Pants, Pants, Pants!

The Monthly Stitch challenge for February is pants.  Since Fall of last year, I have intended to overhaul my wardrobe.  With the new year, there are a couple challenges that have made me really be intentional in some of my choices.  A few challenges have been Wardrobe Architect by Colletterie, Wardrobe Challenge 2014 by Angela Wolf, and 12 Pattern Challenge by Lucky Lucille.

We had flooring put down before Christmas and I boxed up all but the essentials in my closet and haven’t unpacked those boxes yet.  That’s given me plenty of time to think about what I need in my closet.  I’m rotating three pairs of slacks for work!  I have a couple more that I pull out when I have to, but I definitely need to add slacks to my wardrobe.

As part of the Wardrobe Architect, we were challenged to think about our style.  Who are our icons, how do clothes make us feel, what do we want from what we wear?  I felt I knew the answers at the start and found they didn’t change with retrospection.  I love Katherine Hepburn’s button blouses and pleated trousers.  The casual comfort of her style appeals to me!  Doris Day had a trim style that is just timeless.  I definitely want a pair of slim fitting pencil pants and a new pair of loafers.  I’m thinking a tunic length button down or perhaps a hip length button down would pair well.

My favorite way of dressing is COMFORT!  As in old sloppy jeans, t-shirts with my husband’s button down shirts.  I would like to create more things that are comfortable, but that also look decent enough to wear to town.  Being busty, my figure has always made it tough, read impossible, to buy things that truly fit.  With ‘middle age spread’, it’s just gotten worse.  So my core goals while wardrobe building are:

  • Comfortable
  • Well fitting
  • Classic/Timeless

Having said all that, the Monthly Stitch challenge comes at the perfect time.  I have three pair of pants on my to do list.  My goal for February is to choose one pair and get them done.  It would be awesome if I were to get two pair completed.  The main goal is to adjust the fit so that I have a dependable pattern to create a selection of trousers for work.  My first pair will be pleated trousers like one of these and I’m leaning towards V8498.

Vogue 8836
Vogue 8652

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was grabbing my links for this post, I stumbled on Lucky Lucille’s post on her plans for pants in February.   It was just posted today!  (Kindred spirits for the day.  🙂)  She made a comment that could have been me to a Tee:

“I like chic menswear, tweeds, and timeless color palettes. I also like things that are soft and look like they’ve been broken in and well loved overtime – You know, Vintage-y things. Practicality also plays a crucial roll here so I’m looking for fabrics that are washable and fairly durable. I don’t want to fuss with matching plaids either. …and I really like the color green lately.”  (by LuckyLucille.  Full blog post here.)

For the record, I ALWAYS love green.  LOL.  My go-to colors this year seem to be black and brown.  I’ve quite a few pieces of brown wool in my stash.  I’ll have to be careful to balance with other colors.

I’ve really enjoyed watching how others approach their wardrobe choices.  It’s kind of funny the things that motivate us.  When thinking of some of my favorite pieces, I remember a true red Pendleton wool shirt that was a handed down from my Dad and a canvas and leather game jacket that my brother outgrew.  I wore both of those for more than a decade.  I find favorite things and wear them as long as possible.  Mom had a heavy red coat in a vintage heavy collar and a-line style that I’m still wearing today.

There is such a comfort in favorite things.  To all those taking up the wardrobe challenge in one form or another, I wish you luck.  I hope we all create a few new favorite things.

Happy sewing,

Ramona

Related Posts:

http://luckylucille.com/2014/01/preparing-for-pants/

http://www.coletterie.com/wardrobe-architect/the-wardrobe-architect

http://fashionsewingwithangelawolf.com/angela-wolfs-wardrobe-challenge/

http://luckylucille.com/2014/01/my-twelve-pattern-challenge/

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The “French” Jacket

Inna and Leisa have completed The Little French Jacket Sew Along, but I’m still plugging away at my jacket.  For personal reasons I put this jacket on hold for almost a month, but I have gone back to work on it this past week.

DSC_0184_1213Last week was all about basting the lining to the jacket  pieces and sleeves.  Today, I pin basted, thread basted, then sewed the jacket seams together.  I also used the selvage edge from silk organza to stabilize the neck and front edges and provide support for the buttons and buttonholes.

