Friday, April 18, 2014

Sunshine & Shine On

Awards are such an honor.  I was nominated for the Sunshine and Shine On Award by The Sewing CPAThis award is meant to help you get to know your fellow bloggers better and network with other bloggers, as well as reveal fun facts about you to help your readers know you better.

Sun Shine and Shine On

Sunshine and Shine On Blogger Award

The Rules -       a) Use the award logo in your post
                       b) Link to whoever nominated you
                       c) Write ten pieces of information about yourself
                       d) Nominate ten fellow bloggers ( or less if you have less followers) who positively and                                            creatively inspire others in the blogosphere
                        e)Inform the nominees on their blogs.

c) Ten pieces of information about myself:
  1. I am a homebody.
  2. I used to do triathlons.
  3. I live a low sodium, no added fat, plant based lifestyle.
  4. I became a math teacher, but only took one math class for my original undergrad degree. I took the classes I needed later, had others teach me, and studied independently to pass the competency testing.
  5. I have traced some of my genealogy back to 100 AD.
  6. I hate to shop--except for fabric and notions.
  7. I really want to learn pattern making--especially menswear. This is thanks to the limited number of quality men's patterns available. 
  8. I've taken several photography, Photoshop, web design and other digital art classes. Ha ha, I don't use them for my blog! 
  9. I listen to audio books while sewing. When I listen to music, I end up singing and dancing.
  10. I have a sewing room, but choose to sew at the dining table to be closer to my family.

d) My nominees:
  1. Maris at Sew Maris
  2. Katrina at Susie Homemaker, MD
  3. Victoria at 10 Thousand Hours of Sewing
  4. Marinia at Frabjous Couture
  5. Lauriana at Petit Main Sauvage
  6. Amy at Cloth Habit
  7. Leisa at A Challenging Sew
  8. Anne at Clothing Engineer
  9. Jennifer at My Sewing Suite
  10. Annie at Enantiomer Project
Now I'm off to e) inform the nominees on their blogs!

Fabric Eating Bugg

Our Little Bugg
This week marked the one year anniversary of us finding our loving chihuahua, Bugg. Mr. Toad had texted me that there was a dog laying in the gutter in front of our house. He was on the way to a meeting and had me go out and check on it.

We seem to be the house where lost dogs go until their owner shows up. We have a neighborhood with almost every house having at least one dog. People also walk their dogs in our neighborhood. We have returned many dogs in the neighborhood and have extra crates/kennels to keep them until their owners get home.

Well, when I went out, this skinny, nervous chihuahua would stay about arms length. If I approached, he moved away. If I backed away, he came closer. It wasn't until our miniature dachshund, Ollie, came out to see why I was giving attention to another dog.

Youngest Son's Quilt that I made for his 4th birthday.
Bugg ATE the binding!

Well, this poor lost chihuahua wanted to be close to our Ollie. I had Youngest Son grab a leash, and we started walking the neighborhood looking for his home. We asked kids and went to homes that we knew had chihuahuas or small white dogs. We asked people walking their dogs. I felt weird with a dog walking with us and not on a leash.

After a couple hours of this, and calling the numbers on lost pet posters, it was getting dark. We decided we could keep him overnight in a crate. He came right in the house and didn't mind being in the crate. He drank some water, ate some food and fell asleep. Ollie and Padme, our cocker spaniel, slept next to the crate. This is odd because Ollie is very spoiled and sleeps with us.

This is the second down comforter Bugg has eaten.
It will be turned into a couple of pet beds.

The next morning, this poor lost dog acted like this was his home. He was buddies with our other dogs and followed us everywhere. I took him to our vet to have him scanned for a chip. He almost bite the tech who scanned him. She warned that he probably wouldn't make it at the shelter. I then posted ads and arranged to foster him with our shelter.

Needless to say, we were unable to find his owner and we ended up keeping him.

Bugg's latest victim--
Youngest Son'sjammies.

