Wednesday, January 28, 2015

warm and cozy

KS3644 did not disappoint.  What a nicely drafted pattern, and good instructions.  The longer I sew, the more I appreciate Kwik Sew.   Yes, the envelope art is stodgy but I can see past that now.  Every single KS pattern I have made has been successful.  

Here is the final result-I took photos yesterday morning when I got up.  I was unable to channel Sally Field and be vivacious.
Pretend we are sharing an apt and I just made coffee for you. 

The piping took extra time but really adds to the overall look of the robe.  After wearing it for 2 mornings, I was right to spend extra on good flannel.  The weight of this robe is just right, and I'll be able to wear it through spring. 

I'll get a review up on PR this week sometime, but wanted to share with you first.  Here, I poured you some coffee-it's on the counter next to the sugar. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

At the rate I'm going... will be spring before my bathrobe is done!  I finished all the piping on the shawl collar-my zipper foot is getting a workout with this project.  Tomorrow I'll baste the collar down, and add the sleeves.  Then go for a hike.  


We hiked a loop last week and passed by the Mariott
 before going back into the "wild".  

Cuffs (with piping), belt loops, side seams, seam finishing, collar completed and hem.  I can get this done if I work Sunday evening and Monday morning.  It's getting warmer here, folks...I may have to make a second version in silk. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Flannel bathrobe in Arizona?

storm over the Santa Catalinas; I took this photo about 5 years ago
Tucson's elevation is recorded at 2,643 ft.  and is surrounded by five mountain ranges, the Tucson, Santa Catalina, Rincon, Santa Rita and Tortolita mountain ranges. 

Even though we are among the sunniest cities in the US, it does get chilly here sometimes.  Winter is short, lasting to early February.  During that time, nighttime temps will fall into the high 30s F, and daytime temps are in the high 60s or 70s F.  

I need a bathrobe for the mornings s0 I'm sewing KS3644 

using 3 different flannels.   I have been working very slowly, partly because I am busy but also because I want to concentrate on "best practices".  Let me share my progress with you, and talk a little bit about HOW I sew.  For those readers just beginning their sewing, keeping track of progress with photos is something I recommend.  It forces you to stay organized and to think about what steps go together.  I don't always do this, but when I do, I succeed. 

Step 1: Get some fabric.  That took me about 8 days of hunting on websites.  I finally found what I wanted and then double checked amounts.  I needed 3 3/4 and 1 3/4yds at 45 inches.  I was using 2 contrasting fabrics so I bought 1 yd each (this proved to be a mistake as I ended up piecing the front facings).  Flannel shrinks, and I chose a directional print, so I bought 4 yds of the main fabric.  So far I have 6 yds at around $10/yd for my bathrobe.  Tip:buy the best fabric you can afford, especially for high use items. 

Step 2: prewash and layout; cutting.  I cut all the contrasting fabrics first.  I then made bias tape, and piping. 
piping on the left, belt on the right
 After that was done, I cut out the front, the facings, and all the little bits of the main fabric, making sure I had enough for the back and the sleeves.  Just barely!

mentally sewing the pocket band-notice the shape of the pocket.
 That is a thoughtful pocket pattern.
pocket band and piping on imaginary pocket :-)

Step 3: Cut out the back and the sleeves.  

I stopped here for the night, and set up my work area for tomorrow.  That is a step I do often as it helps me stay in charge of my work.  I hate to work in a messy place.

front and facings ready for piping; belt and belt loops waiting;
 pockets and bands ready to be constructed and attached;
 sleeves and cuffs ready to be constructed.

What tricks do you use to stay organized and mindful in                                       your sewing room?

In other news, big Nick is doing much better.  He had 2 days of stall rest, and then I turned him out this afternoon after checking his feet and cleaning every crevice.  He was extremely enthusiastic and playful.  

Until later, Mary


Monday, January 19, 2015

Reading 2015

Reading is a solitary pleasure, but sharing books we love is not.  Through determination and luck, I have found and joined a terrific reading group here in Tucson.  Here is our reading list for 2015:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
Euphoria by Lily King
Redeployment by Phil Klay
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

On recommendation from Margy of A Fool for Fabric, I'm currently reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  This is the perfect book for a long, delicious weekend away from all things important.  It's a psychological thriller about a woman who becomes emotionally involved in a murder investigation.  

Station Eleven is a novel set in a post apocolyptic world which goes far beyond the genre onto a dark story of ambition, emotional honesty, connections and survival.  I loved this book, and found it just odd enough to keep me reading.  

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller is a favorite of mine.  It was first recommended to me by Theresa of Camp Runamuck.  Another post apocolyptic novel, but far more than that.  Both novels will stay with you as they are more about human nature than disaster and renewal.  

Finally, for those times when all you want is to forget the last wadder in your sewing room, read this: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.  Well written, interesting premise, and easy to breeze through.  

Bathrobe update: my fabric arrived and it is beautiful. Yesterday I cut out all the small pieces in contrasting fabrics, and today I'll interface the collar/facings and make piping.  Yes, I am going super slow.  Partly I want to practice appreciation for each garment I make, and partly I am busy.  

Today is my day to attend a meeting (suit up and show up), then I need to run to the feed store for wood pellets to soak up moisture in Nick's corral.  Then the farrier is coming to trim and assess his feet.  

He has shown a little bit of offness (not really lame...just picking up a  foot a bit higher) at the trot in the right fore and I am on it like butter on toast.   I've been resting him, walking  with him, massaging his shoulder and leg, and generally babying him.  Yesterday I turned him out and sat with him reading my Kindle...he couldn't figure it out.  Why aren't we playing? 

Until later,  Mary

Monday, January 12, 2015

Practice panties and other oddities

Hi Readers~do you remember when I said I'd like to sew my own lingerie?  No?  I am not sure why I started this little project, but I can tell you it has ended.  My husband laughed when he saw the stitching, and said "If you finish those, please don't wear them".  

I have been focusing on a few other aspects of my life rather than sewing.  My room is 99% complete.  I am still on the hunt for a small bookcase, and of course, I need to paint.  This color is desert sand but is really seen as pink. Here are a few photos of my sewing room and retreat.  

 This is where you will find me many afternoons at 4pm.  

I just completed the wardrobe in the corner-I found it on sale and assembled it this afternoon.   It opens to store accessories and jewelry.  It is a lovely piece of furniture and very solid.

Painting of Woodrow and tail braid 

The corner near the windows is my work area with a drafting table, sewing machine, and serger.  This arrangement provides enough room to move around but the area is small enough that I don't lose things.   

I am really happy in this room-I can see into the backyard and common areas; I can hear birds and coyotes; and it faces west for gorgeous sunsets.  

I have made a few things besides that mess of a panty.  Here is KS 2643:

I sewed a large through the hips as the sweater knit was very clingy, and this particular pattern seemed close fitting in the illustration.  The scoop neckline is really nice, and the fit of the sleeves is good for me.  Isn't that knit pretty?  Further sewing is a Vogue blouse which I have muslined, and am waiting for fabric to arrive.  I am also making a bathrobe, and that fabric is slowly making its way to me.  Do you want a sneak peak at the fabric?  
main bathrobe fabric
trim #1 bathrobe

trim #2 bathrobe (piping)

Finally, here is a photo of one of my past horses.  His name was Jumpin' Jack Flash (JJ) and I do believe he and Nick share a spiritual connection.  JJ is romping with Woodrow in horse heaven right now...they were good buddies.  


Talk to you soon-I hope I have more sewing details to share with you.