… that summer is coming. I think that was wishful thinking on someone’s part. The snow, while not growing in quantity, is not shrinking either.
Last night, after getting all of my homework done that wasn’t lesson plan writing (which is all I have to do this weekend – one week of lesson plans for two classes, which is not easy if you’re thinking it sounds that way), I braved the tape measure and had do my measurements, again (the last ones were more than a year old). Then I pulled out my Pattern Fitting with Confidence book (by Nancy Zieman) and figured out how to best augment Simplicity 7641. On modern patterns, pattern fitting is a bit easier than with vintage. I’d already traced out the pattern pieces onto Swedish Tracing Paper (which is lovely, btw), at which point I’d learned that someone had not only used every single piece of the pattern, but that they had not cared one whit for it and just shoved everything back into the envelope. Tape and a not-too-hot iron were required, and it still wasn’t pretty.
The problem with vintage patterns is that they’re one size, not the beauty of multi-sizing like modern patterns. For those I just draw a line between one size and the other (because my shirt size is smaller than my skirt size). I used Nancy’s pivot technique, after doing the math on how much I needed to add to the waist and hips (I’m hoping that I added more than I needed to and will be able to take the pattern in slightly). It worked wonderfully, and I used the new pattern to cut out a “muslin.” That’s in quotes because the fabric I used was not muslin but was, in fact, this bright pink floral that I’ve owned since the beginning of this century. I have five yards of it, so still more than a yard left. I figure if it turns out OK, I’ve got a second bonus dress, and if not, I won’t cry over having to turn all that fabric into charm squares.
Since I can’t spend all weekend long writing lesson plans and will need to take a break (to foster creativity, of course), I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sew up a majority of this dress. Unfortunately, most of the seams will end up being sewn at least twice, since I’ll baste first and check the fit, but I’m going to do French seams on the real version later, which also means every seam is sewn twice. It takes a lot more time, but I do love the end product. I’ll use my narrow hem foot again, and maybe I’ll get around to writing up my tutorial on it (because it is so fabulous and I can’t believe I didn’t know it existed until recently).
Tonight is the last meeting of my half-semester class, and I’m hoping that I have all of my work done for it. We’ll see in class if any of the instructions for our final project are clarified, requiring me to do some rewriting. Other than that, I’m done, and it will be nice to be down to two classes. It is also nice because it means Spring Break is one week away. Ah, one blissful week without homework. The luxury of it!
Did you know that the more I talk about school, the more comment spam I get? Term paper writing is apparently a big thing in the spam world. Sewing? Not so much. Thankfully, there’s a plugin that catches all of the spam, so you’re not subjected to it. Last month I was getting long paragraphs in Russian as spam. This month it’s tons of links and term papers. What are you going to do. (Do the spammers not know that I have less than 25 readers on an average day? Really not worth their time and effort, methinks.)
Here’s hoping your weekend is lovely, and that my lunch lasts me until 8 pm tonight!
- What’s your favorite magazine? Ever? I’m not sure, but I do enjoy Real Simple for it’s practicality and usability.
- What book are you currently reading? The Girl Who Heard Dragons, which is a collection of short stories by Anne McCaffrey. Unfortunately, while all the stories have been enjoyable, only one has been part of the Pern series she wrote (that I’ve been reading for the last year).
- What’s the worst book you ever read? The Prince, by Niccolo Machiovelli. I didn’t finish it.
- What makes a book perfect for you? A story line that is engaging and entertaining, and likable characters.
- If you could buy any book right now, which one would it be? I’m looking for the last four from the Pern series that I haven’t read yet, so any of those would be nice (they haven’t been available at Half Price Books that last several times I looked).
- A cup of tea never seems as satisfying as it should.
- Something snuggle-worthy makes a place feel like home.
- Everything has its beauty if you look close enough.
- Don’t you miss the taste of strawberries? (Fresh ones, that is.)
- Art makes me feel insignificant.
- LOL I just noticed I forgot to bring a lunch today. (Not really. I didn’t bring a lunch, but I didn’t forget it. Too much stuff to carry with me as I trek across the cities to Minneapolis for class tonight. One strategically planned late lunch is on the menu – something satisfying that will last me until 8 pm.)
