Wednesday, July 17, 2024

O Happy Day

 I am so encouraged by these two California gals who decided to purchase these pieces from me. First last week, I was contacted by a previous collector who wanted me to send her this little house quilt. 3 Pennywood Lane.

 Then her friend, also a former collector, emailed me and wanted to know what else I had available. I sent off pictures and she decided on this little house quilt. 5 Pennywood Lane. 

And also this one called Yellow Study.
And this one called Hotcakes #2.
And for good measure, a small painting called Pony.

On top of that, it finally rained and cooled off the really hot temperatures here. What a glorious day. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Inspired by Gudrun

Here's my inspiration from the Gudrun Sjoden website. I love the mix of prints, the bib/yoke, the slight gather under the bib and of course the pockets. Just everything but the price, which even on sale is $62 too much for my pocketbook.  

  I made a quick sketch and figured I could use my standard pajama pattern, McCalls 5992, in large, so it would be like a jacket. I drew lines for each section I would be cutting from different prints. I had a set of five fat quarters in black and white, and an additional two yard piece. Here's is the resulting combination.

I added a bias band with extention ties instead of the plain neckline. 

This is the sorta thing that really gets my juices flowing. The process of figuring out how I can achieve something, and then the doing of it, resulting in exactly my style of garment. 

Sunday, July 7, 2024

McCall's 7969

This popular pattern has been sewn by gobs of folks and even has its own hashtag on Instagram where I first came across it. I love the crossover, or surplice look and figured I ought to give it a try.

Here's my first version from 2023 made from Walmart cottons, just to see if I liked sewing it. I did, I really did. It has a raised waistline and hits at my narrowest spot. And that neckline is LOW but flattering. I have to wear a camisole or I look like I ought to be in Bridgerton. I added a tie belt and pocket, of course. 
 My next version was made from a vintage linen tablecloth and the bodice from leftovers of pants I made. I was enamored with the idea of using things that had been packed away or underused. I got that tablecloth at a resale store. 

 Now, this is not the same pattern, but it was inspired by those dresses. I just switched out the bodice and made the skirt pleated instead of gathered. Cotton from Joann's. I really should have learned that a drapey fabric would be best for a garment with full sleeves and skirt, but alas, I didn't. Still it works and I wear it with no hint of a decolletage.
 O and I pieced the back to add that slit and button loop. 

This is today's version. A short blouse instead of a dress. The changes I made on this were lengthening the bodice by 1.5", raising the neckline to be more demure and adding fancy pockets.  
I loved playing with this old Kaffe Fassett shot cotton stripe. I mitered the bias band and pocket edges.
Of course I matched the stripes as I attached the pockets. This top goes perfectly with the teal pants from last week. I'll get a lot of wear out of those as I now have three new tops to coordinate.

There was actually another one of these tops that I made using two red prints, but it was weird looking on a 76 year old and went to Goodwill.  Never took pictures. 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

One Yard Top, sorta

 I got inspired by this DIY pattern I saw on Pinterest.The tops I've been making or plan to make, all have longer sleeves, but it is a hot summer and where are my lightweight short sleeved blouses? I have a nice piece of Kaffe Fassett fabric, which is 'too small to use' at 46"and too large to toss. I could draft this pattern but would have to add sleeves of some kind to obscure my old lady arms, as a public service. 

So I went for this pattern which has been a stalwart for long sleeved tops (I had to fake the long sleeves, since the pattern didn't include them) but I decided if I could squeeze those short sleeves out of this skimpy bit of fabric I want to use, it could work. 

Laying out the pattern, I had just enough room for those short cap sleeves in the picture, but not enough for facings and so I would substitute bias tape from the scraps. The length was definitely going to be too short, but I forged ahead anyway, figuring I would try this on and figure out a solution later. 

Here's the resulting top. I added bias tape and a tiny bit of gathering at the sleeve hem as the cap was too flared. But the length solution was to insert a 2"wide strip of solid teal and then attach a final border after that. It worked! The length hits at just the right spot and the bodice is flared enough to not be grabby or difficult to pull over my shoulders.  And it actually looks nice on. Phew. This looks like a t-shirt and I am sure it would also work in a knit. That teal strip is leftover from my latest pair of expandomatic pants.
 Here they are and below are terrible shots of the ensemble, meant for fall wear.
Of course I will wear this little top with those pants sooner than September.

It's always shocking to see myself looking like a grandma, but it beats the alternative. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

More, more, MORE

 I no longer collect fabric, she said. 

