Monday, March 3, 2014

Travel Duds

As I've probably whined/stated before, the trip to and from Mongolia involves about 30 hours of travel spread over 3 flights,
Incheon Airport, South Korea
the long leg being 11-13 hours.   For almost 10 years I've resisted wearing anything closely resembling sweats.  I know, I know.  Call it an anti Ugly American thing.  


About 5 years on, I had to ditch jeans with any kind of buttons on the back.  Finally, the knobby seam joint of the back yoke got to me.  Never mind having to unbutton midway through.

Sigh.  I finally caved into wearing comfy pants (hereafter referred to as Happy Pants) on the long leg of my international flights last September.  These were made up in my favorite yoga pants pattern, Laura Lounge Trousers (I'd made 3 pair for Pilates already :)  by Maria of Denmark (her Kimono Tee pattern is another one of my go to's!).  In purple stretch velour.  Still, I couldn't bring myself to hang out in the airport in them.  I changed in the (very clean!) Korean Air airplane bathroom.  Hmm.  Pretty darn comfortable.

So, I made up another pair of Laura's in the gorgeous Ponte knit I get in UB, for my recent trip back to the US.  I would have made them up in my Style Arc Barb Pants, but left the pattern in US.  Drat.  But the Laura's worked great and the heavier ponte was a perfect weight.

No picture of the Laura's.  Try as I might, a photo just doesn't do them justice--on my body or on a hanger.  Trust me.

I wanted a couple of travel tops and they had to be:
1.  Long enough to cover my behind and allow me to reach to the overhead, etc., without revealing 57-year-old stuff.
2.  Loose around the belly.
3.  Soft

Hence Butterick 5354:



I didn't have enough for the sleeves, so the Church Lady Dress morphed yet again!



Lastly, I made a drapey sweater for a soft layer:

McCalls 6408, an OOP Nancy Zieman

 Happy in my Happy Pants.  Despite this goofy picture.  Must be my travel face ;)


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Le Coat

At last!  Here's Burda Coat 08/2013 #103 that I started on in the fall--much too late to wear in Mongolia, but I've gotten to wear it lots back here in Colorado.  It has been very warm and snuggy even in the low 20's F.

I just noticed that the hem is not even in this picture.  It's perfect on me, though.  Whew!
 The fabric--spied by my husband (!) in my favorite jam & cram fabric store in UB-- is just perfect--body enough for shape yet is soft and has some drape.   Note:  he was with me.  He doesn't normally just hang out in fabric stores.
Wrong Side:  soft & smooth

Right side:  textured & woolly



The fact that Black & Blue is On Trend is a total accident.  I've always liked the color and I bought the fabric before the trend arrived.  Usually trends go on without me because I'm such a slow sewer!

Here's a close-up of the clasp thingies I found in UB.  Perfect match!


It's so soft on the inside that I didn't line it.  I found some mystery fabric in UB that was smooth on one side and slightly fleecy on the other for the facings.  I interfaced the facings and collar with French fuse interfacing.  I used the same facing fabric for the pockets.  Less bulk.
I also did Hong Kong finishes on all the seams.
Just to look nice.


Ta Dah!
Here's the coat with a blue (Mongolian cashmere ;) scarf I already owned.
I am so enjoying this coat!

...and hey, I left Mongolia at -25 F or so and landed in Denver at -13!  What's up with that?










Sunday, January 12, 2014

Black & White

I wear a lot of black.  I mean A Lot.  It started with all the travel 10 years ago.  

Then, about 2 years ago I decided to let my hair grow natural; i.e.,  gray.  I made that decision right after I renewed my passport that's good for 10 years.  Hmm.   But I've never looked back and no regrets.  

A wonderful result of this decision is that I now have a much narrower color palette!  This really simplifies life.  

Apparently B&W is now On Trend.  I think this is a first for me.  Usually,  I embrace a trend that appeals to me and by the time I get the pattern, fabric, and fitting issues ironed out, that trend has whizzed right by.  

