Wednesday, January 23, 2019

I'm cold

It was 34F this morning and I am still cold.  Having spent my entire adulthood in northeastern Washington and central Oregon, this surprises me.  A sunny day and above freezing was cause for celebration and an outdoor ride.  Today I am inside and cozy in my new sweater.  

Yep, a new top and here is the expanded review:

Itch to Stitch Bellavista top
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐out of 5
Suitable for beginners on up
Great instructions, except for Step 9.  It states:  

"Arrange Cowl so that it is double layered with the right sides outside. It is a loop and resembles a funnel. Press. Baste the two layers of raw edges together." 

It can be improved by labeling the neck edge and the center back. If you have experience, you will arrange the cowl with the center back seam away from you and the two shoulder notches at your hands holding the cowl as you pin it to the bodice. A beginner to cowls might get confused about turning it right side out and then re-orienting it 90 degrees. 

Why I chose this pattern:
I was drawn to the envelope cover, which is lovely. 
I like the generous cowl, and I became more and more in love with the knit used for the cover.  I cannot wear that color (It would be "Where's Mary?") and I would need to adjust the cowl as I am petite.  Time went on and the rational side of my brain took charge.  I needed either black, grey, or vibrant colors.  I needed a smaller cowl, and I needed a bit more length.  

Searching, I found this outfit in Soft Surroundings.Onto a muslin and alterations to make it as close as possible to the inspiration piece and to fit me.

Working with Itch to Stitch PDF patterns:
What a treat!  This pattern line includes layers in the PDF, so you can print only the size you need.  Nicely organized, and includes good directions for printing and assembling your pattern.

Sizing for this pattern:
This is a close fit through the shoulders and upper bust, and then a gentle swing silhouette below.  I used a size 2, which includes finished measurements of  
37 1/4"- 39 1/8"- 49 3/8" 

This is a fast pattern to sew and very cozy.  I am a fan of this pattern line and cannot wait to make another Bellavista!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Partway through January and the resolutions...

...are still being followed.  Hurray!  I didn't resolve to lose weight, stop eating chocolate or run 5 miles every day.  

Here they are, copied from a thread on PatternReview-

1. Increase my walking duration from 30 minutes to 45 minutes over the next month. Some of you know that I broke my hip a few years back when getting thrown from my horse. I am back to most activities but at a lower exertion. That's okay...I'm just glad to be here. I credit my recovery to forcing myself to walk even if it hurts a bit.

2. Sew outfits and mini wardrobes according to silhouettes I like. Less experimentation and more basic wardrobe building. 

3. Continue to work my program for health and recovery.

Following resolutions works if you choose your resolution carefully, and integrate the change into your daily routine slowly.  Another key to helping change become permanent is to review your plan and adjust it in order to bring success closer. In resolution #1 above, I found that I needed to give my hip and leg a day off every few days after increasing my time.  On those days, I still walk, but at a leisurely pace and usually a shorter time.  I feel good about being outside and following my plan, even if it is modified on those days (positive reinforcement).  

In other news, I am riding at least 3 times a week and having a wonderful time with Nick.  I have made a number of good riding friends here in Tucson and we enjoy riding as a large group, or meeting for smaller trail rides.  
Nick and Katillac, best buds

I'm working on a small quilt, which will be hung in one of the bedrooms.  Craftsy, now Bluprint, is my go-to place for instruction.  I also love YouTube for great tutorials.  The quilt is called Scattered Squares and I followed instructions from a Bluprint class.  I like most of the designs used in the class and Elizabeth Hartman is a very good teacher.  
While the quilts look wonky and involve a lot of creative improvisation, Elizabeth is quite methodical and teaches many strategies to make the quilt come together easily.  I am having great fun!
Here is the top with the squares
arranged randomly. It is 24" x 30".  I'll post a better photo after finishing.  I jumped into this class and realized it is really not for beginners like myself-I have had to teach myself how to make a backing, what size it should be, what type of batting to buy and so forth.  Hurray for YouTube.

