Sunday, March 01, 2015

Good Morning Sunshine

DH and I have been doing the green smoothie thing for about a year.  We are fortunate to live where fresh fruit is abundant, but I also use frozen when what I want is out of season.  Today I bring you this piece of deliciousness

Good Morning Sunshine

2 c. spinach
1 c. coconut water
1 c. water
2 Tbs chia seeds
1 orange peeled
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 c. frozen peaches
1 banana (I keep mine frozen just for smoothies!)

Blend spinach and waters in blender until smooth.  If you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtech, this is about 30 seconds.

Add remaining ingredients and blend for another 30 seconds.  If you have a different type of blender, you may need to blend longer.  Drink and enjoy!  This makes 2 big servings :-)

Friday, January 02, 2015

First SWAP item finished

Here is what I am planning for swap.  In my last post I put that I was making a blue yoga skirt.  I forgot that I had already changed that to a gray striped ruffled skirt as seen in the Sandra Betzina pattern on the left.

 So, in the first pattern, I have the blouse already cut out - view on the left.  Dress in the DKNY pattern - finished (pix below)  Pants, have a muslin pair cut  and skirt will be a gray stripe.

The Silhouette patterns twin set will be a gray and white fine sweater knit - both pieces.  The #95 is shown in a chiffon on the pattern envelope, but I've seen in in a heavier boucle type fabric, which is what I'm doing.  The cowl top will be in the blue and gray sweater knit that I've had waiting to make this pattern for a couple of years now!

The LH Ascona pant I've already made in a gray RPL.  I like the shape of this pattern, but have had a bit of a time getting the fit right.  I really want to try it again, but probably after I finish all the other swap items.  The CJP keyhole top is reversible in the sleeveless version.  I may also use it for a long sleeve tee without the keyhole.  Of course, I'll probably get one or two items made and then change my mind again!  Oh well.  I'm hoping to get some pieces made up so that I can have things that go together.  That's why I'm sticking to a boring Navy, Gray and Cream pallet here.  

Here are some pix about the finished DKNY dress:

I am pretty happy with how this dress came out.  The fit is good, and it is one of the simplest dresses I've made.  The back neckline is finished before the front and back are sewn together.  There is just a strip of fabric that is used for a facing, turned under, and stitched.  The front neckline is left unfinished as it is just turned in to the inside.  You could finish it, but since knits don't ravel, there is really no point.  However, I like how all the other seams are double stitched.

You can see the raw edge on the front facing here on the left.

This is the waist and center back seam.  There are no side seams, except from the waist to the under arm. 

 Even the hem and the sleeves are double top stitched. 

I really like how there are no side seams on the skirt portion.  On a large print like this (or even in a solid color) it gives a nice, clean unbroken line.

I don't know why I've put off making this dress.  It really turned out well and I'm happy with the fabric that I chose.  I don't normally pick large scale prints like this, but this one just called out to me!

Here's the back view:

We had a great time going out to dinner tonight, and although it was a splurge for the beginning of the year, it was well worth it. Now, it will be back to good eating and smaller portions!!

We acted like tourists and had the waitress take our picture!  It was so fun.  Unfortunately, my hair was having a mind of its own!  

Great Start to a New Year

Happy New Year everyone!  Yesterday we had a wonderful day.  We had 15 people over for brunch.  This is becoming an annual event since we've done it 2 years in a row now!  We had great friends, great food, great fellowship.  It was freezing outside, but also sunny and beautiful.  Since we are blessed to have lots of windows and a beautiful view, a fire in the fireplace kept us all toasty and the views were gorgeous!  I should have taken pictures, but I was too busy eating and having fun!  We had a ton of food, including

  • Quiche
  • Garlic Roasted Potatoes
  • Chili Relleno Casserole (my mom's old recipe which uses 1/2 & 1/2.  I tried to find a similar recipe, but most use evap milk)
  • refried beans
  • tortillas
  • Cinnabon cinnamon rolls
  • Palm leaf pastries
  • and of course, juice, tea, coffee, lemon infused water
The best part?  Everyone else did the dishes!  I'm not a paper-plate kind of girl, so we had lots of dishes.  After everyone left, I had some time to do some sewing and worked on Vogue 1250.  This morning I am going to hem the sleeves and bottom hem and I'll be finished.
My poor dress form looks like she's drunk the way she leans over!  

