Saturday, September 29, 2012

Move - Not going to move - Move - Geez!

Now again, I'm not going to move. Due to unforeseen circumstances the move is off again. I was so looking forward to my sewing room but it appears it's not to be.

Also received a letter saying my social security is being stopped therefore, not only am I not moving but I'll have no internet among other things. Food? Laundry? Meds? Car insurance - heck, they're only little things!

When will life settle down?

The only thing I can do is to plan, to act instead of react and above all to remain positive. I'm hoping it will prevent another relapse because any kind of stress puts me there.

I felt sorry for myself for a few hours then decided I didn't want to be miserable. I showered, put on my make-up and did my hair. I needed to feel in control and appear put together. Outside appearances can sometimes be deceiving I want you to know.

My house is such a mess that I don't know where to start. Box lying all over - the last few days before a big move and I guess you can expect that but it's sure difficult to think.

Guess I'll just unpack a few things, organize what I can and go from there until I find out what's going on. Wish me luck, please!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

French graphics for my sewing room

Chocolate is one of my favorite food groups! ;) My plan is to put this graphic from the Graphics Fairy DIY blog onto the top of my sewing machine cabinet after painting it white. She explains how to transfer images onto furniture here.

I'm also going to put a few graphics onto other pieces of furniture and linens. She also shows how to put labels onto jars and I thought it would make good notion storage. My sewing room will be all sewing, french graphics, vintage linens and pink polka dots and stripes.

I also plan to sew machine covers which is where the polka dots and stripes come in. I saw covers on a website but can't remember where although the graphics are etched in  my mind.

Leaving is bittersweet - I hate to leave family and friends. There is a touch of melancholy about me lately. I feel this move will be good but I sure hate to leave loved ones. Some are having a difficult time. I'll have to keep busy, that's for sure.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Decisions, decisions, decisions on decor for the sewing room!

I've given this a lot of thought and was considering using Tiffany blue and brown but finally decided on pale pink, white, french graphics, and lace.

This is as close to the color as I can find.
Do I think I might get tired of it - perhaps but I think like everything else, it will be a work in progress. I might add a little black here and there for punch.

I'm going to paint the furniture white and add graphics from the Graphics Fairy DIY blog. She has a lot of french graphics to put on table tops and linens. I also have some vintage napkins and doilies made out of Battenburg lace.

My living room is going to be green with touches of another color - perhaps natural in muslin, cotton and linen. On the green, I have no choice - it's the color of the carpet. It's not a bright nor dark green but more of a sage plaid or diamond - there are two different types in the apartments and I'm not sure which I'll get. Time will tell.

I'm also going to finish other pieces in white paint and french graphics. I'm considering using chalk paint but I don't know enough about it at the moment to make that decision. More research is in order first.

I thought I would have touches of french graphics everywhere. I've been collecting free printables for different areas of the house. Now that I'll have a garage to work or paint in, it should be fun to redo my house.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The progress and perils of buying a vintage machine

I learned to sew on my Mother's vintage machine. I'm unsure exactly which machine it was but it was originally a treadle that my Father put a motor on. It was in perfect condition and worked beautifully. I've always thought I was mechanically inclined and still feel that way. I once rewired a lamp and thought that was  evidence enough.

I think I was wrong!

I love vintage machines. I like the heft of them, the stitches they make, the shape - generally everything about them but buying a vintage machine that is missing bobbins, the bobbin case and needs to be rewired isn't for the faint of heart.

I thought it would be a simple thing to purchase a vintage machine and get it running. This machine is in beautiful condition cosmetically. No rust and it looks to have had barely any use. I had it rewired then cleaned and oiled it myself. (I'm listening to Adele do a concert through YouTube and am losing my train of thought at times. Rumor Has It is playing right now.) I've tried two different bobbins on it. The first was suppose to be a class 15 that I bought at Walmart. One end was too small to fit on the bobbin winder. A friend of my son's offered to let me try her vintage bobbins. They also do not work but I have no idea what size they are. They fit on the spindle but they don't wind. The little arm doesn't fit down into the bobbin and I think I remember it fitting differently - as in fitting down into the top of the bobbin. Sometimes I wish my memory was better!

Do yourself a favor if you buy a vintage machine. Buy your parts from somewhere that specializes in vintage machines. Sew Classic has class 15 bobbins that fit the machine. If I would have purchased some, I would have known for sure that they fit, and that something is wrong with the bobbin winder. As it is, I'm wondering if it is the right bobbin or if the bobbin winder is bad. The little "tire" is worn and in addition, I'm wondering if I oiled the bobbin winder and got oil into something that I wasn't suppose to. Does that make sense?