Happy New Year to all of you wonderful readers-I wish you the best year ever.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Holiday cheer and planning for 2019


                          I am stopping my holiday chores for just a minute to say to all of you...

Friday, December 14, 2018

Milestone year

I turn 65 in this coming June, and I am very grateful I made it this far.  6 1/2 decades of living, including a lot of ill-thought out experimentation, has left me with some scars and a whole lot of wisdom.   Philosophy aside, what I have been feeling is some discombobulation.  A bit of " this all there is?"  "...if I did this, what would happen?"    "...yes, I need more fabric"

No angst, just a tad unbalanced but that is always the case in times of change.

I'm happy.

With Christmas coming on so very fast, I have been sewing lots of little projects for family and riding buddies.  I've ventured into some piecing and applique for mug rugs, and have made some bit warmers.

For the bit warmers, I stitched a simple rectangle about 6" by 7" and filled one side with rice, made a center seam, and then filled the other side.  I then stitched the last side closed.  They go really fast if you have the fabric already pieced, or you can use fabric as is.

I have also made a number of sets of mug rugs in a variety of styles.  After experimenting, I now use the backing as a binding, wrapping it around and making mitered corners with a teeny fold.  As with the bit warmers, I pieced many of them ahead of cutting.  Of course, the applique ones are more labor intensive...I just love the little cat and yarn.

Besides all these, I WON the PatternReview Pattern Stash contest...finally!  I made 12 garments from old patterns in my stash.  Some will be keepers and a few hit the recycling as soon as I reviewed them.  It was a good exercise in choosing pattern and fabric and sewing without vacillating about choices.  I used all stash fabric too.  I'm thrilled, having tried this a few times in years past.  One year the winner made umpteen pairs of pj pants...come on!!  I will enjoy my prize-$100 from Grainline Patterns.  
Here are 2 favorites from my entries-I wear these often.  V1568 is a lovely tee and I used the pattern for a pj top.   The other is Sewing Workshop Urban Tee made in a rib knit. 
Happy Holidays to all!  Hoping Santa brings you candies and toys, and NO coal.  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Attitude and The Dude

I would love to have this attitude, but I am strung a bit tighter than The Dude.  There is a lot to love about this movie (The Big Lebowski) and this approach to life's challenges. Me, I sew. 

I absolutely LOVE this blouse by Love Notions.  It was a bit fiddly to manage in polyester but I have a colorful winter blouse which will go with jeans or slacks.  oops, where is my head?  I highly recommend the Rhapsody pattern by Love Notions.  My review can be found on PR.

I also completed the Walter pattern by Silhouette.  This is a take on a Walter Finley blouse sold in department stores for $$$.  It is a more upscale style of shirt than I usually wear and I think it will be great for Thanksgiving at the clubhouse-I'll wear it with jeans and boots.  

After shirtmaking (Walter's blouse) and teeny tubes of polyester (Rhapsody blouse), I needed something easy.  A tee, of course.  

This is a take on the Marcy Tilton pattern V9057.  Here I threw it on over some voluminous knit pants for a PR is a bit more flattering than this.  I made changes in the drape by adding an inch as if for a full tummy. 

Another tee is in my closet-I tried the Urban tee by Sewing Workshop.  I really like the design and while my use of rib knit isn't perfect, I am happy enough to wear this tee for errands or cool mornings.  Reviewed on PR. 

I have yards of grey/navy scuba and my next project was fast and used up a bit of this fun knit.  Why I have scuba when I live in the desert is beyond me...I must have ordered it while sleepwalking.  Anyway, here it is made up as V8430, another Marcy Tilton pattern.  This took about 2 hours with the scuba since I did not hem any of it.  My only change was to add cuffs.  Reviewed on PR.
In the middle of this sewing frenzy, I started working on some collage papers in anticipation of a bigger project.  I'll update you as it develops.  Here are some snapshots of WIP:

See you later, and remember, The Dude abides.