Monday, December 20, 2010


Thank you to all who commented on my blog entries. I don't blog as much as some do, but do quite a bit of reading of others' blogs.

I understand that it takes time to read blogs, and more time to comment on them, so I really appreciate it when readers do. I try to also post a comment so show my appreciation of the person's time.

Someone mentioned that people are commenting less which could be as some people have dozens of Followers or even over a hundred and I notice that they may get only 2 or 3 comments. This makes me value it even more when you comment on my blogs.

I'll try to post more entries in 2011 than I did this year as I have been asked quite often about when my next entry will be. (Glad you're interested.)

Thanks again.

Edited to add: I just thanked my readers, (Followers and others) and those who comment and all the pics of my Followers disappeared! Yikes. I then checked and it appears that pics of Followers on others' pages are also gone. I hope everyone has returned by morning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When you need a good laugh

Thanks to Firephrase for introducing me to these sites.

When you want a good laugh or are just plain bored:

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Aren't all pants pullon? LOL.

TNT pair? Tried and true. Are these the elusive well-fitting pants I've been stalking for years?

These are not the way I would have wanted my pants to fit years ago. About thirty years ago a middle-aged friend of mine told me that pants should hang straight down in the back from the fullest part. I thought Hey, that's for old people and I'm not old. I want some definition in the back!

Well, I had my definition and probably many fit wrinkles. At that time I don't think I checked for wrinkling; I checked for fit.

Time has passed. I have made my pattern larger over the years for three reasons: 1) I have expanded 2) pants got looser fitting (although slim again in the last few years) 3) I have aged--I have aged?!--and want a little more ease, especially to hide the "bumps".

numbered this pattern 92508, the day I made them. I'm guessing it is a poly linen blend, possibly with some silk. It was part of a stack of fabric purchased from someone. Between that date and now I did make: one of the few muslins I have ever made; two more pairs but in dark colors which won't photo well, and a second left leg for these. I used someone else's iron (don't ask) which melted some of the fabric on the left leg. Since I had plenty of fabric left, I ripped out the entire left pant leg and made another one.

This last pic is to show typical pants on me. This pair, made December, 1990, from poly rayon gabardine aren't this bad. I adjusted them for the pic so they looked more like pants from the past fit because the worst pairs are gone; plus the others were in darker colors so would not show all the wrinkles.
This pair is pattern 4383 (April 3, 1983) which is the day I said, "I got it; I got it!" I used 4383 for years, every few years adding a tad here and there to the pattern, or scooping out somewhere.
I made a slew of underlays; overlays; yokes, front and back; pockets of all types; pleats; variations of leg widths; cuffs; various closures; design details (tabs, belt loops, etc). This way I could just pick this piece and that piece and have totally different looking pants. Some of these pieces, though made for 4383, are still usable; others need some adjusting.
Over the years there have been a few pattern numbers and revisions, but most were based on 4383.
For almost every commercial pattern: if they fit well in front are way too small in the back; if they fit well in the back, they are quite baggy in the front.
To fit pants I have to allow for:
--tilted pelvis ("tucked under")
--swayback, slight
--large-ish, low fanny (a "shelf")
--large front thighs, slight
--large high abdomen
--stance: twisted legs
--stance: hip and leg bone structure
--one back side slightly larger than other (just noticed)
I have a trousers pattern so what's left is to get an updated TNT pattern for slacks, combining the fit of these pullons with ones which have good upper abdoman and waist fit.
I will then be set with basic patterns for pullon pants, slacks, and trousers. No jeans--I don't wear them.
Fitting pants is easy. It took me only about thirty years; about ten patterns, morphed several times; and about a thousand try-ons.
Note: the little bump in the back of the side view pic is a doorknob, which I am certain is not attached to me.
Note: I didn't mention short stature as a fitting issue. I do height adjustments so automatically that I don't even consider them to be a fitting issue.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ottoman Covers --2nd one

This is the first one I cut out--the one where I cut too much from the corners (see previous entry); thus, making it too snug when the darts were sewn in.

I needed a wedge (guess it could qualify as a godet). To make it as simple as possible, I:

--stitched about 1 1/2" of each "dart"; it would be more difficult to turn under the part near the point

--turned under the rest of the sides of the "dart"

--placed the piece which was the original cut-out square and pinned it in place

--topstitched the "dart" sides, catching the wedge piece

Then hemmed it and it's done.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Others doing Home Dec got me to pull out my fabric for two ottomans. The spots and one large burn hole need to be covered.

I bought the fabric two years ago when a Hancock's was closing. It was an unplanned purchase so I got a color I thought was close. I wanted two yards. The clerk said the minimum was five yards. I hesitated but got the five yards---good thing.

I had a plan as to how I wanted to do them, then went to Plan B and Plan C. I wound up with Plan A.