It should be a simple process to get this machine running but at the moment it doesn't seem simple. Do yourself another favor and buy one that is already restored with all parts and ready to go out of the box. Again, one from Sew Classic would probably fit the bill because I'm a bit frustrated right now.

Thoughts for the Snakeskin fabric

I thought it would make a nice skirt but had difficulty thinking about laying it out and getting the stripes even. I want to make a Magic Pencil Skirt out of it but getting the subtle stripe even posed a problem

I decided to trace another copy of the skirt for ease of layout. In some instances I can see where it would also help to have either a back and front or the whole skirt as one piece.

The skirt pattern is only one piece to be used for both front and back. After placing on the fold, you cut two. Considering the layout, you would either need to pick up the piece and cut it again or trace two. I decided to trace two.

It's been a busy week.

I was given two bobbins for my 15-91!

I feel like I've hit the jackpot. I was going to have to wait until the first of the month to order bobbins for it but a friend found two in her jewelry box that she had been saving. Lucky me again!

They are vintage and fit perfectly! Now I get to try the bobbin winder on my "new" machine. I'll let you know how that works out. It's such a pretty machine!

I'd still like to find a monogrammer for it.

I bought an office chair today for $1 at a garage sale. The arms as well as the seat are adjustable. What a find.

Have a good day!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

When, oh when am I going to be able to sew? :)

All I accomplished last week was tracing the Magic Pencil Skirt pattern and placing a few patterns on fabric - not enough in most instances.

The fabric I bought from Fabric Mart for the skirts was too light weight. When I draped it across my body, I didn't like the way it looked. It might be better perhaps with tights or the right undergarments but I don't want to take the chance. Still, each piece is only one yard of fabric and I'm considering using one for a muslin. We'll see.

I'm determined to move within the next month or six weeks. Not a big problem because I live in a small apartment and I've downsized quite a bit. I still have to go through my closet but I don't have too much packing to do other than my sewing paraphernalia! It's going to be so nice to have an actual sewing room! Posts may be a little sporadic until I get settled but it's something I'm really looking forward to.

I saw a Shabby Chic sewing room that I really liked. It was all french and in white and pink. I thought it could satisfy my need for feminine touches in the home and in my garments. Maybe I wouldn't be as likely to sew frivolous pieces. Again - we'll see! :)

I received my bobbin case from Sew Classic - sure was shipped fast. I also bought the marked needle plate. My class 15 bobbins wouldn't fit in the bobbin winder - wonder what's up with that? Could be either I made a mistake and purchased the wrong one or the bobbins are cheaply made. I'll have to do a little research.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jazzy (my dog) is here, not doing so bad!

My son brought my dog in from Indiana and she's not doing so bad. She's on pain medicine and she is more active than previously. She doesn't appear to be in pain although I did hear her yelp once when trying to get down from the bed. I don't let her jump - she wiggles around when she needs to get down and whines a little and that's how I know she wants down.

Her walk is crippled but it doesn't stop her from moving a little. She even walks around a little outside. The protrusion from her urethra is getting smaller so I'm hoping it's shrinking. The vet said the medication could do that. Now I'm looking for a vet here in Monroe for her.

I bought Innova puppy food from Pet Supplies Plus for her and she loves it. Evidently her appetite isn't affected yet. Even tho she's over 10 years old, I thought the concentration of puppy food would be good for her for a while. She weighed three pounds at the vet when she use to weigh five. I'll try to fatten her up a bit.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Dog is about gone - my God, when are the losses going to stop?

We figure Jazz must be as least 10 years old, I can't remember the exact year we got her. She was only five weeks old and it was January. When we were potty training her, we had to look close for her in the snow. She's white and was tiny her whole life. The vet said she was the smallest toy poodle she ever saw that wasn't a teacup poodle.

At her best, Jazz weighed five pounds. She now weighs three. She's only been ill that we know of since last weekend but by the looks of the tumors throughout her, its been much longer than that. She has been somewhat sluggish the last few years and appeared stiff at times but we still thought of her as a puppy because she was so small and still had that puppy attitude.

My son cares for her because I can't have her here. Last weekend he noticed she appeared painful and her uterus was prolapsing. After many vet calls, they made an appointment for Tuesday to get her fixed. It turned into something far worse.

