Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A couple more summer blouses...

 I'm on a roll.

I've really enjoyed my first version of New Look 6340 - I reach for it all the time. It has such a nice fit, and I like the pockets. Handy for all kinds of little things, including my hands!

So I made another, this one in Michael Miller chain link quilting cotton from Hancock's of Paducah. (It was on sale for $4.99, such a great buy).

I love getting fabric from this store. It is always perfectly cut, each piece is carefully folded and wrapped separately in plastic, and it's just a delight to receive.

Back to the top. To go with, I've sewn another pair of the Vogue 9114 Kathryn Breene ankle pants, done in white target cloth from JoAnns. These are a little shorter than my red ones at left. And I like this shorter length, kind of funky.

Like they aren't funky enough already with those upside down pockets on the leg.

Next up, another Butterick 6024 pintucked blouse. Light and comfy in Robert Kaufman Calling 4 London lawn (also from Hancock's of Paducah).

My first version has the original long hem in the back...

Butterick 6040 Pintucked Tunic

On this one, I shortened the back by 4.5" at the center, cured out to the sides. It just seems to suit the print fabric better than an exaggerated hem. And it's still long enough to be easy-going. No anxieties about the back view...

I don't want to give the impression that all has gone well in the loft...I've put a couple things in the wadder bin since last week. The biggest disappointment was a dress I planned for the Maxi Dress sew-along. I ordered the pattern, McCalls 7080, sight-unseen. It's new for the summer season. And ordered the fabric just for the pattern as well.

Both were awful. The bodice was so tight around the sleeve, horrible, and the original neckline was up around my earlobes. And the fabric - I swear, I thought it was cotton. Not. It's 100% woven polyester. Feels like the outside of a Pampers pull-up...

To make things even worse, I managed to get part of my finger in with a seam I was trimming with my razor-edged Fiskar scissors. ouch.

So - I'm working now on another dress for the sew-along. This is why I have a stash :-)

Parting shots - the guavas are getting fat and ripening (the ones that Ms. Squirrel and Mr. Anole cannot reach, way out on the skinny tips of the limbs).

Bye for now - Coco

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Look 6381 - Lovely loose knit pants...

 Oh how I love loose clothing...

Especially now that it's so hot outside. No way will I put on jeans at this time of year!

Cute pattern, with lots of options. New Look is such an interesting pattern line. I really dislike the Simplicity web site, but I make myself look at it just to see what's up with New Look.

These pants are right up my alley. Loose - they hide anything that I want to hide, and they are a breeze to sew. I sewed a size 16 in an ITY knit.

This is my first pair of these, and I eeked it out from MOB dress leftovers. Yes, this is the fabric I used for the dress I actually wore at Ashley's wedding in February. I'll get my hands on the wedding photos next week so I can share more.

The pattern actually calls for an attached 1.5" elastic waistband. hmmm. I tried it and did not like it! The seam of the elastic and pants just stuck into my waist and made the pants look funky on the outside.  The waistband is really the only change I made to the pattern. I cut out a casing from a black ITY scrap and sewed it to the pants:

Then serged the joining seam to make it nice and pretty...

After inserting the 1.5" elastic, I used a multi-stitch zig-zag to keep the elastic in place.

So comfortable! And so nice that the elastic doesn't roll or carry on.

There was no pattern matching going on here. I'm lucky I didn't end up with one of the big chrysanthemums in an unfortunate place!

A couple notes on sewing with ITY fabric. I suppose it could be entirely sewn on a serger. But I've found that doing so tends to draw up/curve the seams a bit more than I like - yes, I can and do adjust the differential, but it's not always 100% where I want it. For this and other knits, I use an elastic (lightening bolt) stitch to sew the seam...Nice and flat, no pulling.

And then I serge/cut the seam to finish it.

I love how these pants feel. I could probably to down to my usual size 14, but I don't think it would make a lot of difference. I'm happy with these.

Grainline Scout Tee with a bust dart and sleeves -
Wasabi Kona cotton

About the rest of the pattern - I've done a muslin of the skirt in a fabric I really dislike, just enough to know the skirt's nice. 

