Friday, March 30, 2012

Pacific rainbow moon

I recently finished another "Pacific Moon" skirt for schmeebot, using some of the boatload of Ikea fabric she sent.  I made this one about four inches wider in hem circumference than the previous ones, since she had mentioned that sometimes she has to hike up the hem a bit when scaling large boulders or hanging from sheer rock faces.  You see, while you and I might wear a skirt to work or a dinner party, schmeebot wears skirts to climb mountains.   Anyhow, hopefully the extra four inches will give her a little more reach without becoming a victim of the wind.

The material is a sturdy home decor fabric, and the stripes are actually wedges:  you can see the fabric laid out flat here on Ikea's site.

Coming ...

and going.

 I like to choose something fun for the waistband facing:  however, it is very tough to compete with rainbow fabric in the fun department.  I ended up going with a scrap from one of my all-time favorites, my first Butterick 6149:

Poor schmeebot will not get her skirt until I make it a traveling companion, so expect to see another Pacific moon soon.  But first, I have a few other projects in the pipeline!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Who's versatile? Not me really ...

I've been awarded the Versatile Blogger award by Cecili of Sewing and So On!  I'm not sure how versatile I really am when it comes to blogging, as I don't even attempt to blog when things get busy, but I'll accept anyhow.  :)

The award "rules" (only in blogland do awards have rules!) are that you should list seven things about yourself and then nominate 15 other blogs.  Like chain mail, back in the day.  

So here we go, my seven rather haphazardly-selected things:

1.  I hate Mad Men.  Yes, the fashions are lovely, and with the Mad Men sewing challenge going on, I've enjoyed seeing the screenshots folks have been posting on their blogs.  But the show itself?  A turgid hour of people treating each other horribly and learning nothing from it.   I just don't see the appeal.

2.  I do however love violent high body-count shows like The Wire and The Shield.  What could be more horrible than killing scads of other people?  Seems a little hypocritical, but there you go -- I guess there are different kinds of horrible and I like some better than others.  Anyhow,  lately we've been working our way through Justified, which is basically the Kentucky hillbilly variation on this theme.  I read a lot of novels in this genre, too:  my favorite author is Lee Child, and I just finished Craig Johnson's series and wish there were more of 'em.  

3.  While we're on the subject of TV ... HGTV house and home-themed shows are a guilty pleasure of mine.  When I was in grad school, my Friday night indulgence was to watch Trading Spaces and While You Were Out.   We dropped cable service when we moved after grad school, so I kind of forgot about these shows.  But recently I rediscovered HGTV online, and have been watching Property Virgins and other home-buying shows.  Mind you I have never owned or decorated a home.  I'm sure I will someday, but it hardly feels like a pressing concern, so I'm not sure why I find these shows so fascinating!

4.  I've talked about my dog and my birds here, I think, but I also have some other pets that I don't think I've mentioned.  Mainly because they don't do anything worth mentioning!   My dozen land hermit crabs chill in their 75 gallon terrarium and don't bother nobody.   Most of them I've had for six-plus years (two were adopted from a co-worker about three years ago).  It's believed that land hermit crabs can live up to 50 years ... there's a woman out there who bought two land hermit crabs in the late 70s and still has them!   

5.   Last time I went to the doctor for a physical, I measured a half-inch taller than I ever have before.  Am I growing at the tender age of 39??   They measured me in multiple exam rooms just to be sure the ruler attached to the wall hadn't gotten out of whack.  I have been trying to stretch my upper back and neck because I've had some pain  from being super tense there.  I guess it is working!

6.   My husband once commented that I wear all clothes like pyjamas.  He's not wrong: I like things to be loose and comfortable!  Ironically, I sleep in old shorts and a t-shirt, not actual pyjamas. 

7.  I love sugary frosting, like you find on really good birthday cakes and wedding cakes.  The stuff that makes other people recoil and say "oh, that's too sweet"?   That's what I'm talking about!  As you might imagine, I love the current cupcake shop trend.

Now, for the tagging of others ... I hereby tag anyone who won one of my giveaways!  As always, I am not offended if this kind of blogging game doesn't amuse you and you decide to pass.  Because we had some duplicate winners, that only brings us to 14 but eh, good enough.  If you want that 15th slot, consider it yours!

Jubejue of Petite Republic
Jane of Handmade Jane
Carmen of CamencitaB
KittyMeow of Kitty's Drawings
Kat of Krafty Kat
Mariana (who still needs to send me an email to claim her prize!)

If I've listed you above sans blog, it means I couldn't find your blog, not that I don't love you.   :D  If you DO have a blog, let me know and I'll update my post!  And FYI, I mailed the last round of giveaways (for which I had addresses, anyhow) last Monday ... a week later than I expected, but hopefully the ones going to US addresses have reached their destinations by now.

I have been doing some sewing too, and I'll post updates on that soon.  I'd hate for this post to be photo-less, so here's an iPhone shot from our trip to Miami Beach last May.  I wish I was there now!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finally, here are the rest of the giveaway winners!

Sorry for the delay in wrapping up the final giveaways ... it has been a heck of a week and I just didn't have the spare cycles.   But I spent some quality time with this evening, and here's what I came up with:

The winner of giveaway #14 is Lynn!

#15 AND #16 are for Kat of Krafty Kat!

Mariana is the winner of #17!

And last but not least, the final giveaway goes to Wylde Hills of Wylde Hills Costuming!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to take a look at my giveaways -- I wish I could have a fistful of patterns for each and every one of you!   I'm so happy to know that these patterns are heading off to good homes (or have already reached them!)   And, incidentally, the patterns for giveaways #8 through #13 were mailed on Tuesday, so if some of those are yours, keep an eye out.