She's on pain medication but I'm not sure it's working. She's in Indiana and I'm here in Southeastern Michigan. After a brief talk with my son, she's going to be here soon. Hopefully tonight.

Why is it quilts are the first thing that is thought of when someone or something is ill? My favorite robe is pink minky and tonight I cut it up for a quilt for Jazz. It was her favorite too when she visited. Now it will be used as a dying quilt I'm afraid.

My hope is that I can have at least a few days with her before the end. It would be nice to have many more but it isn't going to happen.

My God this hurts. I knew it would come someday and that it would probably be soon because of her age. I didn't expect it to come this soon or this fast.

Lord, help me!

I suppose one of the reasons I'm taking it so hard is that I bought her after my Mother died. My husband and a sister had died recently also and she was my way of still giving and getting love.

Perhaps there is a little unresolved grief here for family as well.

My 15-91 Rewired! Geez, I love this machine!

That didn't take long, did it? The light and the motor works. The guy that fixed it said the motor might be a little weak. I can't try to sew with it because I don't have a bobbin yet.

The cheapest place I've found is at Sew Classic for bobbins, the bobbin holder and many more things I want from there.

I cleaned it while it was apart although I didn't find much dust and dirt. You can see the old wires lying here.

There is a small area of crackling on the inner side where the badge is.

The the way, did you see the  badge? I can only think this is a true centennial. I'm sure it's not as important as on a Featherweight but it's pretty neat to me!

Looks like I better clean this up a bit huh? I just think the color is fantastic too. I'd like to get a monogrammer for it, does anyone know if they made them for this model?

Another cool thing is the Simanco name stamped on the foot.

Can you tell I just love this machine? :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New sewing machine! 15-91

I'm on an old computer without very many keys ! I justg had to tell you about a sewing machine I bought. It's a 15-91 with what appears to be a potted motor. It came with a buttonholer, attachments and zigzagger. It does need to be rewired but a friend has offered. Lucky me!

I thought only 201''s came with a potted motor but will let you know what I found out! Sorry about the typo but this isn't easy to type on! It looks better than the pics!

Now I just have to restore it and the cabinet! :)

Did I tell you it's a centennial?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pamela's Magic Pencil Skirt - Post 2 - tracing the pattern

I have always used the Big 4 patterns when sewing before. It was before the popularity of the internet and the ease of access to Independent pattern makers. Now that I'm using indy patterns, I need to trace the patterns instead of cutting on the tissue. I don't want to ruin the original pattern. I've never done it before and thought others might also benefit from how I did it. If you know of a better way, please leave comments and I'll change my method!

I have a cardboard mat that I bought at Walmarts for cutting patterns out on. I also used my Styling design ruler and as you can see, the curve fits the hip curve perfectly. It was necessary to trace the lines and adjust the ruler along the way but it was much easier than trying to freehand those curves.

I love the hip curve on this pattern. No wonder it's such a popular pattern. I can see myself making many of these in different colors and fabrics. The pattern is made for knit fabrics and will be much easier to fit because of this I believe.

I used a pen with blue ink but next time, I'm going to use a permanent marker I believe. The pen had a tendency to smear and I didn't care for that but I didn't think of it before I started. I also used Reynold's Freezer Paper. It's cheap and comes in a big roll. The two sides are different and if you write on the paper side, the wax side stay's put fairly well. I can see where that would be helpful when laying out your pattern.

As you can see, I used straight pins to secure the pattern paper to the mat. I could have used tape but I didn't want to mar the original pattern. I used eight pins placing them at each corner and along the sides.

I then laid the Reynold's Freezer paper over it and you can see the lines through it fairly well. Pamela's Patterns are darkly marked and if they weren't perhaps there would be a little difficulty tracing them the way I did it here because the freezer paper is somewhat thick.

You can see where I forgot the second line of the waist tracing. I had to go back and repin the pieces and trace it. I thought it came out pretty good.

As you can see along the bottom edge of the skirt, this is the only area that I had to true up. As I've said, I've never done this before and when I was moving the ruler to trace the hip curve, I didn't line the ruler up exactly. It was a fairly easy fix and not bad for my first try.

Next will be laying out the fabric and fitting the skirt and I can't wait. I'm going to my son's for a cookout today otherwise, I would be on this immediately! 

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Magic Pencil Skirt - Post 1 - Preparation

This picture is actually lighter than the fabric but without the flash, you couldn't see the print. It's a bit more subtle than this would appear.

