Monday, July 13, 2020

Birthday Suit

I had a birthday recently, and in lieu of presents I chose to go out for dinner with the family. A good excuse to sew something special.  July in Virginia is hot, with temperatures over 90 F, and humid. What with the requirement for social distancing, many restaurants have expanded their dining areas outside (often called patio dining).  A loose flowy dress seemed a good choice for outside dining, but I was missing the structured garments I used to make for a work environment. A good compromise: a birthday suit consisting of sleeveless vest and knee length shorts.  I originally chose Burda 7074, a collared vest that I had admired on another blog. 

But the fabric situation required another solution. I recently purchased 2 yards of a lovely lavender cotton/spandex fabric from Vogue Fabrics.  It was labeled as shirting but when it arrived, it was definitely bottom weight fabric.

Though the perfect color, the 2 yards was not enough fabric to make a pair of shorts and a collared vest. However, Vogue Pattern 1707, a collarless, lined to the edge vest (no facings)
combined with Burda 12 2010 108 for the shorts was possible with only  2 yards of 54" fabric.  The pant pattern is high waisted, flat front. I made them knee length and tapered an additional inch on each side of the legs. 

The vest is lined with a similar shade of lavender silk crepe, part of a 8.5 yard "remnant" I bought from Trim Fabric in NYC in 2005 for $40.00. I got some great bargains from them back then.

I don't know if Vogue has changed their draft or my body is changing again, but the front bust dart on this pattern had 4" of take-up which made the cup size huge. My sloper waist bust dart take-up is 2".  The back peplum was also shaped for very curved, bodacious butt. It looked like I needed a padded insert to fill it out until I altered it to my shape.

I also made a coordinating mask. The lining is cotton, the outer layer is glittery mesh over the silk georgette, topped with a lace applique. Everyone dressed up and we had a great time.

Vogue 1707
Vogue 1707
Coordinating Mask

With matching mask

 With the girls (future DIL's)

Monday, July 6, 2020

Smooth Sailing

And life goes on. Mom's surgery went well. Thanks for all your well wishes.  She is home and everything is back to normal. Back to smooth sailing in the journey of life.   Well,  maybe not, but it was a good segue into my latest project.

The other print I pulled out of my stash was this one, of sailboats.

  I  sailed a lot as a teen and young adult. I taught sailing at a summer camp and we even owned a sailboat,  which we docked on a lake in Pennsylvania.  These day I still love to sail, but we do it in warmer climates and we charter the boat  with a captain, or  take a cruise on a large sailboat.  In fact we were supposed to be sailing Italy's Amalfi coast  in early June, to celebrate my sister's birthday.   Don't worry sis, when everything settles down, we will go! Until then you are still 59.

The fabric is polyester chiffon, from JoAnn's.  I don't particularly like polyester fabric, but I loved the print.  For the pattern,  since it was still out on the sewing table, I used the same New Look blouse pattern from the previous project. The only difference was I made view D, which has  the 3/4 length sleeves with turn up cuffs.

When I sew, I like quiet. No TV or podcasts running in the background. I do a lot of my thinking then.  Boats got me thinking about nearby water bodies. The ocean, reachable with  a 2 hour drive,  The James river, turbulent around large  rocks covered in goose poop, a short walk from our house. Decorative lakes in nearby office complexes. With improbable fountains spurting in the middle, to keep them from becoming "slime ponds" in the summer heat. The rain barrel on my deck.  No real ponds and creeks like where I  floated  stick "boats"  as a kid.  How about a folded paper boat for the rain barrel?   Why not?

It floats!

Sunday, June 21, 2020


The  June theme  for #SewYourWardrobeBasics over at the Sea of Teal blog is  prints. That got me thinking of the favorite prints in my stash and  I pull several out of storage.. This is one of them

Hands.  I have long been fascinated by them. They are part of our bodies. We use them every day to do so many things. To complete a task. To express one’s self in ways words cannot such as through touch, playing a musical instrument, creating a painting. I have a collection of hands that include vintage jewelry displays, the molds once used to make rubber gloves, and handmade mechanical hands that clap or drum the fingers when knobs are turned. I  have ceramic bathroom fixtures shaped like hands; soap, toilet paper and towel rod holders. And a copy of Michelangelo’s Creation of David, hand detail,  on the wall.

 When I look at my hand print fabric, I feel good, optimistic.  Hands holding hearts. Red roses and the patriotic colors of red, white, and blue.  The fabric is silk and was purchased a few years ago from a China based Etsy seller. I used the fabric for a blouse. New Look 6394. All the styles have front chest darts and shirttail hems, with back, sleeve and collar options.  I made view E which had a stand collar, ¾ length gathered sleeves, a shoulder yoke and waist darts in the back.

 This print is directional, and I oriented the hands reaching up.  That looked good except where the shoulder yoke wraps from back to front.  At the front yoke seam, the hands were reaching down and were chopped off.

Yoke Before
For print continuity, I hand appliqued full hand motifs across the yoke lines. Now  hands reach down towards the ones reaching up.

cutouts to be appliqued

Yoke with appliques

This is how I wore it to go to the grocery store. How exciting is my life!

New Look 6394 Casual

For a picnic or dinner out, I would wear it like this. 

New Look 6394 Picnic

This was how I originally planned to wear it, back when I purchased the fabric. For work with pinstriped pants.     

New Look 6394 work

Instead, shortly after I took these picture above and before I could change, I had to take my mother to the hospital emergency room.  She is now fine and being treated for her ailments. But I was upset and frustrated to find I was not allowed in the hospital  with her because of Covid.  She is 85, hard of hearing and was in extreme pain. She does not have or want to use a cell phone. I was told I could wait in the car in a faraway parking lot, or on a covered bench outside the door.  It was getting dark, but I chose to sit on the bench, damp from the torrential rains earlier in the day, facing illuminated fountains.  It was very quiet, no ambulances, just the security vehicle making its rounds. After several hours, the sound of fountains was irritating and the biting insects were swarming.  I went back to the entrance door, and asked the three masked sentries, enclosed in their plexiglass cubicle, if I could please speak to someone about  mom's status.  I was given a number to call and after being transferred a few times, I was told diagnostics were still in progress and it was recommended I go home.  A Dr. did  call the next morning.  Mom will be in the hospital for several days until she has stabilized enough for surgery.   Even though we can now dine inside restaurants, get our hair cut at a salons, and exercise in fitness centers, the hospital's policy is still no visitors "unless the patient has received a life-threatening diagnosis". Fortunately that is not the case.  A Dr. (hospitalist) calls me once a day with an update. I am still waiting to hear from the specialist.  I feel like I have abandoned my mother. Every time I call her room, she is off getting another test.  Luckily future DIL #2 works in this hospital.  She has kindly offered to spend her lunch hour visiting with mom. Not as good as being there myself, but it does relieve my anxiety a bit and I am grateful to her for that.