Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Off to New York!!

Wish me luck finding some beautiful fabric for my Vogue coat!

To tide you over until net week, here is a picture of my sewing helper T-Rex:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Once in a lifetime!

I am doing my back-to-school cleaning, plus we were having some friends over for dinner, sooo....the sewing, ahem dining room table, is clean! I was forced to move my hoarder-like piles and piles of sewing stuff.
This made me feel better today. lol. This is my nearly finished lined black pencil skirt. I hope to finish it today!

Plus I organized my tiny tiny closet. I had to buy a stacky thing for my sweaters and pants, I guess because I have sewn so many dresses!
Hopefully I will do some more sewing before NYC on Thursday! Yay!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vogue 775 Muslin- the winter coat

Here you can see how the front is kimono sleeve, but the back is a set-in sleeve, with a dart going straight down the center.
Here is the waist shaping, since the front is one giant piece, with this little addition.
The front, which fits fine ( I was too lazy to put on a bra)
The back fits perfectly! Still has some ease, even with my arms crossed. Ignore the collar that I didn't baste down.
Doesn't the back look nice?
Use your imagination, with it pressed, in wool, it will look amazing...
Poppin my collar, lol.
So really, the only changes I made was to shorten the bodice by 1 inch and the skirt by about 3-4 inches.

My design changes will be adding 2-3 inches to make it have long sleeves, and to change the construction of the cuffs and collar. I hate when it calls for folded under seams- I know they're there! So I will cut doubles for all of that and fold the seams to the inside. Oh and make facings for the sleeves, so that I can wear the cuffs turned up or down with no visible seams!

It's going to be amazing! Sharpies and muslin- who knew how productive this could be? Now I feel confident spending a bit of money on really nice wool!

A New Orleans Original

Giant potholes, that is. You thought I was talking about a daiquiri, you wish! Please note, one is merely the LENGTH of a minivan, the other has the DIAMETER of a minivan. The one on the left is about a foot deep and the big one is well over a foot.
Andrew, doing a highly scientific depth test.
We used to have huge amount of fun sitting on the balcony and watching people violently grind their car against the ground, or slam on the brakes at the last minutes, etc. I justify my amusement by saying no one should be driving down a residential side street going over 30 mph.

And if you know anything about New Orleans, you know that it's been like this for months, and may never be fixed.... but I'll miss this city when we move someday...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I have been totally unmotivated lately. I can feel my summer slipping away...back to work soon. I have an insane to-do list, and just the thought of it makes me want to nap and do nothing.

Projects I need to finish in the next week:

1. Coat muslin, fit, rip apart and decide how much fabric I need to buy
2. Black wool pencil skirt, waiting on lining shipment from Vogue fabrics
3. Skirt with inverted pleats made out of red and beige quilters cotton
4. Finish re-fashioning those vintage dresses. I started the flowered one, but between the needle jamming the fabric into the feed dogs and making the elastic violently tight on the one sleeve I finished, I lost my mojo...

Plus I want to think ahead to Halloween. Last year, school had me so stressed out I was grinding my teeth at night and I couldn't sew any costumes. I need to think of something awesome. T-Rex is going to be Napoleon Bonaparte, and I am thinking something like Vivian Von Dimples' costume, it's pretty stupendous. Like a beer garden!

Any great ideas for a Halloween costume? I will draft it myself, so I don't need a pattern...

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's...alive!! The Necchi, that is.

I got the Necchi working! All it needed was a little TLC. It has been cleaned, de-linted, and oiled in all possible locations. A little oil on the belt, of all places, and it was ready to rock.
I must say, this has taught me a lot about sewing machines. This is like my bike story. I have a beastly 100 lb vintage bike that I love, I love it so much I'm afraid to tinker with it for fear of ruining it. Then I got a less cool vintage bike at a garage sale for 10 bucks, and I learned how to clean up an old bike and tune it up and I sold it on Craigslist for 80 bucks. So then I could apply my knowledge to my better, beloved bike.

Now take that story and apply it to my beautiful, awesome Singer 15-90 and this weirdly green Necchi. Same thing. So while I got this guy working, I also de-fuzzed and oiled (for the first time, bad Molly!) my Singer. Can you believe I have had it since 2006 and never oiled it? And it runs like a dream...I love that thing.
Look at all the things that came with the Necchi. Three feed dog plates, several bobbin holders, the original manual (which you need because threading this thing is totally absurd), and bunch of feet, including one for sewing on buttons!!!!!! OMG, I wish the Singer did that. I hate sewing on buttons! This machine can zig-zag, so it can sew on buttons.

Now look below. What is that thing, you ask? It looks like an eye ball.
Why, that is the Wonder Wheel, of course. It does decorative stitches. Two bars ( I am missing the top one, which is longer) hook into holes on the levers that control the length of the zig zag and stuff, and then make fancy patterns, all by itself. I am tempted to buy some wire and wire cutters tomorrow and make one to try it out. I have pliers, I am crafty, I bet I could do it!!
Lastly, here are my stitch samples. So it works, doesn't jam and will be great for teaching kids to sew on. Even on "HI" speed, it goes a weak medium, so no one will puncture their fingers! hee hee.