You can barely see the darker "stripes" but I'm wondering where to place them when cutting this out. I'm thinking if I place them so that the darker is on the outer part of the skirt that it would give the illusion of a smaller silhouette. What do you think?

The knit is actually a nice piece from Fabric Mart. It washes and dries nicely - and I can also drip dry the fabric and it looks as nice as drying it.

The first thing the directions has you do is measure your high hip - mine 39", your hip - mine 38" and your thighs - mine 36". That puts me into a size small. My goodness - I've not worn a size small in a few years. I knew there was a reason I liked her patterns! :)

I choose the natural waist because I have a little fluff above the waistline and it's not something I care to emphasize by using a high waist design.

Rut row Rodger! It has you lay the fabric with two folds and selvages in the middle. Wonder how this is going to work out considering this fabric?

To be honest, not so well! The fabric is very drapey and it's difficult to lay out. What to do? Remain flexible! I do have to say that I am more and more impressed with Fabric Mart. I've tried to lay out a few different fabrics that I ordered from them and they have sent me an extra 3/4 of a yard of fabric on two lengths that I ordered. Now I'm not one to waste fabric and with the difficulty of laying this out, I have to think this would make up better in an overlayer.

I just happened to have ordered a nice black ponte knit that I think will make a wonderful Magic Pencil Skirt.

Did I mention that I forgot to trace the size small? :)

To be continued!

A new sewing room for me! Yippee! LOL

My messy sewing area now!
This is my sewing area now and it's tight I'll tell ya! It's in my bedroom and I would guess the whole room isn't over 18 feet long. Probably 12 to 14 wide. By the time I get two bookshelves, a queen size bed, a large dresser, a bed side table and a cedar chest - you got it! Not hardly enough room to walk let alone sew! It's better than not having a place at all and I wasn't complaining but still...
I'm just looking at the poor serger LOL. I didn't want to take down the thread holders and I tried to cover it with the original plastic and a doily! I should have tidied up a a bit before snapping this pic but what the heck!
Over the next few months I'll be moving into a two bedroom apartment. It's absolutely lovely and I'm excited about many things but definitely having a sewing room takes the cake!

If I see my grandkids visit often, just maybe I would put a day bed in there - but I'll have to think about that! I'm chuckling - of course I would put one in there for them! They come first after all! On second thought, the couch might be comfortable, you just never know! :)

So, sewing, serging, pressing and cutting. Perhaps someday draping but that won't be until I get a dressform. Then I get to decide on decor! As you can see, right now it's a hodge podge of different colors. Whatever I decide on, I thought I could cover the containers in coordinating fabric, make a chair cover, paint the table and buy another one also then sew machine covers.

I absolutely love Tiffany blue, but also black and pink. More decisions but this will be the most fun!

Another personal revelation!

Many of you know I've been ill for quite a few years. I've had many tests done and nothing has shown up through the years until recently. I've spent quite a few weeks in the hospital this summer. When you've seen a lack of posting, I've been in the hospital. As a matter of fact, most of my summer I've spent either ill or recuperating. I also had quit smoking during this time because I was so scared.

My last trip was interesting. They've checked my thyroid before. Considering I'm a nurse, you would think I would have asked more questions but I was just too ill to be my own patient advocate. Finally I became so ill I couldn't shower or stand to wash more than one dish. Reluctantly again, I called the ambulance. My heart rate was between 40 and 50 and blood pressure was low. I couldn't think, stand nor even rest I was so uncomfortable with neck and chest pressure. I'm sure they thought nothing would show again and asked if I  would consider going into in-patient mental health. As uncomfortable as I was and considering nothing was showing up, of course I would. I desperately want to get well. I was transferred to that unit in short order. One psychiatrist was sure this was a somatic illness. Being a proponent of mind-body interaction, I tended to agree at that time. They started me on Abilify as an adjunct to Zoloft for depression.

After another battery of tests, they checked my TSH and found it to be abnormal. Within two days of taking synthroid, I was almost back to normal. Almost being the key word there. I still have problems with stamina although nothing like the previous months. In the meantime, I was taken over by another psychiatrist after my admitting psych went on vacation.

All the while, I was being worked up yet again physically and added to in-patient treatment it was quite a busy week. The new psychiatrist took me off Zoloft and tried a trial of Cymbalta. I so desperately wanted that drug to work! It would have taken care of every symptom I had I thought and so did my psych. All this time I was hopeful because of the synthroid but keeping in mind what the original psychiatrist had told me about  somatic illnesses.