- And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to the end of a class (and the subsequent homework, which has not been bad, but it will be nice to be down to 2 classes for the rest of the semester), tomorrow my plans include writing lesson plans and buying paint and Sunday, I want to stitch up the muslin of my new dress!
More match-ups of fabric with patterns for you to mull about. You can see in these photos why I usually use my ironing board, and not the cutting table (that nice shadow across all of them? that’s my arm).
I’m starting out easy, but it gets harder…
View C - the long pants (I'm pretty sure they're ankle length but fold/button-up. The fabric is your basic bottomweight khaki, with just a bit of stretch in it.
I bought this fabric at SR Harris last year to make a shirt. It has some spandex or Lycra in it, so it should be great for this. Long sleeved? Short sleeved? (Not no-sleeved.)
This is some fabric from my stash that's so old, I'm not sure when I bought it. Probably this century, but that's as specific as I can get. It's a bit see-through, but silky and smooth. I think I have enough for View A, but might have enough for View B. (I have no idea what fabric I'd use to complement it for View C, so I think that's out.) Thoughts on embellishments? I'm not so much a sparkly/glittery kind of girl, especially for work attire (I may have to either wear a camisole or adjust that neckline to make it work appropriate, but a camisole will probably be necessary anyway, given the fabric).
It's hard to tell, but that fabric is dark grey (charcoal), and like the two above, has a nice stretch to it. I think I have enough to make the short version of this dress, which would be a nice basic wardrobe piece.
Sorry for the blurry photo. The fabric is a bright pink (not hot pink, but pretty bold), and is a bit heavier than I'd really prefer for a shirt, but I think it will be OK. Not one of the versions with embellishments (not A or C). I'm more likely to do a version without buttons, but my new sewing machine handles buttonholes well, so I'd be willing to attempt it.
(Here’s a clearer version of the pattern.)
I have 2 yards of this moleskin in "Slate," which is a dark grey-blue. The moleskin has great drape and is a bit heavy, so it would make a great skirt, or a suit, but I don't wear suits. I think it would complement this pattern nicely. View A, probably, but if someone had a suggestion for lace or something, I'd be willing to go View B.
This one I do have doubts on. The fabric, which is difficult to see, is "Sueded Cord" in "Loden Green," which is a very dark sagey-piney green. It is a super-micro cord, and is pretty thin, unlike most corduroys. It drapes quite well, and I'm not sure if it's perhaps too thin for this skirt, and instead would make a good dress. With 3 yards of it, I can make any of the versions pictured here. I like B best, but not sure if this fabric is best for that. I would like to make A at some point, but am not sure what fabric I would use for that.
I'm a bit fuzzy on the fabric, but I'm pretty sure it's a lightweight (but not too lightweight) muted-sage green. I'd make up View B, the jumper. Too boring? (It gets more boring in a pic or two.)
Technically, I have no idea how much I have of this fabric. It's an oddly shaped remnant, but nice and lightweight (think summer shirting). I have wanted to make a shirtdress with it forever, and think that this pattern might be right for it (View A, with short sleeves). I've actually tried on shirtdresses at the store to see if they look OK, and surprisingly, they do, if they're fitted enough. Does that mean I need a belt? Or maybe a bit of elastic across the back?
It was really difficult to find something for this purple fabric. It's a bottomweight, so too heavy for a shirt. Would I wear a purple skirt? I really don't know. I have made up this pattern before and really liked it (link below).
(Here is View B, though it photographed quite poorly. It looks cute when worn. I get compliments.)
Another solid to contend with, and a lightweight brown at that. I think View 3 would be cute - no collar, no sleeves. This fabric would flare nicely for the skirt, I think, but it might need something special to make it look... less boring. Would jewelry work, or do I need to do something with the dress itself?
And here we get to the ultimate in boring, this paler grey fabric. It's not as lightweight as the above, but not a bottomweight either. I was drawn to this pattern because View C is in a solid dark grey, and it looks OK. I'm really not a dresses-with-sleeves girl, so it might be View A that I'd do.