And I have plans for it while I'm in Ft. Myers next week... I think I'll try view B in a printed gauze knit.

I'm very busy picking out things to sew while I'm there with the kitties. And getting them cut out before I go. Cutting fabric on the floor with them is not the easiest way to do it! They help me way too much.

Bye for now...Coco

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along...Quatrefoils and lawn

My first dress for the Maxi Dress sew-along, sponsored by That's Sew Amy. It's my version of the BurdaStyle Tiered Maxi Dress, the same pattern and changes that I used for my pink Valentines dress in February -  back when it was cool in Florida, and the mosquitoes stayed in the Everglades.

There will be no more photo shoots in the garden until the weather breaks. We're supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon, and my fingers are crossed. The temps drop about 15 degrees with a good rain.

I've been living in my pink dress, and it finally occurred to me that I could make another one. I've had 5 yards of this cotton lawn in my stash for months, and I just didn't think about it. I so seldom wear blue. But I love it! Cool and light.

I have one more maxi planned before the sew-along ends in mid-July.The fabric is here and laundered, and the pattern (McCalls 7080) is on its way. It'll be a nice project for my visit with the kitties while Ashley and Darrin are at Comic-Con.

Notes from the garden...

Two days ago a red parakeet visited the birdbath for a drink and a wash. Beautiful, and unusual in my yard. I usually see the parakeets and parrots in the early evening - they fly in flocks to their 'home' trees. No picture...the one I took through the porch screen looks like a screen.

Last week, this giant swallowtail spent 14 hours in the guava tree. He was about 4" across. 

And then there's Mr. Cuban Knight Anole, Jr. He's noticeable and long at about 12" from his nose to tip of his tail, but he's a juvenile - he will reach almost 20" by next year. He's very active in the guava, and fun to watch.

What a show off!

Bye for now, Coco

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Butterick 6215 Tunic - Beating the heat!

Good morning, friends. What a hot summer! I'm so spoiled. Living between the ocean and the Everglades, I almost always have a nice breeze that is cooled by having passed over water. Humid, yes, but seldom above 90 degrees. But June has been hot! Time to pull out all stops and find something cool to wear...that's also age appropriate and doesn't scare off the lizards.

Butterick 6215 is a very new pattern, I haven't seen it reviewed at all. Well, it's an old pattern number that's been re-cycled. It's cute! and definitely loose and cool.

I'm kind of attracted to hi-low hems this summer, don't know why. In the past I've redrafted them to be even. Now I really like them. View A, the one worn by the model, grabbed my attention right away. How nice are those cap sleeves. Bonus - the pattern also has sleeves. 

Here's my first version, View A:

Unfortunately, cute as they are, the cap sleeves won't work for me right now. And I want to wear this right now! But I wanted to show these pics because View A is so pretty. 

Next, I tried using the sleeves from View B, thinking to do them at elbow length. They were easy to attach, as they are basically a tube. But they're not at all comfortable. I could hardly raise my arms. No pic of this little disaster.

On to plan C. I pulled out my Scout Tee pattern, that I redrafted in March, and used it to alter this top. I just put the top on the floor, all flattened out, and cut armscyes using the Scout pieces. And then I used the Scout sleeves as well. Just right. 

A few more sewing notes:
  • My fabric is from the Robert Kaufman London Calling 4 Lawn collection. So smooth and light. I grabbed this print, and one more, from a Hancocks of Paducah online sale, at $3.99/yard. wow. I'm going to keep looking on their site all summer for more from this collection.
  • I used size Medium (12-14) and really like the fit. 
  • I lowered the front to ensure it would go past the crotch/leg join. To do this, I just brought the CF line down 1 3/4" and redrew the curve to each side. Since the front is cut on the fold, the change was easy to do. 
  • Something new for me: I used my serger to do the ruffle! I don't know why I haven't done this before. But with about 3 yards of fabric to be gathered and sewn on, I was really looking for an easy out. It was a piece of cake! I had the ruffle done and attached in about 5 minutes.