Well, but how can I resist more 70% off stuff? So back I went to Joann's with my sister Brooke, as co-bargain shopper, with the intent to use my 20% entire purchase coupon, which I had in hand at check out and forgot to thrust forward. Darn.
Anyway, I got more fabric and more patterns. Geesh.
And then I found out that Joann's is not going out of business after all, and is now employee owned. Hurray!

Last week Brooke decided she is gonna draft all her patterns. She gave me her entire pattern collection, most of which she acquired when she worked at our Joann's. These were added to my stash and suddenly I had to the urge to organize them all. 

By that I mean, put them on a Pinterest board.
This way, I can peruse them and find the one that appeals, and not have to search through bins to see that this isn't the one I thought had the right design. It was easy, as all I had to do was search by pattern number and find the online photos and voila, post them. 

Even this ancient pattern was available to view online. It's from 1996 and I got it at Goodwill for 65 cents.

I forgot I had it and now I see it contains my current size, so I am really glad I went through this exercize.

Monday, July 1, 2024

2 Yard Pants

Blouse is Butterick 6214, pants are a mishmash of several pj patterns, altered considerably. It's not clear here that the purple in the blouse is a great match with the pants, but of course I could also wear it with black pants. The purple pants work with this long shirt, but I am making teal pants for it too. 
 McCalls 5992 
I made a large investment in Waverly Cottons, intending to make pants and/or tops out of all my two yard pieces. But when I began to lay out the pattern pieces on the 45" folded fabric, they didn't fit! Yipes. 
After calming down a bit, I decided to unfold the length and refold it in half the opposite way. In the photo above, it is clear this was the solution. But did it wear nicely? Surprising, it did. Phew! Of course I didn't take photos of that layout, so here it is on pair #2 in teal.
The fold is on the left and the 45" width is the length of the pants legs. These 'expandomatic' pull on pants are so fast and easy that I can crank them out in just over an hour, from layout to finish. Thank heaven I have a serger. 
 Our local Joann's is having a Fourth of July sale and I got these super nice cottons for 70% off. I will return today, since Butterick and Simplicity patterns are $1.99. 

 I especially like this light textured cotton, also on sale for 40% off. One can never have too many white shirts. 

 Crinkley white rayon and Lime green heavy cotton gauze. The photo is not true to the actual color. It's pretty in real life. I don't have a plan for this green fabric, but it was so drapey and summery, I had to have it. 

I'm excited to say that my niece is starting to need to sew! and this is her first machine. Isn't it cute? She lives in a very small apartment, so space is valuable. 
Why does this make me so happy? It may be that the things in my closet that I love the most are those I made myself. And they are so unlike things that are available in stores and are just my style and size. I wish the same for her. 

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Garden Update

 We have been in that 'heat dome' that you hear about on the weather reports and I have been watering every single day, since there has been no rain. UNTIL LAST NIGHT. Finally we had a wonderful downpour and it continued again this morning so I am having a day off and loving the way the flowers have perked up.

 My new plants include a gifted banana tree from my pal Patsy who has huge 10 foot trees in a clump in her front yard on the mountain. Mine is a baby and I will be planting it in the ground in the fall. Behind it are two bags of zinnias and Vista Supertunias in Bubblegum and in the picture above, Silverberry. They are going nutso. Yay!

Here are more zinnias and that neato keen red coneflower called Tres Sombreros. For some reason the leaves on these zinnias a pitiful and yet the stems are tall. I may add some fertilizer, altho it is not recommended, as they will make more leaves and fewer flowers, but geesh, they look insipid. 

 The cell block garden is starting to improve and I am no longer apologizing for it's poor performance. I think it is due to the mixture I made with coconut coir, perlite and compost. I think the compost wasn't fertile enough to counteract the other parts of the mix, so I will really augment the soil for next year. Funny tho, the lettuce and basil are happy and productive. The lettuce is all gone now, but I  have more seeds and will do another planting in September.

 Here's a big boy basil, two plants, next to the last lettuce. Sad nasturtiums. O well.

 Then the bag of Easy Wave Petunias, red Gallardia, marigolds, and three varieties of Daisy.

In the back garden bags I have abundance in sweet potatoes, French Haricot Verte, Brussel Sprouts, Beets, carrots, zucchini and Butternut squash plants, 4 tomatoes, more basil and Yukon Gold potatoes. I have five pepper plants in amongst the flower up front. Next year I won't be doing veggies in back, but will have them in front. I prefer to have them visible and then I don't neglect them as much.  
The 'in the ground' plants are doing great, but I didn't take pictures, so that update will have to come later.