Parting shot- we get to start decorating our rooms now, so I took some pictures. Since I had "The Cart" (say that in an evil voice) last year, and had to move through other people's classrooms all day long, I am psyched about having my OWN room!! AHHH. Now I can still be mildly jealous of the people who have enormous eight-window rooms upstairs, but I am still excited!!!
The back wall is inexplicably blue, and the front beige. Sorry about the lighting, it looks less prison-y in person!
Anyways, I'm excited about lots of things! Yay. I have been washing all of that free fabric and I must say, to each his own. I would not make a single thing out of any of this fabric, for my own garments. However, other people will like it, and it was free, and it will be great for the club!

and the Closer is on tonight! Yay!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sewing Club

I have definitely decided to do a sewing club at school. From what I saw today, they are building one home ec room, but it is mid-construction, so I don't know if it will have sewing machines or not.

Hopefully some students will be interested and join- I didn't do this last year, so who knows.

In preparation, I asked on freecycle (a yahoo group where people can give or get things for free in your community) if anyone had sewing stuff to donate to a middle school club. I only got three responses, but they were all very generous.

One woman gave us a little singer box full of tiny spools of thread, one woman gave me a few patterns and four giant tins of buttons, and the woman today gave me four GARBAGE bags full of patterns and fabric. So I think we will be ok on supplies until we can do a fundraiser of some kind. How exciting!

I think for the first project we will be learning how to cut out a pattern and hand sew decently. I have received several craft patterns to make purses/bags. Does this sound too hard for a first project?

I also saw this online, which looks insanely cute to me- click click! Stuffed animals made from goofy drawings? Sooo cool.

There was also a pattern for a hideous fleece scarf with snipped fringe all over it. That would certainly be easy, but who wants a scarf in August in Louisiana? lol.

Any great ideas that would be super cheap and/or free?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Help me with this! (Garage sale loot)

So we went to a couple estate sales and I bought this sewing machine for $5. The lady swore it worked. It does, sorta, not really.... It's a Necchi Bu Mira, a kind of light green color.
It sits in its own table and weight like 500 lbs. Andrew did all the heavy lifting, and we did not destroy the inside of his car. If it wasn't so hot, we could take the Oldsmobile, it is gigantic inside and I have already ripped up the roof felt moving around my bike, so no worries!
I cleaned off the outside which was very grimy. But then we couldn't get it to work. So Andrew took off all the plates, and the motor and we poked around inside. Then, he looked underneath and realized the knee pedal was not plugged in. Oops!

So he put the motor back on and we plugged it in and the belt moves, weakly, as long as the needle is disengaged. It groans and can't move the needle the rest of the time. I'm going to go buy some oil at Jo-Ann and see how the oiling will help.

Help me:
Beyond oiling it, it is having trouble moving the needle up, the rest of the movement is easy. Any thoughts on what inside would do this? It does have a manual, luckily.

Afternoon update:
I have oiled it (prob too much, they were squirts more than drops) and it will stitch. Well, I haven't tried thread yet, but it moves. It seems like either the plastic belt is too loose, or the motor is giving up...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tweed Pencil Skirt

I made McCalls 5817 on the left, just the skirt. I wanted it because it had a curved waistband and double kick pleats on the back.
Hmm, could have used a mirror...some ironing, or andrew telling me my slip is hanging out...but it shows the shaping seams and the kick pleats. Let's try to ignore how all of my stripes are ever so slightly off. I tried!
Side, nice and sleek.
This was my "oops I didn't cut it on the fold" waistband. At least the plaid is on an angle. The first one wasn't and it looked really weird, like noticeable to someone who knows nothing about sewing.

Kick pleats with my slip I made recently.
Overall, pretty happy with it.
I already cut it out again in black wool, but I haven't put it together yet. I might buy some black Bemberg and line it and buy some extra for whatever jacket I end up making.

Although I made this a 10, and then had to take some in on the sides. After the 8 shorts were insanely tight? So I guess I don't know what size I am in McCalls...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

White shorts re-do

Today is about 100 degrees out. We had plans to walk the dog at the park, but he only wanted to sit in the shade. This picture is post-rolling-in-mystery-stink.
Look at that precious baby face!

I remade my white shorts, and they are much more appropriate now. I made them about one inch wider on every piece. That made them comfortably loose. I also drafted a curved waistband to solve the gaping back problem from the last pair. I also did the fly better this time. All in all, much nicer.
I used an awesome vintage button. I think it is slightly off, it's making that fold on the fly... Oh well. Vintage zipper too, once again about 5 dollar shorts.
The back is soo much looser. Yay!
So now I have a wearable pair of white shorts! My summer is over in about 2 weeks, but it will be warm here through October, so they'll get some use!

Coat update:
We're going to NY the last weekend in July, so I need to finish this! Then, off to buy beautiful fabric for a coat. I'm thinking chocolate brown and tan, but we'll see....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cape progress!

