Beginning of a Season, End of an Era

Happy fall! Or spring, if you are in the southern hemisphere. For me, the autumn equinox feels like the beginning of a new year, far more than January, which has always seemed pretty random to me. With the change of season, I made some big changes in my own life. I think my mother’s passing had something to do with it. I have had a very strong urge in the last month (has it been a month already?) to purge and clean house. On top of that, with both boys off at college, I have more time and space.

So the first thing to go was…
Continue reading Beginning of a Season, End of an Era

Pattern Review: Butterick 6330 Jumpsuit, and Sundry Other “Stuff”

Happy Sunday!!! It’s been a while since I last posted. So much has been going on, most of it not involving sewing. But I did manage to make a jumpsuit for myself. I picked up Butterick 6330 at a pattern sale recently. I wanted an easy jumpsuit. Why, I’m sure many of you are asking? After all, I lived through the first go-round with them in the 80s – big shoulder pads and all. But it seems like a nice spring thing. If spring ever gets here, that is. But this is a nice layering piece as well, so that’s how I’m wearing it today.

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, unlined jacket has self-lined front, side-front seams, long sleeves, and optional topstitching. Sleeveless, pullover dress and pull-on jumpsuit/romper (fitted through bust) have blouson bodice, elastic waist, and back neck slit with button/thread loop. All have stitched hems. I made View E, the jumpsuit.

Sizing: 4-26. I started with a 12 at the shoulder, tapering to a 14 at the bust.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Beefy Rayon Jersey in Blueberry from Gorgeous Fabrics. That fabric is sold out, but you can see Similar Fabrics Here. Because you step into this jumpsuit through the neckline, I recommend a fabric with a lot of stretch to it – at least 40% crosswise.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 home sewing machine, Juki MD654DE home serger, Naomi the Naomoto, sleeve board, ham, shoulder stand.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, thread, 5/8″ wide elastic.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits, Tip – Check the Grain on Knits.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? They were fine. I didn’t need them, really. This goes together quite readily.

Construction Notes: I took flat pattern measurements before starting, and this baby has a LOT of ease in the bust, so I didn’t bother with a FBA. Also, the pants part of the jumpsuit are REALLY long in the rise. I noticed it immediately when I made them, so I tried them on before attaching them to the top. I ended up cutting 3/4″ off at the waistline of the pants. It doesn’t affect the look too much, but in the future I will fold it out on the pattern. I recommend checking the rise against your own measurements. Unless you have a really long torso you may want to shorten the pants rise to avoid looking like Pappy O’Daniel.

I serged all the major seams. For the elastic casing I used a 1.5mm wide by 2.5mm long stitch. I added belt loops at the sides and center back.

I used a hook and thread-loop closure at the neck instead of a button/loop.

I hemmed the legs with a .5mm wide by long stitch.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very easy pattern. It goes together quickly and it’s really comfortable. The one dislike is the length of the pants rise, but that was an easy fix.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Not sure if I’ll do this again. Maybe I’ll make the shorts version for summer. That would make a nice beach coverup. Here’s a shot on Shelley and (gasp!) a really bad one on me.

The dress form with legs is at the office, so I pinned it on Shelley.
I couldn’t find the belt I wanted, so I used one that is narrower than I like.

Conclusion: Easy to make; easy to wear.

And in Other Areas of Life…
Today is DS the Younger’s final performance in his high school musical career. He has appeared in 6 musicals at our high school. When he was in 5th grade he was in “The Wizard of Oz” as a member of the Lollipop Guild. The next year he played a child survivor in “Titanic”. Freshman year he landed the role of Link Larkin in “Hairspray”, much to the chagrin of his older brother, who played Corny Collins. Sophomore Year was “Grease” and he played Doody, one of the TBirds. Last year he had the title role in “The Music Man” and this year he’s going out in high style as Bert in “Mary Poppins”.

On the brushes, step in time!
Over the rooftops, step in time!
I think his big bro was pretty proud of him

Poor kid got the flu after the first weekend performances, but he’s mostly over it (it’s all around the high school right now). So today will be his swan song. I may actually shed a tear; it will be the end of an era. Both boys had leading roles in the musicals each year of high school. 7 years in a row. Wow, it will be weird next year.

Well, that’s enough kvelling for the time being.
Happy sewing!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here in the US, it’s Thanksgiving. This is the day we (are supposed to) take time off from the busy-ness of every day life to reflect on those things for which we are grateful. Of course, some folks have to work. Some folks choose to work, and for all of them I am grateful, truly. There are a few other things in my life for which I am also very grateful, and I’ll share a couple of them with you here. I promise not to do a “Thank you to the Academy” speech, but I do want to say I am truly grateful for:

My customers. They rock

My friends. They rock.

My family. They totally rock.

Making it to 5 years from diagnosis with breast cancer. Technically I’m not yet 5 years. That will be December 7. But still, touch wood we got the little bastard.

I’m also very grateful to hear that a dear friend, who has been very ill, was able to finally receive the treatment he so desperately needed. And I am grateful to the person and his or her family who made the treatment possible.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hugs and happy sewing!

