Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas!  We had a traditional breakfast of Praline French Toast casserole, opened gifts, spoke via FaceTime with the Reno kids and are enjoying a quiet day with DS2 and a couple of energetic dogs.  Nice day!

I got nice gifts but especially enjoy time with family ;-)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Machine Knitting

I am finally playing with my Brother 386e knitting machine.  I bought it when/before I retired and did not bond with it.  Frankly, I was intimidated and was never even able to cast on or form stitches on it.  Into the cupboard it went.  Years later we moved and the machine found itself once again on a high shelf in the sewing studio.  That was almost two years ago.

Recently, there have been a few enthusiastic machine knitters posting on Stitchers Guild.  Knitters from novices to the very experienced have piqued my interest again.  So, while reading the posts I gained a little confidence and the support of a local friend who had done a lot of machine knitting in the past.  Knee surgery, machine maintenance, a little fear of failure, etc., kept me from getting started.  

BUT, I have finally had a few successful experiences with my machine!  No garments no real projects,  but a few sample attempts!  Whoppee!  With much time and practice, I think I can do this!  I'm hoping for a simple hat or scarf in the near future.

Here is my first attempt:  I can't move text and photos, so first photo is my first time being Balt to cast on and knit a bit.  Last photo shows I finally got to hang the comb and weights.  The middle two show the progress and the weights moving up the yarn.  I'm hoping to make more progress!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mix and Match

Quick post on my way out the door!  I once took a sewing course with Patti Palmer who suggested making a holiday outfit from TNT patterns.  The fabric you choose makes it an everyday outfit or a special occasion one.  I am pleased with my easy-to-make and comfortable suit!  Pants are Style Arc Willows and the jacket is Loes Hinse Princess (seminar) jacket.  Fabric is from my stash--a flocked black twill.  I'm off to lunch with a sewing friend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recovery, Projects, and a Knitting Machine

Just checking in.  I'm rapidly recovering from a little arthroscopic knee surgery.  I was doing GREAT until I developed an allergy to either steristrips or the adhesive they used to attach said steristrips.   Ugly red rash, blisters, etc.  Just a little bump in the road.

While first recovering I made a few items--a long Loes Hinse cardigan, a Vogue 8854 vest with collar and front pocket, and a Vogue 8669 cowl neck tunic.  The first two were cut before surgery at home and the tUnic cut out and sewed at condo before surgery   

I'm also in the midst of getting my unused knitting machine up and working.  It's a Brother 836e which I purchased prior to retirement.  So, seven years later it needs cleaning and oiling.  First, I am waiting for a manual and a sponge bar to arrive in the mail.

I also looked at the newest The Look of Loes Hinse ideas.  I don't need more clothes, but I enjoy making up her new tweaks on old patterns!  I want to trace a few Burda patterns and a couple of Ottobre ones too.  My DGD decided to grow a bit and needs some new clothes!

I'll be back soon with photos!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Carmel. Loes, and Sewing

We are here--seminar begins soon but first a day in Monterey.  I hope to at least share some photos of garments in Loes's boutique if not some sewn-by-me garments.  I made a tank, swing skirt, and lace Perfect T for a wedding last weekend.  Talk about a quick solution to a sewing quandary.  TNT patterns, fabric from stash, and an elegant outfit for the event.  Best part is the pieces are wearable for much more casual events when worn with different partners.

Off to walk the beach trail in Asilomar and Monterey...thinking about sewing while I walk.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Vogue 7975 FINALLY !!!

Here's the final product!  Lots of time and effort, but a real feeling of accomplishment!

I have been sewing, but mostly t shirts and simple Style Arc pants.  I'm looking forward to my annual trek to Carmel later in the month.  I hope to have some fun items following that seminar with Loes Hinse.  Always a good time 😃

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer stuff

Random post of stuff I did this summer:

1.  Got a new dog after we lost our dear 14 YO Brandy.  Bear is a delight, but also a lot of work.  He's a year old and full of energy.
2.  Fell and tore medial meniscus in left knee.  Surgery being scheduled
3.  Went whale watching and saw 5 blue whales VERY close to our boat.  Magnificent!
4.  Volunteered every Wednesday (almost) at The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach
5.  Visited the Natural History Museum in LA. New exhibits are fabulous, especially the interactive nature center for children.
6.  Visited four dentists to treat my tooth and gum. Ended up with wan extraction and am recovering. Implant and crown to come.
7.  Shopped at Mood Fabrics in LA. Fun!
8.  Sewed with friends at a 5 day couture sewing event with Susan Khalje.  Very intense.  My jacket is about 3/4 done
9.  Listened to most of Team of Rivals--book about Lincoln by Doris K Goodwin.  Still listening
10.  Hosted DS#2 and the three grands for 10 days--Disney, Aquarium, beach, American Girl store, La Brea Tar Pitts, pool, etc. Busy and fun!
11.  Took eldest DGD to visit UCSB campus--our alma mater. She is a senior at an IB HS in NV, so UC schools are very spendy.
12.  Went to see The Butler.  Interesting juxtaposition to the Lincoln book.  So slow to make progress. I enjoyed the film. Very poignant and informative.  Made me remember driving through Selma in the spring of 1970 with my mom.  Eerie even then.
13.  Had several chances to get together with my sister and her kids' families.  Always fun!
14.  Lunched with HS girlfriends.  A stellar group of accomplished women.  Always a good time!
15.  Not much sewing, eh?  The dental issues apparently caused a low grade infection for weeks.  Just wore me out.  Half way through another course of antibiotics.  Ugh.
16.   Lucky to spend the days with my best friend.  Only a few weeks until our 45th wedding anniversary.  Amazing!
17.  Packing to go home to LV in a couple of days.  Yippee!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Trims and buttons and bags, oh my!

