Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Evolution of a Sewing Room

Chapter 1

Where Did It All Come From?!?!?

One of the perks of Empty Nest Syndrome is the empty nest!  When I learned my daughter accepted a job in Richmond, VA,  I toyed with the idea of moving my small sewing room into her larger bedroom, but I talked myself out of it. However, she encouraged me.  In her words, "Why shouldn't you have a bigger sewing room?"

I believe my daughter, who so generously and lovingly encouraged me to take over her bedroom, saved every toy, storybook, shoe, notebook, sneaker, trophy and stuffed animal she ever owned in the eighteen years she occupied that room.  She was a good candidate for Hoarding: Buried Alive.  It's just as much my fault as hers. She didn't buy all that crap those things herself.  Everytime she was away at camp, I threatened to go into her room with a trash bag.  But she protested and I backed down.  As she pulled crap her things out of bookcases, the closet, the dresser and piled it on the floor, I admit, I almost lost it. Then, I thought about my new, bigger sewing room and kept my mouth shut.

With visiting and socializing with friends she may not see again for a long time, it took her three days to sort through and distribute all the crap her belongings.  If I had been given the freedom to dispose of it, everything would have gone to the dump. Thankfully, my daughter believes in "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and she was more responsible about getting rid of the crap stuff than I would have been.

It's going to take some time until the new sewing room is just the way I want it. First, I have to make my new space habitable and functional.  Then, I have to make it mine.

To be continued ………

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Corny Cliché, but True

Today really IS the first day of the rest of my life.

No, I won't be spending 8 hours a day in my sewing room but I do have a plan for my new life.
  • I retired from my job, not my career. I'll continue the part-time independent contracting I've done for several years. 
  • My DD is treating me to my first cruise ever.  In the Fall, when my former colleagues are settling in to another school year, I'll be settling into a deck chair on a cruise ship.
  • I plan to take advantage of a local university program for Lifelong Learning which offers a variety of courses such as Introduction to Adobe Photoshop, Myth in Human History, and Quantum Mechanics for the "Spiritually Inclined" (huh?).  This program also entitles members to audit one undergraduate course per semester, if there is space.  
  • I no longer need a large work wardrobe so I plan to do more quilting. Or I may tackle that coat or tailored jacket I've wanted to sew for years.
  • My first BIG project will be to move my sewing room into the larger bedroom that was once occupied by my DD.  Finally, I'll have more room for more fabric and Burda Magazines.
Stress often comes with change; even a change for the better.  I'm a little nervous, but I'm looking forward to this new phase in my life.  For a number of reasons, it's the right time for me to retire.   Once I make the necessary mental adjustments, I'll be able to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Can't Resist a Good Sale

I went to JoAnn to buy this …

and ended up buying this …

At least they're both yellow.

I was first interested in Oliso's Pro Smart Iron because of the feet that raise the soleplate. I love a good gimmick. Then I learned the iron has a "thirty minute extended shut off for sewers and quilters".  The thirty minute shut-off feature was icing on the cake.  I vowed to buy the iron the next time they were on sale at JoAnn.

So …… I found myself at JoAnn during a storewide sale.  I went there for yellow thread and buttons.  Not the most efficient use of non-renewable fossil fuel, I admit, but I gotta sew. The buttons were in the same aisle as irons and the irons were 20% off.  I had to buy it!  I had to.  In addition to the 20% discount, I got an additional 15% off with my teacher's discount card.  Total savings – $63.99!  The iron I'm replacing cost less than the $63.00 I saved.  I don't often indulge myself like this so I easily justified the extravagance.

Oh yeah, the buttons were 50% off, too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Finished: BSM 02-10-138

The Pattern:  I love Burda for its design details and this pattern has plenty.  But they all work together to make a dress that I really like.  I'd sewn this dress before so nothing was a surprise.  Because I loved it so much, I forgot, or refused to remember, how involved it was to sew this dress.

The Fabric:  It was love at first sight with this fabric.   It feels like a cotton-silk blend and I think the color is great. It's drapey yet casual and a little ravelly.  Still, it said "shirt dress" to me and I immediately thought of the pattern shown above.

The Welt Pockets:  The first issue I encountered was the welt pockets.  The last time I made this dress, I essentially ignored Burda's welt pocket instructions and used the instructions from Jackets for Real People. (Alto, Neall & Palmer 2006)  This time, I read Burda's instructions carefully and studied the pockets in the previous dress.  Then I compared them to the instructions from JFRP and realized they were essentially the same.  The only difference was JFRP had nice clear diagrams to illustrate the steps.  Burda, of course, had no diagrams and the instructions were translated to English very awkwardly.

The Flaps: I had an issue with the flaps but it was totally user error.  I made the buttonholes before I sewed the flaps to the dress fronts.  No argument – it's much easier that way. My mistake was to sew the buttonholes so that I had two flaps for the left side.  I had to choose between removing the buttonhole stitches and sewing the buttonhole again and sewing the flap with the wrong side of the buttonhole up.  I chose the latter.  I think anyone would have.

The Collar: I wish I'd used s stiffer interfacing for the collar.  The collar is a little floppier than I would like. Note to Self:  Use a variety of interfacings.

The Shoulder Tabs:  I learned from the mistake I made with the flaps.  No problems here.  I had a tab for the right shoulder and one for the left shoulder!

Front Band:  I used The Sewing Book (Smith 2009) in addition to the Burda instructions.  Again, the pictures in the supplemental source made things easier.

The Sleeve Bands with Placket:   The sleeve band is cut in separate inner and outer pieces.  I don't know why I didn't cut the bands as a single unit.  It would have saved me the trouble of pressing the seam so that it stays on the edge of the sleeve band.

Belt:  When I made the dress the first time, I didn't include the belt.  Friends, online and IRL, advised me I needed a belt.  I don't fully agree, but I went with the belt this time.

Click BSM 02-2010-138 for review or see sidebar.

I really like this pattern, so I didn't mind dealing with all the details.  I think it turned into a very nice dress that I will enjoy wearing.