For Rosie

Just so you don’t think I forgot, Hoover got his bandana this week, too! I didn’t have too much fabric left in contiguous pieces, so I cut a 17 inch square and serged the edges. He seems to like it.

That is one stylin' Border Collie
That is one stylin’ Border Collie

Happy sewing!

Saturday Stuff

Magnolias on Beacon Street. I probably broke some law snapping the picture with my phone.

I’ve been busy with other things so blogging has taken a bit of a back seat. But I hope everyone is having a great April. Since today is the last day of the month, I figured it was time for a miscellaneous “stuff” post. To whit:
Have you seen today’s Wall Street Journal? It has a magazine insert (WSJ magazine) that has a GREAT article on the 7 ateliers behind the House of Chanel. The article is online for the time being, so get a gander or run out and get a copy.
The Old World Artistry Behind the Modern House of Chanel.

Yesterday while walking the dog, Hoover imparted to us an important life lesson: “It’s not how fast you walk, it’s how thoroughly you sniff.”

New Class at Gorgeous Fabrics Studio! For those in the Boston area, Phyllis and I will be teaching a 4-week class, Custom Fit Jacket Muslin Class. It will take place at the Gorgeous Fabrics Studio over 4 Saturdays in June. Click Here for Information and Registration

Many people have said it all about The Dress. I’ll only add that I hope it puts a stake through the heart of the strapless wedding gown trend.

Finally, today is the day for the “Fast Fit” giveaway. If you want to be in on it, click on the button at the upper right corner of this blog to “like” Gorgeous Fabrics on Facebook. I’ll use a random number generator to pick one lucky winner. The drawing will be somewhere in the 5PM hour (Eastern). I’ll announce the winner in another post. Good luck and…

Happy Sewing!

Halloween Sewing and Sundry Stuff

This year, DS the younger wants to go as an elf from Bored of the Rings Lord of the Rings. So I told him I would make a cape for him to wear. This being costume, not couture, I took lots of liberties and shortcuts. I based the pattern on McCalls 5292. I used dark gray fleece for the fabric. To save time, I shortened the length of the cape by 3 inches so it would fit on a folded length of the fleece. The pattern calls for a CB seam, which I eliminated, and cut the back on the fold. I also eliminated the CF hems and instead used the selvages of the fabric at the opening. That left me with two seams (side seams) and the hood. Since fleece doesn’t ravel, I skipped the bottom hem as well. The result? I give you Legolam Legolas!

DS the younger also wants to start sewing (that’s my boy!) so we are going to make him a pair of pajama pants. We’ll work on that this afternoon. I was his age when I started sewing, so hopefully this will be the start of a lifelong skill.

Parting Shot: Guard Dog

On duty
Hoover, Keeping the world safe from coffee cake.

Words of Warning

You know, when you get home from the hospital after surgery, they give you a list of things you can and can’t do. You can (in my case anyway):

  • Eat a normal diet
  • Take a shower
  • Rest as much as possible for the first 24 hours
  • Resume limited physical activity after 24 hours, increasing as you feel better
  • Remove dressings after 48 hours

You cannot: 

  • Drive for at least several days
  • Drink alcohol
  • Lift anything
  • Make legal decisions for at least 24 hours after the anesthesia wears off

Nowhere in any of the post-op instructions do they warn you of the dangers of reading David Sedaris’ book, When You are Engulfed in Flames, specifically the section on the Stadium Buddy. They say that laughter is the best medicine, but let me tell you: that book is hazardous to your health on a good day, never mind if you had someone slice into your abdomen two days prior! I was laughing so hard I was crying, for more than one reason.

Today, Phyllis is coming up to visit. I’m feeling well enough that I might try to get some work done on the Chanel jacket. The under sleeves are cut on the bias. I think I’ll sew the sleeves together so they don’t stretch out too much. We’ll see how my energy holds up. What I’d really like is to get out and take a short walk before the snow starts later today. This is the tough part; I don’t know how to gauge how much to do.

Parting Shot – Guard Dog:

Hoover, hard at work keeping his world safe.

