Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Hit or Miss?

 Here's where I started late yesterday afternoon. I didn't know how this would fit, so I decided to use 'scraps' on hand, I was hoping for a loose casual top with plenty of ease around the bust. (Notice how skinny the models legs are. No wonder it looks good on her.) 
 And this is where I stopped at the end of the day. No hem or pockets yet, and TBD on the sleeves. I did have to adjust the armscye a bit as it pulled, and there really is not much ease when I want to move my arms forward. Not good. I was hoping for a feminine look, kinda sweet and girly. Can I pull off girly at 76? I used three different prints, which in itself was satisfying.

The yoke is not meant to have an opening, but I thought I would give it one, and make it a feature with a couple of buttons. Meh. The gathers gave the bust area room, but also sort of emphasize the bosoms, which was definitely not my intention. Puff sleeves? Not so sure about those either. 

  But the fit around the hips is fine. So I give it 5 out of 10. I will finish it, just in case I lose 20 pounds. And I didn't ruin any of my 'good' fabric, so it was worth making in scraps.

But what is it that will make me happy? I need to be able to move my arms about without binding. Not too much to ask, and have body parts covered and diminished as a public service. I am far from throwing in the towel, as the process of sewing is rewarding in itself. And it occurs to me that I would rather not pull things over my head or struggle to get them on. So button fronts again for round two. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

Fabric Sets

The fabric I ordered showed up on Saturday, along with a vintage pattern I found on Ebay. Oooh so happy! This is all Waverly cotton from Walmart. Actually I already had big lengths of red and yellow, so I just added those to this stash. I will prewash everything before cutting out a pattern, having learned from experience. 

This pattern is no longer available, and I had wanted it for some time, and voila, just when I was ready to sew, it appeared on Pinterest and I followed the link and snatched it right up. I like the small yoke feature and while it has pleats on the bodice, I am probably going to just gather up that part. I was inspired by my fashion guru Marcia Lois Riddington, who repurposes fabrics from the past, and is just such a clever sewist. Here she is wearing her take on this pattern, from 2019. We love pockets. And necklaces.

So for fun, I have coordinated my long-saved prints and now I will have to decide which to use for what.
 Our weather has gotten ferociously steamy of late and staying indoors to sew is the perfect solution. At church yesterday I wore a summery top and nearly froze to death. So even summer wear has to provide a bit of protection from the AC. As I look at the darker colors here, I am reminded of yarn that could coordinate, especially the royal and the purples.

What I must also do is weed out the clothes that I will never again wear and donate them to my local Goodwill. That will feel like a fresh start. 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Just sewing

OK, you've seen this story before. I use this pattern for all my 'everyday shirts'. Yup, it's a pajama pattern, McCalls 5992, but I like it because it is so straightforward and I can adjust it to my needs. This white shirt is the test garment for size. I made it in a large and ...meh. It's just OK. No biggie, it works, just not thrilled with it. 

The fabric, from Joann's, on sale, is metallic silver on white, which when I washed it to preshrink, lost most of its sparkle. I expected that. I used another gray/white cotton for the details, inside color, pocket and side seam pocket binding. Mother of pearl buttons. A big white shirt is useful but I don't look great in this one.
So I made it again in medium, much shorter, collarless and curved hem. I only had two yards of fabric so the sleeves had to be pieced. Not happy with those sleeves and I may make them slimmer and/or add a gathered band at the bottom. No pockets on this top, because of the curved hem. But I do have a necklace that is exactly the same pink and green of this Kaffe Fassett print. 
I looked it up, I've had this fabric for 8 years! It has taken me this long to use this because I didn't have anything to wear it with. Until now. I ordered a bunch of Waverly cotton in 2 yard lengths from Walmart. I really like the weight of this cotton, which works for pants, shirts or as a dress.

Sixteen of these pieces, in oodles of colors. If the color doesn't work, I can return it to my local store. As if. 
The issue is size. My size.

My Michelin Man body means I have to find a style that flatters and that is quite a challenge. Good thing I can sew. A pair of pants or blouse made from this fabric cost $6.27. I'll keep trying until I find the pattern that I love. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Update on Everything

 Dearest Reader,    Well, so much has happened since last we spoke. I was at my wits ends with Dave and mentioned it all to my doctor when I went in for a checkup (I'm fine, so nothing there to speak of). She had mentioned Hospice months earlier and I was just not ready to hear this advice, until now. I called Hospice and they said we needed a doctor's referral. so I called for that but it was Memorial Day weekend, so it was the Tuesday after that Hospice called and set up an appointment for an evaluation. 
We passed of course. It turns out that Hospice is not just for the end of life folks. Dave is healthy in every way except for his long term Parkinson's and now dementia and paranoid psychosis. Phew! But I learned that hospice can take care of all his and my needs, FOR FREE through Medicare. We have a nurse come in twice a week to take his vitals, another nurse comes in twice a week to bathe and shave him, and we also have a social worker and chaplain once a month. A volunteer comes in and sits with Dave for a couple of hours while I am at bible study. And if I need a few days away,  they will bring Dave to a place where he can be cared for and I can have a vacation. Amazing. There are doctors and pharmacies involved if we need them, and a hospital bed, walker, cane, bath chair, etc. if we request.  Who knew? And there is no time limit on this care. 
So naturally I am floating on waves of relief and have already begun to get my life back in bits and pieces. 