Now as much as we love this little dog, he does have bad habits. He chews fabric. Actually, he eats fabric. He has eaten holes in two down comforters, the bindings on two quilts that I have made, countless clothes and a week ago, Youngest Son's newest jammies.

The jammies I found out about as he was getting ready to go to a church pajama party. The latest down comforter, I found when our geriatric cat was covered in feathers, along with my whole bedroom. He ate through four channels. I tried to fix it, but have decided to turn it into a couple of pet beds.

I guess, we will continue working with this little guy. He has managed to creep into our hearts and family.

Maybe, I should give Bugg my wadders so that I don't feel so bad when I won't wear them?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Anxiously Waiting for Ottobre Design Summer 2014 to Get Here!

Front Cover April 2014After years of indecision, I finally subscribed to Ottobre Design. I subscribed to both the kids and the women's. I now have two editions of the women's and anxiously waiting for the first kid's. It seems a little ironic that I am finally subscribing when my third child is just outgrowing their sizes and that my youngest is entering the largest sizes.

But, hey, better late than never!

It is now mid-April. I have been waiting very patiently. I mean, hey, I've been waiting until the mailman has walked away before pouncing on the mailbox and fumbling through it looking for my Summer 2014 issue. I finally decided to go to the website and found the pictures and the layout. I'm using this to drool over until the actual magazine arrives with more details. In fact, the publish date for subscribers is today. So, the impatient me wants to know where is it! Even though I really don't have time to sew anything from it right now.

I plan on using some of the smaller outfits for a neighbor's new baby and for my sewing for The Red Island Project. I also have some friends with younger kids who could use the patterns.

Who know, with two kids in their mid-twenties, maybe someday I'll get a grand-baby or half dozen to sew for...hint, hint.

April 2014 Ottobre Kids Sewing

There are a bunch if super cool patterns for the little ones and for girls. The cool tween or early teen boy clothes are limited. I'm not surprised. It's hard to dress a cool tween or early teen boy with any budget in ready-to-wear too.

So I have a couple outfits I want to try. I will need to make adjustments but I'm thinking Middle Son could do this, but either as shorts or with longer pants. The whole mid-calf length just looks like he's outgrown his clothes to me.

Ottobre April 2014 Boys

I know Youngest Son would probably go for it even if Middle Son doesn't. This next look, I'm thinking is for Youngest Son.
Ottobre April 2014 raglan shirt

I would like to make both for each one of them. It might work since boys aren't as freaked out seeing someone wearing what they are wearing.

I'll have to pass these by the when they are in the mood to look. Hopefully, I can get the okay...or even a grunt.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Vogue 8759 & More Matching Plaid

Vogue 8759
I guess I haven't had enough button down shirts or of matching plaids. Before I begin shorts for the boys, I decided Mr. Toad needs a new shirt for Easter.

I've had 8759 since it came out. It has been cut and ready to go. It even had water spilled on it by a kid who left their water class near my sewing.

I have multiple patterns short sleeve shirts for Mr. Toad, but they have one piece collars. Mr. Toad has a longer neck that looks better with a collar with a separate sew on collar band.

This pattern is designed a little slimmer than some of my older patterns. In fact, it has prince seams in the back, replacing the back pleats. 

100% Cotton Madras
The new plaid right out of the dryer.
I will be ironing before cutting.

Now, I'm sure everyone is getting tired of all this plaid and matching. I may be also, but each plaid has its own challenge and needs to be examined before cutting. That is where the preparation becomes an important part of sewing. 

I bought this yesterday at my local Hancock Fabrics for a quick fabric fix. It is a 100% Madras on sale for $4.50 a yard after all discounts and coupons. I got 3 yards so that I could have a little extra for matching and to add an inch or so to the length.

I brought it home and threw it in the washer on hot with an extra rinse followed by a hot dryer. I wanted to abuse it and have it shrink now or have any other issues come out before sewing it. I probably will wash it in cool and hang to dry, but this is the abusive preparation. It came out pretty nice. It should be very nice to wear during our summer heat. Even better, it will be easy to take care of by washing, hanging to dry and a quick iron. 