    Slow Going, Steady Progress

    I’ve been working on my McCalls dress, but it’s been some slow going for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not crazy about their construction methods, so I’m using my own, which take a little longer. The way the pattern is designed, the bodice and midriff are lined, but the skirt isn’t. I thought about whether to line the skirt, but I decided instead to underline it, so I can do a completely invisible hem. Here are the skirt pieces laid on my home cutting table after I had basted the underlining to it.

    I don’t really like the way they have you attach the sleeves. They tell you to stitch the bodice and bodice lining together, then stitch the lining of the sleeve to the sleeve at the hem, turn the lining to the inside and attach the sleeve/lining to the armhole of the bodice/lining. I decided to make them separately, setting the sleeves in  the lining, then setting the sleeves in the garment bodice. I’ll attach them at the sleeve hems and necklines, but I’ll do them in different order. I’ll show it in a pictorial when I write the review. Oh, and to prove that I do practice what I preach, I set the sleeves just like I showed in my post on Setting a Sleeve Into an Armhole. Here you can see sleeve pinned and hand basted into the armscye.

     The other thing that has slowed me a bit is the plaid. I’ve been taking my time and matching my plaid lines up, through careful cutting, sewing, ripping out and resewing, and steam shrinking. The bodice shell and the bodice lining are both complete. I haven’t attached them to eachother. I’ll do that tomorrow, I hope. The rest of the construction from here out should go pretty quickly so I hope to have this all finished this week. Here’s the bodice (it’s hanging open in the back)

    Parting Shots: Hoover and His Boys
    It was a gorgeous day here (and the Pats beat Miami – Go Pats!!!). DH and both DS’s did yardwork. Hoover’s favorite thing in the world is to be outside with his sheep people. DH finished chopping a big pile of wood – left over from when the trees were taken down last year. So here’s Hoover with DH and the big pile of wood.

    Poor DS the elder almost never gets face time on my blog it seems. But here he is in the front yard with Hoover:

    And here is Hoover getting his belly scritched – that is one happy dog….

    Happy sewing!


    L to R: Hoover, Tessa, Lexie

    This week I have tripled the number of dogs in the house. Tessa the Rottweiler and her daughter Lexie (the puppy formerly known as Yellow) are staying with us while their owners are on vacation. Then when we head off to vacation, Hoover will stay with them. We are referring to our house this week as Puppy Camp, or Camp Hoovie.

    There are only two problems with having three big dogs in the house. First, the amount of dog hair more than triples. Second, I have to pick my way over dog carcasses that like to strew themselves all over the floor. Other than that, they are great pooches. And Lexie likes to park herself in my sewing room, right behind wherever I am working, so I nearly go ass-over-teakettle any time I try to move. Oh well, it’s nice to have the company.

    Happy sewing… woof!

    Weekend Pictures

    The video of the concert isn’t supposed to be ready for about 2 weeks, but DH and DSons took pictures at the concert.

    Here’s Ryan conducting the chorus

    Here’s The first song of our set – “I Can’t Sit Down”. I’m sitting next to Dick Frost, who is a wonderful baritone. I love singing with him, we always have a great time. We weren’t singing for this one. But the funny thing is that I was singing along silently with the chorus, to stay warmed up. You don’t see it in this picture, but there’s one picture where my mouth is closed while my throat is obviously working. You see that a lot with singers.

    And MTV videos notwithstanding, singing is not an aesthetically pleasing endeavor if done right. Watch any good singer and you will see that when they open their mouth, they have a lot of stuff going on at the back of their throat that doesn’t photograph well. Usually when you see stills of singers, they aren’t really singing. Same with videos. You’ll see people lipsynching, and keeping their lower jaw set so they don’t get a double chin effect. Not so when someone is really singing.

    Dick was up next. He sang “I Got Plenty o’ Nothing”, and nailed it.

    The audience just ate it up. What fun!

