1.31.2011

End of the Month!

Holy Crap-moly!  Last night I realized today was the last. day. of. the month.  Of the second month I gave myself to finish this dress.  And I wasn't done!  EEK!  Well, breath in, breath out because I did finish tonight and on time.  All my lazy ass had to do was hem it up so I better have gotten it done.


Because I felt so guilty for my hesitating, I also went through and double stitched the hem and the stitch running across the waist band to secure the lining (a step added by yours truly when she didn't feel like stitching the lining to the waist band the correct way.)  I did this so it would match the double top stitching I had to do to the sleeves, and now I feel better about the (said like an art critic) design integrity of the Sixth Dress.



****

I'm happy to be done with the dress, and it looks good, but it's hard to motivate yourself in these deepest darkest days of winter here in Wisconsin.  It is a relief that tomorrow is February and the worst of it is almost behind us.  In February, for the Seventh Dress, I'll make a "Birthday Dress" for myself (March 1st), but in March I am committed to a spring dress.  Something fun and light and floral I may not be able to wear for a while but will keep me excited about the upcoming onslaught of Vitamin D.

Sixth Dress Report Card coming tomorrow...and so is a blizzard.  The worst is almost behind us!

1.20.2011

Lauren's Help UPDATE

Thanks for allowing my asides.  But I do still remember that I've been working on a dress that I was supposed to finish last month.  Whoopideedoo!  Back to that....

Lauren came over last week (the day before her forgotten birthday in fact, Happy Birthday Lauren!) and I finally remembered to ask her to measure me.  I was doing it waaaay wrong.  When you measure yourself, your arms go up and throw your bust measurements way off.  Moving to measure actually messes up the whole thing.  Duh, Sandy!  (Interesting fact?  I am an even inch in all of my measurements.  No fractions!  Wait, does that count as an interesting fact?)

Another thing I learned that is oh-so-obvious now?  Patterns give you the size of the finished product on their envelope, not the size you should be for that particular dress/shirt/boxers/whatever.  You take your measurements, account for ease and go from there.  That changes things.  Also, athletes need more waist ease because their diaphragms expand more.  I never learned any of this studying for my Art History degree and am sufficiently jealous of my FIT-graduate friend and her interesting bits of knowledge.

So now Shoshana is going to get dialed correctly por moi, which is great because I really hate having to constantly try on dresses in our freezing winter climate and poorly insulated house.  (Sorry if you're reading this Al Gore!)

Lauren was also able to help with my skirt not fitting correctly.  Here is a Before and After:

BEFORE


AFTER



See that gathering in the Before shot?  Very simple fix if you ask the right person to do it for you!  She marked the spot where the skirt got tight on my legs and then again when it started to ease again.  I just let the seam allowance out in between.  Man, just when you think you're getting the hang of it, you have to type a sentence as basic as that one and feel right back at the beginning again!



But seriously, Lauren was a huge help and made me feel totally confident in mixing and matching sizes through the dress (bodice versus skirt versus sleeve, etc) and I feel fully encouraged moving forward in my year-long project now.  Better fitting dresses every month!

Thanks Lauren!

UPDATE!  From Lauren:  Just really quick note...  I'm sorry I wasn't clearer when I was over the other week but the pattern envelopes have the measurements for what size you should be for the dress not the measurements of what the dress will turn out to be. You find out the measurements of the dress by measuring the pattern at the symbol that is a circle with a cross in it (is different with different companies).  Oops. 

1.18.2011

Matt's Christmas Sweater

Speaking of Matt....So, of course, with little time and lots to do I added the task of sewing Matt a sweater for Christmas to my December to do list.  Yes, sewing a sweater.  You heard right.  The Burda mailing list struck hard and advertised a free download for their Andrew cardigan.  And just to re-emphasise here: with little time and lots to do I added a Burda pattern to my December list of things to do.