I've decided that I'm going to make an attempt at the SWAP over at Stitcher's Guild this year.  It's so easy to say that now, but so hard to do once school starts again.  I'm really glad I'm retiring this year.  I just can't keep up with the ever-increasing demands, and I really don't want to work until 6 or 7 every night.  As it is, I leave my house at 6:30 am and don't get home until 7:00 at night.  Granted, sometimes I have to stop at the store or run an errand after work, but I really am just done.  I think God has something else planned for me at this stage in my life, and it does not involve the public school system!
Well, speaking of the public school system, I have a big bucket of school work that is on my agenda this morning!  I'm leaving enough break time to finish my dress so I can wear it tonight, but the rest of the day is going to be doing school work.  sigh...
Oh, brother, just thinking about school and I'm already distracted.  Back to my main point, this dress will be the first item completed for my swap. Well, I have a pair of pants completed, but you are allowed a previously made garment.  This is what I have planned:


  1. Gray pants - LH Ascona pattern (already made)
  2. Navy Wool Pants - Sandra Betzina pants making class on craftsy pattern
  3. Navy rayon knit yoga skirt - Peggy Sagers SP
  1. Navy & Gray sweater knit cowl -SP
  2. Ivory crepe drape front blouse - Tom and Linda Platt Vogue 1415
  3. Reversible Navy and mint shell - CJ Patterns keyhole top
  4. Long sleeve Navy rayon knit T - either SP twinset or CJP keyhole
  5. Gray sweater knit Shell - SP twinset
  1. Gray sweater knit cardi - SP twinset
  2. Black, White, and Blue knit dress - DKNY Vogue 1250
  3. Navy with mint fleck woven topper - SP Brook's Top

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Getting Started Early

Since I did hardly any sewing for 2014, I'm counting anything I make now for 2015!   I'm strongly considering doing the 2015 SWAP over at Stitcher's Guild.  One of the things I want to make is this Tom and Linda Platt top from Vogue 1415.  I have something called "Eurostretch crepe" which is a rayon blend.  No idea where I got it.  It's cream colored.  I think it will be perfect.

I never know how these things are going to look on me, so I decided to make a wearable muslin.  I'm absolutely in love with cotton lawn and buy it whenever I find a piece that I like.  I'm pretty sure that I got this piece at Stone Mountain Daughter in Berkley at the last PR weekend that I attended.  I'm really happy with how this turned out.
This was actually quite easy and fast.  The one thing a new sewist would need to know is that all it says is to sew in the sleeve.  There is quite a bit that needs to be eased in, and they do not have you run an ease line.  I was able to ease it in by sewing with the sleeve down and adjusting tension with my fingers, but someone new to sewing may not know how to do this.  Other than that, everything was super simple.  There are no darts in this pattern, and although there was plenty of circumference, I added a little over an inch to the front hem to add length over the bust.  

So, today I cut out the cream colored crepe, I cut out a dress from V1250, a DKNY dress that I've made once before.  I bought this fabric specifically to make this dress (probably at the same PR weekend) so I'm glad it's finally going to happen.  I'm a little concerned because the fabric does not have as much stretch as the last one I made (and I have a bit more width than the last time!)  I added a about 1.5" in the circumference, so I hope that will be enough.  I have to get this dress made this week because I'm wearing it next weekend when we go out with some friends.  When Andy and I lived in Visalia, we went out a lot, and it was never a big deal.  Visalia is an out of the way town, but we have a ton of fabulous restaurants.  If you ever go through our area, I can highly recommend 
  • Fugazzis
  • The Depot
  • The Vintage Press
  • Watson's (only open for lunch, but great vegetarian food)
  • Pita Kabob - three locations, all excellent
  • Brewbakers if you're looking for handcrafted brews
  • Taj Palace - Indian food - lacking atmosphere, but great food
  • Several sushi restaurants.  Our favorites are Gozen and Sake
  • Plus a slew of mexican restaurants and chain restaurants (Olive Garden, Chilis, Panera, Wild Wings, etc)
Well, I can go on forever on that, but the point is, now when we go out to dinner, it IS a big deal.  There are several restaurants in Three Rivers, but unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend any of them.  Well, I take that back.  Sierra Subs has GREAT sandwiches and unusual menu items, but they're usually closed by the time I get home from work.  So, we're going for a big night out on the town with some friends next week and I want to have a new dress.  Here's a preview on the left.

I love the brushstroke fabric!

