Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Think These Are Great!

I was surfing around the 'net just now and found these great gift tags for handmade items. These are designed for hand knit/crochet items, but they would be super easy to create on my computer and adapt to any number of handmade/homemade gifts.

Catching Up

I'm importing Christmas music to iTunes right now so I thought this would be a good time to catch up.

First, I survived the 'dreaded sales meeting'! It was way too long, way too boring and mostly, unnecessary. The Love of My Life pointed out that the meeting wasn't actually a "sales meeting" but rather a "territory business planning meeting", but, hey, 'dreaded territory business planning meeting' just doesn't have the same ring to it as 'dreaded sales meeting'. Anyway it's over for this year. The final thought I have about it is this: I was reminded yet again that when you are well groomed, in stylish, well-fitting, occasion-appropriate clothing, it can make a tremendous difference in how you are perceived by others.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving with DS and our youngest DD and her SO. DD recently started a new job as an entry level chef in a kitchen at an upscale retirement community. She has warned us all through culinary school that chefs work hardest during holidays and this is proving to be true. We ate our family dinner at 11 a.m. because she had to be at work at 2 p.m. When I asked her about her schedule during the month of December she informed me she had very little free time due to extra baking, etc. at work. I am so very proud of her. She has worked long and hard to get to this point, but selfishly--I miss the time we used to spend together baking, shopping and just hanging out.

Last weekend I spent a couple of hours looking for a specific piece of fabric I wanted to use to make a vest I had in mind. I finally found the fabric, but along the way I found a couple UFO's I decided to finish before starting something new. The first garment is a red bolero from an old BWOF. It was all cut out. The fabric is this great red, soft knit with a shiny thread running through it. Very holiday-y. Also very easy. I can't imagine why I didn't complete it. Of course, I can't even remember when I started it. Yesterday I sat down for a couple of hours and worked on it. I am ready to sew in the lining. Then turn it right side out, due a little hand work and it will be finished. I think it will look very festive with black slacks.

UFO#2 I'm not going into detail about. It is something for a special person and I'm going to work to finish that up as a present for that person. After I finish UFO#2 I will be busy with some Christmas gifts. Maybe after Christmas I'll be able to get back to the vest.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Final Piece

So here's the jacket that goes with the slacks that will be worn at the 'dreaded sales meeting' tomorrow. (Oh, I forgot to mention that because The Love of my Live was so sick last week, the meeting was postponed to this week.)

Pattern: V2919 (now out of print)
Size: 6-20 I cut my usual size 18, narrowed the shoulder as usual. The jacket fits great which is weird since the slacks were so darn oversized.
Fabric: Purple wool tweed from my stash. Originally purchased from Fashion Sewing Group back in 2003.
Description: (from pattern envelope): Lined jacket has princess seams, front and back darts, stand-up collar and hook and eye closure
Comments: This jacket is easy fitting and easy to make. No buttonholes, no sleeve vents, no attached collar make construction a breeze. It's a good basic jacket that leaves room for creativity with the closures or coordinating fabric on the foldback collar.

Hand Stitching = Couture, Right?

When I first pulled out these black slacks to finish for the 'dreaded sales meeting' I was thrilled out how far along I was. The lining was in, the zipper was in, the waistband was attached…all I needed to do to finish up was attach the waistband lining and hem the pants. Cool! But then as I took a more in-depth look, I realized why I had set these aside. Somehow when I originally attached the waistband facing I missed something in the directions and had sewed it on backwards—too short on end, way long on the other.

No problem I thought. I'll just take it off and switch the ends. Not so easy, I found out. The waistband pieces are shaped and because of the fly front, there is a definite left and right side. I had to cut new ends. Then I had to cut new interfacing and fuse it. OK, back to sewing. Carefully (I thought) I sewed the waistband facing together, then to the waistband. But now I ended up with some raw edges at the zipper front. Ergh! I took it apart again. Tried again, and still ended up with raw edges. So what to do?

I folded all the raw edges to the inside the way they should end up. At first I thought if I could see how it should look finished I would see how to do the construction. Wrong! I still couldn't figure out how not to end up exactly the same. So I spent about an hour hand stitching all the seams at both ends of the waistband, then attaching the waistband to the zipper, then tacking the waisting band on the inside. So I decided that with all that hand stitching—I'm choosing to looking at these slacks as 'couture'. A much better outlook than remembering how much work they were.

Pattern: V2919
Sizes: 6-20 (I cut an 18 (my usual size) but it was way too big. I very easily could have gone down 2 sizes.
Fabric: Mystery black fabric from stash. It is medium weight, tightly woven, with a slight shine, not wool. Great drape!
Description (from pattern envelope): Lined pants have straight legs, front pleats, side seam pockets, fly front and self-faced yoke with carriers.
Comments: I love these pants even though I had so much trouble with the waistband. I really like the soft style for a change of pace. The shaped waistband seems to accommodate the extra fabric I often end up with on so many slacks. These slacks just have a great fit. I want to make another pair so I can figure out the waistband construction.

