Sunday, November 27, 2011

frustration and passive-aggressive revenge

My sister, my BIL, and their two kids decided not to come Thanksgiving.  Fine, but I could've used a day's notice that they weren't coming rather than an hour.  Instead, we were informed that they were coming today so I could measure her kids and that we were to feed them.  They could have asked. Instead, I guess I have to make something for her kids that will end up wadded up in the back of a drawer, unworn.

Fine.  She wants me to make them clothes, I'll make them clothes!  Before Christmas,  I'll try and make matching sailor suits.  Cute as hell, and my sister claims to hate them.  And frankly, her kids need all the help they can get in the cuteness department.  Bit and Boo are so much cuter that it's not even funny!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crabby Thanksgiving wishes.

Today, as I finish stuffing a 17 pound turkey and stuff it in the oven, I am moved to share the crabby things I am thankful for. 

I am thankful that Boo only gave me her cold.  It could be worse.
I am thankful that my sister thinks she can sew, so that I don't have to make her kids clothes.
I am thankful that my card-carrying, unmedicated, insane grandmother is not coming for dinner.
I am thankful that my sister, brother-in-law, and their two kids are only coming for dessert, if they show up at all.
I am thankful for a mostly child-free day.
I am thankful that our cranky hot water heater has deigned to work today.  (we're replacing it soon)
I am thankful for the internet, where I can do all my Christmas shopping in a few hours and thus not go to the mall.
I am thankful that unlike my poor brother and sister-in-law, I do not have to go to a retail store on Black Friday.
I am thankful for ebay, which allows me to dress our girls in a style that I can't otherwise afford.

And for non-crabby things---

I'm thankful for my family... even the members of it that I don't particularly get along with!
I'm thankful that we have enough.  We're not rich, but we can pay our bills and eat and have a little left over.
I'm thankful for Boo and Bit especially.  My life would be a lot emptier without them.
I'm thankful for the online sewing community.  I've learned quite a bit since I discovered it.
I'm thankful for my friends. 

And now to go make icing for the cake to go along with three kinds of pie, cheesecake, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, peas, gravy, ambrosia fruit salad, rolls, and all the pickles and stuffed celery....  And tonight, as I collapse in a carb and sugar induced coma, I will try and rouse myself and use my thankfully child-free evening to do the hand basting and pad stitching on the coats!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Coats again

Because the views Bit picked have pressed-in pleats, I've been doing extensive research.  I mean, what works for cotton, won't necessarily work for wool, right?  And I read somewhere that wool will completely retain the vinegar smell, so it's not a great idea to use the vinegar and water method to set the pleats the way you would for cotton. 

After much research, I've decided on a three-combo approach.  Turns out that while pad stitching is great for soft rolls on lapels and collars, it won't work the way I was thinking.  However, Gigi Sews has a fantastic pleating tip, and I can edgestitch in the back from there.  It won't show from the front, but will keep the pleat where it needs to be.  For the outside pleat edges, I'm going to do something like a hemstitch on the inside of those edges to keep them together, which also won't show.

According to Gertie, the lining pleats should be feather stitched.  Her illustrations look a bit messy to me, but I'm taking that suggestion.  And I'm planning on going a little further, and feather stitching any place where the lining meets the wool after it's been whip stitched together.  I bought some thread that coordinates with the colors of the lining and the wool.  More updates later... when I actually get something done!  (Sewing with babies in the house is difficult.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Measuring tapes and sewing notions.

Somewhere in my house, there's a stash of bias tape and thread that Bit has stolen over the years and hidden.  And while I'm not the best housekeeper, I'm nowhere near the worst, either, I have yet to find the missing materials, but sooner or later...  Measuring tapes have also always been a favorite.  I've never managed to get the pictures off my camera phone, but I have a picture of her when she was just walking with one of my measuring tapes hanging around her neck and trailing behind her.

Today, I measured the girls.  I try and do this once a month so that I have a complete set of measurements for them so I can make clothes that fit.I have everything from the length of their arms, to how big their wrists are.  And I get how long it is from their shoulder to their neck, how long from waist to knee, torso length... Yeah, I measure everything.  That way, I know what I'm making will fit. I didn't do it when Bit was a baby, because infant patterns are based on weight, so I didn't bother.   Maybe it's genetic.  Bit didn't see measuring tapes until she was almost a year old, but I'm sewing for Baby Boo because lots of Bit's outgrown clothes were lost in the flood of 2009. 

Mine!  This is the best teething thing ever!
Boo has decided that measuring tapes are to be chewed on, and cries when you take it away.  I gave her the yellow one (I wanted to use the same tape for all the measurements) to sub, but apparently, the white one is yummier.  She dropped the yellow one in a minute once she could get her hands on the white one again, and dragged it with her everywhere for the rest of the day.  And I do mean drag--she's started to low crawl, and she didn't let the tape measure leave her sight!

It's yummy, Aunt Laura!

Children's corner and more coats

It took me two hours last night to fix the children's corner patterns.  Two hours.  Gah!  In that time, I could have easily got them both cut out, the embroidery transferred, and at least be halfway through the lazy daisies on one of them.Instead, I dragged my sleepy butt to bed.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed because the girls are here, and found that the interfacing has arrived.  So I will momentarily be cutting out the last pieces of the coats and fixing the pleats before I iron everything down...  Maybe.  I'm not sure if I'm going to fuse yet.  The only hair canvas I could find is fusible, after all.  But just because I can fuse it doesn't mean that I will.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Children's corner

I have to share my frustration! 