    After that, I sang “Summertime”. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t nervous at all. I think this was the first time in about 20 years that I didn’t have butterflies when I stood up to sing. I was even sitting there while Dick was singing, thinking, “Wow, my mouth isn’t drying out like it usually does before a performance. Whazzup with that?” I think it went really well. I love this song, and I can’t believe I never performed it in public before.

    It was a truly wonderful moment. I’ve said before that the closest I ever get to a religious experience is when I sing. This was it. Allow me a little navel gazing for a moment. When I sing, I really try to interpret and internalize the text. The music is beautiful, but it’s the words that make it communicate. “Summertime” is a lullaby, and when I sing it, I immediately call to mind holding my children and rocking them to sleep or comforting them. I try to float the high notes, not blast them. It makes the music that much more lovely to me, and I hope that comes across in my singing.

    Okay, enough navel gazing. The last song was “I’m On My Way”. It was a blast. I got to hit the wicked high note at the end, which is always fun. That one I did power through. Fun fun fun!

    Here’s a better picture of the dress I wore. It’s Butterick 4343. I made it 5 years ago for another concert. It’s actually a little big these days – yay! It’s made from a 4 ply silk, lined with silk habotai. You can’t see it, but I did a hand-set embellished zipper with sequins and beads on both sides. It’s fabulous and comfortable!

    Okay, enough about me. Here’s the parting shots from the weekend. Mother’s Day was wonderful. One of the things we did was take Hoover to a place we call “Dogtopia”. It’s a huge field in Lexington that has a cistern where dogs can swim. Hoover loves to jump into the water, so here are some action shots I took:

    I cut out another knit top and am about 2/3 of the way through it. I’ll review it tomorrow.
    Happy sewing!

    The View

    It snowed again last night. This week they are predicting two more snowstorms, followed by sub zero weather. Sounds like it’s time to make a boeuf bourgignon. Actually tonight I’m going to make a roast chicken. But I’m going to do the stew thing this week.

    Here are a couple of shots for those of you who don’t get to share in the wunnaful world of weather we get here in New England. First up, the view from our back deck:
    Yes, the Mustang is a pig in the snow. No I don’t drive it much in this weather.

    Second – Hoover. He loves the snow, and he loves lying in snow banks while we’re out shoveling. And he loves bounding across the snow after snowballs.
    Okay, that’s all for now. I’m heading up to the sewing room. Hopefully I’ll have a review of the cardigan later today.

    Happy sewing!

    One Last Set of Puppy Pics

    Today, Tessie’s puppies went to their new homes. Sigh. They grow up so quickly! Yesterday I went over to take some last pictures for them. Dawn (the owner) asked me to bring “Uncle Hoovie”. Hoover has met the puppies before, but they were really little and not sure what to make of him. This time, they are bigger, more confident, and curious. So here are a couple of pictures from Uncle Hoover’s visit with “the kids”:

    Uncle Hoovie’s here!

    Forget the kids, it’s snack time!

    Not sure which puppy this is. I think it might be Red

    Nose to nose

    And the aftermath….

    Happy puppies!

    They Should Come with Warning Labels

    That say, “I turn into a large, slobbery dog”. Remember I told you that Tessie had her puppies? Here they are. They are 6 weeks old, and they are sooooo cute! Right now they don’t have names, only colors (differentiated by their collars). They will get names when they each get their owners.

    First up is Green, aka The Green Monster. He will be a 120 lb. lap dog. He’s a creampuff.

    Red is the other boy in the crew. Another sweetie.

    White is the one that I really love. She’s such a cutie, and so sweet. She has a droopy eyelid, so the vet sutured it. I guess that makes her not show quality. I wouldn’t care. I’d take her home.

    Purple. What a cutie patootie! And she is going to be a big girl.

    Yellow. Can you say, “trouble”? She’s got that mischief in her eye, and she’s always playing with the others.

    And here is the proud mama herself.

    Now, I can’t post about someone else’s dog without talking about Hoover. Hoover has decided that one of his favorite things is to play Basketball. And you know what? He’s not half bad! You should see him catch air when he is rebounding.

    He’s okay on offense, but he’s really good on defense!

    Happy puppies!