 I've moved my rooms around again, so that I once more have a sewing room. O my how wonderful it is to have this haven for creativity. I have saved (for 8 years!) a bunch of beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics for tops and ordered some coordinating Waverly cottons for pants and shorts. I made a really cute dress from New Look 6414

but it turned out too small. Darn. So I gave it to my pal Patsy who fits it perfectly. 

Undaunted, I redrafted the pattern, made it again and now it fits me. It's not quite a dress in this length, more of a tunic, which I wear with crisp white pants. 

I spent a large part of a day searching for all my sewing supplies which got stored in closets and boxes, etc. and have ordered a cabinet to keep them all centrally located in the studio. In doing that search, of course I found other things which had 'gone missing' since I put everything away to focus on just caring for Dave. My reasoning was that if I paid attention to him all day, everyday, things would improve. It did work, but of course I was denying the need to have me-time. Resentment set in, under the surface, and it was a nasty thing. But let's just forget all that and concentrate on how wonderful things are now. Yay!

 I am loving this new coneflower, Tres Sombreros, which is going nuts in the front garden.

 And the lettuces I started in March in egg shells have grown huge, and I am harvesting the heads and have enjoyed them in salads regularly. 
Things around the house have improved too. My wonderful brother in law, John, has painted my front door, and it happens to match my blue flower pots. I am so coordinated!
  The electrician returned after a four month hiatus and finished rewiring the whole house, adding two much needed outlets and changing out the ceiling lights in the living room. So happy. There had been plans to build a front deck like I had in my previous house, but I opted for the flower bed instead and since that is going gangbusters, I am so glad I made that choice. Turns out that our carport is the perfect spot for a couple of chaise lounges, a dining table and even a planter table. I love having the breezey shade while I enjoy an iced tea and read a library book. 
I'll be keeping you up to date on things more regularly now, as I have the mental space to do so. Hurray!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Almost a month later...

 The garden is in. And it grew to include some of the front lawn. In my previous post I showed a spot that was previously low, and got filled with the upturned sod from the current flower bed. It sat for weeks as just dirt and I finally decided (back and forth really) to cover it with cardboard and mulch it and use it as a second flower bed next year when the grass underneath was really dead. I had a small pile of compost available so I filled my grow bags and planted some stuff in them. Then I had my lawn guys dig a hole (pick axe was necessary!) and they planted the small Japanese Maple. 
My friend Pasty brought me two banana tree starts, and not wanting another hole dug, I bought 5 flower pots and put them in one. The others have individual annuals per pot. Texas Bluebonnets, zinnias, short cosmos and tall cosmos. One tiny pot has a peony and then the flower boxes have coleus and unsprouted trailing nasturtiums.  
Containers make it so much easier to plant, and of course, no weeding. In the big round bags, starting from the left, I have five pepper plants, all different varieties, and then two phlox and one verbena bonariensis. I stuck in a few Asiatic lilies which had started growing in their commercial plastic bag. Poor things. We'll see if they take. In bag #2 are a rudbeckia and a Tres Amigos Sombrero coneflower. Lots of blue bedder salvia, marigolds and red Wave petunias, plus six corms of calla lilies. In bag #3 are three different varieties of daisies and one big red Spintop gaillardia, as well as Pink wave petunias, which were mismarked as red, oh well, and six red Empress of India nasturtiums started from seed. Then marigolds and the final plant is a big lavender from Patsy, making it some annuals and lots more perennials. 

The calla lilies in the main shade bed are blooming now and I am so thrilled that one is white. Behind them is one of two Empress Wu hosta which I found at Lowe's. They will grow into monsters and I will have to transplant a bunch of stuff as they encroach. Happy to do it.
The  Dutch Iris are all open and one is white, which is a surprise treat. One large stalk of lily is behind them and is one of a dozen or so that are waiting in the wings. 
On the other side of the driveway is my zinnia bed which I am now referring to as the Cell Block garden, because... it is. Our neighbor cat, Luna, digs in there occasionally, but soon it will be filled with bigger plants and she won't find it so enticing. I also sowed snapdragon seeds there and they have all come up, infinitesimally, but enthusiastic nonetheless. There will be massive thinning in my future. The cells surrounding the bed have lots of lettuces, cilantro, basil, nasturiums, plus one thriving sage. 

These two Japanese maples are doing well and I hope the banana trees take and quickly outgrow their pot. 
Each morning I go out to inspect the garden and observe as things sprout, open or need deadheading. This makes me so deeply satisfied. I am so glad I decided to have 'one more garden' instead of just leaving it as is. But this is my last garden, even if I do have plans to further expand the one on the front lawn. No more digging for me. My knee and back are just now recovering and I can't take the risk of permanently hurting myself. Raised beds are the thing, plus containers, and because I live in this neighborhood, I don't have any 'yard critics' to discourage me. 
Dave is not doing well and dementia is here in full. He is aware of it and 'quits' everyday. I guess that means  he quits trying to make sense of his reality. He gets lost in the house, small as it is, and is unable to dress, bathe or feed himself without my help. Now that I am done putting the garden in, I can and will devote more attention to his needs. Things run smoothly if I put in the time, so for now, I will care for him myself. Having help would be nice, and it may come to that, but I can't figure out how to squeeze in that other person. One day at a time, and lots of naps is how we cope.
Thankfully I have wonderful diversions, church, regular visits with my sister and Patsy, and peaceful times walking the old blind dog, very, very slowly.