Using black as a base, I now only buy & sew hot pink, true purple, red and royal blue.  And!  I mix them!  Yes, red and purple really do blend.  I've really liked doing the black/royal blue thing that's been en vogue--this was so easy for me as I already had the colors in my closet and stash.  

I like soft pink & baby blue, but tend to use them sparingly and more for night wear, etc. . 

No more dinking around with "safari" colors, Pantone Emerald Green or Tangerine Tango.  Yikes.  However!  The 2014 color is Radiant Orchid; much more promising.

A peek at the bulletin board in my sewing room--see, B&W have been on my radar for some time.:



Here's Vogue 8323 done up as a tunic in the fabulous Ponte I get here in UB.  


I think a simple FBA (just adding 1" in length to the front pieces--per Sanda Betzina's Fast Fit) needs to be done in the future.  In the meantime, The Husband thinks this is a winner.

I wear this top with black jeggings from Express.  I'm not sure this is my favorite look.  Since knee-high boots are my uniform here in UB in the winter, the look is OK.  As long as the tops are long enough.  (That age-appropriate thing ;) 

More B&W projects are on the cutting table, so stay tuned ;)







Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Mongolian New Year and a Glitter Top

Well, Happy New Year!

Randy & I shared a cozy New Years Eve just the way we like it:  with each other.  Which involves dodging some invites and looking like fuddie duds, but oh well.  At midnight Ulaanbaatar explodes in fireworks and our apartment affords a panoramic view of all--including the ones in our front and back yard.  Literally.  This is, you know, the land of no liability.  It's all quite breathtaking.  Again, literally.  

While we enjoy our Snugglers and Champagne, we love waking up to the new year without a hangover or serious sleep deprivation.

So...today we walked the frozen Tuul River.  We were SO blessed with amazingly clear air and barely above 0 temps.  
Randy on the river--yep, all that white is frozen river!

Look at all those layers of ice!

See the ice under the snow?


And then!  We happened on a Shagai game!!  This is a game played on the ice--since Chinggis Kahn's time.  Now they play with man-made shagai (ankle bones--of any animal).   Sort of like shuffle board/bocce ball/bowling.  On the ice.  Sometimes in -30 temps.

The score keepers




An action shot



Just a quick look at my New Year Glitter Top.  Randy's response was, "wow, it's really shiny."  Yes, it is.  Shiny.  

I used this crazy knit fabric I found here in UB as a muslin for Vogue 3691, a Katherine Tilton t top.  I left off the ruffles and put on "flags" a la Margy's Blog .     The fabric looks like sequins are on it, but it's really all shiny print.  I actually like the top!  OK, times & places to wear it are limited, but it was comfortable for the evening and, well, I just like it!  Pattern Review coming soon.

Again, a Blessed 2014 to you all--may The Lord God be the author of all your springs!
Ps. 87:7

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Asia

Christmas in Asia is a little bit different--in good ways and bad.  Asians tend to use all the Christmas trappings to celebrate the new year.  In very over-the-top ways.  On the other hand, it is left to the Christians to celebrate; in intentional ways.  That, I think, is good.

Here's some pics of our 9th Christmas in the East!

Hotel Lobby in Macau.  Rather tasteful.  Despite Randy wanting to sneak chocolate covered almonds behind the reindeer.  ...wherever you go, there you are...


Kowloon in front of the historic Peninsula Hotel.  Rather tame in daylight.  Stay tuned.


Kowloon in front of Peninsula by night.  Dazzling (blinding).  Yes, that IS a giant cupid hovering over the photo op!

See that cupid now?  Yes?

The beautiful, crazy-old tree above the lighted one pales in comparison.
Christmas lights on Hong Kong shore seen from the ferry from Kowloon.
 Back to some reality in UB.  Whew!  

A few cuties from our church fellowship

Amazing Beverly and a few of her Boys


Wrapping tends to be creative here.  Fabric works!