LBJInterfacing

LBJ.Basting

You can see here (hopefully), how marking the seam lines with thread comes together as the pieces are basted together.  At the left you should see the thread marks come together and at right you should see where I have pin basted the pieces.

It’s difficult to see in these photos, but I’m much happier with the fit than I thought I would be.  It appears to gape open here, but buttoned the jacket will be fitted and sits well.  The arm holes at the shoulders may still be a bit wide, but I can check that when fitting the sleeves.  Looking at the back photo makes me worried the back shoulder is too wide.  I may have to take another look at that.

LBJ.FittingFront LBJ.FittingSide LBJ.FittingBack

It’s starting to shape up and I hope to be very happy with it.

I really want to make a blouse out of the lining fabric.  I found it at Mood and I just love it.

I hope you have a good week and are able to create something amazing.

 

Playing on the Gammill Charm

I’ve been working on a couple projects this weekend.  Not the two project I had on my list, of course!  Since the Gammill Charm was delivered and installed, I’ve only quilted on her a couple times.  I really wanted to get a couple things put together so I could quilt and play.

First up were blocks in Leah Day’s Building Blocks series.  Originally I hesitated to buy this series.  The quilting patterns seemed pretty basic and I’m not fond of tracing designs.  However, I did like the fact that we make multiple copies of the same block and quilt them in different designs.  I need some serious quilting practice.

DSC_0196_1225So back to those basic (read simple) quilting designs…don’t you love it when your arrogance kicks you in the ass?  I hate trying to quilt by the line!  And I really need to improve my grid work.  So it’s a very good thing I caved and bought this BOM.   It should get me out of my comfort zone.  To the right are Blocks 1 and 2.  We make three of each block and I’m working from primarily solid scraps with the option of adding a print here and there.

DresdenBaby.GammillCharmSince I really wanted to keep quilting on the Charm, I pulled out a baby quilt I put together ages ago.  It’s batted with a thick cotton batting that can be a bit of a challenge.  The batting doesn’t want to bunch up, but lays flat regardless of what I do.  This makes it tough to move the quilt around smoothly.  The quilting has been done in stages and you can see it in the change of threads and in the quilting performance.  Even the quilting today was sloppy in places, but I can see improvement over the past year or more.  The quilting is finished and I was hoping to bind it and call it my first finish of the year, but I’m done for the day!

I really wish I had thought to put something in this photo to give you a sense of the size of this Charm.  She is substantial!

So, what do I think of the Gammill Charm?

Stitch:  When I first tried the machine, I could see and feel the quality of the stitching.  I’m not sure how to explain it except to compare a hand mixer to a KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  They both do the job, but one just feels more efficient.

The stitch speed can be controlled by the foot pedal or set on a constant speed.  I liked both methods.  The constant speed can be changed to suit you.  Once it is set at a comfortable speed, the main thing you’re thinking about is the speed you are moving the quilt without worrying about the foot pedal.  At one point I needed to be careful about my starting and stopping spots and switched to pedal control.  They both worked really well

Thread and Tension:  This is going to be my challenge.  I read and hear a lot of quilters, especially long arm quilters, rave about Superior Tread’s So Fine thread.  I’ve tried it in the past and just didn’t like the way it lay on the quilt.  Based on the success of so many others, I assumed my machine just didn’t like it as well.

For the quilting today, I used So Fine in the needle and Bottom Line in the bobbin.  I found a tension that worked, but it took a while.  The bobbin is actually a pre-wound bobbin from Superior Threads and it worked well.  It isn’t sinking into the quilt as well as Aurifil does on my Bernina, but it works.  I’m hoping once it washes, it will sink into the fabric.  My concern is I would really like to use multiple thread types for quilting, and I’m not sure if this caliber of machine will like finicky threads.

Today the threads broke enough to be annoying, but not enough to totally tick me off.  The top broke mostly, but the bobbin broke about three times.  So I’m thinking either the tension is still off or perhaps I was quilting too fast.

Substantial:  I normally quilt on a Bernina 820, which is a Very Nice machine for quilting.  It hums and has a pretty light touch.  The Charm has a heavier feel and is slightly more noisy (or maybe I’m imagining it).   The machine and the table is solid and well manufactured.