DH and I went up to LA today to seek out trim for my jacket.  Had a slight detour with oral surgery yesterday so I'm not on task to sew the finishing touches right at the moment.  Better to search for those detail elements so I am ready when I'm feeling myself again.

So, off to Mood Fabrics and then to F and
S.  I got buttons and some Petersham ribbon for waistband facings while at Mood.  F & S had trim!  I got some wonderful cotton Lycra shirting from Theory at the latter as well.  All good!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Works in Progress...Vogue 7975

Photos are of the shell and lining of a jacket I recently constructed (or at least got much of it constructed) during a 5 day workshop with Susan Khalje.  Amazing lady!  The muslin to jacket process takes days, but the fit and learning curve are worth it!  I WILL finish this jacket in the next week or two and will post photos of the final garment.  I need to make a quick (?) trip to Mood LA to see if I can find the right trim. 

I was amazed at the amount of fabric Susan took out of the front side panel of the jacket above the bust curve...about 1.5 inches at the widest part near the shoulder seam.  Yikes.  What a difference it makes!

So, just to prove that the summer wasn't a total waste sewing wise, here is the proof of my work in progress.  Fabric from my stash--unknown origin, but it is a lovely wool/silk blend and the colors are great for my coloring and my other wardrobe pieces!  These are phone photos, but the jacket and lining are visible! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Not Much Going On...

I haven't been doing a lot of sewing--transition from desert to beach, visits from kids and grands, and a new dog have kept me busy!  We always escape the desert heat for the summer, and we always have wonderful time with the kids, but a new dog has been a wonderful responsibility that does require time and patience.

We lost our precious Brandy on May 26 and decided to wait a while before getting another pet.  We are mostly retired and do a good deal of traveling and running around.  BUT, the emptiness of the house when we came home to no furry friend was really difficult and we found our little Bear via Craigslist of all places.  He was in need of a new home--his family was moving out of state and was not allowed to bring pets to their new home.  Sad for all.  He is a year old mostly poodle mix.  When we got him he was a matted mess.  He was scared to death and DH was ready to give him back after the first day.  We didn't.  He got his shots updated, a very close grooming, and lots of time and attention. 

So, I am now, a month later, looking at possible sewing projects!  Bear is asleep in his bed and adjusting to be a happy little dog.  He has begun obedience training and we are all learning!  Now I have some free time to sew up some easy shirts and a few DGD items.

"I'll be back..."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

JCrew Rayon Lycra Fabric

In case some of the coop members are on the fence about this fabric, I love this fabric!  I have been able to purchase this from a coop to which I belong.  The fabric is soft but not "wimpy" and the shirts I have made are still in great condition! The lycra does not make them too stretchy, just enough to maintain their shape and not stretch out. So, here are a few of the past projects.

I made two like the top photo--basic white long sleeve tee shirts from the Loes Hinse Perfect Tee pattern.  For me, this is the perfect pattern.  It fits and I do not need to alter anything.  Whooppee. I also made this same pattern in a burgandy and also a medium brow
n colorway.  I wear these all the time with a jacket or cardigan or just a stand alone.  Very versatile and they fill in well in my lifestyle.

The bottom one is a color block tee made from same pattern with white top and black lower 2/3.  Again, this fabric sewed together effortlessly and behaves well when worn even after many washings.

I am ordering more of the same fabric in a few select colors.  It is a staple for me.  I probably need to go back and review the colors I did order.  LOL! 

Final photo is a camouflaged black tee from same pattern and fabric.  I made a couple of scarves to wear during the cooler weather and they coordinate well with this stuff too.

Just my opinion, but I am always happy to see this fabric when it is for sale!

ETA--I also made a turtleneck from an Ottobre pattern for my 10 YO granddaughter.  Wears well for kids' clothing too.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Been Sewing--No Photos

Just to document that some sewing has taken place, here's the list:

Burda pants finished--golden yellow twill to go with Banana Republic cardi
Navy Elle (style arc) pants from Mood ponte finished
Brown bengaline willow pants finished
Olive bengaline Linda pants finished
Cut out Opal SW jacket from MTilton linen. Started construction.

Also reorganized and prioritized traced patterns for summer sewing. I ordered black and white stretch twill for crop pants as well as white cotton Lycra knit for short sleeve tee shirts. Easy once the production begins ;-)

15 more days of school to work through too. I am taking a 3 day serger workshop with Sue Baker Green so I hope to gain some new skills too.

