- "Frankenstein's Owl." The colors are actually better matched in real life.

I like this skirt and it’ll be great for fall, but this is the second skirt I’ve made out of this particular corduroy (bought 7 yards off Ebay back in the day) and I’m pretty sick of it. Also, if….no, when I make this pattern again, I’m going to use a lighter weight material and put two more buttons down the side — just to prevent any wind flap incidents. I think the corduroy is heavy enough to make that unlikely, and the underlap is very wide, but one can never be too careful.

Stay tuned for later this week, when I will be attempting death-defying feats.

Of sewing.  What did you think I meant?

Still Plugging Away at New Look 6538

Well, my corduroy skirt is MOSTLY finished.  Almost all of it, in fact, except for the buttons that need to be sewn on and a few bits hand-tacked to the inside.  So why isn’t it done?  Because I spent all morning working on this:

Also New Look 6538

The more eagle-eyed among you will recognize this as the other view on the envelope.  What can I say, I had some denim that begged to be used up and I need bottoms for fall.

Technically, I really need pants but I like being able to sew up a skirt, make a few adjustments and KNOW it will fit.  Whereas with pants, even cutting out a size larger and taking it in is no guarantee it will resemble anything decent on my figure.  I’m going to be making pants later this week however, since I have a stash of heavyweight material that is crying out to be used up and I’m tired of skirts.  Be prepared for a lot of swearing.  On the plus side, I have some bag patterns that make good use of scraps of twill…

Sci Fi Sunday

Currently Reading:

Product Details

Jim Butcher’s 13th installment in the Dresden Files series, Ghost Story. This book starts off with a difficult premise — the main character is dead. However, there’s dead and there’s gone and the wizard Harry Dresden isn’t quite gone yet. Dresden is given a chance to come back to his reality as a ghost. He isn’t prepared for the changes he finds — for one thing, a moment dead equals several months in the real world and much has gone wrong. The monsters Dresden and his friends worked so hard to keep out of Chicago are back in full force, and humans have become locked in a bitter battle for survival. To make matters worse, Harry’s magical abilities are weakened by his lack of a corporal body. He must convince his former friends and allies first that he has returned, second that he is who he says he is, and lastly that he is on their side. Ghost Story tugs at the heartstrings for those who have been following the Dresden Files from the beginning, but is not recommended if you’re new to the series. Better to start with the first book, Storm Front, and work your way through the story line. I will say that Ghost Story has a very interesting ending and one that makes a lot of sense if you’ve followed the side plots through the last 3 or 4 books. Worth the read if you’re already a fan.

Currently Watching:


The third season of Fringe is out on DVD! Close kin to the X-Files, the series follows a crazy but brilliant scientist, his scam-artist son and an FBI agent as they investigate paranormal incidents. There is plenty of suspicion that government and corporate interests are not what they seem, and biohazards, gene warfare and parallel universes abound as the group races to keep our reality intact. Highly recommended if you’re an X-Files fan or a fan of Joshua Jackson and/or Anna Torv. John Noble is mesmerizing as a man who can do complex calculations in his head but can’t remember his assistant’s name. This was supposed to be the final season, but fans have given the show a bit of a reprieve and a fourth season will be returning on Fox. Catch this show if you’re into cerebral science fiction with a sense of humor. Seasons 1, 2, and 3 are available on Netflix.

Rub Alcohol Blues

I was a competitive swimmer for twelve years. Twelve years is a long time, and they were my primary growing years too. I have a permanently enlarged rib cage, seriously wonky sinuses and a propensity towards outer ear infections. Mostly, I treat the ears by pouring rubbing alcohol in them. It stings a bit, burns when I’m getting an infection, but usually it works. When it doesn’t is when things get really sucky in a medical way. So my left ear is currently on its way to needing antibiotics and my version of rub alcohol blues would be about how it’s not WORKING on my ear — all of which has nothing to do with this song, and how much I like the Fiery Furnances. But never mind me, carry on dearies.