Starting Work on a Wardrobe

Last night I made a muslin fitting for a pair of pants I’m going to make myself. I am fairly pleased with the fit, though I’ll make a couple of minor adjustments. However, I did realize when I was working on the muslin fitting that it’s a bit of a waste of time, because I truly do use a thin muslin for the fitting piece. If I were to use a cotton piece of fabric instead, I could wear the fitting piece around the house – the fit wouldn’t have to be perfect – particularly since this particular fabric suggested cotton as one of the fabrics that could be used. Since I regularly buy Kona cottons by the bolt, I should be able to find something in my closet that will work for future fittings where I want to use cotton.

Anyway, I should be able to get the pants made today, as they are very simple, elastic waist with no pockets. After that is done, I’m going to try my hand at making a shirt with a zipper down the back. I’ve never actually made anything with a zipper before, so this should be interesting. Of course, I’ll need to do a fitting for that one as well, and since it is also made of cotton, I am planning to use a bit of my Kona cotton to make it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get two shirts out of this deal! I’m thinking about using some of my PFD (prepared for dying) fabric so that if it comes out well, I can dye it to suit whatever I decide I want it to be. Of course, in that case, I should probably wash the fabric in hot water first, so that there is less chance of shrinkage should I dye the finished piece later (one of the steps in dyeing fabric is to rinse in hot water until the water runs clear).

Also on the sewing front, in just three weeks I’ll be able to get a new sewing machine, which will do embroidery. I am planning to buy myself some t-shirts for the summer (really, buying t-shirts is generally much cheaper than making them yourself) and do some embroidery on them to spruce them up a bit. I thought I had a moth problem in my closet a few months ago, but the other day I realized that the only affected clothing are my t-shirts and all at the bottom – none of my other natural fiber clothing has holes! I think that the problem isn’t moths, but rather my jeans! I have noticed that the closure of my jeans pokes out and I think that’s what’s killing my t-shirts. Of course, this means that nearly all my t-shirts are pretty well ruined now, and I’m not really happy about that, because I practically live in the things when I’m not at the office (and sometimes even then). I think that wearing an undershirt will solve the problem, but usually I tuck in undershirts … so THAT means the only way to stop the damage is to tuck in my t-shirts. I CAN tuck them in, but I never do because … well, I’m fat. And fat girls don’t look good with tucked-in shirts, but we don’t look that hot with 10 little holes in the bottom of our shirts either. So I guess this is just one more reason I need to lose weight. /sigh We’ll add that to the way I look and feel about myself, the potential health problems, and the fact that clothing is so much more expensive when you’re overweight.

Anyway, I’m hoping this is the start of a new phase in my sewing experience – clothing. I guess maybe it’s more of a revival since I have done some garment sewing in the past? I’ve never done a lot of garment sewing like my mom did, but it’s time. Stick around and see if I a) can lose some weight; and b) actually make some decent clothing.

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My formula for living is quite simple …

I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.  – Cary Grant

Staying occupied really isn’t a problem for me of late. Last weekend, for example, Chris and I went to the farmer’s market and purchased a big box of tomatoes, which I spent Sunday turning into tomato sauce. I’ve made homemade tomato sauce before, cooking down tomatoes to turn them into spaghetti sauce, but I’ve never made a big batch to be canned before now. I will admit that I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out. From about 12 pounds or so of tomatoes, I canned nine pints of sauce. I can’t wait to try it out in recipes. I think my mom was surprised that I didn’t season the tomatoes at all – no salt, no spices … just tomatoes and a bit of lemon, to raise the acidity of the jar contents. I used a couple of jars during the week to make spaghetti, which got great reviews from my family, and a jar was used yesterday in some ranch beans that turned out fabulous. I am happy!

I had plans to sew last weekend, but because of the tomatoes, I didn’t get around to it. This weekend, I managed to get a pair of shorts made for myself. They are denim, and I’m quite happy with them, except that they seem to be a little looser than I expected. I made a muslin prototype, but the actual shorts are bigger than I expected, but I’ll do a post on that later. My plan this week is to spend some time at the sewing machine making myself some t-shirts and a top. I’m not worried about the fit of the top, because it’s very blouse-y and not even close to fitted, and the measurements actually work with my body measurements, and the same holds true for the t-shirt pattern I’m using. Once I have these clothes together, I may make another couple pairs of shorts, because as I mentioned before, I can certainly use some summer clothing.

Our new furniture was delivered a couple of weeks ago, and I love it. One of the things I haven’t done yet is to put up drapes in the house, because for one thing, drapes can be quite expensive, and for another, I’ve had some trouble finding something I truly like. So I got this idea to go looking for fabric to make my own drapes, at Joann’s. I was browsing through their home decor fabric, congratulating myself on such a good idea because I found several pieces I really loved. Then I looked at prices and wanted to cry. Most of the fabric I loved was more than $60/yard. Considering I need about 20 yards of fabric to cover four windows, it was clear that this wasn’t going to work. It also gave me a greater appreciation for the cost of draperies at places like JC Penney and other big box type stores. Even with a 50% off sale, the drapery fabric would be in excess of $600 … so now I’m considering other options again. Ugh!

All in all, I feel like I have spent a lot more time in my studio over the last couple of weeks than I have in the previous five years combined. It’s probably not true, but I definitely have the sewing bug. In fact, I’m enjoying it so much, I am going to dig through my fashion fabric stash in the closet and see what I can find in there to put together!

Happy sewing,

Jill

Fabric Dyeing!

A while back, I began to realize that I’ve gotten away from my own quilting style, but I wasn’t really sure why. I set about trying to figure out what has happened to make me change the way I choose fabrics, and after a couple of trips to some local quilt shops (LQS) I understood what was happening. In short, I’m less than pleased with the current selection of fabrics. That’s not to say I don’t like any of the fabrics – I did see some that I really liked. The problem is more, trying to come up with fabrics to go with the ones that I like; it just wasn’t happening for me. So I decided to get creative. Enter, fabric dye!

I’ve been messing around with a few colors that came in a kit from Dharma Trading Company, as well as some Procion dyes I picked up from a local art store, and I have to admit that I’m pretty happy with these preliminary test runs. In almost every case, I was able to get beautiful, vibrant colors with a minimum of fuss.

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These will end up in a quilt at some point – they are my “test subjects.” 🙂 And now, I think I’m totally hooked on fabric dyeing …