Friday, August 17, 2012

Still Looking for Jacket or Overlayer Pattern

As I stated before, I need one more overlayer pattern. It's not easy to coordinate different patterns to work together when you consider length, proportion and style. I've had difficulty finding wardrobe patterns because I might like one piece but not the others. I've also found far fewer wardrobe patterns than in past years - what's up with that? :)

I'm considering K3841 from Kwik Sew:
K3841 from Kwik Sew

It appears it would be versatile and I like the idea that one jacket pattern could give so many different looks. I admire those who can take one pattern and change the look of it so it's not cookie cutter but I'm not there yet. I could make this in a sweater knit, fleece, wool or linen and each would give different looks, especially when combined with different neckline treatments.

Another factor to consider is that I'm planning on being more health conscious which includes losing weight. The recent patterns I've bought from Style Arc will be a problem because they aren't multi-sized. I want to purchase patterns that will see me through different sizes - I've gone up and down the scales my entire life, what would make me think my older years would be any different?

I'm sewing a SWAP and planning on minimizing my wardrobe. I need clothes for church as well as around the house and more dressy, shopping, appointment, outside the house clothes. My "around the house" clothes also includes the need for more versatile "sick-in-and-out-of-bed" clothes. At times I have difficulty walking because of a lack of strength and spend a good amount of time lying down. I don't want to look rumpled during those times.

I'm going to concentrate on black pencil skirts with tights and flats as my dressier, go to church pieces, easy-to-care for fabric for my Linda pants from Style Arc then various knit tops to layer with. The Abby cardi will be one of my overlayers then this jacket would be another overlayer.

What do you think of my plan? I'll be buying fabric at the beginning of the month and could use suggestions. Buying fabric on the net is difficult I've found and my stash is growing because fabric I've bought isn't suitable after all for what I've planned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Can I Be Personal for a Moment?

The fact that everything is permanent in the blogosphere hopefully will work to my advantage in this instance. Perhaps if I tell you what I'm facing and my plans to overcome it, I'll not waver on my self control.

I had my first cigarette when I was fourteen years old. I was probably seventeen when I developed a habit I found difficult to overcome. When I was in my twenties I quit for three years and why I started again, I can't imagine.

I quit again three years ago for six months. I'll be 59 next month and I've smoked long enough. I can't help but think my stamina would increase if I quit again. There are so many reasons I want to quit with my health being just one of them. I have a very personal reason for quitting that I won't go into here but there are other reasons as well. I hate the smell in my hair, my clothes and my apartment. I hate the fact that my teeth aren't white. No matter how hard I try, cigarette ashes just sort of drift under my ashtray.

Not good.

It's 3:36 am here in southeastern Michigan, I can't sleep and have few cigarettes left. Decaf coffee is brewing and I'll drink my coffee and have my last cigarettes. I need to quit, I have to quit and I want to quit. Let's see if I still feel the same way in a few days when the most difficult part of withdrawal hits.

I'm considering spending the rest of my money so I can't buy more. Perhaps a few patterns or more fabric? Sounds like a good idea to me! LOL

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Received Fabric Mart Fabrics

Edited: I had a gentle reminder (on Communing with Fabric) that what you post is here...forever. Perhaps I'll do a little cleaning up on other areas of this site also. 

I'm at a loss. It's difficult to order fabrics online without that tactile sensation that I love! As much as I hate how RTW fits, I do like the fabrics they have access to. I like silky knits, baby soft cottons and drapey linens for lack of a better word.

It's so difficult to choose fabrics for patterns. Out of five fabrics that I received, I can see a purpose for one of them. I wouldn't say that I dislike the others, I just haven't found a garment for them yet.

Most of the fabric I've bought since returning to sewing is turning into stash. My first pieces were of a camel crepe, a stone colored something, a coral linen/rayon blend with the same fabric in off white, and now I've received these.

One is a tone on tone blue that I'm just not ready to tackle yet. I would have to match the stripes which would be okay if this were not a slinky type fabric. Can't imagine that yet! The fabric pictured is a knit that doesn't stretch? Okay, maybe 5-10% stretch if that.

Two other pieces are in a pique knit. I know what that is now and again, it has very little stretch and also attracts lint like the devil.

I think I'm going to ramp up my buying by asking for advice from some of the better sources. Less purchases and better quality may be the answer.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Looking for an Overlayer or Jacket Pattern

I love the Style Arc Abbey pattern but it's so distinctive that I can't use it as my only overlayer. I've looked at all the big four, Style Arc, Cutting Line Designs, Silhouettes, Hot Patterns and others I can't remember. I'm not having any luck.