If you look at the plaid, you will notice that it is asymmetrical. Each rectangle is the same--white frame around a four square block. I will need to be sure to match up the white lines. It shouldn't be too difficult, until the line drawing is examined. Those two back seams could cause trouble. 

V8759 back
Vogue 8759
In examining the pattern, I decided to eliminate those back seams. I just pinned them together by overlapping 5/8 inch at the top and the bottom. I will be eliminating some shaping, but most men's shirts don't have much shape. There should be enough ease, to be okay. 

Looking at the back view, I think there is more than enough ease. However, I have no idea how this guy is shaped. I used my tape measure and attempted a tissue fit on Mr. Toad. Have you ever attempted to have a fitting for a man? They are worse than children. At least children can be bribed. Mr. Toad just fidgets and wants to be somewhere else.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Seersucker Short Sleeve Ethan Shirt

Short Sleeve Ethan Shirt
Another Sis Boom Ethan Button Down

Yes, You heard correctly...Another Ethan Button Down Shirt.

I'm sure you're thinking "another Ethan shirt!" 

And I would have to say, "Yep." 

This is a little different. It has short sleeves. It is a plaid seersucker. I modified the sleeves and made a cut-on front placket and flat-felled seams. 

I did the plaid a little differently than I did the gingham Ethan. Instead of attempting to match this irregular plaid, I contemplated cutting the yoke and pocket on the bias. However, because I started daydreaming, I forgot to put the yoke on the bias. I had already cut the pocket on the bias. Middle Son told me he didn't want a pocket. Yippee! I didn't even mention the option of the bias yoke. He probably wouldn't care anyway.

So, after I had made sure that the fronts and back were all matched horizontally, I made sure to cut the collar, band, and yoke all with the same line on the center. The difference from the gingham Ethan is that instead of cutting these out on grain, I cut them cross-grain. It is a common look, but not how the directions show.

It is difficult to see, but I traced the pattern pieces using a chalk pen.
Because it is an irregular plain, I also marked the wrong side on each
piece to help me avoid accidentally mixing the up later.
I also added 3/4" to the left front for the front placket. This is where the buttonholes are stitched. Instead of stitching the placket/band, I folded it back 1 inch, then 1 inch again. I then pressed and edge stitched about 1/8" from the edge. 

If you remember from the gingham Ethan, I forgot to flare out at the bottom of the sleeve when I cut it as a short sleeve. This time I remembered. I estimated that the hem would be about 1 inch. So, I marked where I wanted the hem and the amount to turn back. From where the hem would be turned, I flared out to match the taper, but in reverse.

These are the main differences that I had to plan before cutting. From there, I started sewing away. Middle Son prefers flat-felled seams--yep, he notices--and because he is thin, I didn't need to add to the seam allowances.

Sewing shoulder seam with flat-felled seams

shoulder sleeve seam
Tools to help me with the flat-felled armscye seams.
Glue stick, gauge, and iron
For some reason, men's shirts have flat-felled seams. This makes a nice polished looking shirt. I managed to get some decent photos while making these, so I thought I would explain how I did it this time. I have multiple ways to do this and this is just one. I use the glue stick because this textured fabric did not hold a crease, making the glue a very welcome tool.

Sleeve and armscye
The parts of the shoulder/sleeve seam.
The armscye is the fabric on the body.
The sleeve cap is the the upper rounded portion of the sleeve.
The first I used a gauge to measure 1/4 inch, a glue stick, and my iron. As you can see, I use any glue stick. I actually measure 1/4 inch along the edge and put the glue along this edge. I also put a piece of paper under to avoid getting glue on my already stained ironing board cover while putting the glue on the fabric and remove the paper before ironing.

