Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I finally found a place! It's beautiful and I am so happy that we will be living like ADULTS! (not jammed into a dumpy, too-small apartment due to broke-osity)

Not only did I negotiate the guy down 200$ a month, but it really is lovely. It has windows! That aren't painted shut! Fresh air!

They had no problem with the dog! Well, I mean, there was still a pet deposit...

It has wood floors! and a balcony! The weather is so nice here for so much of the year, and now I can enjoy it, and T-Rex can lay in the sun!

It's a second floor unit, so it's super safe, which unfortunately is always something to consider in New Orleans. And it has a back staircase, so now my mom can stop imagining we will die in a fire. Just for comparison's sake, my current dump is a third-floor attic, probably forty feet up, with one exit, windows that are five feet off the ground, and neighbors who do things like try to light fires in the old/unworking/just-for-show fireplaces downstairs. So there's reason to be relieved.

Most importantly:

Dishwasher and a washer and dryer!! Heart be still! So that means no more fighting over who has to wash silverware and no more laundromat. How I will miss being leered at by creepy men as I load and unload the dryer, in 100 degree humid heat, while the crazy lady who pees her pants pushes around the shared cart full of her stinky clothes.....

Count your blessings if you have never had to use a laundromat! Actually, I lied. Awhile ago I made a deal with my bf that I would do all other housework if he would do the laundry. He agreed. Then I reneged and made that not include dishes. Hee hee.

Plus teacher training starts on Thursday!! I am so excited!I can't wait to meet my students in two weeks!

All in all I am super happy right now, in case you can't tell! I am almost finished with a dress, which has been in the works for about a month now. I have to finish it before I pack my sewing stuff for the move, so maybe tomorrow...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Quilt

This was probably my first big sewing project. I made myself a quilt the summer before I went to college, so in 2002. It has held up pretty well, since I use it most of the time.

It's a double Irish chain, I think. Full or twin, I can't remember. Probably twin, since it was a dorm bed. It was one of those awesome slice and dice quilts, so I really slapped it together pretty quickly.

That's a view of the whole thing, with the corner flipped up to see the
purple backing. It's tied, not quilted for real.

Here's a close-up of the fabric. The white has a faint leaf pattern. The dots are black and white. The flowers are in bright colors: blue, pink, purple and green.

Seven years and many washings later, it has held up very well. The seams have come apart in a few tiny places, but that is to be expected with the way I slap sewing projects together.

Oregon Estate Sale Loot!

Mom and I went garage sale-ing while I was home, which is one of my most favorite things. Five estate sales, who hoo! I got a lot of loot, and would have bought more if the airlines hadn't started charging for checked bags. Don't get me started on that, though.

I saw three nice vintage sewing machines, two table top, and one in a table. All in working condition and reasonably priced. I should have snuck pictures...

One lady obviously had been into sewing. I got a giant box of zippers, some white gloves, and three awesome vintage patterns! And the lady working threw in the patterns for free!!


Simplicity 7424 from 1948. Goofy slippers. I told my bf I was going to make him the red and blue elf ones. He looked sad.

This is McCall's 1713 from 1952. Cute aprons. I don't have much use for aprons, but they could be cute gifts. I like how the blond girl in red coordinated her apron with her dress. What a good housewife!

This is McCall's 1087 from 1943. To make your own fabric covered boxes, yay. I don't know why I would need one, but I find the idea intriguing. I'm definitely going to try to make each pattern at least once.
Here's my 3$ worth of zippers. Cool colors and sizes, some in their boxes. All metal.

This is loot for my classroom. I got some desks of cards, some maps for the walls, and these four things to laminate and put on the walls. The three small ones are on silk and show some Indian men riding elephants and hunting and stuff. The big one is on homemade paper and shows a village scene from Latin America. I teach US and World History, so I like them.
What a great haul, and mom and I had a fun day!

Mom's Christmas Present

Last Christmas I made my mom a jacket. I used this pattern, Butterick 4610. I of course procrastinated while making it, so I didn't finish it by Christmas, when I went home to Oregon. Therefore, I had to mail it, and only got to see it modeled for me last week, when I surprise visited my parents (which was hilarious).

Making this was a screw-up festival, since I had never made a fully lined jacket before. I was aiming for B (teal), but shortened the sleeves too much and ended up with A (blond in center).