I'm not in need of a professional capsule any longer. What am I talking about? As a nurse I spent most of my time in scrubs but there was a need at times to look professional. That's no longer the case and I'm still redefining my style.

I've thought of a Chanel type jacket but I'm not up to that much detail at the moment. I love the look of some of the more artful jackets on others but I'm not there yet. I had a tendency to be a bit of a rebel or activist when I was younger and still admire the whole style that goes with that attitude. At that time you wouldn't have known it by looking at me - I was conservative in dress. I dare say I've mellowed since in attitude but now want to crank my style up a notch.

I keep coming back to this jacket for autumn or early winter:

Vogue 8430

I like the black one, complete with the design details. Unfortunately, the top of it comes over just a little too far for my taste. I wouldn't wear it open because my shoulders are wide in comparison to the rest of my body and I don't need to call more attention to them.

I like this one from The Sewing Workshop but am unsure of the fit and construction. Couldn't I work that out with a muslin?

Tribeca Shirt from The Sewing Workshop
The ones I've seen reviewed on Pattern Review doesn't really look like this. I may try it anyway after I do a little more research. I like the coverage in the hip area and it is casual with a little style thrown in for good measure. I'm thinking a wool blend.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

...and a little shopping I have done!

Style Arc has their new free pattern out for August. It's called the Ann T-top and I love it:

I ordered the Marita Jersey Dress to get this free pattern. They are a bit expensive but I'm planning on making them into TNT patterns. By the time you consider how many times you can make this up, it's cost per use is affordable.

There are still quite a few that I want from their website but I am on a budget and will have to order one or two per month.

I also recently ordered the Magic Pencil Skirt from Pamela's Patterns along with her tee. Can't have too many tee patterns, right? One of them is bound to be my TNT pattern.

I also ordered some fabrics from Fabric Mart during their sale. I have pics of some but not all:

I had nothing resembling an animal print in my little bit of stash. I also ordered black, brown and blue solid colors for bottoms. I didn't get a pic of the blue knit for another top or outer layer.

I ordered grey serger cones from an eBay source. I plan to use sewing thread for the seam stitches. One last purchase was Fray Block and I think I should be pretty well set except for interfacing and elastic.

I'll probably be eating beans and rice this month but it will be worth it!

Brother 1034d Serger Arrival from Amazon

I've never had a problem with anything from Amazon but I was amazed at the condition of this machine on arrival. The package arrived a few days late and after thinking about this, I believe there was a problem during shipment.

This is how the machine arrived after unpacking it:

Another view:

These aren't very good pictures but it's difficult to take pictures of thread. The threads are crossing over each other instead of lining up above the thread spools. I attempted to untangle a few spools and didn't think to take pictures until I had unwrapped a few threads but this is what remains after that failed attempt. At first, I didn't realize anything was wrong because I had never used a serger. After looking at my instruction book and following the thread path I knew something was up.

I'm not sure how it happened but I doubt it came from the factory this way. Nor can I imagine it could sew without breaking the thread yet under the presser foot was a sample sewn. Regardless, I had to rethread it before I could test that all was working correctly.

This is what it looks like threaded correctly. It didn't take over a half hour of reading and following the directions. I took pictures of the inside before unthreading it.

I didn't mention that the first thing I did was to oil the machine. It only tells you that on page 57 of the instructions - after it has you try a test sample. Interesting! After the first few minutes of confusion over the instructions to be honest, they aren't bad. If I could do this in just 30 minutes, others could probably do it faster. I hadn't slept the night before and I'm sure it would have been easier if I were well rested.

This is a sample of the first stitches:

Nice that it arrives with four different colors of thread. It makes the threading and stitches easier to recognize. This was sewn on a cotton/lycra jersey with the out of the box settings. Not bad, huh?

The next thing I did was to start documenting the fabric and settings in a notebook:

Sorry for the shadows but I have terrible lighting as I discovered when attempting to thread it. I'll have to get another general light for my sewing area. The machine's lighting is good for the stitch area but these older eyes need something more! BTW - the stitching along the lower edge was from my sewing machine while I was testing out a new stretch stitch. This was just a scrap of fabric.

I next labeled all the dials because I know I'll have trouble remembering which is which:

The illustrations on the machine are color coordinated and you can tell which thread belongs to each part of the serge. Helpful in tension adjustments. Did I say that right? Is there an actual word named "serge" as a nown rather than a verb? What would you call the collective group of stitches? I'm sure there is something proper, it just evades my memory at the moment.

I also labeled the areas for the width, length and differential:

I can't wait for my patterns from Style Arc to arrive and the fabric I ordered from Fabric Mart during their sale!