I had researched Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when I first became ill six years ago - my goodness, it's been almost seven years now since I've worked. I used pacing and graded exercise therapy to rehab myself from spending a year and a half in bed to using a wheelchair. After another year, I could walk short distances and it increased from there until late last winter when I had another crash. It was almost as bad as the original one.

When you're inpatient mental health, you have a meeting with the people who are taking care of you. Social workers, nurses, activities and your psychiatrist meet to tell you your diagnosis and plan of care.

I started talking of somatic illnesses. He said he wasn't sure that was it and asked me if I had ever heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Of course I had! I still can't believe I have someone who doesn't believe this is all in my head. I knew in the beginning it wasn't but as time went on, it seemed possible to me.

Instead, I have my ideas confirmed. Sure, I have been depressed. Who wouldn't be after going from a vital, energetic person to someone who could barely walk all within the course of a month? I also have some anxiety that I didn't have before this all happened. I know when I am stressed, I get worse and when I have emotional upheaval it's even worse.

I'm now on sybthroid, Abilify, and Effexor XR and I can walk, am doing my dishes, colored my hair, am cleaning my apartment and know what else?

I have hope. First time in a long time.

I'm also making some major life changes - as if this wasn't enough! LOL But they will be good for me.

I want to publicly thank Mercy Memorial Health System in Monroe, Michigan, Dr. Koloff, Monroe Community Mental Health, all the nurses in the Emergency Department, the observation unit and In Patient Mental Health. I have no insurance but to them it didn't matter and they are the first hospital I've visited that took such care and did tests to find out what was wrong.

A big thank you. I swear I'll pay you back if it takes me the rest of my life - and it probably will!

Now what do I do with the fabric I've prewashed?

Style Arc's Marita Knit Dress

I love the lines of this dress and also love the leopard print fabric I bought from Fabric Mart. It's rather heavy but with very good drape and recovery. I thought it would be perfect for winter with black tights and boots. 

It would be nice if I had enough left over for a funnel neck top also from Style Arc. It mimics my favorite top that is made out of a tissue thin jersey with cap sleeves. My neck is short in proportion to the rest of my body and the funnel neck is the perfect alternative to a turtleneck for me. I could pair it with black pants or Pamela's Magic Pencil skirt. I could also sew it into a funnel neck top and their cardi for my own version of a sweater set. Separates would give me more options in my wardrobe but again, would that be too much leopard for me? 

I have camel crepe and stone colored gabardine that I was going to make into a skirt and pants respectively. With a black cardi, that would give me quite a few options with the items already in my wardrobe. 

A burnout fabric I bought from Fabric Mart that  would need a lining
I could make the Marita Knit Dress out of this black and white burnout also from Fabric Mart. It's beautiful fabric but I'm not sure that's what I'd like to do with it. I'd have to line the dress or wear a slip with it. The fabric would also be pretty being made into a top and cardi.

Did I mention that I've done quite a bit of shopping from Style Arc? Even considering the shipping costs, I felt it was worth it for the quality of the drafting, paper and styles. If I could, I would order more. Perhaps next month!

I'm still looking for one more overlayer pattern and am undecided. I like Silhouette Patterns but I would have to reduce the hips about 3" on each pattern. I'm not sure I'm up to that but considering the multi-size patterns it might not be too difficult. Have any of you done that? I'm not pear shaped, I'm more of a rectangle although if I keep eating, I may end up an apple.

Regardless, as soon as I finish my chores, I'm going to start either on a skirt or pants pattern. Might be better to start with the skirt! :)

Have a good day!

New inspiration and perhaps even a skirt or two!

I regularly read Stitcher's Guild and glean more than I give. Hopefully someday that will change but don't count on it anytime soon! I have so much to learn even though I'm not a beginning sewist in most terms.

I was reading "Sewing for Perfection" in a thread and something hit home. How can I actually gain experience and technique if I never start? I have been in awe of some of the clothes they turn out and am sure I won't be able to make anything comparable. Of course not! I don't have the experience with new fabrics and machines. I do have a basic understanding of sewing and in fact have sewn for most of my life on and off.

I prepared my fabric by washing it in a color setting which on my machine is warm water, permanent press cycle. I dried them on delicate and the fabric is nice. I'm amazed. I bought most of it at Fabric Mart sight unseen and I couldn't be more pleased.

I'll update this post with pictures and patterns when I figure out how to set the color value on my camera. Yea for me! LOL