  • And I just turned up the serged hem about 3/8", to finish it off. Easy peasy.
  • Interestingly, the pattern instructions suggest French seams and give instructions on doing them. Which I ignored and just serged/cut my seam allowances together at 3/8". 

  • One last note: the pattern has facings for the front and back necklines. Love love. No V-neck binding woes on this one. I topstitched the front neckline about 1/4" from the edge, and topstitched the back along the edge of the facing. So no fly-away facings...

On to other sewing stuff excitement - I got an SA (seam allowance) Curve from Clair Cochran's Etsy shop. It comes in 3/8", 1/2" (my choice), and 5/8" versions. How nice is this, for drawing seam allowances on down-loaded patterns that need them. BurdaStyle, Marfy, lots of Indie patterns...

It feels so good to be sewing again with a light heart. 

Ciao! Coco

Monday, June 15, 2015

Feeling so much better...

And not so undone.

Thank you all so very much for the support, comments, and emails - what wonderful people and friends you are.

A mere week after my last post, I truly have a new perspective. Actually, what I have is perspective. That nasty little diagnosis is, in the end, only words. I didn't get sicker because of it, although I almost did. It is so incredibly easy to fall into the trap of defining one's self by an issue or challenge.

A little retail therapy helped as well. My fabric stash is a lot bigger today than it was a short time ago!

And this morning I finished a super cute new blouse pattern.

Thank you again, back soon. Coco

Monday, June 8, 2015

Blogger friends...what a challenge...

I wrote and published a post this morning, pretty early, about something I made last year. With a bit of whinging about 3 recent wadders. And this morning I threw another wadder aside in disgust and dismay. I pulled back the post a while ago.

Because I know what's really bugging me. So I'll disclose.

A month ago I met with my internist at Cleveland Clinic Hospital for my annual checkup. Ticked off issues and complaints. Went over lots of stuff.

And she diagnosed me with systemic scleroderma. That is a long way different from the morphea scleroderma diagnosis of a year or so ago. She gave me orders for consults with the endocrinology, gastroenterology, and rheumatology-immunology departments. I was overwhelmed.

On top of which many of my teeth are becoming loose, and they're cracking from normal use. Yes, scleroderma attacks the tissue and ligaments that keep teeth in place. Four weeks ago I had a molar extracted, it was cracked all the way down the root and was abscessed, though not yet painful. But I lost a lot of peridontal bone in the surgery. Healing will take months before I can look at a fix. And I've just learned I need 8 crown replacements just to keep my mouth in order for now.

Good side - the dental hygienist said I do a super job taking care of my teeth. Good gums and almost no plaque :-)

Dental work is not easy - my mouth is a bit constricted from the scleroderma, and the scar tissue on my face makes dental work difficult and uncomfortable. I had to be fully sedated for the extraction because the nerves in my face are compromised - $845. That's a lot for me, straight out of savings. Good side - I was just accepted by Delta Dental on the Obama-sponsored Affordable Care Act. Thank you, Mr. Obama. I'm fortunate that someone in my area accepts the insurance, and I made the cut-off date for 2015. The expense is a challenge, even at 1/2 copay, for someone who is retired and living on Social Security, as I am. My out-of-pocket expense is going to be something between $8,000 and $10,000. What a hit.

And - in December, I developed trigger thumb in my left hand. What a bother! clicking and sticking, and it hurt. The hand surgery specialists at Cleveland Clinic gave me the most painful steroid injection I've ever had...but it's back with a vengeance. Another scleroderma goodie. Option - hand surgery.

I'm still feeling overwhelmed. So please bear with me. My sewing isn't working out, I feel at odds and ends, even though I think I'm pretty good at coping. Over the last 6 years I've done coping skills therapy, biofeedback therapy, and pain management therapy. I've attended support groups. I've learned, and I practice, a lot of techniques for dealing with the emotional, mental, and physical manifestations of my disease. So now I'm thinking about how to deal with all of this.

I am a very optimistic, glass-full person. And I'll be back, probably soon. I love blogging and sewing, I just need to get my head in order. And make something wonderful.