Lunch with great sewing friend tomorrow.

Photos one of these days,

Monday, April 1, 2013


Here is my copy of Lori's jacket. Her quilting skills far surpass mine and her binding is perfect. Mine is OK. Pants are the well used Willow pants from Style Arc and the jacket is a new McCalls wardrobe pattern. All in all, I like the garments!

ETA:  I guess I should add that this is the big reveal of what was in my Mood package.  I bought the double sided cotton knit stripe fabric and some lovely ponte.  They came in the box I showed a couple of posts ago.  I did not use the ponte for this project because it was more on the royal side of navy and the stripes are more midnight.  The Mood ponte is almost finished in its role as a pair of Style Arc Elle pants.  The pants and binding above are from Joann's.  not as nice, but a better color match.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Detour...Burda 7447 and Loes Hinse Tuscan Tweak

I got waylaid and made up two garments that have been on my list. Hurray! Two checked off and I like both. Score! More sketchy phone photos...

The pants seemed too small all the way to the waistband--then they fit. So glad I didn't mess around with alterations during the process. I'm pleases with them, but I do not seek perfection ;-). The top is made from fabric I got at the LH seminar last fall. It was so much easier to make than I had anticipated.

On to my Mood bag tomorrow ;-)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Phone photos? No skill!

OK--I thought I'd add a couple of quick phone photos to document my recent colorblock tee shirt. My hats off to bloggers who are able to take good photos using iPhone and a mirror. I don't belong to that crew.

Here are my feeble attempts. Whole outfit is a Loes Hinse tee, LH long sweater, and Style Arc Willow pants. At least here is proof I love the items and wear them. LOL

Friday, February 15, 2013

Color Block Perfect Tee a la Loes Hinse

How easy could this be? I used my TNT tee shirt pattern--Loes Hinse's Perfect Tee. I used her directions in the most recent edition of The Look (see the casual elegance website), and how easy! I even cheated and cut the bottom part of the shirt--the black part--from a previously-made shirt that I just didn't wear. It had a cowl neckline that just didn't work for me.

So, here is my version made with scraps and repurposing of another shirt. I love it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

TNT Sewing

No photo this time, but I just finished two pairs of Style Arc Willow pants from JoAnns bengaline.  One pair of basic black and one of medium brown. Not too exciting, but such a welcome wardrobe addition. I have worn and laundered the black pair several times.  These pants are not leggings, but they are slim and such a nice pairing with tunics.

My next projects are some TNT based t shirts, but with some new twists.  I am going to use my
Loes Hinse Perfect T as the basis for a color block tee per Loes's examples in her newest "The Look" newsletter.   I think I will start with a simple black and white combo.  I like the idea of white top and sleeves with black bottom half.  Nice partner for a black skirt or some black pants.

I'm also looking forward to Louise Cuttings new pants pattern.  Always something new to challenge my sewing skills!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Foolish more sub assignment. I've been the principal at a nice elementary school for the past few weeks and will be there for another two weeks. I just don't seem to have much energy at the end of the day, so no sewing.

I'll be back!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt

This is my first attempt at making the Liberty. Not sure this pattern is for me. I had a great time sewing it--love the detailed directions and the fact that it is completely finished when the sleeves go in. The pattern is very well drafted and quite unique. I made a small which fits OK. The shoulders are not good, causing strange wrinkles. This is not a common problem for me, so I'm not sure it is worth a lot of pattern alterations for this one garment. I signed up for a Crafty class using this pattern but have yet to watch it. Maybe solutions are suggested in the class? I'll see! Ignore the mess in sewing studio--still at work ;-).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Odds and Ends

I finished a few little things yesterday, the final day of 2012.  One pair of Christine Jonson leggings--I love this pattern from the Basewear collection.  I traced either an 8 or a 10 and then shortened the pattern in two places:  on the L/S line by about 2 inches and at the hem by 3 inches.  The fold up of the pattern at the hem solved two issues--they needed to be shorter than the L/S fold allowed for and they needed to be wider for me through the calf area.  Yippee!  Love these for wearing under long tunics or skirts with boots.  I got the fabric from Anne at Needlenook.  Fabulous service!

The second photo shows three quick projects--the finished Perfect Tee from black JCrew coop fabric.  So easy and so comfortable to wear.  I finished it with the cover stitch function of my Evolve serger.  What a shame that it took me so long to take the plunge and learn to use this feature.  Fabulous!  The two scarves are made from Casual Elegance fabrics--the ivory one was purchased as a "scarf kit" which really means it was cut to aprox. 18" x 72".  I used a combo of rolled hem and narrow 3 thread hem on my Imagine.  I prefered the 3 thread narrow hem to the rolled hem for this fabric.  The black and white is a remnant sweater knit from a shirt I made at the fall seminar.  Easy but so useful!  I know these four little projects will be used all winter.

Off to my 2013 sewing--the first project will be a Liberty shirt from the Sewing Workshop pattern.