Take Two on the Puppy Dress, and Happy Mothers Day!

Let’s go backwards. First, happy Mothers Day to those who celebrate it! We made it a bit of a weekend, with DH and the boys building me a raised bed garden:

Home Depot sells pre-fab raised beds. Yay!
Home Depot sells pre-fab raised beds. Yay!


We also went out and bought lots of herbs, since I have a brown thumb and herbs seem to be hardy enough to survive me.

These came from a local farm. We won't plant them until later this month, because we're supposed to get a cold spell.
These came from a local farm. We won’t plant them until later this month, because we’re supposed to get a cold spell.

We plant tomatoes, and this year we’ll plant a whole lot of them. We love heirlooms, as well as the good ol’ beefsteaks and cherries, so when the weather warms up a bit we’ll put them all in.
For my Mothers Day dinner, DH tried cooking ribs for a very long time over very low heat. They were wonderful! And he got to spend quality time with the little Weber we got for him last year. I think everyone had a nice day!

That's the fire pit we built last year. One of these days we'll get around to replacing the 30 year old length of cedar fence, but honestly, no one notices.
That’s the fire pit we built last year. One of these days we’ll get around to replacing the 30 year old length of cedar fence, but honestly, no one notices.


The other thing I did this weekend was punt the Burda dress muslin. Mary and Mardel nailed it in their comments on my blog post about it. There’s a lot of work to be done, and it still doesn’t guarantee that I’ll be happy with the result. And honestly? I really want to love the result, because I lurve the fabric! So I decided to look through the patterns in my stash, and I stumbled over the Spring 2014 BurdaStyle magazine.
Burda Style Spring 2014
You know, I’ve seen some posts on various forums grousing about this publication, saying that it rehashes patterns from Burda World of Fashion issues. Well here’s the deal as far as I’m concerned. I have a bunch of BWOFs, and I can honestly say they have been a losing investment. They cost around $15 each, which if you look at the number of patterns in them seems like a good deal. But in order to use said patterns, you have to trace them off (I can do that) and – here’s the deal killer to me… add seam allowances. Look, I barely have time to sew, never mind trace, and then add seam allowances. To heck with that. With this magazine, at least the SAs are added to the pattern. So for me (and this is only my personal bias, mind you), I am far more likely to use the patterns in this magazine than in the original BWOFs.


Anyway, I saw a cute cute CUTE dress that I thought would work beautifully for the puppy dress. It’s pattern number 102 in the magazine, a dress with pleats at the left shoulder and right waist. Now the only wrinkle, so to speak, is that it’s a petite pattern. But when I measured the pattern pieces, they really weren’t too far off, so I made a muslin:

I think this will work much better with my Puppy Silk
I think this will work much better with my Puppy Silk

The changes I need to make are to lower the bust point, make a FBA, and add about an inch to the hem. Other than that? At 5’6″, I never thought I was a petite, but this works for me.

So I think we have a winner!

Happy Mothers Day to all, and Happy Sewing!

“The Twenty-Five”

I don’t take part in any online sewing forums, except one: Stitchers Guild. And even there, I’m sporadic at best. Today someone posted a meme of sorts, asking what 25 dishes you make well. Have I ever told you that my sisters and I learned to cook in self defense? It sounds funny, but I’m serious. My mom, bless her, is the world’s worst cook. I mean it. Ask me about the Christmas before my 30th birthday, and why I never eat lamb, and you’ll get an earful. But first you have to buy me a drink.

Anyway, we really did learn to cook in self defense. The meme to which I refer asks you to name your 25 “best dishes”. It doesn’t place any parameters on said dishes. I honestly didn’t think I would come up with 25 dishes, but hey, I did! They can be entrees, sides, desserts or whatever. Here are mine:

1. Roast chicken
2. Standing rib roast
3. Jambalaya
4. Shrimp etoufée
5. French bread (King Arthur Flour recipe)
6. Brioche
7. Challa
8. Risotto
9. Chicken piccata
10. Tuna mush (tuna salad with chopped up hardboiled eggs, capers and a little bit of mustard)
11. Pulled pork
12. Chocolate chip cookies
13. Cinnamon rolls
14. Pork roast stuffed with dried fruit and pine nuts
15. Punched potatoes with white truffle oil
16. Chicken noodle soup.
17. Parisian style hot chocolate with mont blanc
18. Molten chocolate cakes
19. Nasi Goreng
20. Indonesian chicken sate
21. Deviled eggs
22. Beer can grilled chicken
23. Mixed berry shortcake with mascarpone/whipped cream topping
24. Watermelon/feta salad
25. Boeuf Bourgignon

I was surprised that I could come up with 25 dishes that I make on a regular basis that everyone seems to enjoy. Well, not the ‘seems to enjoy’ part, just the ’25, really?’ part.

So how about you? Do you have any 25 dishes (or less, it really doesn’t have to be 25) that you make regularly? Please, tell!

Happy cooking!