For years, I've heard about how Fantastic!  and Wonderful!  Children's Corner patterns are.  Don't waste your money.  I paid $16 each for the patterns, because they had a t-yoke dress with embroidery in both baby and toddler sizing.  Sorta.  Supposedly, the infant patten is supposed to fit up to twelve months, and it's supposed to have slip patterns in both.  LIE.    If it does actually fit all those sizes, it must be for a growth-stunted child, because it's closer to newborn sizing than anything!  Both patterns are absolutely devoid of the slip patterns.  And seam allowances.  And anything that would remotely make them fit!

In order to make this work, I'm going to have to fuse it with patterns that are the right size and pretty much redraft the whole damn thing!  And yes, I've already had a lovely screaming fit, because I just don't know what the people were smoking who told me that this brand was good!  The instructions are meh.  I've read better from the big four, and everybody knows that their instructions suck!  The stupid patterns don't even have skirt pieces!

So, to sum up.  Incorrect sizing, mediocre instructions, not all the promised pattern pieces, and, considering the $1 sales at Joanns, expensive.  Children's corner--don't waste your time and money!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Babies and sewing

Bit helped sew her pumpkin dress... was it last week or the week before?  It's hard for me to believe that she'll be in preschool next year.  :D In fact, since she already loves books, I'm going to get some use out of my education degree and teach her to read and write before she starts school.  Well, maybe not write.  It depends on if she's gotten the fine motor coordination necessary to write before then.  She'll at least be able to write her name! Anyway, it's been so long since Bit was Boo's age that I'd forgotten how challenging it is to sew with a baby in the house.  I spend more time feeding changing and playing with Boo than I do at my machine--I still haven't managed to finish cutting out the coats.  True, between the wool, lining, and hair canvas interfacing, I'm effectively cutting out the same project three times.  But well, Boo and Bit come first and sewing projects are usually relegated to days off--which I haven't had lately. Add to that my minor snafu--I ran out of hair canvas.  Now, the fabric stores in my area don't carry it.  so it has to be ordered.  *sigh* Which leaves me waiting.  In the meantime, I'm going to get as much prep work done as I can, and perhaps sew up Bit's new jeans.  She's getting to the almost desperate stage where she's wearing the same two pairs all the time.  The 4Ts are too big (4T shirts and leggings fit, though) and most of the 3Ts are too small.  Maybe I'll do a dress this weekend. Since her arm grew, I bet her legs did, too, which renders my last set of measurements moot.

'Sides, both of them need new dresses.  And I need to write up the vampire pumpkin costumes for the Simplicity Halloween contest....  And hooray for me!  I have three full child-free days to sew in!  I love them, but there are days that I'm sooo glad to send them home! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

The coats, part 1.

Early mornings and late nights here on Granny Lane.  I know I've been a bad blogger and not posting, but I have been busy this week.  Bit, who has never had a great relationship with hats, wants one--she told me that she wanted views 1 and 2 because they had hats.  This, from the child who has steadfastly refused to wear one since she was a baby!  Ah, well.  The hat from the pattern won't fit.  Bit has a 20 inch head, and the hat is definitely too small.  To add insult to injury, the hat included in Boo's pattern, Butterick 4009, is too big!

There was a review of Boo's pattern  on Pattern Review that said it was insanely oversized, so I dug into the stash and whipped up a quick wearable muslin to check for sizing.  I don't know what that sewist did, because the size she's supposed to be fit fairly well.

(I'm making A.)  So today, I spent time altering patterns.  Boo's coat was altered to allow a center back pleat.  Bit's was changed for length, the neck was widened (I'm considering doing that for Boo, too because the neck was a little tightish.)  and the sleeves lengthened so that they'll have cuffs.  Since Bit's arms got 1/2" longer in the last two weeks, I decided that adding three inches of cuffs was a bright idea!

And then came the hat problem.  Boo has a 17" head.  The smallest hat on the pattern is for an 18" head.  And to add insult to injury, I whipped up a muslin of Bit's hat because it didn't give a hat size, only to find that it's much too small.  But I'm stubborn.  And aside from being very, very cute, it'll keep their heads warm.

When my other niece was blessed, I used Simplicity 2908  to make a bonnet as part of her blessing outfit.  From experience, I know it runs a little big, and to make it even better, XS is for a 17" head, and L is for a 20" head!

I'm making the tulip hat without the ric rack and the applique.  It has the same flavor as the original, only without all the darting.  I spent some time preparing the pattern for that, too, and last weekend, I preshrunk the wool.  I've been reviewing the you tube videos and blog posts from Gertie's Lady Grey coat sew along last year. I've come to the conclusion that if I do the pad stitching right, I just might be able to get the pleats to fall into place without any of the usual basting and vinegar setting.  (cross your fingers!)

Tomorrow it's cut out day.  I told Bit that she could have the hat if there was enough fabric left for it, so I'm bringing in my big folding table to lay the fabric and pattern out on.  If I'm lucky, my three yards of 60" wool will be enough for two coats and two hats!  Goodness knows I hope my 8 yards of horsehair canvas will be enough interfacing!  I read the instructions for the coat, only to find out what I assumed was bias tubing for the bows was supposed to be ribbon, so I ordered some vintage velvet ribbon two days ago  that looks to be a good match for my fabric.  In fact, it was the only thing I could find that looks anywhere near close!  So I'll be using that for the band and ties on the hats, adding the bow in the center, and both coats will have the bows at the top end of the pleats.  Lots of lovely vintage style for the girls.....