Part of what made this task hard (matching up fabrics with patterns) was trying to not make more than one item from a pattern, spreading the love around, so to speak. I have several other patterns set aside for projects that are in progress or are otherwise reserved. The other thing was that several of the patterns I would have liked to make took more than 3 yards of fabric, which I didn’t have of any of these.
What I’m really looking for are answers to these questions:
- Does it work for you, the match up of fabric and pattern?
- Do you absolutely hate one (or more) of the patterns and think it would look ridiculous?
- For those that are solids, and there are quite a few, what can I do to avoid the boringness? Basic and classic are OK. Nondescript is not. Feel free to tell me that a dress out of medium grey cotton is just not allowed. I won’t cry. I’ll be much happier with criticism now, before going to all the effort of making something and finding out it was a bad idea (though I’ve done plenty of that, like this sundress that is impeccably sewn but is actually a mumu, and this dress that was too hideous to finish).
- Which one would you make first? Just curious.
Thanks for your thoughts. I’d like to be ready to go when I get the time to sew, and this helps a lot. Once I’m decided, I can cut out pattern pieces and start that process, which takes much longer than it really should. Thankfully, all the fabric is washed and ironed, so I have that going for me.
Alright, I know that at least a few of you out there reading this have years, if not decades, more sewing experience than I do. So, I’m asking for your help. Yesterday I was cleaning in my office (in an attempt to actually be able to use it for something other than homework and ironing), and decided to match up all the clothing fabric I have with patterns. I was… mostly successful. I still have a stack that I just don’t know what to do with. And most of what I matched up yesterday I don’t have pictures of yet, so I’ll have to save that for another day. But, I do have these two to share with you.
Well, this one is kind of a no-brainer. I had been in love with this fabric ("West Hill by Heather Ross - Floral Stripe") for such a long time that I finally broke down and bought it (I swear I've been watching it in ebay for over a year - the seller just kept relisting it). I bought all 4 yards that she had. It's a fabulous cotton with a very smooth touch, almost like high quality sheets, and is just begging to be pajamas. I was thinking pajama pants, but while looking through my patterns I saw this one and thought I might be able to do the short-sleeved top as well. I don't really have a question about this pairing, just wanted to share.
This one, however, I have questions on. I bought the blue fabric, technically shirting, at JoAnn on clearance for something ridiculous like $2 a yard. I stood there in the store looking through my patterns on Flickr (aren't iPhones great?) and finally settled on something that I was sure I'd remember. I bought the 3 yards the pattern said I'd need. Of course, after getting the fabric home and washing it, I no longer remember exactly which dress it was that I wanted to make. The fabric is pretty lightweight, but not see-through (though I'd need a slip - not a big hassle). There's white stitching that's a bit shiny just above each of the pintucks, which would run vertically on most patterns. Thoughts? I have tons of other dress patterns, but just couldn't figure out exactly which one to use. (Note that this pattern is only partially my size, and I'll have to make some adjustments to accommodate my hips.)
(More dress patterns here.)
As a side note, perhaps I should get myself an ironing board cover that’s a bit more… neutral? made this one ( picked out the fabric), and it’s great, but a bit distracting when used as a backdrop, and it is the best surface I have to take pictures on (height, relationship to light, size, etc).
Hopefully I’ll have enough time at home while the sun is still shining to take pictures of my other pairings, and y’all can weigh-in. Sewing expertise not necessary – just an eye for fashion. I tend to make mistakes when matching up fabric with patterns, or even in picking patterns that will look good on me. I know enough to steer clear of certain colors (for instance, I will probably not wear a bright red shirt, so why make one), but then I’m sort of crippled. My mind has trouble making the necessary connections between the fabric, pattern, and my body type. You’d be happy to help me out, right? You know I’d do the same thing for you (and have, for some of you, several times).
I finally got around to making digital copies of some pictures I got from over Christmas. Since that’s all there is to this post, if you’re not interested in 60-year-old Johnson-family photographs, you can just mosey on your way. I won’t hold it against you. (It should be noted that I may or may not get the details about these photographs correct. My mind has a funny way of making new stories out of old ones.)
Dad's parents on their wedding day. This would have been... mid 1940s, give or take?
