Monday, July 21, 2014

Wardrobe Considerations…

I've been following the Starting From Scratch series at http://theviviennefiles.blogspot.com .  This has been very interesting to follow along and “listening” to the discussion over at Artisan's Square.  Really this is something that I have thought a lot about since reading a book on fast fashion a couple of years ago or so but having really done much about.

Why do I think this has been interesting?  Because there are many times when I look in my closet and feel like I don’t have anything to wear and maybe it’s I don’t feel like I have anything appropriate to wear.  Don’t get me wrong.  My closet is full of clothes.  I just don’t wear them all.  As I have gotten older, I realize just what a waste of money this is.  I would prefer having clothes that I love to wear and wear them than things that just take up space. 

I suppose you do need to start with color just as Janice states because it doesn’t do any good to pick clothes without an idea of how it is going to come together.  With that being said I’m going to start with a black neutral.  I will be beginning by shopping my closet before deciding what I’m going to do.  I know that I have a skinny pair of black pants that I purchased last year that are still in good condition, a long sleeved black t-shirt, and a black cardigan.  I don’t know if all three pieces are appropriate to wear together. 

This has not stopped me from purchasing more patterns.  What can I say?  I love to look at and read patterns.  Here are the patterns I purchased yesterday trying to think toward fall/winter:


This is Vogue 1411.  I love the interesting seaming on the pants.  If I actually get this made beyond a muslin, this could be a nice wardrobe basic.


This is Vogue 9025.  I would not put this in the exciting clothing category but I do see this as a basic for every day. It would be great for layering.


This is Vogue 9018. Again, I don't see this as an exciting piece in the wardrobe.  I do see this as a basic for every day piece.  I would probably add a little length with a belt and boots.

I also purchased this Silhouettes pattern this past week:


This is Robin’s jacket # 1750 by Silhouette Patterns.  If I can get this pattern to work for me, I intend  to use the fabric with a black fold-over elastic:


I will post as the items come together.  I will not kid myself thinking that I will make everything because I know I won’t.  I am very slow when it comes to sewing.  I love to sew but getting in the room with the machines is the difficult part.  There are just so many hours in the day and I get pulled in a lot of different directions.

I have also added three new fabrics to the stash (maybe I should be shopping the stash before buying):


I'm  planning a knee length coat.  I will share the pattern at a later date.


I'm planning a dress for this one.  I will share the pattern at a later date.


This is one of those why did I purchase it.  I never seen to get around to returning items.  It's suppose to be a dark brown but is truly a weird color.  It is more of a taupey brown color rather than the dark brown I thought I was getting.  It also most likely will not fit too well into the wardrobe color scheme but it will be useful for trying a pattern and possible loungewear.  


Now, if I follow the doctor’s directions, I should be repeating this exercise about every 20 lbs of weight loss.  Let’s see how far I can get.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fall Patterns 2014

I noticed that there are new patterns for fall out.  However, I don't see a lot that really interest me.  Here's what I thought was interesting:


This is the M6993 - skirts and belt.  I love the skirt with the shaped waist in the menswear stripe.  Notice it has a very high waist.  Is this a 40s look? This is part of the Archive Collection.  Unfortunately, that is it for McCall's.


This dress is V1407.  I could see myself wearing this knit dress.  It is really spectacular.


This dress/jumper is V9025.  Although this is not a exciting, I do think that it would be a very versatile piece in a wardrobe.  In a good basic neutral, it could be dressed up or down depending on what you wore with it.


This pant is V1411.  It has interesting seaming.  It could be basic garment, also.  This is designed for knits or stretch wovens.


This pant is V9032.  I'm not particularly interested in the view shown but I do like the fitted version C.  It might be a nice alternative in a stretch denim.  The top shown is V9029.  If you take away the froufrou, it is a good basic top.  I like the top without all the ruffles.  I wonder if this top would work under the V9025 jumper with the ties.


This jumper is V9018.  Again, I think this could be a good solid basic in the longer length and belted. This could be a make or break with the accessories.  That's it for the fall Vogues.  

I did check out the early fall Simplicity offering but I didn't see much of interest. That website has been really strange the last few weeks.  I haven't been able to open any detail screens.  

What are your thoughts on the items that I selected?  Like it, like some of it, hate it.  

I going to try to put a little more thought into the items that I make/buy for the coming fall/winter season.  I would really like to have a wearable wardrobe.  I enjoy the creating process but I don't particularly like having things that I don't wear hanging around.  After the winter we had last year, I want to make sure that I have items that can be worn in layers for warmth.  My office is in a very old building and it is very cold.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cooking...Fish Tacos with Mango/Avocado Salsa

Now, is the perfect time for this little gem of a recipe that I have found.  It's fairly quick and easy.  Here's a pic:


I will say that mine didn't turn as pretty but oh my! is this the best combination ever.  DH called it restaurant quality flavors. This is Fish Tacos with Mango and Avocado salsa .  You can't go wrong with this.  Enjoy!