This is the cape that is taking me years to make... I finally did the welt pockets and the buttonholes. I would give the welts a 7/10, they aren't perfect but they are decent.
Close-up of the awesome buttons:
I found my receipt from Mood when I was cleaning, each button was 4.50. I really like them, they remind me of the desert, like the way earth cracks when it's really dry.
I slapped together a beige half slip two nights ago, another instant gratification project.
I bought this on sale at Hancock yesterday. I really like all the tiny tucks on the bodice. Now, if I can find a fabric I like for it...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garage Sale Loot

I bought all this yesterday at estate sales, but it all needed a wash due to the old house stink.

These curtains were still in their unopened packaging.
I bought these several years ago, but if we're forcing Andrew to hang curtain rods, why not do both?
This dress is cute, it has a slightly western yoke on the front, which the busy print hides. I'm going to shorten the sleeves and hem the skirt to knee length.

This one is very 1940s meets 80s, in my mind. It needs to be hemmed.
I love National Geographics, both to read and to use for World History. I got all of 1968 except November. Now I have well over 100 for my classroom. Plus, one Nancy Drew book, which I loved as a kid. I read every single one. I had my mom's collection, and if it wasn't there I got it from the library, and if the library didn't have it, I got it on an inter-library loan. It was the same for L.M. Montgomery a few years later.
All told, I spent 7.50 and walked away happy!

PS I also added all my marks to my muslin today, so I'm one step closer.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vogue 755 Muslin... in progress

You could safely say I am obsessed with this pattern. I love it. It will be the most beautiful coat in the world.
Fortunately, I own it already. It was my best 25 cent buy at that estate sale. I can't find it on the internet anywhere for sale, so who knows how much it goes for.

I oh so carefully pressed the pieces, and they are all there. It made me nervous- what if I tear one? (duh, tape it.) I'm IN LOVE, I can't be logical!

I laid out the muslin on the floor and threatened Andrew and the dog with violence if they came anywhere near my pattern. They cowered in fear.

Not really, it sounded dramatic.

Then I carefully cut them all out. Man it used an absolute freeking sheet ton of fabric. Sheet. It might be thwarting my plans of owning a cashmere coat. Grr. The envelope says 4 yards of 54 inch fabric, and I think it's telling the truth. yikes.

So, I am making a real muslin out of muslin and I am going to fit it perfectly using my Kenneth King guidelines in my Threads magazines my mommy bought me.

And it will be beautiful.

And then I will pick it all apart and lay it out again to see if I really need 4 yards!!! Eek.

PS- Due to my shortness, I usually can get away with buying much less. Like my halter top and pants wanted 4 yards and I bought 3 and it was fine. Vogue 755 has weird shaped pieces, so we shall see.

And then I will go to New York and buy the most lovely fabric ever envisioned for my beautiful (future) coat.

Oh, and did I mention it's an unprinted pattern? Luckily, it'll be the second one I've done, but tomorrow's sewing will be transferring all the dots and squares onto my muslin in pen.

Wish me one billion buckets of luck!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Instant Gratification

First I cleaned up my telephone table, which was buried under a mountain of stuff. The bags underneath are scraps I am saving for Sewing Club, which I will be starting when school recommences. That deserves its own post, because it's awesome.
Then I found 2 yards of this paisley cotton and I remembered that I had planned to make an ironing board cover over Spring Break (which was in March).
So I slapped one together!! Two layers of quilt batting, some cotton and some elastic and I have a nice looking cover. We won't get any closer because the cutting is ragged and the sewing is shoddy, but it looks better than the towel I have been using for almost a year (ahhhh)!!
I don't know how many other sewing ladies like Southpark, but that framed embroidery reminds me of Cartman's evil forest creatures. Hee hee.

Halloweenie and the perfect pencil skirt

This is the Halloweenie. He was being super cute, so I posed him in my orange chair. Usually my two nice chairs are off limits, so he is making a funny face like I'm trying to trick him.

I had a weird dream. I had a baby, but people were chasing me and I kept having to run away with my baby, who during most of the dream was T-Rex. At one point I had to find him in a motel room full of wiener dogs and escape. I am always having dreams about being chased through large, old buildings with lots of staircases and weird rooms.

Anyone care to guess what that says about my brain? LOL

This is the pattern I like for pencil skirts. I made a 10, but it ended up being loose. How were those white shorts so grotesquely tight in a 8 and the skirt in a 10 is loose? Bah.

It was a comedy of errors making this. I gave no thought to the plaid when cutting out the (first) waistband. Since it is curved, it just made all the lines look off and crooked. So I cut out a new one and re-did it, but didn't cut out the front on the fold. So it's all goofy. Never fear, I will still wear it to school.

Now this picture makes the skirt look like all kinds of hideous, but it looks much better on me. I am going to finish my cape though, and then do one awesome photo shoot with both. I swear the zipper does not look that bad in person!! Nor is the hem violently crooked.

It's cool because it has a double kick pleat and all the seams give it some nice shaping.

This was a good practice and now I will cut it out of my nice black wool. But first I must finish my cape!!!