Plan B was to stitch the bottom part to the top. Problem: would involve too much excess fabric of the top part at the corners. Plan C was to make the cover in one piece. Problems: fabric wasn't wide enough. (Though I am good at estimating the fabric width of those folded on a bolt, I am not so good at ones not folded on a tube.) I thought this fabric was 60"; nope, it's 54". (But that wouldn't have caused me to buy more.) Thus, it would have to be seamed.

Another problem with a one-piece top falling straight down to the bottom was that the top part is pillow like and the bottom is on a wood frame, but they are attached. In order to get it wide enough for the bottom, there would be too much fabric on the corners of the pillow part. If I made them smaller to fit the pillow,

the fabric would flare out to fit the bottom part.

So, it was back to Plan A. The top is made much like you'd make a fitted sheet from a flat sheet. You measure the distance from the top of the corners down to end of the tuck under. It measured almost 9" , so, allowing 1/2" for a seam allowance, I cut out a square at each corner 8 1/4" x 8 1/4". The two cut edges are brought right sides together and stitched in a 1/2" seam.

Whoops. Although this had worked for me for a bed sheet, it was way too tight. I had measured too high up on the pillow. It wasn't quite so tight on the other ottoman, (they weren't the same size? ) but still tight. I wound up adding a wedge. I turned under the cut edges, put the wedge under and topstitched it in. (Not shown.)

On the second top piece which I had cut out, I wanted to allow enough fabric after cutting out the square corners so it would fit. I cut out the pieces 6" x 6" which wasn't enough. Seven inches each side worked.
Second valuable lesson learned: play it safe by allowing more than necessary, then cut away more as needed; the first lesson was to measure the pieces of furniture, even if they are supposed to be identical!
At the top of the stitching I added a small dart as there was some bubbling. Then made a 1/2" turnunder and tucked the piece under the pillow part. (not shown)
For the bottom I measured the perimeter and just to be sure after the problems I had just experienced, added 4" to the length. This was not necessary; 1" was plenty. Hem and that's it.
Now the top and bottom are just tucked under the pillow part. I'll have to either do some stitching or put in some upholstery pins so they stay put in case anyone pulls on them.
The fabric seen is actually the back of the fabric.
It is a little slippery. The right side looks like a fine
suede and nothing would slide on it. So why did I
do this? The gold color looked better with the rest
of the pieces to the sofa set.
It's not a perfect job, but again, so much better than the ottomans look and I feel a definite sense of accomplishment for having done it.
I have enough fabric left to make a third "in case I need it" top.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Large Cosmetic Bag Completed

Ah, see, I have been sewing. I cut out this large cosmetic bag over a year ago. (darn internet). It certainly was time to complete it. I made many, many pieces to my set of travel bags: the bags, smaller bags to go inside, lingerie bags, lingerie laundry bags, and a variety of others, including cases for my purse. I first began them in the 80s, a large cosmetic bag being the first. It certainly had shown its age, so badly that I wouldn't even dream of picturing it here! Good thing I purchased a lot of fabric and trims at the time as this color combo isn't very popular now.

There are quite a few pattern pieces to this: the front/back, sides and bottom, top, zipper pull, tabs, plastic pockets on the inside with bias bindings, plus the bias binding around the outer edges. The layers include the fabric, backing, batting, and plastic.

The original size is 2 1/2" x 12 1/4" x 9 1/2", a good sized one. However, I found that items fall to the bottom and give it a fat look, so I decided to make it smaller but deeper. The dimensions to this one are 4 1/4" x 10 1/2" x 7. Because the height is less I also picked a 14" zipper instead of the original 16".

I have a few more items which need replacing, although none is as bad as the original large bag was.
It seems as if I want pieces to be like I want them to be, not like offered in the pattern. This involves some planning and sometimes a bit of math. The binding is stitched together at the ends so it is one long piece; therefore, it must be the correct size before stitching it onto the bag.
Instead of doing a lot of math, here is an easier way to determine how long to cut it:
--take the original perimeter of the bag as given in the pattern, in this case 2 x 12 1/4"= 24 1/2" added to 2 x 9 1/2" = 19" and add together for 43 1/2".
--take the desired perimeter of the new bag, in this case 2 x 10 1/2" = 21" added to 2 x 7" = 14", and add together for 35".
--subtract the new amount (35") from the original pattern (43 1/2") for 8 1/2". Fold out the pattern for the binding this amount.
This is a lot easier than measuring the perimeter of the new size. In this case, probably either way would work, but for other types of patterns, they may have added an ease amount which could throw off the calculations.
So, that's another item I have completed. In some of your e-mails you have asked where my knitting and crocheting is (other than the doll clothes). Yeah, um, well......