Down(graded) But (Not) Out

While on my business trip about 10 days ago I received an urgent voice mail message from the sales manager spearheading the 'dreaded sales meeting'. Be still my beating heart! Could it be that he was cancelling the meeting? Or, at least changing it to a phone conference call? No, of course I wouldn't be that lucky. He was calling to tell me that the EVP of Sales/Marketing no longer felt he needed to attend our meeting and neither did the marketing manager. So the meeting would consist of just him (the sales manager), my DH aka The Love of my Life and me. The meeting was downgraded!

What? Obviously my sales manager didn't realize I had been sewing like the wind to create these two new outfits. What were these people thinking, cancelling like this? I quickly recovered realizing that I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. The 'dreaded sales meeting" would no longer be quite so dreaded—not so long, not so boring, not such a colossal waste of time.

So I arrived home from my trip ready to finish the slacks and jacket. Which I did while nursing a very sick Love of my Life. Poor guy was really sick last week. But he's better now and finally was able to take pictures of my jacket and slacks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dreaded Sales Meeting Sewing

I accomplished a lot on my jacket for the upcoming sales meeting. This is a good thing since I realized I will be out of town 3 days this week. I am sewing the lining sleeves to the lining body tonight, then will be ready to insert the lining in the jacket when I return home Friday.

Thank goodness for poker! The Love of my Life plays poker once a month and Saturday is the night. I'll be able to sew late into the wee hours of the morning waiting up for him.

Since I will have considerable travel time for my trip this week I was figuring out what I might knit from my yarn stash. Hmm. Not too much choice actually. Socks, socks or socks? (I only stash sock yarn which pleases The Love of my Life.) When I opened up my little sock knitting bag, I found the black lace socks I have been knitting on for like 2 years! I still have not finished them! They were the second pair of socks I decided to knit. I loved the lacy pattern and the ever so soft silk & wool yarn, but truth be told, the pattern was just a bit too difficult for the novice knitter I was then. So I became discouraged and put them aside. I have periodically worked on them and they are almost finished. In the meantime I have knit 2 or 3 other pairs of socks, a couple of sweaters, a couple of purses, a nightgown, and a cardigan. So I will take them along and try to finish them up before starting on the next pair of socks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Vogue 7264

Pictures to be posted after my photographer returns home! (He's home!)

I finished my first project for the dreaded sales meeting.

Pattern: Vogue 7264; This is a Sandra Betzina Today's Fit pattern.
Sizes: A-J; (I cut an E but see the adjustments below.)
Fabric: A moderate stretch knit from The Stash. It was 2-sided, light gray/dark gray and I thought I would be able to take advantage of that fact, but I have decided that color blocking just doesn't look good on me.
Description: (from the pattern envelope) "Close-fitting, pullover top has neckline variations, optional shoulder pads and below elbow or long sleeves. Narrow hem. Close-fitting, straight or slightly tapered, mock wrap skirt, below mid-knee or above ankle, has elastic waist casing and shaped front overlay."
Comments: I really liked this pattern. Based on the measurements I cut a size E, but took in the skirt at least 2-1/2". However, the top fits great. I usually have to shorten the lengths of all my garments and I did this to the sleeves. They ended up being almost too short. When I make these garments again (and I really think I will) I will actually add 1/2" to the sleeves just for a little safe guarding. Also, I made the skirt the length I have been wearing for the last couple of years, but I think this would look better if it was just below my knees. I didn't have enough length for that option so again, I think I will add some length to check that out.
My cowl neck doesn't fall quite as softly as I had hoped but it's o.k.
Will You Make This Again?: Definitely. I like the way the top and skirt fit and they are easy to construct.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Little This & That

Wow! Did you see the Fall/Winter 2008 Silhouette Patterns Magazine? I really liked the presentation of the patterns shown on more realistic looking women. Not the typical emaciated, 14-yo model type you usually see in magazines. The clothes also had realness to them. I could see myself wearing a lot of what was shown.

I have only made one Silhouette pattern. It was a reversible jacket and I'm not sure the pattern is available anymore. I don't need the different cup size measurements like so many women do, so I guess that's why I haven't explored this pattern line. I did meet & talk with Peggy Sager (the designer behind the Silhouette name) at Puyallup one year. She is awesome!

I really liked Valerie's Top & the Wrap Around Skirt on pg. 10. Anne's Top on pg. 13 was reviewed by Ann on her blog, Gorgeous Things. The Betsy's Jacket on pg. 23 is a dead ringer for a black jacket I have and love which is looking really worn and needs to go. Those are my top favorites.

My sewing for the dreaded sales meeting is coming along pretty much on schedule. The black pants are almost finished. I just have some hand stitching to do on the waistband. The skirt and top are cut out and the skirt is about 1/3 complete. A lot of the pre-sewing work is done on the jacket. The pattern pieces are cut out and tissue alterations complete. I have finished pre-shrinking the fabric. So I'm ready to cut out the jacket I think.

I can't figure out how to update my Shelfari link. I read a lot and I visit the Shelfari website and update my reading lists there, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to get it to update over here on my blog. It's pretty frustrating since I tend to be anal about those kinds of things.
I hope every legally registered American voter takes time to vote today!