Happy weekend everyone, and good sewing!  I hope to get some in myself.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Renfrews, Renfrews, Renfrews!

Folks, I have a new favorite pattern.  And it's not a 1950s dress or a even a full, flouncy skirt (though I do love those things!)     I'd ask you to guess, but you already read the post title.  Yes, it's the new Sewaholic Renfrew.  I've already made it four times, and I could make a million more.

Typically I wear a lot of sleeveless knit tops (usually under cardigans or hoodies) because finding a knit top with sleeves that fit can be a bit of a challenge.  I don't think I truly understood the problem, though, until I tried on my first Renfrew.  The sleeves fit.  The armholes are the right size, and in the right place.  When I raise my arm, the shirt doesn't hike up to my ribcage.  It's awesome.

My first attempt was the cowl-necked version (with short sleeves ... maybe a bit strange!)  It's not perfect, because the fabric I chose was not quite drape-y enough for the cowl, and because I second-guessed the pattern and made it longer and a little wider at the bottom -- I always have problems with shirts being too short and/or riding up.  (And, when do you not have to adjust a pattern, right??) After I had it together, I realized my mistake and took out the two inches I added to the length, but the bottom band's still a bit loose.

Yeah, I still hate photographing myself ... but it's a lot easier to see what a garment looks like on its intended wearer, so I did my best!  Incidentally, the jeans shown here are my favorites ... Gap wide-legs circa 2008.  They're about to wear through in the seat, so I have to savor their last few outings!

I made a scoop-neck next, with the 3/4 sleeves. I used a lovely remnant I got from JoAnn's a couple of years ago:  there was just enough to squeeze this project out.  This time I made the size 4 straight out of the envelope, with the only change being making the scoop a hair less deep in front.  (I should have shortened the neckband slightly as well, but it was such a minor change it was okay.)  This time around, it came out pretty much perfect!  The instructions are very easy to follow, and I was able to sew the seams on my sewing machine.  I chose to finish the seam allowances with the serger, because apparently if I can find a way to make a project take longer, I will do it.  Even so, I can finish one of these tops from cutting out to final stitch in under 2 and a half hours, which is lightning fast for yours truly.  A few minor things I did differently than the instructions were using fusible stay tape to stabilize the shoulder seams instead of twill tape, and sewing down the shoulder seams in the same way that the instructions have you do for the neck seam.

My third Renfrew is also a 3/4 sleeve scoop-neck, but this time the material used was extra recruiting t-shirts from my job.   I love me a good floppy t-shirt for sleeping in or relaxing on the weekend, but at work it makes me feel like a slob, and sometimes we wear these shirts when we're representin' for the company.  I took the front and back of the top from one shirt, the sleeves from another, and the neck and waist band from a third, so it was a bit wasteful of shirts, but I think the final result was worth it!

Renfrew number four is a cowl-neck with 3/4 sleeves, made from a lightweight striped rayon knit ordered from last week specifically for this purpose.   Wow have I not mastered getting stripes straight:  the sad thing is, I did try!  The bottom band looks the worst, but that's partly because I sewed it on wrong the first time and had to pick it off and re-do.  I don't feel too bad about it, as this was clearance fabric and I don't expect it to be super durable anyhow.  It arrived with a rip and a hole in   it already, in fact.  Like it was trying to warn me or something.  Anyhow, this lightweight fabric was just the thing for the cowl neck, and it drapes very nicely.

I see a fleet of scoop-neck Renfrews in my future, plus several more cowl-necks.  I'm not a big v-neck wearer, and with it being effectively Spring already here on the Gulf Coast, I may not do a long-sleeve version anytime soon.   I love thinking of all the variations one could do:  like using a contrasting color for the neck, arm and waist band, and I've thought about a cowl-neck version where the neck part is made from a drape-y knit while the body's made from a sturdier cotton knit -- kind of a shirt-under a shirt look.  I'd love to see a tie-neck version or (ooh, ooh!) a hooded version.  Not sure I have the drafting skillz for those, but who knows, I may try it one day!  But for now, I'm going to let the Renfrew pattern cool off for a bit and move onto something else.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Winners, winners, winners!

Here comes one those posts I stuffed with screenshots that I warned you about.   We have winners for the 8th through 13th giveaways!   Everyone's been contacted directly as well.

The winner of giveaway #8 is Gail (who also won #7)!  

The winner of giveaway #9 is Fraulein To You! (I sent an email ... hopefully to the right address ...)

The winner of giveaway #10 is Renee G!

The winner of giveaway #11 is CarmencitaB (who also won #6)!  This was the least popular group, it seems, with only two entries!  But you gotta like those odds.  :)  

The winner of giveaway #12 is KittyMeow!  This was the most popular one so far.

And finally ... the winner of giveaway #13 is Njeri!

As of now, things look good for mailing out patterns Monday morning, for everyone whose address I have by then.  

And guess what -- I am a winner too ... because I have an awesome friend!   Who mailed me a 22 POUND box of loaded with fabric goodies from California!  Look at all this fabric from Ikea, waiting to be transformed into skirts:

There were also two already-made skirts with awesome tulle underskirts! Possibly I should have ironed them before taking pictures:  it looks like the USPS has had its way with them.   I love the tone-on-tone mini-stripe of the fabric, and I will have to steal the underskirt idea for my own sewing projects.

A big box of knit fabrics also arrived this week from   I'm swimming in fabric (and I'm not complaining! Not at all!)  I've also been cleaning out my husband's closet ... not at all altruistically, I might add.  More on that later!