Adding: I meant to make the math less confusing not more so! OK, to put it more simply, instead of having to measure the altered perimeter to determine what length to make the outside binding, measure the original and the new one, and substract the difference (or add it, if making larger) and substract (or add) that difference in the binding pattern piece. Hope this is easier!
Another way to look at it is if I make a skirt waist 2" larger, I would just make the waistband 2" larger also. This would be easier than measuring the new skirt waist, then deciding how much to make the band (because I might not include the amount to be eased into the waistband.)
I did paragraph in the second half of my original post, so why it didn't come out that way I don't know. Maybe I should do more reading in the Help area here! OK, I've edited again--hope it has worked this time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Red Dotted Outfit and the 80s

Remember this outfit? It's from my first blog. I wanted to update it because it screams the 80s. I do like it but didn't wear it often, so it is still in very good condition. I haven't done anything with it, but I did have good intentions.

I had asked for suggestions and many were given, here and in e-mails.

Sew(very)Creative and FirePhrase said that the 80s were back and I might want to think twice about this.

Last week I found proof of this. Here is a blog entry showing a new McCall's pattern which has similarities. Note that one view on the pattern I used even has a tie collar. Note that this McCall's top is also in red!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Some Sewing

Finally got some sewing done! I couldn't get my sewing mojo going, so I stole some from another sewer. I prefer to say that she is sharing hers with me.

It is a simple pair of elasticized pants in a lightweight denim in black. Nothing exciting, but I am in need of pants, especially casual ones. I won't be posting a pic of it since it is black and will not show up well. You're just going to have to trust me that I am sewing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Doll Clothes--more details

As promised---months ago--a little more detail on the doll clothes. I had to wait to borrow someone's camera in order to have a macro capability. These aren't the best, but the photographer wasn't paid.

It's not too easy to describe my exact steps in making the clothes because once you get "her" diminsions down, you "just work" and try the garment on the doll every so often or measure to make certain it will fit.

Once you know your stitch and row gauge you can calculate how many stitches to chain or cast on based on the necessary dimensions.

This is just like any item from yarn. All the directions are doing for you is saving all the calculations (which is a good thing).

The knitted sweater and skirt outfit is made from a Bucilla yarn on size 3 needles. I love the stitch pattern. I tried several color combinations until I found one I liked. One thing I did was to make certain that the stripes match across the sweater when the sleeves are down. I rarely see this in adult sweater patterns.

The periwinkle outfit is made from Pinguoin Pingora Baby, begun on 3's, then worked on 4's above the flounces.

This is a fun pattern to do and the directions are easy: Beginning at the bottom, st. st (k 1 row, p 1 row) is worked for the distance desired. On the next row, k2, drop the next st. off the left needle, then drop every 4th st off the left needle as you knit across. (The space between the drops could vary depending on how far apart the drop stitch design.) At the end of desired flounce, continue in until piece measures the desired length. I love this stitch pattern. Imagine, a dropped stitch on purpose!

The varigated gown is crocheted on an E hook from knitting worsted yarn, (Red Heart Super Saver), which I don't use very often for doll clothes. Fingering yarn is preferred because it is so delicate as well as cotton crochet thread for crocheting, even though it takes much longer.

With this gown, I "just worked" for the most part. With yarn this thick it doesn't take too many stitches to get around the doll's waist. Just keep increasing or decreasing until it looks right and fits her. If it's not quite right, the stitches can be undone and crocheted again rather quickly.

The three-piece quilted outfit was sewn from scraps of pre-quilted fabric, which is great because the proportion of the squares to the size of the outfit is perfect. The pieces were made from a generic pattern I made from several different patterns, except for the tote which I "just cut".
Very simply, I finished the edges with the overlock foot (optional accessory) on my Pfaff 1475. It's probably stitch #25 because that's what I generally use for overcasting. Then I turned up the sleeve hem, stitched the fronts to the back, put bias seam tape on the front edges and around the neck, then turned up the hem. Put 3 snaps for the closure and it's done.
Not all the outfits are this easy or go this quickly!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Under Mountains

....of paper work---that's where I've been. All of my great plans for January just went by the wayside.

I haven't been able to work on updating the red dotted outfit, but I have worked on getting some of the better fitting patterns made into "basics" from which to design or update. I thought that by posting that outfit and making that commitment, I would get to it sooner. Ha!

I'm still trying to get some good, close-up shots of the doll clothes to show details. Our digital camera is old so the pics aren't great. Someone with a new digital tried taking photos of them, but I don't think he understood just what it was that I was trying to show. Thus, we will have to re-shoot.

Heck, it took us about three hours to scan a photo! While the manual is good with detailing how to put paper in the machine (several pages), it is grossly lacking in "How to Scan Photos" and with what to do with them afterwards. Besides having to figure out how to crop this photo, we had to figure out how to avoid a color or clarity change. I wanted just the right cropping, while keeping the pic to a small size. I finally settled for whatever came out! Maybe we should have asked an 8-year-old to do it.

I have managed to keep up with others' blogs, anywhere from daily to at least once a week, depending on how often they post.

While I did get most of the mountains of paperwork down to hill size, I will still have to deal with taxes when all the forms have arrived.

I like mountains, but not of paper work.