Sunday, June 21, 2015

Matching plaid or how to stay busy inside at 110F

I bought this fabric some years back and finally found the courage to use it.  Yes, it's plaid...and it is crinkley gauze.  The stretch is looooong and the weave is very loose.  It is cute though, yes?

I cut the pattern out using a single layer, and was successful in matching the main features of the plaid.  

I don't know what I did with that left dart but let's just call it good until I get all of the top together.  
I am using B5924 View B and plan to use this top with jeans for riding.  I cut a 10 through the shoulders and a 12-14 elsewhere.  This pattern has ABCD cup sizes and I chose to use the C cup size.  We will see if I choose right.  I have been weight lifting and walking on the treadmill 3 x/week.  Only 2 lbs down so far.  

As I was sewing the pieces together, I got a bit frantic about whether to match it vertically or horizontally as the pattern has tops and bottoms to each front and back.  I matched horizontally as that was most obvious.  On the back I matched horizontally first and discovered a way to be more accurate.  

I basted each dark band first, and then basted on the stitching line.  After checking, I stitched right over the basting.  If this were not for riding, I would stitch next to the basting and then remove it.  

Here is what the result is on the center back seam.
 I am happy with this and know that any un-matched spots won't be visible as I am riding.  No one looks at me anyway as my horse Nick is so strikingly handsome!

Besides exercising any OCD tendencies with plaid, I have also set aside some projects to sew through the summer heat.  Organizing pattern and fabric together keeps me focused on my wardrobe choices and lessens distraction from other sewer's projects.  I love to see what everyone else is creating, and I am easily led :-) so this helps me keep to my program.  

I need loose, stylish clothes for kicking around town and these patterns will help.  Next up will be another Ina skirt in this marvelous cotton knit I found at Hancock's for 50% off.  I love these greens and they look awful next to my face but in a skirt...they will be gorgeous :-)  
I hope everyone is staying busy, happy and engaged in creative pursuits.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Esther Rogoway artist, "Life is Full of Fun", 30x32
Not only has my wardrobe changed dramatically but so has my home dec style.  For newer readers, I used to live in a 1940s Cape Cod style home in Oregon-lovely home, lots of nice architectural detail and I'd been there 30 years.   My current home is in the desert and is a slump block home-flat roof, very plain, easy to maintain and clean.  I love the changes I have made and am excited to see that I can still use a few of my old pieces in this casita while adopting a bit of Southwest style in a sophisticated way.    

The landscape colors and light really affect what the interior of the house looks like.  Because we have temps above 100F in the summer, I hung accordian shades and sun screens.  It is very dark in the house so my photos are enhanced a bit so you can see some detail.  Furthermore, as the sun shines in, the paint on the walls shows very yellow or green.   The UV here is super strong-the paint in the front of the house is whitish tan (sailcloth) with a HINT of yellow.  The bedrooms are not yet painted and will likely get cooler neutrals.  

Here is your tour:

living rm with my old green couch, old blanket, old chair :-)
bedrm with a bedspread from Oaxaca, furniture from Oregon, pillows from Bed Bath and Beyond Tucson, pillowcases by me.
guest rm and sewing studio with buildityourself tables, bed from Oregon company, thrifted mirror painted in deep maroon by me.  oh, and pillowcases courtesy of me and Mexican shawl which I haggled for.  
...and here is the Arizona room-a place which was filthy when we moved in and I am so happy with the changes I made.  I cleaned and polished as much as I could, removed spiders and a snake skin, painted some thrifted pieces we hauled from Oregon, and hung a poem near the back door in memory of my father.  This is a wonderful spot in the morning for coffee but is far too hot other times during the summer.  We use it as a dining room sometimes during other times of the year.  Hi little Nick!

This little house is becoming my home...I am continuing to paint and to renovate and upgrade plumbing and lighting. Once that is done, I will have my shower re-tiled and a new door.  For now, it's fine.
Anne Balentine artist
Besides the landscaping we did and the repairs so far, the biggest expense has been art.
Charles Huckeba, mixed media, from the Cosos formation in CA
The pieces we had in our old home complemented an older plaster home.  They got lost in this house.  My casita needed drama, color, and to reflect the desert environment.  We looked online and in galleries, and went to shows.  It is very easy to find Southwest kitsch but not so easy to find Southwest art which is affordable.  This blog entry highlights the pieces we have added in-you will see a range of styles as I am eclectic in my decorating.
thrifted mirror, massive, motif found in Mexican folk art
Tucson artist, weatherproof!

metal bulls from Mexico  

Brenda Peo artist, "Lena", giclee   

Esther Rogoway artist, "Fun and Games", 36x36

Here is the main point of today's blog: retirement gives us a chance to reinvent ourselves and take some risks.  I embraced the idea of moving to the desert, and knew I would be able to find beauty here.  I didn't realize how far-ranging or deep the changes would be and as I reflect on the colors and drama of the art in my home, I see that my spirit is emerging around me.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

flirty summer skirts

I am learning to dress for the desert, which means natural fabrics, loose fit and as much coverage as possible.  Moroccan robes and other traditional Middle Eastern dress make so much sense to me.  
I have been sewing summer clothing, and have a number of new outfits to wear.  I'm still struggling to match my style with the elements of desert fashion above, especially coverage.  Here is an example of a top which works, but I couldn't bear to add sleeves.

This is V9067, paired with loose, lycra travel pants.  BTW, what is that fabric which is used for the wash and wear travel clothing sold online?  It's marvelous.  I reviewed this outfit and paired it with beautiful blue linen pants from the same pattern-it's a great desert pattern.  I di update the review because I removed a 5 inch wedge on each side of the top in order to get a more flattering silhouette.  

I tested the Ina skirt in a grey ponte and will certainly make more of this lovely pattern.  I'd like a printed jersey skirt and a solid fitted top.  Here is version #1-

Today I am wearing this little skirt and I love it!!
These patterns are next up:
My focus this month will be on styling these skirts for the climate and my figure.  More to come!

What is on your sewing table right now?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

hellooooo out there

Hi Readers,

On Thursday I listed some patterns for you, and 3 were claimed.  That's terrific!  But, I cannot send 2 of them because I have no mailing address.  I asked that this reader email me...but no answer. So sad for this person.  

So, here is what I am going to do.  The patterns below are offered again.  If you would like ONE of these patterns, just let me know in the comments.  Please make sure I have your email address so I can get your mailing address. 

My email is in the side margin under the heading About Me.

Here are your choices.  You may pick one and might even receive two!  I also don't care that you have received a pattern from me before. :-) I will close the giveaway by Tuesday morning at 9am.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sewing for fall?

I joked with someone a few weeks ago that she wasn't behind in sewing her winter patterns, but way ahead for 2015-16.

Wouldn't you like to be as organized?  Especially with a coat or jacket, necessary in the sleet, snow and rain of northern climes.  Of the many types of garments I sew, jackets or coats have to be a favorite of mine.  I love incorporating small design details in a utilitarian garment.  I love working with wool, or suiting, or home dec fabric.  Unfortunately, I think I have worn a serious jacket or coat twice in the last year.  This is good news for you!  Yes, I have some patterns you might like.  Not these-I was just having fun reviewing my projects.  The lower right jacket is the first "real" jacket I made. 

Patterns to choose from:
sizes 8-14
sizes 8-16 S4403
all sizesV1110  CLAIMED
sizes 6-12 V1069 
sizes 6-14 V1320 
 First come, first served.