As do pages from Popular Mechanics
 Isn't this little guy TOO cute?  Randy grabbed a champagne cork and it just gave him a whole new look from the box.  Found this in a Hong Kong book store.





View from the living room window in our apartment.
We had a marvelous Christmas Day--beginning and ending with Jesus and all in between.  We Skype called family all morning, and enjoyed a gorgeous Christmas dinner at a nearby restaurant.  Randy took the day off (Christmas is a working day here) and it was just perfect.  I hope your Christmas was wonderful and Christ filled, too!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jacket From the Recent Past

Well, The Coat is still in progress.  I got a bit stalled as I needed shoulder pads and one doesn't just swing by the sewing store here, so had to wait until of last week.  Then, I was down with some flu bug this weekend and that slowed things down more.  Whole new meaning to slow sewing.

So, I want to blog about a jacket that I made this past summer that I am so pleased with!

Here's my Butterick 5616!  Even though I knew in the spring I wanted a white denim jacket for summer, I didn't get it done until almost the end of summer--mainly because I kept searching for just the right denim.  A denim with just the right feel and weight--and that was actually white, not off white or cream.


 I made my usual 10 through the neck and shoulders and a 12 on the sides.  I actually added a bit to the side seams that I really didn't need in the end as it's a bit boxy, but I'm OK with that.


I ended up using Hong Kong finishes and binding many of the edges with this pretty gray & white cotton print.

I learned to hammer thick denim seam junctions--and it really works to flatten them.  Who knew?  Well, me, now.

Oh, and I faced the collar in the same pretty print 
...And a big news flash (for me, anyway).  I found the Dritz snaps unusable.  Despite having the application tool thing.  The silly thing comes with no directions!  I went online, too; scarce.  I tried winging it.  Grr.

Then.  I found a wonderful product called SnapSetter.  The selection of snaps is large, the prices & shipping are great and!  The little attaching tool is so easy to use!   Here's the SnapSetter link  



I got quite a bit of wear out of it at the end of summer, before I left for frostier fall climes.  I'm glad I refreshed my memory with this jacket--refreshment is needed while working on The Coat ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Burda Coat & Aussie Fascinators

Well, I've made progress on The Coat.  S l o w l y.  The first day of sewing was delightful--fabric wonderful to work with--then basted up the side seams…it was too big.  This  being my first try with a Burda Style pattern, I wasn't sure whether to go with the upper bust or full bust measurement.  Should have been the upper.  So…back to the L.A. freeway map original pattern
to grade the pattern pieces down a size.  Makes my head hurt.  Lots of un-sewing.

A good week later and it's coming together!  Today I hope to get the sleeves in and then on to hems and fasteners.  One time suck has been the Hong Kong seams--that wonderful satin bias tape turned out to be a bit wonkey, going from wide to narrow and back again.  I think it was the end of a roll because I went back on Saturday to get more (15 meters and counting!!! --some due to all the un-sewing) and it was off a new roll and much better to work with.

The sticky dots are the only way I can mark notches, etc. as tailor's chalk a just disappears.  


I'm still loving this Darth Vader collar

I think these clip fasteners are going to be perfect!
Now about the Aussie fascinators.  Apparently, it is Melbourne Cup tradition for ladies to wear a fascinator (headpiece) to the event, parties for the event, and even watching the event on TV.  So, our Blue Sky Quilt Club set about making our own under the tutelage of our Aussie member, Kathy.  The more bling and the more flamboyant, the better.



I really don't think this is my medium.  But it was fun and my table pumpkin enjoyed wearing the end product (until I roasted it tonight, that is--the pumpkin not the Fascinator).  Randy has plans to wear it to the office on Halloween (the Fascinator, not the pumpkin).  As he is known to say, "sometimes a guy just wants to feel pretty."  This is a man secure in his manhood.


My creation.  Think I'll stick with sewing ;)