Now, I never knew Dad's mom - she died shortly before I was born - but I don't think I've ever heard a negative word spoken about her. I love this picture, how happy they look, with that extra detail of the old car in the background. (My version of this is a bit blurry - I might have to re-take it.)
Dad, age 6. Oh my goodness. Look at that smirk. I'm quite sure I've never seen him with such a look on his face. (But wait, it gets better.)
This would be... early to mid 1960s. That's Grandpa, Aunt Shirley, Grandma, and Dad. The glasses, the hair styles.... I love the big smiles, especially on Grandma's and Dad's faces.
This is my Aunt Shirley. What a gorgeous girl! I see we've finally made it to color photographs, and just in time. If I had to guess, I'd say this was at a church camp (it kind of looks like a lake in the background), but I really don't know.
Grandma and Grandpa - no date, but it would have to be mid-1970s. She passed away in 1978. They were a bit older when they had kids - Dad says he doesn't remember her without grey hair. (That would be why I have a 96 year old grandpa - 37 + 28 + my age....)
Thanks for letting me share! They’re up in Flickr for posterity now (and backed up on our server, with hard copies safely tucked away from sunlight). Maybe if I collect the pictures in small enough batches, I’ll remember enough details for them to be worth saving.
Last week I mentioned that we were getting ready to paint ‘s office. Well, here’s the photo update on that project (and a separate project at the very end). The captions tell the story – if you’re using a reader, the captions are the text below each picture (I know it shows up differently depending on the service you’re using).
Here's how it looked on Wednesday before we primed. We got one coat of primer done on Wednesday night, and a second coat just on the edges (brushwork) on Thursday night. One of the best things about this particular painting project is that there is no trim, so no taping, and there's no ceiling, so the only place you can't get paint is on the carpeting.
About 5 minutes after we started painting on Friday night, we remembered to take shots of the room all primed.
See? We'd already started. Crummy light, but that will be fixed eventually (need a ceiling first).
Two coats of paint later, and here's the room. (Surprisingly, it's about the same color as the kitchen, which was completely unintentional. Prince Charming noted that I probably wanted to repaint the kitchen anyway, and he was right. That's a project that will have to wait until we refinish the cabinets, though.)
Prince Charming spent most of Sunday re-installing the electrical outlets and working on the wall mounts for the monitors. Of course, nothing can get tightened down until the paint cures (4 weeks!), but progress is being made. There are a lot of other wires to run, which will keep him busy for a while.
If you want to see the whole remodeling set, here it is.
When we moved into this house, we knew that the humidifier was not working. This was mainly due to the fact that there were no internal parts for the humidifier.
The appliance repair store didn't believe me when I said it was empty. All I did for this photo was remove the cover.
What I wanted to be able to show you next was a picture of the humidifier with all its parts, in working order. We got a replacement kit that had everything we needed to re-create the inner workings, and managed to figure out how it all goes together. Unfortunately, after turning the power on, the water on, and playing around with the humidistat and thermostat, we still can’t get it working. has a few more ideas to try before we have to call in some help.
Aren’t old houses fun? (Answer: yes, yes they are. I am, however, quite glad that there were only two previous owners. I can only imagine if there had been five families who had lived here for ten years each, instead of one family for 50 years. The horror.)
Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:
via Google Reader (Shared Items)
Finished up priming ‘s office last night. He patched a couple of spots that he has to sand down and touch-up, but that’s a 15 minute task at best. He picked out paint colors and is buying them today after work (as well as picking up some more paint chip/cards for me). For my part, I’m going to Hancock Fabrics after work to see if they have something I might want to use for drapes in the bedroom. (Does it sound better to say curtains? Drapes seem so formal. Curtains it is.) I found something I think I’d like to use online, but I would have to get a sample first, because monitor colors cannot be trusted, and it’s 75-cents for a sample. Nothing big, I know, but hardly worth a whole order. I’m enjoying the whole “bits and pieces” of the design process that are coming together.
Lots of homework this weekend, but what is new. Lots of lesson plans to write, actually. I almost miss the days of reading for class (but not really – I’ve got a couple of books this semester that warrant skimming, something I have not done in my college career). I’m going to try to arrange for some time to indulge my creative side (outside of painting in ‘s office, which can hardly be considered creative) – I am about 3% interested in the Olympics, so it’s not like television is sucking up any of my time (that 3% was spent entirely on watching the American male singles skater last night, who was phenomenal – now I’m done).