This will give you lots of time for stitching.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gardening...The June Totals

On June 8th, I decided to start documenting what our garden produces.  It is a small garden.  Sometimes, you wonder if all the time and effort put into the garden it worth.  Sure, it is a way to relax in the evening but it is still a fair amount of work.  Here's is the totals from June:
  1. Lettuce, mixed types - 7 1/2 lbs
  2. Sweet Peas 1 1/2 lbs
  3. Radishes - ~40
  4. Chives - 1 oz
  5. Cilantro - 1 1/2 oz
  6. Garlic Scapes - 5 1/2 oz
  7. French Sorrel - 2 oz
  8. Beet Greens - 12 oz
  9. Swiss Chard - 4 oz
  10. Broccoli - 1/2 oz
  11. Dried Greek Oregano - 3/8 oz
  12. Dried Lemon Balm - 5/8 oz (filled a quart size jar)
  13. Banana Peppers - 2
In addition, I canned:
  1. 13 - half pints of strawberry jam
  2. 8 - half pints of blueberry jam
  3. 10 - half pints of nectarine & mango jam (trying something new here)
Doesn't seem like a lot with but it's been cool and then got hot.  So, one the lettuce beds has been removed and replanted with beets; the radish bed has been removed and replanted with lettuce. 

I experimented with the garlic scapes as I found out that these can be treated like a vegetable.  They were interesting with just a hint of the garlic flavor.  I wasn't sure on the timing of picking the garlic scapes but they made an interesting addition to a stir fry.  Do you know the best time to pick?  The other experiment is the French Sorrel.  This is a perennial and I wanted to see how it grows.  The flavor is a bit lemony and bitter.  The bitter most likely increases as the leaves get bigger.  We had tried this on it's own, in salads, and in green morning shakes.  Do you have any additional suggestions for French Sorrel?

I know I didn't get all the items from the garden in the totals because there is a fair amount of tasting going on when we are in the garden.  Really, who can resist fresh out of the garden goodness. I know a lot of the asparagus earlier in the year was eaten this way. 

July should find many of the items listed about along with more pepper varieties, beets, beans, and if we are lucky some squash, and tomatoes.

Here's a picture of the garden in June:




This was about 2 weeks ago.  The squash and the tomatoes in the first pictures have grown to the top of their respective supports.  The deer will be biting the tops out of the tomatoes soon.  In the second picture, the squash has filled out in it's spot in the garden, the tomatoes have grown out of their cages, and lettuce & swiss chard have double in size.  Yes, I've been trying to keep it picked.  You can't really see the beans but they are in the 3rd bed on the right and have completely filled it now and are in bloom.  I always look forward to the fresh beans.  

That's it for now.  I'll have new pics with the next gardening post along with a few flowers.

Happy Gardening! (or should it be Stitching)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Ruffler Foot - Gathering Part 1

I explored the gathering just a little bit with the last post on Beginning the Exploration.  Today, I will be playing a little more with the gather function of the ruffler attachment.  Let's start with two things I learned in the from the last post:

  1. When the adjustment screw is tighten all the way, it makes a very nice pleat that is the depth of the stitch.
  2. When the adjustment screw is loosened until the end was even with the bottom of the adjustment screw hole where the adjusting finger is no longer in play you get a straight stitch with no gathers or pleats.  This would be the same as putting the Adjusting Lever to 0.
So, with that, we have seen both ends of the spectrum.  Now, for the gathering.  I will be starting with the adjustment screw in the position as outlined in item 2 above.

In the first set of examples, the settings are as follows:
  1. The adjusting lever is set to 1.
  2. The stitch length is set at the machine default of 2.5mm.
  3. The adjustment screw is one full turn down.

Using the settings above I produced two samples.  The first sample is the broadcloth that started at 12-inches.  I drew in 1/2" seam allowances on both ends for starting and stopping point.  This produce a nice gather with the resulting fabric ending up 8-inches in length. I can see this being uses to create ruffles for sleeves, skirts, etc.  The second sample is the blue ribbon.  This is a polyester ribbon that was cut to a 12-inch length.  As you can see, it puckered a little bit but I wouldn't call it gathered but you could call it easing.  The ribbon ending length was 11 3/4-inches.  


In the second set of examples, the settings are as follows:
  1. The adjusting lever is set to 1.
  2. The stitch length is set at the machine default of 2.5mm.
  3. The adjustment screw is two full turns down.

Using the settings above, I produced two samples.  The sample is the broadcloth that started at 12 inches in length with 1/2" seams marked on both ends for starting and stopping points  This produced a nice tight gather with the resulting fabric ending up 6-inches in length.  I can see this being used for the same type of items as the first set of example.  The second example is much difference.  The ribbon gathered this time and was very hard to control.  It started at 12-inches in length and ended up at 9 3/4 inches.  If you look closely at the picture of the ribbon you can see that somehow the stitching ended up on the opposite side.  In nor sure how it happened.

In the third example, I have left the settings the same as the second set above.


In this set of examples, I wanted to see if I could get the 1 to 2 ratio to work.  The base fabric on both examples is 6 inches.  The ruffled fabric on both examples started off at 12 inches long.   The thinking was that the two fabrics would end up being the same length.  As you can see this was faulty thinking.  It looks like the ruffling blade was taking a bigger bite or maybe it had something to hold onto.  The second example above just adds the ribbon and the gathering is a little tighter.  However, the ribbon is on the incorrect position.  I would want it in between the two fabrics.

One final picture:


This is the first item in the third example so you can see what the ruffle would look like.  Wouldn't this make a lovely ruffled tiered skirt?  Maybe it should not be so tight.

So, what do you think?  I will be exploring the gathering a little more as I want to figure out how to the use the slots and how they affect the fabric.  

Happy Stitching!