But it wasn't so bad, all the posted reviews and results looked great.  The toughest part was finding a fabric Matt would like.  I found this gorgeous wool blend online, but in person it just wasn't right.  I finally settled on a great, gray fabric from Gayfeathers.  It was a sweater knit--who knew you could buy bolts of that stuff!?   Finding a matching trim proved hard and I settled on a less than great cream knit.  It wasn't a great color, but what else could I do?  (To my credit, it does perfectly match one of the threads in the gray.)





So the cutting began (The fabric came in a loop, rather than folded on the bolt!  Probably to keep the gauges or whatever in line, but super fun.  I wanted to wriggle around in it.)


The cutting was weird, silly Burda!  Look at these two notes on the SAME pattern piece.  Now that I'm writing this I don't remember which one was right....




Then the sewing began.  It was hard to figure out the size without being totally obvious, so I best guessed (and you can tell...).  Matt knew I was sewing something for him.  Our house is small and with the noise there was no way to keep a secret.  I wonder if he was dreading another pair of boxers?




I did most of the work in a marathon session and resigned myself to the fact that I would not get the buttons done before we left for our Christmas holiday.  Oh well.  One stinking little thing to take care of when I got back.  No big deal.

I finished the sweater, a little fearful of the lopsided shoulders but little else, and took copious amounts of pictures of the final result.  I look so tough!



I went to wrap the present, folding as I learned to do watching Janeane Garafalo fold GAP sweaters in Reality Bites, and couldn't believe what I saw.  I sewed a sleeve on inside out.  And in taking those copious amount of pictures and tons of super critical analysis of my handiwork I never. saw. this!!!:


Christmas Eve Eve and we're packing and wrapping and he is going to have to open his present with no buttons and an inside out sleeve!

And he did, and the world didn't explode, and he even claimed to like to colors.  But when we got back into town he unpacked his suitcase and said to me, verbatim:

laughter  "I think you want this back."

And there is sat waiting, judging.  Not getting it's sleeve turned right side out.  Until tonight.  I finally did the switcheroo.  I still need to get some buttons (I'm looking for real wood to class the joint up) and a sharp seam ripper but...Merry Christmas, baby!


And because he looks so comfortable....my hero!!

1.14.2011

"Archives": Matt's Boxers

BEHOLD!


Or better yet...this time with a heaping dose of pop culture!...BEHOLD!:




Matt's Boxers, or as he likes to call them, A Sign That It Is Time to Do Laundry.

When Matt and I first started dating I thought it would be fun to make him something.  I knew I could sew a little and boxers seemed like a totally great idea.  I ran right out, picked up what I thought was a boxers pattern, grabbed some awesome planetary fabric and away I went!


I sewed the whole damn pair before realizing they what I had actually grabbed was a pattern for elastic waist workout shorts, with nary a pee-hole in sight.  OOPS!  There was no way I was going to hand over a pair of semi-sheer pink planet shorts and play them off as something he should wear in public.  No way.  So I seam ripped a hole and added a flap for coverage.  It was...inspired.  Revolutionary, really.

All was well.  Matt opened the gift and was gracious.  He seemed to ignore all the strings I missed clipping, the weird flappy panel in the front.  I was convinced he liked them.  I think he even wore them that week.  And maybe again in another week or two.  Then a few months later....but then I hadn't seen them for a few years except at the bottom of his pile of boxers.  A few YEARS!!!! 

I finally asked him what the deal was.  Why wasn't he wearing his homemade underoos?!!!?  Matt's response, verbatim, was this:

(laughter)  "The hole is too high.  Do you know anything about male anatomy?"

Burn!  Apparently the better pee-hole in the boxers was the nearest leg hole.  Not my custom, post-op flap.  Here's a diagram, the red line shows the boxer outline and heretofore mentioned flap:


image from rightclickreload.com.  hilarious pixelation by yours truely.

Whoops.