We’ve been having some gorgeous weather as I leave work, which is awesome. I enjoy being able to “complain” about being blinded by sun.
It’s a pretty boring Friday, but it could be much, much worse. So I’ll take what I’ve got and make the most out of it.
I have more inspiration to share with you today. I think my brain goes into a “find pretty colors” phase mid-February, surrounded by all the grey and dullness (though it’s been surprisingly sunny here this week). It never fails, ever time I read someone’s blog post about Anthropologie, I have to go visit their site (and I forget that they exist the rest of the time). And I always find things that I love, but would never own. Does that make sense? It’s not just the price tag, but… something. That would be true for most of the things in this mosaic – love, don’t want to own. My only rule was that when I looked at the pictures, they had to make me smile.
First row: Sheets, Drawer Pull, Felt Tulip Pendant Light, Kitchen towel. Second row: Chair, Rug, Apron, Bench. Third row: Doorknob, Kitchen Towels, Rug, Drawer Pull. Fourth row: Napkins, Shelf Bracket, Bird Cage, Sheets. (The exceptions to the "I wouldn't own" rule are the sheets, and maybe that pretty shelf bracket.)
And this one I found,via ApartmentTherapy, at Dabney Lee.
I'm trying to picture how to make this work with our monogram (the one we used on our wedding stuff), and where. But very cool idea!
So, there you have it. Nothing worth talking about in my life, so some pretty pictures to help you make it through a Thursday.
right now, for …
… something warm to drink in the morning.
… friends who still comment on my blog even though I haven’t had time to talk to them since school started. (Hi, !)
… the awesomeness that came out of my database work yesterday (even if that means today’s work will be nothing but frustration).
… primer that is on the walls of ‘s office finally (just a bit more edging to do tonight, and then painting this weekend).
… figuring out some home dec things. I hate feeling thwarted by my own house.
… ‘s nursing job, even if I don’t know any details (hint, hint).
… my day off earlier this week, and for the contributions of the many great men and women who founded our country.
… sunshine. There was actual sunshine yesterday, and it was 34*! I was positively giddy.
… rocking my presentation at Tuesday night’s class, and the new-found confidence I have towards this semester.
… the box of Twinkies, which is now gone, but was yummy and fun while it was here.
… new driver’s licenses which are on the way, and the ease at which one can become an organ donor and register to vote alongside that process.
… remembering to be thankful before 8 pm.
Share what you’re thankful for in the comments! It makes me so happy to read what other people feel grateful for.
If you remember that angsty post from last week, I’ve been re-thinking my decorating thoughts in regards to my office. Since then, I have had several clear, helpful thoughts about decorating.
First of all, were I decorating our house only for myself and not taking into account anyone else’s opinion (which is definitely not the case, but it’s good to know regardless), the two words that I would want to describe it would be: warm, and happy. If those two words were nixed, my second choices are: peaceful, and cozy.
My office is none of those things.
I thought I would be happy with neutrals. After all, aren’t they kind of peaceful and cozy? Alas, as I was perusing the Better Homes & Gardens website this morning, looking through an article on neutral decorating schemes, I was completely bored by every picture. That is how I feel about neutrals. They have a time and a place, and can be a very smart choice, but, to be honest, they’re boring. (Khaki pants, while a great wardrobe staple, are really nothing to talk about.)
When I wrote that post last week, I got started thinking about how you should really have a point of inspiration to pick paint colors from, and I had been dwelling on fabric. My thinking was that if I could pick out a piece of fabric that I love (from my stash, which holds many patterns that fit the bill, and quite a few in the color scheme I’m thinking of), I could pick out paint from that. But I haven’t really had the time to look at fabric, and then there was the probability that I wouldn’t end up using said fabric in room (where? couldn’t come up with anything – I want the window treatments to be solid, not print, as I have discovered since making the current ones)….
This afternoon at work I was talking with a co-worker, and she liked my earrings. I said they make me happy.
They're a bit more aqua (greener) in real life, but not much. And I heart them.