Convenient:  The Charm is mounted on a metal frame table which is very sturdy.   I never had the sense of table vibration.  I also chose to buy the casters with the table.  Very good idea.  The table is stored in a folded position against a wall.  Folded it is 2′ x 4′.  There are two leaves, one to the left and one to the rear.  With both folded out there is a square missing in the back left (if you can picture it.)  That seems awkward to me.  I keep picturing the quilt getting caught in that corner as it is moved around.

On the other hand, as I worked on this quilt, I needed the extra space.  This table, even with the machine mounted, rolled away from the wall so easily.  The back extension is easy to raise, locks securely and easy to drop again.  For me, I rolled it away from the wall, turned it to a right angle, and lifted the rear extension in a matter of minutes.  It folded back just as easily.  Total Win!

I am anxious to see what other Charm users have to say about this machine.  So far, I’ve only found one other owner and she is waiting on delivery.  I’m anxious to compare notes.

So that’s my weekend.  I hope your week is an awesome week and totally blessed.

Ramona

New Year’s Resolution …. fail

This is why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions ….

In my attempt to make the resolutions attainable, I went for two this year:

  1. Spending Freeze – No new fabric.  I have to sew from my stash and can only buy if I absolutely cannot finish a project from the stash.  I’m in the process of taking inventory so that I can monitor my progress.
  2. No UFO’s.  I read a blog (and can’t remember which one now!) where a sewist doesn’t begin a project until she finishes the current project.  I know I will not get THAT good, but I would like to keep it down to two or three at a time.  The numbers are a little intimidating right now.  I’m in the process of listing my WIP’s so that I can start marking them off.

 

As I said, THIS is why I don’t make resolutions:

DSC_0200_1201This was only week two!  I had made a trip to Stitch n Frame in Vicksburg, MS, to take a look at the Gammill Charm I won (yeah, I’m still bragging about it!).  The sale rack was calling my name.  I am SO ashamed of my lack of control.

DSC_0199_1200I also bought other supplies, but the wasn’t on my spending freeze list.  Honestly!  Fabric Only.  (What’s the emoticon for guilt and shame?)

 

So now I’m hitting ‘RESET’ and starting over.  Determination!  Conviction!  No More Fabric!  (Am I the only one crying here?)

Resolution Two is still intact, but only by the barest thread.  I am on a wholecloth quilt craze right now.  I just broke down and bought Cindy Needham‘s Wholecloth Quilts workbook, and wow, what a lot of information!  That same week Craftsy announced a new class by Cindy on Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts.  Just feeding my obsession!

WholeclothQuiltScottishThistleI already have a design I am working on and constantly editing.  I’ve already changed the corner motifs.  And I need to learn how to operate better in Adobe Illustrator.  I’m using graphics instead of line drawings and the overlay is cutting off the design in places.  Not a real problem because I only need 1/4 of the final design to trace onto the fabric.

If you’re wondering, I take the final PDF to a copy shop and have them run it on 36″ wide paper they have on rolls.  I’m creating one full size in 36″ square.  If I like it and want to go larger, I will have them print 1/2 of the design on 36″ wide, so that the final quilt will be closer to 70″.  But that’s being ambitious.  Patience, Patience, Patience.

BUT!  I can’t start the wholecloth quilt until I finish a couple other items on my list.  (I know I can’t wait till I have all my WIP’s done, so really, why be unrealistic?!)

In the meantime, I have been good on one front.  I’ve been working all week on my Little French Jacket and have made good headway.   Will be posting photos soon.

I hope your resolutions are going stronger than mine and that we all remember we can always re-commit when we stumble (or take a full out nose dive!).

Of course if anyone else is as bad as I am about resolutions, I would love to hear it.  Misery loves company, or so I’ve been told.  ;-D

Ramona

Marfy Sew Along

MarfyFreePatternsWhile there hasn’t been a lot of sewing going on, I’ve still been pretty busy.  The Gammill Charm I won in December was delivered and installed yesterday, so I was able to play a bit.  I also got back on my French Jacket!  (About time!)  I’ve missed talking to my bloggin’ friends and really need to get back here.  But in the meantime, I just read a blog post and had to share it with you.

A month or so ago, I blogged about the free patterns Marfy had offered.  For all of you who took advantage and are now wondering how to sew with these patterns, Leisa, at a Challenging Sew, has the answer.  She has started a sew along specifically for these patterns.

She begins with the blouse and already has three versions made and shown on her blog.  Seriously, go check it out.

 

Have fun!

Ramona