Well, I haven't done a lot of sewing, but I did do some crocheting for Christmas.  Made a couple of hats.

And, a beautiful alpaca/merino shawl/mobius scarf for my daughter.  I was really disappointed with the yarn because it sheds like crazy.  It is super soft and warm though.  The color is gray, but it looks almost white in the picture. 

Oh, and I did sew an ipad cover for my sister in law.  These are a pain in the butt, so I hope I don't make any more of them.  I made them for 3 of my coworkers after I made my own and said "never again."  Well, never came, but I hope that's it!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Loes Hinse Ascona Pant take 2

On this version, I made a size smaller, took a dart at the butt, and adjusted the waist line.  Well, I think I should have added a LOT more to the back.  Let's just say, these pants aren't going out in public if there's even the smallest chance that I may sit down!!
Other than that, the fit is much better.

This time I used 1.5" elastic using a waistband trick taught to me by Loes Hinse in her shop one day.  Use 1.25 - 1.5" elastic and serge the end as usual.  After turning, only stitch at the 1" line, leaving 1/2" free.  This gives a flatter waist for those with a bigger difference between waist and hip.  It works for me.

The problem with these pants is that once I decided to use wider elastic and take a 1/2" dart at the CB, this lowered the waist too much and I did not compensate for it.  I'll have to donate these to a lady plumber!  They say the third time is a charm, so I hope so!  I like using the 1.5" elastic as opposed to the 1" elastic.  And a word about doing the elastic.  I love Loes's way of serging the elastic to the waistband, turning, and stitiching.  The PROBLEM with doing it this way is that you have no way to adjust the waist band after you try it on!!   Also, depending on your elastic, serging the end may stretch the elastic to a bigger size that does not retract!!   I DO have a solution.

  1. First, try the elastic on at the height you want to wear the pants.  Pin it with a safety pin.  Leave it on
  2. Put the pants on and and pull them up under the elastic and then fold over so that the waist edge of the pants now meets the bottom edge of the elastic.  Check the fit.
  3. Change your serger to a longer stitch length.  I have an old serger, so I used the longest stitch length I could get.  This helps prevent the elastic from stretching out on the stitched edge.
  4. Do NOT use non-roll elastic.  This seems to stretch out the worst.  Use a good quality elastic.  I buy mine from Peggy Sagers.  You have to buy a lot, but the great thing is that you can cut it to any width you like.  
  5. Turn your waist over and stitch as per pattern directions or as above.  If you have not much difference between waist and hip, then use the directions in the pattern.  If you have bigger hips and a smaller waist, you may want to try the method I described above.
Another thing I did differently from the pattern is that I added a piece of twill tape to the rear seam to keep it from bagging out.

This pair of Asconas is a little tighter than the last because there is not much stretch as compared to the RPL I used last time.    As you can see, the fit in the butt is a lot better than the first pair.  It would be even better if I had on different underwear!!

Because there is little crosswise stretch in this fabric, these are a little too tight in the legs. 

 Now I'm anxious to try pair # 3!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Loes Hinse Ascona Pant take 1

I got this pattern over a month ago, and have been really wanting to make it, but life keeps getting in the way.  Well, I finally got the time and got up the nerve to cut into some RPL that I've had for a long time.  I didn't really have anything to muslin these pants, so I had to just give it a shot.

  1. I went by pattern measurements and decided to cut a medium, which is a 40" hip.  I made it as is with no changes.  Blech!
  2. This came out TOO BIG.  Well, I'm not sure if everything is too big, but it is supposed to b e a lowered waist and it came all the way to mine.  Also, the waist was as big as the hips (even with the tiny darts in the back) so there were major gathers at the waist.  I really didn't want a pant that came to my waist, so I cut off the whole waistband, which lowered the waist by a little more than 2"  I've made that adjustment on my pattern, plus will take an additional 1" off the front
  3. Even with this change, there is still the problem of major baggy butt.
  4. So, remembering all of the Peggy Sager's webcasts on pants, I took a dart across the seat, really thinking this would NOT help, but being the obedient seamstress that I am, I decided to try it anyway.  Well, as you can see in this picture, the side on the right, which I pinned, is much better than the left.  Now I've made this adjustment on the pattern as well.
  5. The pants still seem to big in the legs (and I've got big legs!)  I was really expecting them to be much narrower at the hem.  I've traced the smaller size onto my pattern, but not sure if I want to cut it yet.  I still have enough of this fabric left to make another pair, so I don't really have anything to lose.  The pattern said it would take 1-7/8 yards of 60", but my fabric was only 58" and I was able to squeeze it into 1.25 yards!  Now that's what I like!
We're going over to friends' for dinner, and since I'm making some of the food, I don't think pair number two will get cut out tonight.  Could I possible get lucky enough to get some sewing in two days in a row?  