My earrings make me happy. Couldn’t I use them as the inspiration for decorating my office? These earrings, plus the little statue (which I may just have to buy myself as a “you made it to Spring Break!” reward), start to form an idea of what to do.
Those birds just shout "happy" ! And the blue, in both the birds and the earrings above, can be classified as "warm."
See, now, if I put my mind to it, I bet I could figure this one out.
I just knew you were waiting for a peaceful resolution to all that angst. Of course, I don’t actually have the time to re-paint right now. We’re priming ‘s office tonight, and hopefully painting this weekend (at least, I think that’s the plan). But maybe I could squeeze in painting over Spring Break? I’d be down to two classes by then….
And just to throw more wood on the fire, I thought I’d share with you some pictures I’ve collected for my inspiration file for other parts of our house. You know, parts that we don’t plan on updating for months, years, “sometime.” I’m pretty sure that they’re all from the Better Homes & Gardens website.
Potential color scheme for the master bedroom. What do you think?
I've got nine-ish months to figure out a plan for built-in bookcases in the family room (the current plan is to drywall that room next winter). I'd been thinking about using beadboard for the backdrop, and here's an excellent picture of that (not the green, though - no avocado green in a basement that we're trying to get *out* of the 70s). I have another picture where the beadboard motif is repeated on the cabinet doors, and it looks quite smart.
Not much inspiring here, but the ceiling looks just like our living room ceiling, and this picture is a nice blank slate.
I found this one just today, and saved it because you can clearly see the trim, painted white, right up next to the hardwood floor (you can in the above picture too, I just realized). My mind has been stuck on the idea, but couldn't figure out if it would look OK or not. I'm going to go ahead and say Yes to that idea.
Where have you found inspiration to decorate your home? Or inspiration for anything?
I had no idea. So, to celebrate, I’m having an apple with my usual lunch of yogurt.
Pants still don’t fit.
In other news… I’ve got nothing. It was a fairly boring, albeit long, weekend. Class Friday night, homework, a bit of cleaning, some preparation for sewing, and… homework. And lots of Stargate SG-1 (I just started season 10, so I only have 20-ish hours left! so sad).
is progressing on his office remodel, though not as quickly as it likes. The problem is twofold. One, it takes mud a long time to dry (drywall mud, that is). And two, he wants to do it right. No one can fault him for that. Hopefully we will be priming the walls tomorrow night, which will make a huge difference. Then he can pick paint colors. And paint. And then it’s just the small matters of a ceiling, finishing up all the audio/electrical work, and furniture. Right. So this project will be done by… June.
On Saturday (I was wracking my brain to figure out how the day had been spent, and finally figured it out), we went and got new driver’s licenses, ones that reflect our new address. After lunch I went to JoAnn to spend some coupons, and buy fabric for clothing I don’t have time to make.
In good news, after tonight’s class, it is two class weeks until Spring Break! Which means that the semester will then be half over! And my Friday night class ends in two weeks.
The replacement parts for our humidifier (the one attached to the furnace – just a box, no innards) should arrive by the end of the week, so we should be able to get the house re-humidified by mid-Spring. Just in time to take the plastic off the windows, open them all up, and let that moist Spring air in.
I’m leaving you a picture of gratuitous kitty-snuggling. It was embarrassing. I’m saving this one for when brings a date home….
On the chair in the bedroom
Oh my goodness. Does the cuteness ever end?
- What is your favorite blanket like? I love a microfiber one that we got as a wedding present. It’s cuddly and squishy and keeps me warm.
- What was the last thing you baked? Bread, as mentioned last week. It was fab.
- What television personality gets you most hot and bothered? I have to pick just one? The short list of “who I’m sending to a deserted island with no way to ever again subject the public to their antics” includes Jesse (Ventura), Palin, and Mr. Hair (Blagoijovich, or however you spell his name). I might have to put Trump on the list just for casting Mr. Hair on Celebrity Apprentice this spring.
- When did you last burn yourself? I burned my tongue last weekend on hot cocoa.
- What are your feelings about hot sauce? With the right food, I could go for a little Tabasco (like on Chipotle), but in general I am not a lover of things that are too hot. Spicy is good, burning my tongue is bad.