Milly Top on the Hoof

This week was… it was a week. There was some wonderful stuff that went on – the HS band went to Disney, and we got to see DS the elder lead the band as they marched down Main Street, and DS the younger play bari sax and dance. The kids all had a great time and Disney redeemed itself to us (long story involving the death of my sister 9 years ago). Here’s a picture of DS the eldest leading them down Main Street at the Magic Kingdom:
Eddie Leads the Band

Of course, the week was bracketed by awful events here in Boston, which DH and I were home to witness. But the city is picking itself up and healing, as Boston is wont to do. Life will go on and things will go back to normal for most of us. Thank you all for your kind words of support. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that almost everyone seems to understand. We’re in this together.

So next on the list are a couple of mundane projects. I made a scarf of the leftover Milly cotton/silk voile, which I planned to hand-rolled-hem on the plane. Alas, I packed the wrong thread. I had two spools of identically colored tan thread, one of which was jeans topstitching thread. Guess which one I packed? So I’ll finish that this weekend. The other mundane project is hemming some curtains so they don’t get caught on the window seat in the family room. Then I’ll figure out what to make next. BTW, here’s a picture of the Milly/Burda top on the hoof:

I call it the Milly Pulitzer.
I call it the Milly Pulitzer.

Thanks again for your support. Happy sewing to all, and to all a good night.

It’s Coming Along, and Happy Birthday to My Darling!

I haven’t posted much because my next project is still in process. It would normally not take too long, but I had to take care of orders from the end of the Birthday Sale at Gorgeous Fabrics (thank you all for your wonderful wishes!)

And on top of that, thanks to the nature of the underlined lace, I wanted to finish the seams. I decided to do a semi-couture finish and hand stitch the lace to the silk underlining.

Took a while, but it was well worth it.

Today is DH’s birthday. Happy birthday, my love! We went out to dinner with BF Barb and her husband Kevin, whose birthday is next Saturday. I wore my Vogue 8825 dress, and DH took a picture:

Yee-ep, it’s a keeper!

That’s all for tonight. Happy sewing!

A Day Late Perhaps…

But still, I wholeheartedly hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. And if you are outside of the US, I hope you had a great Friday today. Yesterday was one of the nicest Thanksgivings we’ve ever had. It was small and quiet. We woke up early and I made cinnamon rolls from scratch for the band breakfast. I’m not a big food-picture-taker. Here’s a shot of them before I put them in the oven. I was pleased with how they turned out. Apparently, they were a HUGE hit with the high schoolers. I made an orange frosting for them. The frosting recipe calls for Frangelico, but I skipped it because, 1 – minors, and 2 – nut allergies. It was not missed.

The recipe is from “Baking Bread, Old and New Traditions” by Beth Hensperger

Being a senior in the band means that the underclassmen come around the night before the Thanksgiving game to TP the house.

We Made Him Clean It Up.

We went to the game. Of course, being typical band parents, we went to the first half and the halftime show. This was DS the Elder’s last regular-season game as drum major. Sniff! He did a great job. I’m so proud of him.

Panorama Shot of the Halftime Show – We Won, Yay!

After halftime, DH dropped me at home so I could get the turkey going. My sister joined us, and the boys came home after the game. We had a lovely, low-key dinner, with lots of laughter and great times. I hope your Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) was just wonderful. And I am truly thankful for all of you that I have had the pleasure to meet on the Internet, and in person!

On Wednesday, I had a boatload of work to do before knocking off (well, sort of) for the long weekend. But it was one of those days where I walked into my office, looked around, said, “Damn, I hate this layout!” and rearranged everything. Yes, I was tanked on caffeine, but it needed it and I really like the results.

After Rearranging, From the Door
And From the Back Wall. Much Better!

My sewing room in my house needs a complete redo as well. I started that today, but I am suffering a tryptophan hangover, so I’ll try to finish it up this weekend.

Meanwhile, DH and I set up the lights on the house. This year we added two flamingos with Santa hats. I love them!

The Santa Hats are Removable, so We Can Use Them for the Sick of Winter Party and All Summer Long

Oh, and in other DS the elder news, he got into Penn State!!!! That’s his first acceptance. Actually, that’s the first of all the colleges we’ve heard from. He loved Happy Valley, so we’ll see if we have a Nittany Lion at this point next year…

Happy sewing!

Checking In On the Kids…

And now, for something completely different.

Last week, our HS football team played Belmont. Their marching band came out at halftime and did an excellent rendition of “Eleanor Rigby”. Our band also did an excellent rendition of the same song. And the same arrangement! Afterward, the band captains from our town went over to talk to the kids from Belmont, and between them all, they decided to get the bands together and play it one more time after the end of the game. It’s nice to see that music was able to break through barriers and bring out the absolute best in two “rival” bands. It’s a lesson we grownups could stand to learn.

DS the Elder is the drum major conducting on the left, wearing the bright red cape. DS the younger is playing baritone sax. You can’t see him, but it’s pretty fun to hear a combined band of about 170 kids.

Happy sewing!

Big thanks to Shirley Fong for taking this video and posting it to Youtube.