Monday, August 25, 2008

Taking DD to College

Me, DD, My Sister, My Niece

Chapter One: Packing
DD packed for at least 14 days, yet we managed to forget her microwave. The dining room was so full of boxes, trunks, bags and loose stuff it was easy to understand how the microwave (which was a Christmas gift and had been stored, out of sight, in the laundry room since December) got overlooked. Packing the minivan was another adventure. Even with the minivan, we had to leave some non-essentials behind - like the SpongeBob Squarepants stuffed toys and a big purple fuzzy lounge pillow! They certainly would have added personality to the dorm room. I wouldn't have been able to see out of the back window if we'd taken that stuff along. I didn't want to see SpongeBob smiling at me when I looked in the rear view mirror.

Chapter Two: Driving
I hate the Northeast Corridor of I-95! That's all I have to say about that. We had a blowout while driving on Rte 29S in Virginia. "Not a big deal", I said. "I'll call AAA". The first thing AAA wants to know is where we are. All I could tell them was we were heading south on Rte 29. The last sign I remembered said Charlottesville 58 miles. Since our destination was Charlottesville, I didn't take note of any other destinations on the sign. For some reason, that wasn't enough information for AAA to find us. We were on a stretch of road that was completely rural - nothing but trees - no landmarks or intersecting roads. I stayed with the car while DD walked back to the nearset sign to pinpoint our location. Imagine watching your only child walk along a stretch of unfamiliar highway. I was thankful it was daytime. Anyway, we were back on our way after about two hours.

Chapter Three: Moving In
Believe it or not, moving-in was the easiest part of the whole weekend. There were many "greeters" around to help unload cars and carry stuff to the room. The weather wasn't uncomfortably hot, so we got that done relatively quickly and without incident.

Chapter Four: Saying Good-bye
This was the hardest part of all. Of course, we were tired and stressed, so we tended to get in each other's way and on each other's nerves. However, we hugged and said good-bye and I managed not to cry until I was on my way back to the motel. My sister drove to VA from NC, both to help settle DD in and as a support for me. Unfortunately, she had to leave before I did and she missed the hugging part. I remember how I felt when I started college. I was just as excited and eager to be independent. DD is better prepared than I was and the practical side of me says not to worry. But the Mom side isn't listening … yet.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Next: 10/2007 #130 & 11/2007 #129

If you are sick and tired of hearing me sing the praises of Burda World of Fashion, skip this post. As a BWOF-disciple, it's my commission to spread the BWOF gospel and win converts.

As I began working on my current project, I fell in love with BWOF all over again. Just look at the design details in that blouse! The double darts on the front and back shape the blouse and prevent it from being too boxy. The 3/4 length sleeves are kept in place with tabs and are current and perfect for mid-Atlantic Fall weather. The faux pockets add visual interest. Not to be outdone, the pants (10/2007 #130) have some design details, too. The bands on the pocket and legs are a subtle, yet stylish addition. One would have a difficult time finding details like that in any of the Big 4 plus size offerings. Trust me. I've looked. Connie Crawford is taking over Butterick's Plus Size department, which isn't a problem if you happen to like Connie Crawford. Sixteen of the 29 large size patterns are Connie Crawford's. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy Connie is making a living. I like her designs. But, come on Butterick. Offer some variety! Many of the patterns in the Big 4 catalogs are available up to size 24. So, in terms of volume, the Big 4 beats BWOF (I can't believe I said that!).

If I had Carolyn's talent for working a pattern; or Erica's gift for knocking-off high fashion, or Summerset's artistic vision, I probably wouldn't be so much in love with BWOF. But my strength is technical skill, so I have to depend on BWOF for style. And, for me, BWOF always delivers.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Playing Catch-Up

I finally replaced my stolen camera so I'm finally able to post photographs of my recent projects.

First, BWOF 3/07 #128 – "the dress that was born to live in the back of the closet, unworn and forgotten". I didn't like the color of the fabric at all, so I used it to test a dress pattern I did like. I think there is hope for me and this dress, in spite of the frumpy way it looks in this photograph. I need to position the bust gathers more carefully. If/When I make it again, I'll use a print fabric to distract the eye from the bust gathers. I felt light-colored buttons would make the dress look too much like an old-fashioned nurses uniform so I chose contrasting buttons. (Why would all of this matter, since I don't plan to actually wear this dress, anyway?) I top-stitched with a contrasting thread to match the buttons. The sleeves are supposed to be gathered, but that little detail got funky somehow, so I'd have to be a little more careful there. I'll probably put this on my list for next spring/summer.

I also made #129 Blouse and #130 Pants from the same BWOF issue and had more success. I bought the batik for the blouse on Philadelphia's Fabric Row and the olive green twill for the pants at JoAnn's. Usually I buy coordinating pieces at the same time. These pieces were not purchased at the same time, but fortunately, the green wasn't hard to match. The batik has so many greens in it, it would probably match anything. Again, I've thoroughly hidden the feature I like the most - the seaming on the blouse - with the print fabric. (This is proving to be a hard lesson for me to learn.) I lengthened the blouse by 1 inch and lengthened the crotch by 1 inch. This brings the waistband a little higher on my body.

Friday, August 8, 2008

For Burdaphiles Only

I readily admit I am truly BWOF obsessed. I am on a summer work schedule so I have more time on my hands. My sewing mojo has been on hiatus. The time was right for organizational projects.

The first project was a revision of a previously published tip. I wanted the instruction sheets to look a little more organized so I made a template. I use the template to arrange and tape the cut-out information into neat little columns before photo-copying. The result is a professional looking instruction sheet.

The next project, a BWOF Index, was a revision of another previously published tip. When I made my first index, I did not include fabric recommendations and requirements. This revision includes those changes. Even though I use only the plus sizes, this project was time consuming and tedious. I could not work on it every day and it took about three weeks to finish. But now that the back issues have been done, it's quick and easy to maintain when the monthly issues arrive.

Yes, I know this crosses the line into obsessive behavior. But, I make no apologies for my BWOF obsession. There are much worse things with which I could be obsessed. Think about those model train collectors who wear engineers' hats as they play with their trains. (Not that there is anything wrong with that!) I also know my time might have been better spent actually sewing. At the time I was working on these projects, my sewing mojo was MIA and I had to settle for "auxiliary sewing". These projects ultimately enhance the construction process of BWOF garments easier and are therefore justified. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Next: BWOF 03/07 #129 & #130

My last project (BWOF 03/07 #128) was a success as far as the sewing went. But, as I suspected and predicted, the color looked awful on me! (I'm glad I haven't replaced my camera yet. If I had a camera, I would feel compelled to post a picture of me in the dress.) I haven't been in a sewing mindset for several days. I've wanted to sew, but my brain is overloaded with other concerns. Knowing that #128 was a throw-away project eliminated any pressure. Someone else made #128 and posted somewhere about trouble putting in the buttonholes in the bodice area. The seam allowances under the front band provided an uneven base for sewing the buttonholes. I have a Bernina machine and used the buttonhole compensation attachment to solve this problem.

My next project is a blouse and pants for work - BWOF 03-03-129 & 130. After sewing the #128 dress, I think I'm ready to give this project the concentration it needs. I'm using a batik print for the blouse, so the seam lines in the front will disappear. I've liked this pattern for a long time and I'm happy to finally be making it. I'm also considering making the blouse with long sleeves at a later date. Long sleeves isn't one of the published options, but it shouldn't be to hard to take long sleeves from another BWOF pattern and add them to this pattern. Lately, I'm feeling confident enough to make more design changes to patterns. But, for now, this should be perfect for warm back-to-school days in the beginning of September.