Friday, July 3, 2015

Why I don't sew clothes

When I learned to sew in Jr High, I was built like a stick figure.  As long as it fit at the shoulders, I could sew any pattern and it would work out with minimal adjustments.

Where to even start?  The measurements say I should be an 18, but the finished garment a 14.  Since I was using a pattern from the stash that only goes to 14, that's what I cut out.

The shoulders and neckline aren't bad.  The waist and darts OK too, though I'll probably add a little more ease on the side seams so it's easier to zip up.

But what's with the boobs?

The top of my finger is the bottom of the underwire of my bra.

There are 2 more inches that should be included in the bodice top.

It's not like these knockers are over-sized or hanging down around my waist.

I marked the muslin along the bra line.


Now to figure out a solution.

Addendum:  cut out a new bodice piece with some extra volume and changed the front joining seam to be curved.  I think this will work.


Once again, the plan was to get up early and start sewing clothes.  But this project was in the way.  Used up all the HST I had and sewed this panel together.  This section is 25" x 35".    I am going to set this aside for a while and let the next sections evolve from this and the scrap bins.

Next on the agenda is to see if I can make a dress out of this fabric.  My mom brought it from her many travels.  I believe it is from Burma / Myanmar.  My understanding is that this would be a traditional sarong worn both both men and women, gathered around the waist.  It  is 42" wide, 68" long.  I may need to do some creative piecing so I can make a knee-length sun dress that takes advantage of the border-print embroidery.

Monday, June 29, 2015


My plan today was to do some errands and then get started on some clothing projects.  The good news is that the trip to the Cell Phone Store that I'd been putting off for a couple months will save tons of money.  The bad news is that as I was tidying the sewing room (as required before any big project), I was distracted by a bin of  quilting scraps.  Emily gave me the blue/dark green triangles when I had asked for teal fabric a few years ago.  She had cut them out for a project but passed them on for me.  They didn't work for that project I was working at the time, and I've been setting them aside for something with HST.  The Apple Green was from the Charley Harper quilt.  The lime floral is a dress.  And the yellow plaid was a backing.  This quilt may have an interesting evolution. The next round may involve some orange and lime....

Monday, June 15, 2015

Spontaneous Squares

I am pretty happy with out my squares turned out. (It looks even better in person when not taken in dim light with a cell phone camera).  What a fun way to use up old leftovers and the orphan fabrics that you don't recall really how they ended up in the stash. Scraps beget scraps, so I do have a plan to use up some of the 6" long strips for a rainbow quilt.

I have been collecting thread and needles for a while for the Big Stitch quilt.  The needles on the right were actually given to me by Pepper Cory (name dropper) at Quilt Market several years ago when I got to go as a guest (coolest vacation ever). I collected the pearl cotton on a shop hop from shops that didn't have fabric I found interesting.

I started out by stitching some lines about 1/2" apart.

I think it was Tim Lattimer who pointed out that this approach should be called "big thread" not  "big stitch".  I have been keeping the stitching 1/2 to 3/4" apart.  I can't actually make the stitches "big" but they are proportional to the thread and I think the outcome will be great after washing.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Today is my birthday and I have been celebrating all weekend.

Saturday, we headed an hour North on the bikes into the mountains for lunch.  Perfect temperature, but ominous clouds.

I used the Birthday cash from the younger daughter to add a few fabrics to the stash.  The night before I had realized I had a collection of odd "muddy" batiks that need to be turned into a donation or gift quilt.  I'm not really sure where they came from.  Either they were gifts or those fabrics really are mating when I'm not around.  Found a navy blue that will make a great blender fabric.

The clouds were swirling in atypical directions.  We decided to take a chance and ride back the "fun way" through Lowman and Idaho City.  Miles and miles  (about 80) of slow, winding mountain roads. We got lucky and only had a few sprinkles of rain.

Taking the long way home meant that we wouldn't be home in time to watch what had potential to be a history making horse race.  Triple Crown and libation as a rest stop.

Final edits and border added to the Pickle Dish quilt when I got home.

Remember the boys your mom warned you about?  Yeah, that's who I was hanging out with on Sunday.  Lunch ride with the motorcycle club.

This morning, my actual birthday, I had planned to sleep in but my bladder had other plans.

So I started by tidying up the sewing room.  This created new distractions.  I discovered that I had an entire drawer (bottom) of fabrics that I no longer love.  They are older prints, some of which I have discovered the hard way fade easily.  Others were gifts.  Some scraps.  And a lot of dark pink that used to be curtains.  The more I cleaned, the more similar fabric I found.

I had read an article earlier this morning  on The Root Connection regarding a Gee's Bend inspired quilt workshop that Sujata had been teaching.  As y'all know, scrap quilts make me anxious.  And I'm only good with random to a point. But I am good with spontanious.  So I decided that random with rules was OK for me.  The starting master plan was pink and green, substituting orange for pink and blue for green from time to time.

Tearing random sized strips was very theraputic.

 This was the view as I left for lunch with my sweetie.  Kind of looks like a fabric store barfed on the floor.

It turns out that I can't truely do random / free form.  About 9", I had to square up the  inside angles so I could figure out how wonky everything else was turning out.  The last pink round in this photo, I used to try to square up the blocks to any random size, just square.  A few were just too far off, so the 3 with the blue outsides were my next round efforts to square up.  These are at 15".

Posting these photos helps me to figure out the next step.  I think I'll add the green round I had planned, then piece them together, using the remaining strips I have ready for a border to hold everything together.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWMC Final Answer

After about 400 hours, and an equal number of dollars, I'm ready to show off the fundraising quilt that I made for the Motorcycle Club to which I belong.  It is a group of first responders: police, fire, paramedics as well as other law enforcement / corrections.  Our mission is to support our fallen brethren (sisteren?) and their families.  Sadly, we have been very busy.  Unlike 90% of the club, my background is in healthcare, but have joined this like-minded group as an associate member.
Last weekend a few of us (25 bikes) rode over to deliver a cash donation to a local officer who was hit on her motorcycle (off-duty) by a car that ran a red light.

Here are some of the detailed photos of the quilting.
Representing Fire


Sherrif/ Police

The finished quilt is about 75" x 90".  I used American Made Brand (100% US grown premium upland cotton) fabric for the black background and the grey backing.  This is rather important to me given the context of the people to whom this quilt may reside. The applique fabrics were purchased on a variety of IWMC rides.  Mostly under the radar as good fabric stores in small towns are generally not far from bars.  I am known to vanish temporarily as bikes are being parked, only to show up as the drinks/food arrives with a package of fabric in my hands and a smile on my face.

The logo has many levels of detailed symbolism, down to the details of the heart shaped pupil on the Wild Hog and embroidered star on the tusk.  Because of that, this quilt will only be available for raffle to IWMC members and family.  Contact me if you would like to donate to our fund raising efforts and put in for other potential prizes.

Monday, May 4, 2015


I should have been quilting.  But sometimes the draw of the winding road is more than I can bear.
Lowman, Idaho.  The view from The Haven.  Hot Springs, food, gas,etc.

Test driving the new air cushion.