"Where are the pockets?" you ask. Ha. They looked as if a 5 year old did them, so they were left off.

The fabric was from Jo-Ann, but is actually really nice. (In case you can't tell, the Jo-Ann is the only fabric store in my area, and it's selection is weak and tacky, for the most part) It was lightweight wool suiting in a choclate brown with camel and brown swirls. The lining is in the same camel color, which looks nice.

Two minute modeling session in the front yard, since it was 90 out.

Overall it looks nice, but it turned out a little big. That was before I figured out the ridiculous ease on modern patterns. I probably could have made it two sizes smaller, and it would have fit perfectly.

Mom claims she likes it, and hopefully that's true!! and is not just trying to prop up my self esteem. It's far from perfect, and the little asian lady at the dry cleaners scoffed at my sewing (particularly the lapels) when i took it in to get the buttonholes done, but I think it turned out okay. For a first attempt at a lined jacket, with no chances to fit it on the person it was for.

Is that enough of a disclaimer? Ha ha!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

T-Rex's Throne: the Dog Bed

About a year ago, I decided the dog needed his own bed. This was to encourage him to jump onto and off of the furniture less frequently, so I don't end up with a wiener dog in a wheel chair.

I had some leftover jersey I had bought for another project I never finished. He likes to hide food and things in cushions and corners, so there is a nice fold between the base and the sides for him to do that.

The side are stuffed with leftover quilt batting sliced into strips. The base is two old pillows stuffed inside. The back has an overlapping slit to take out the pillows for washing.

He loves his bed, and it was worth the hour I spent making it. My only regret is using such a light fabric- needless to say, the green is no longer so crisp and clean...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Modern Fashion- circa 2008

This dress was my inspiration. I cut it out of a magazine in the spring or summer or 2008. I know this was from a Nordstrom ad, but I never cut out the "where you can buy it" info, since I will never be spending hundreds of dollars on a jersey dress. I particularly liked the neckline.

Since the ad was in grey, it was easy to see all the detail, like where I needed to make darts. I drafted my own pattern out of muslin, and then tried it on 100 times while sewing to get the fit right. I made it out of medium weight jersey from Jo-Ann in a mint green color.

Don't look at the filthy room, please.

Of course I had to screw some things up- obviously, since it was my first time drafting a pattern. The points could have used a stiffer interfacing, since they try to droop sometimes; also, the white zipper.
For future reference, if Jo-Ann doesn't have a zipper that matches, that does not mean buy a hideous white one. I wish I had bought a big metal one, like for a jacket. Then it would look industrial and intentional, rather than home-made.
Also, my old machine does not do zig-zag or stretch stitch, so the hem is falling out as I continue to snap threads.
Overall, I was very proud of myself, and I think it is very flattering.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Zebra Time: McCall's 5926

I am on a sewing rampage!

This is a 1961 pattern of a simple sheath dress. I like the shape of the dress, although if I make it again, I will slim the skirt down to a more pencil-like shape. I was worried I would look like a sausage, since this one is a size 10. I made it for work though, and I rarely sit down while teaching, so if it turned out snug at the waist, that's fine. However it fits, and if anything, the shoulders and hips are a little big.

From my freecycle loot!

The fabric is really cool- a zebra look, but in beige and dark grey, so it's neutral.

Overall, I like it and I would make this pattern again. I guess it has about 2" of ease, which is reasonable. I like the look- to me, it looks like I could have bought it at Banana Republic for 200 bucks. Ha! I would say it took 3-4 hours to make, including cutting. Super fast!

The droop in the back is the little tuck for walking comfortably. I just need to press it after hemming, so the pleat will return.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Even the sewing machine is vintage!

Like most of the patterns I have been making lately, even my sewing machine came from freecycle! I love freecycle!

In 2006, I was looking for a sewing machine to make curtains, and I posted on freecycle. This awesome woman gave me this beautiful sewing machine because she had two and didn't need it. She even had her husband drive it to my house because it didn't fit in my tiny car. Amazing!

As you can see, it is an old Singer set into its own table. It is beautiful, works perfectly, and it even came with all the original attachments, the owner's manual, the motor oil- everything you could ever need, except the foot for buttonholes, which I refuse to learn anyways.

(Look! The Pile of Shame!!!)

I looked up the serial number online, I think it was a 1956 or 57...