Saturday, September 29, 2012

That Learning Curve

I set out about a year ago to apply my perpetually jet lagged brain to garment sewing for myself again--wanting to learn new techniques and knowing I would have to learn how to fit my, ahem, "mature" body.  

Boy, have I learned.... 

...that FBAs are wondermous.  Why did it take so many years for me to catch on?  Countless wadders could have been avoided.

...that still, I tend to make things too big.

...I have narrow shoulders and have great success in making a size smaller in the neck & shoulders than I do for the rest of my bod.

...that my skirt & dress hems look far better just above my knee.  No more church lady look!  Not that I have anything against church ladies--I am one ;)

...that adhesive dots work great on knits to identify the right sides.  Even the Chinese ones found in UB.

...that 1/4" Steam-a-Seam works great for narrow hems on unruly knits.  

...that using grosgrain ribbon for skirt facings is fun.  I get a kick out of  hiding something colorful within a basic garment.

I have to give A LOT of credit to some great new books and the online sewing community--which gives the gift of laughter as well.

Oh, and...that I choose flats over heels more and more these days.  
And that is very OK.
Thank heavens there's lots of great looking, comfortable flats out there besides orthopedic shoes.

Well, off to the Rockies to spot some fall glory with the Munchkins.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Through the Looking Glass

Am writing this in wonderful Incheon Airport, So Korea.  Took the midnight flight from UB last night, winging my way home to Colorado.

I both dread and embrace these 2-day trips spanning half a globe and a 15-hour time difference.  Dread because, well, hanging out on planes and in airports for all those hours is a drag. 

Embrace because there is something Zen-like in traveling solo on such trips.  I think of it as The Zone.  Submersed in anonymity and the wonderful care of Korean Air and Incheon Airport.  

Ahh, Incheon.  Spotlessly clean and incredibly accommodating with numerous rest areas, transit hotels, sightseeing tours around the island and into Seoul, free showers, free water, multiple restaurants and stores, no obnoxious TSA recordings and some of the best massage in Asia.  I try never to miss that.  

Anyway.  The is a time to just zone.  Read.  Watch movies or documentaries.  Think.  Doze.  Hold a constant, relaxed conversation with God.  Just mouth breathe.  

But!  before I left UB (packing fabric this way for a change!), I wrapped up all my sewing projects started there.  I ended up shortening this skirt per Nikki's advice.  Then I almost completed a more tailored one in silk wool.

Now, looking straight into the mirror, it looks like it's above the knees.  Not so in this pick. Hmm.  Maybe it's the angle.  

The same great detailing is there though, with a much more flattering length.  Maybe I should go shorter...

OK, well, off to brush my teeth and get ready for the 11-hour flight to San Francisco.  Where the travel stress begins.  

On the other hand, there are hot showers, water that's not brown, bananas, car keys, etc. --and Munchkins!  awaiting.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wearable Therapy

I have been having some fun--and being able to wear the end products.  What's not to love about sewing?  Even the occasional wadder are part of the learning curve, right?  The constant learning--not only new fitting skills and sewing techniques, but the spill over into learning new tech-y things, photography things, blogging things--is something I am really enjoying.  Plus the online sewing community is so much fun.

Anyway.  My successes :)
Shirt #2 from my TNT Simplicity 9158
this time in a basic black lightweight stretch poplin from
 This time I added a kicky facing.  Next time I might just do a bias binding instead of the facing.

Then a black skirt from a great bottom weight knit I found here in UB.  It was a dream to work with and feels great to wear.  It's from Vogue 8750
I really like the curves and fit and the vent in the back adds just enough leg.  Not sure about the length, though.  Still, I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it.

...and how about this crazy grosgrain ribbon facing?!

Oh!  and look at how the seams/invisible zip all come together, hmm?  Pat on back :)

From the same TNT I made my shirt from, Simp 9158, I just finished this from a lovely soft, light-weight cotton khaki twill from  I'm thinking that I'll get lots of wear with either sandals or boots.  I added a slit in the back to enable me to get in and out of the Jeep back home ;)
 I lined it in a cotton/poly blend I found here in UB.  Also got to use more of that fun grosgrain ribbon for the facing.

This made up really quickly from a downloaded Maria Denmark pattern, Kirsten Kimono Tee,

I made up in a beautiful Korean knit I found here.  I think this will be a great foundational piece with a colored cardi or such

Lastly, this could very well be a wadder.  The pattern was a free Hot Pattern download from   Slinky-Slouchy Drawstring Vest--the pattern is wonderful.  The problem is that I made it in a soft, drapey mesh-ish knit I found here.  The pattern calls for woven.  The back neck and armholes have stretched waaaay out of wack.  It actually looks nothing like the pattern and I cringe to think that Hot Patterns would even see this.  That said, I haven't decided to live with it or chalk it up to that learning curve. But I'll definitely be making up the pattern again--for reals.

Wearing Option B.  Looked better in the mirror than in this picture!  hmm...

Very last of all--Fall has arrived in UB.  Glory!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mental Rioting

Mental Rioting.  

Isn't that the coolest phrase?  I just heard it minutes ago on a Nat Geo bio on Darwin.  Thought it summed up a lot for me today.  All good.  Except for the head cold I'm getting over.  A glorious fall day is outside and I've been cooped up trying to mend.  Respiratory infections are not to be taken lightly here in UB.

The good news is that I was able to snuffle about and cut out 4--count them: 4! sewing projects today.  Very excited about them.  

Oh, and the really, really good news is that Mr. M indeed fixed my serger.  The same day.  He's a keeper.

Before the cold hit, it hasn't all been sewing here.

I started helping out with conversational English with bright young people working in Mongolian government who are trying to get to Australia to work on Master degrees.  Last Friday I was thrilled to be invited to tag along on a tour of the Parliament Building.  Quite a privilege for a local, never mind a foreigner!

I've joined a Pilates class that meets twice a week.  Love it.  No pictures.  

We've made some Absolutely Amazing pizza a few times.

We continue to bond with our Miele oven.  The pizza is made right in the shelf pan and cooked on Intense Baking which totally cooks the bottom without burning.  Those Germans.

I found and joined a quilting group!  About a dozen ladies gather weekly from 10-3 on a come-and-go basis with lunch in the middle.  Total Kindred Spirits.  I whipped up some potholders so I'd have some hand work to do, though a machine is usually set up.  Plus a cutting board.  And piles of cotton odds and ends to swap.  My people!

I'm back to sewing, aren't I?  Hmm, well.  A lot of Mental Rioting has been going on regarding sewing today.  Nikki turned me on to this blog:  Goodbye Valentino

The author decided a year ago to quit spending a fortune on (admittedly gorgeous) clothes and to sew everything.  She's now celebrating the past year and has some amazing clothes to show off.

I've been fascinated with this blog all weekend.  You know, I could  do this.  By trial and error I've learned so much this past year--not only acquiring lots of new sewing techniques, but about myself.  My style for my life at this time.  The colors that are really working for me.  --and the internet sewing community is such a huge blessing--and downright fun.

There's been quite a bit of dialog on the sewing blogs lately on how distasteful conventional shopping and consumerism has become to many sewists.  That, too, hit a chord with me.  

I think I'll put the mental rioting aside for a bit and go heat some soup.  I sign off with this pile of great fabric scored here last week:
The top one is a silk suiting! 

Yes, I know.  A bit monochromatic.  But these are Korean, feel heavenly and will make some great basics.

Now, here's some color :)  Again, beautiful & soft.

OK.  Soup and Kleenex are calling.