So when these babies make it to the top of the pile, it's Time To Do Laundry.  Here's hoping the next time I sewed for him went a little better (hint: No below the belt anatomy involved, but still a resounding no.)

1.13.2011

Sleeves

Oh those sleeves!  ARG!  They were too big and never fit quite right in the armholes!  NEVER!  I must have sewn a little shallowly somewhere and had to face an unsavory choice:

Undo some serious pain in the butt work to match things up 
(double top stitching anyone???) 
-or-
Make the sleeves a little gathered, more full and go for it.  

What do you think I did?



Oh yeah *cracking open a beer* that gathering was super easy.  I learned from a little project I did for Mr. Matt that sleeves need to be match up perfectly to fit.  They get loose or baggy anywhere in less than perfectly precise territory.  If sleeves and bodices were made of wood, they'd snap when they got together correctly, it'd be so perfect.  I tried four times to get these pieces to snap.  Two times with only one contact in.  But alas, my current sleeves never snapped.  So I bent them to my will.  And I'm happy with where we are now.



Speaking of sleeve debacles....I should catch you up on Matt's Christmas sweater, perhaps with another winner of a gem from the Archives to offer some perspective on my sewn gifts to my husband.  Stay Tuned.

1.12.2011

The Skirt

Anyway, back to the sewing.  The skirt is attached!  It seemed to together pretty quickly, but speed was not the amazing part.  The amazing part is that I managed to make this much progress while wearing only one contact lens.  That right folks, my glasses broke* and I lost two precious left contact lenses back to back before being able to order more.  But old Righty did a good job, huh?:


This skirt added the final six darts to the dress and I'm happy to put those in my rearview for a bit. 



The only bother about this skirt was my thighs. Not a bother that they are there, but a bother that I didn't cut the dress to fit them correctly.  But my damsel on a white horse, sewing guru Lauren, came to save the day!  She advised me to let out the skirt a bit in the appropriate areas and how exactly to figure out where those are.  You can kinda of tell with the gathering happening in the picture below, but Shoshana's thighs don't actually exist.  Before and afters, plus all the knowledge Lauren be spillin' coming soon!  This was a giant leap.





*For the record, I first spelled "broke" as "browk"...best phonetic typo ever.  Secondofly, I mean these glasses were BROKE!  They were my "falling asleep glasses" that I would wear to bed and if I fell asleep in them it didn't matter because they were so mangled anyway.  And I guess I also wore them around the house so Matt had the pleasure.  Anyway, the left frame was snapped in a derby accident, the right arm fell off and they sat on my face all weird.  Between you, me and the wall though: they weren't declared too broken to wear until the left arm fell off too.  That is the Tale of the Broken Glasses.

1.10.2011

She's Back!

What's up folks?  It's been a long time since I rapped at ya', so Happy New Year!

When I vacation, I vacation hard, so you'll seen I took an extra week or so off between posts.  Lots of sleeping, reading, relaxing, family.  In addition to this offense, I've also allowed myself a free pass on a January Dress.  Instead will use the month to finish January's Dress (the Sixth one) and catch up on various other sewing projects.  I sewed my man a sweater for Christmas, and still need to review the cleverly awesome Christmas bounty my Granny sent me.  January will be good.  Since you've been without picture of this dress for a while, let me show you how the lining came together...I thought it looked so professional and was uber impressed with myself upon our return home:



(You can see I've made a bit more progress and promise to catch you up on those oh-so-harrowing tales soon!)


The vacation was great, and without sewing.  It was the only full week I had off all year, and I took advantage of it.  Completely relaxing and refocusing.  I'm excited for 2011.  The best part about the trip though?: When we got there my sister-in-law was pregnant and when she left she had a three day old.  Jaimie and Brad are going to be great parents!  And oh my god, this kid is so cute. 





Hello world, this is Wyatt Matthew and he has a head full of hair!  His 20-sided die sits proudly and lumpily in his crib, out of reach of the dogs. 

I hope you've had remarkable 2011s so far!