I haven't gotten to sew much, but I have done some crochet.  The good thing about crochet is that it is so portable and can be done just about anywhere.  I made this awesome scarf and I just love it.  The yarn is Pediboo by Frog tree and it is super soft.  I love it!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mei Mei and cupcake dress

I've been working on a crochet project called Mei Mei from Doris Chan's Everyday Crochet.  I love pretty much everything in this book. Even though the book is older and the styling may look a little old fashioned on some, the styles all have good bones.  I have been looking for a little shrug pattern. This turned out pretty quickly once I figured out what I was doing.  I saw that one Raveler completed this little shrug in 3 hours!  It was more like 3 evenings for me. :-)

Today I'm going into town to buy a couple of shank buttons to make a closure for it.  In the picture below I am just using a shawl stick.

Sunday is the little granddaughter's birthday.  She will be 3!  I made her a birthday outfit, but the top came out too long.  I cut just about an inch off of it after I took pictures, so I think it will be a little better.  I didn't want to cut off too much since I had added the pockets and just estimated where to put them based on the length I had made.

To make the cupcakes I drew a cupcake and then traced the top and bottom separately onto heat and bond.  After I adhered it to the dress pieces, I stitched lines for the cupcake liner and zigzagged around the outline of the cupcake.  I used a permanent marker to draw lines on the center cupcake.
After I took this picture, I removed the basting you can see around the neckline, and topstitched the yoke which also stitched down the inside of the seam where the yoke and skirt join.

We had a little distraction yesterday.  Right next door a mamma bear and two babies were foraging around.  I'm thankful that my neighbor called me so that we could walk over and take a look.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Simplify Your Life

This is the Simplify Your Life pattern from Cutting Line Designs.  I am always attracted to and inspired by CLD and Sewing Workshop patterns.  I love both versions of this top.  On the envelope.  For some reason, I always feel like I should look more like the drawing or model when I make the garment, but I never do.  I made view A, which is the button front.  I used a turquoise linen from my favorite linen source Fabrics Store.  
I'm very happy with the way it turned out, just not so much the way it looks on me.  I did make some adjustments to the pattern and will make a few more when I make it next time.  This time I:
  • cut a size small according to my measurements.
  • Did a full bust adjustment as shown by Louise Cutting on Threads Insider.  I did a 1.5" length adjustment only.  The width was already OK.
  • I shortened the sleeves by 1"
  • I raised the armhole by about 3/4 inch and took in the waist 1/2" at each seam for a total of 2" reduction.
  • I made a split hem.  It was pulling at my hips and forcing the pleat in the front to pull to the side.
Next time I am going to:

  • Narrow the shoulder about 1/2" 
  • Shorten the sleeve even further
  • move the top button up just about 1/2 further so that it doesn't pull at the top
Any other suggestions?

The first time I make a pattern, and especially if it is the first time from a new (to me) pattern company, I like to make it exactly as the directions say.  I often learn new techniques this way.  For some reason, I really had trouble understanding how to line up the pleat on the front of this thing.  I could have done it my way, but I was trying to follow the thinking of the designer.  I just couldn't get it.  I finally asked SewTerri from Artisan's Square for help.  I knew she had made this particular top before and she has made many CLD patterns.  She generously sent me pix of the inside of one of hers.  I could see what mine was supposed to look like and was able to fix it.  I'm still not sure of where I messed up, so I guess I'll have to make it again if for no other reason but to find out what I did wrong!!

The pants I'm wearing with this are the Mimosa pants from The Sewing Workshop.  I thought they fit really good - but the camera doesn't lie!!  I definitely need to take a dart across the top between the butt and waist.  Also, it looks like I need to add a little at the butt for fullness.  I'm not really a fan of this shaped leg, so I may or may not make these again.  I already have short legs.  I don't need anything to make them look shorter.
 The pants were easy and went together really fast, so I may work on taking them in to be more fitted from the hip to the knee and see what happens there.

What do you think?