Fitting armscye  and sleeve
This sleeve needs to fit in this armscye.
Match the notches before sewing.
Before doing the gluing, make sure to have the correct sleeve and determine which way to glue and press the sleeve piece. Because the raw edges are going to be enclosed in the stitching, it is important to remember which side is up while pressing the edge. I do this by putting the body right side up and the sleeve right side down while matching the markings--single notches to match the fronts and the top of the shoulder and yoke, and double notches to match the back. Then, I flip the sleeve right side up and will turn the edge with the right side up.

Off set the raw edge in by about 1/8 inch from folded edge
before stitching.
After putting the glue on the edge, I turn in in--measuring again--and use the iron to dry the glue. This gave a very good fold and would hold while stitching. Don't worry, the glue will wash out. In fact, it is pliable and almost unnoticeable after ironing, except for holding the fabric in place. 

Checking the depth of the seam to determine where to
top stitch from the outside.
Now comes the fun part! To pin the pieces together, match the notches--I use pins to mark at this point. But do not have the folded/glued edge and the raw edge even! The raw edge will be about 1/8 inch in from the outside folded edge. Once pinned, sew with 3/8 inch seam allowance from the raw edge and about 1/2 inch from the folded edge. If this allowance is not wide enough, the raw edge of the folded edge will be visible on the outside of the seam. Not good.

I always check that my stitches are smooth and even on the top and the bottom. Unfortunately, this shirt had a problem in the same place on both sleeves and I had to rip about 4 inches out and restitch. It added about 5 minutes to my sewing time. If it is smooth, press the seam before opening, then press away from the sleeve so that the raw edge is not visible. I measure this to determine the width of my top stitching from the outside. I then top stitch and double check that I have all of the raw edges enclosed.
Stitching on inside of sleeve.

Stitching on outside
Modeling is pure torure

Long enough to tuck in, if only he would.

 Middle Son likes his new shirt, but we both think it could have been a little shorter. I do like that it could be tucked in. Once his shorts are made, we can determine if this needs an alteration.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Another LIebster--Let's MIx It Up

Liebster Award badgeI never thought I would receive a Liebster nomination, but here I am with a second. I am very humbled by this, especially when I have seen other blogs who have had this honor.

This nomination was from Sew Much 2 Learn. Sew Much 2 Learn recently had a great series on sewing tools--a must read.

For those unaware of the Liebster award, it is meant to be a way for small blogs to be acknowledged. In many ways, I am surprised that anyone reads the thoughts I type into my laptop while I am sitting on my corner of the couch thinking about my sewing.

Now the rules are:

  1. Thank the nominator
  2. Answer the questions given by the nominator
  3. Nominate five small blogs and leave a comment on their website telling them of the nomination
  4. Have the small blogs repeat the process

So, here we go with the questions.

1. What is your most cherished memory?
I have so many memories. It would be difficult to narrow it down. Perhaps, watching Youngest Son discover his love of horses last Fall. He is a natural with animals and he had managed to get my mom's foster horse to follow him around like a little puppy.

2. What 4 words would you use to describe yourself?
Strong, adventurous, loyal, loving
3. Do you have ambitions for your blog?

I started out this blog to record what I'm sewing. I have since discovered that it helps me to be a better sewist. I think if I were to have any ambition, it would be to help other sewists to try new things.

4. Not counting family…what do you feel your greatest accomplishment is so far in life?
There are so many ways to answer this. One thing I did was to earn my Master's in Education. I finished when my youngest was 6 months old. At the time, I was working with 3-4 children and I was also the same month that I passed the competency exam for my mathematics credential. The reason I feel this is a great accomplishment, is that it can show my children that you can do anything when you set your mind to it.

5. What is your favorite sewing pattern right now?
Man, these are some difficult questions! I think the Ethan from Sis Boom is my current favorite. It looks good on my boys and the one I most recently finished. I'm sure I will have another the next time I finish something.

6. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
Chipotle veggie bowl, with black beans, brown rice, fajita veggies, corn salsa, fresh salsa, green salsa, guacamole.
Venti Soy Caramel Latte
This is a guilty pleasure because of a medical diet that I am on for my rheumatoid. When I have salt, fat or sugar I can flare.  I cannot eat animal products or gluten because I super flare and some times have a little anaphylaxis shock--not fun.

7. What blogger inspires you the most?
I'm switching genres because it is just too difficult to choose one. 
The Generous Wife is probably one of the best reading each day to remember how to love my husband and why.

8. What is your go to fabric choice?
Knits. Who doesn't need a quick sew where fitting is minimal?

9. What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who won't try.

10.  What is the best advice you have ever received?
This was from my pediatrician when my daughter was two months old and her brother 19 months old. Don't let feeling guilty keep you from doing what is best. Anyone with kids know what this means.

Sew Much 2 Learn's bonus question is: 
What is your ‘dream’ job?
I had my dream job. I was a middle school math teacher. I had the ability to influence students at a time when they are most vulnerable to outside influences. The reason for the subject is that it can be a turning point in liking or not liking math and the sciences. I tried to make it fun and for them to realize that it is not really that bad. Most kids who tune out of math in middle school will greatly reduce their chances of going to college right out of high school. In addition, the character building in students to learn to solve problems is so incredible to watch. I was also able to use my past experience as a drug/youth counselor to be firm, but fair while setting boundaries. 
I sometimes want to work with our youth ministries at our church, but know that I cannot be dependable because of the rheumatoid. This is why I am no longer able to teach.

Here is where I am breaking the rules. I would like to mix it up this time. Instead of me attempting to narrow down and leave someone out, I've decided to mix it up. I would like to build on what Carolyn at All Spice Abounds did when All Spice Abounds was nominated.

Carolyn asked for readers to share their small blog in the comments. I would like you to:

  1. Share your own small (or large) blog, if you have one
  2. Share a small blog that you have recently discovered, or that you read--preferably one that isn't already listed
  3. Share a project you would like to attempt but haven't worked up the nerve to attempt.

Gingham Ethan Short-Sleeved Finished!

Ethan Shirt Playing
Youngest Son likes to ham it up for the camera.
After much fun matching the lines and checks, Youngest Son now has his black and white gingham short-sleeved Ethan.

If you remember, it started with planning the layout to match up the pattern. Followed by overcoming problems with matching and resewing to make sure that the pattern matched.

It did take me longer than usual. Part of the reason is that I have been recovering from a rheumatoid flare, then some upper respiratory virus that migrated to a lower respiratory thing zapped my energy levels. I'm finally feeling a little better.
Ethan Short Sleeve Front View
Sis Boom Ethan Shirt--Modified to a Short Sleeve

I modified this from the long-sleeve with sleeve plackets and cuffs. I did this by shortening to where I thought I wanted it. However, as soon as I cut it, I realized that I didn't account for a hem and flare the bottom. This means that the bottom of the sleeve pucker under the arm.

Normally, I would have used a flat-fell seam. With the checks, I decided to sew and then top-stitch. On the sleeves, I used the closest stitch I had to an over-lock.

On my Brother, it would have worked extremely well. However, I used my Viking and used some odd zigzag type stitch. I should have taken the neon thread out of the serger, cleaned it and re-threaded with white thread.

Ethan Short Sleeve Back
It is hard to get a nine year-old boy to pose.

I forgot on the side seams and I just sewed then top stitched. I didn't impress myself. I should have flat-felled and dealt with any patterns being off.

I have to say that I really like the way this pattern is drafted. The only changes I might make is to widen the side seams to make a flat-felled seam easier, make a separate short sleeve pattern and have it flare at the sleeve hem, and make an adaption to have a cut-on front placket to make matching patterns easier.

Youngest son is already searching my stash for his next Ethan.

Middle Son just pulled his fabric out for his Ethan short sleeve shirt for Easter. I guess I only have 9 more sewing days.