It’s been a slow week

Yom Kippur is over, not my favorite day of the year. I don’t find the fasting all that hard. It’s what to do for 12 hours. The evening of Yom Kippur isn’t bad, a quick dinner then Kol Nidre. I enjoy this service very much. The next day, I’m not that crazy about being in Temple. I never was one who felt spiritually uplifted by services in a synagogue. As a child, I was Orthodox and it was simply part of the routine. As an adult, I have pretty much become a High Holiday Jew, at a Conservative Temple.

I’m getting tired of the mini speeches, the musical interludes, and I do not like the choir. Luckily I go to a service that doesn’t have a choir, but I do pop into the Choir service for one prayer session – Yizchor, remembrance prayer. This year it’s for both parents.

What really gets my goat is how certain Rabbis have to inject just the slightest amount of politics. At this point it sickens me, my one holy day of the year, my one chance to be cut off from all that ugliness and the Rabbi has to virtue signal. You wonder why I don’t feel like spending a lot of time with my fellow Jews.

But spending time with family was wonderful, both the before and after meal. I spent time reading an art book with my granddaughter, she is getting it! My DIL suggested going back to LACMA with the kids, I think I’d rather take them to the Norton Simon.If summer is over, and it is, then at least I get to enjoy the Halloween decorations. Fall here in So Cal, is cool mornings and evenings and hot days. The days are much shorter, so I do enjoy the fun decorations, I hate the real gruesome ones. Give me witches and ghosts and fall colors and I’m happy.Still working on my hand applique, I’m liking the results, but it is slow going.  Bought this at Michael Levines last week. I’ve already cut a shirt out of this. Tomorrow I leave for a 3 day retreat with my Quilt Guild to Bakersfield. I will be working on the Guild opportunity quilt, someone dropped the ball and I’m picking it up. Just in case I finish the top, I have this project.

We will be spending 3 days at ThimbleTown, and yes, I know I’ll spend some money… So you know me, a new city, a chance to explore. I mentioned to some of the other participants that I am going to explore downtown Bakersfield. All I got was blank stares and the question why??

Because every city, town or hamlet has something to share. Bakersfield has some good Art Deco and a great 1950s vibe.  I don’t understand people who are unwilling to explore their surroundings.I know, this knit is most probably polyester, I couldn’t resist. I love the color, and it was on the sale table at Michael Levines, so a long sleeve knit dress will be happening.My Meyer Lemon tree is very happy and full of lemons. That reminds me, I should give it some food, now that it is so busy producing fruit.

Next week will have much more content, after a busy weekend.212

Leah

A pretty dress

This vintage cotton print was one that I picked up at the guild sale. I know it’s vintage because it was only 36″ wide.  The colors and the print look vintage as well. Luckily there were 3′ so I was correct in being able to get a full dress out of the fabric.I used this pattern once before with rayon, I actually like how the cotton holds the shape better. This time I was able to add sleeves.I like the details of the princess seams as well as the neckline insert.  Since it is a busy print, some of the details get lost. There is some pattern in the background of the fabric, which is also a very vintage style of printing.I don’t like taking pictures of my back. My scoliosis shows. My back really isn’t straight, but really, that is my own hang-up. Another thing I need to start doing is putting those back darts into the pattern because the shoulders are starting to slope with age. I added them in at the end, this time being grateful that the busy print will hide them. Construction details, most of the seams were sewn directly on my five thread serger. When sergers or overlockers were first used in the industry this is how they were used, today we mostly sew our seams and then serge and clean the edges. I had to make the inner facing out of lining fabric, simply because I ran out of the fashion fabric. That is called making it work.Nice, clean, ready to wear look!I used an invisible zipper, that has to be inserted on my regular Juki. You can also see those little darts. An interesting detail on the sleeves, a small vent. I love these kinds of details and to my mind, it is the kind of detail you’d find on vintage clothing.Very pleased with the result! The fabric cost me $2, the sewing just took one day. The High Holidays are rapidly approaching, I’m sure I’ll be wearing this to Temple very soon.Found a picture of the first version I made with rayon, I like the second version a lot better.

Leah

Update

Last week was frustrating. I’d wake up every morning to my blog being hacked. Then there were emails back and forth with my hosting company. New passwords, new settings, all would be well until the next morning…  Wash and repeat.

So some of you saw some posts that are gone, others noticed the silence. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this time it works. I lost all of last weeks posts and rather than repost, here is a recap. I made a jeans skirt. Maybe because I grew up Orthodox in Jerusalem, owning a jeans skirt is a must-have in a wardrobe. I hacked a shorts pattern I had, because I liked the pockets and the front placket. I guess that means I really know what I’m doing after all these years. On t the next skirt, made from Kaffe Fassett solid, or yarn dye cotton. Very lightweight, perfect for a gathered skirt. I need more of these two colors, sure blue-greens look great on me, but so does this.

Another hack, no pattern here, just gather at the waistline and put in a zipper and a waistband. Maybe because the fabric is so flimsy, it felt like the waist grew. So another hack. I simply sewed and serged the side seam all the way up into the waistband. Is it elegant? No, will anyone ever see it? No.Here I am in my me-made wardrobe with the best  accessory of all, an adorable grandson!!!  His first ride on the train at Travel Town. Btw, he actually does smile, just not so much for the camera. These days he always smiles when he sees me- what more can a grandma ask for!

I wore this outfit all day, I was downtown in the evening and stopped into a little local coffee shop. The very hipster barista admired this outfit (without the grandson). She was even more impressed when I told her I made it. I heard a podcast discussion recently about do women put on makeup for men or other women. As a woman approaching 60 I can say, I dress nicely and put on makeup to look good! I love it when someone compliments me. To me outer beauty is important – I’m not hiding my age, but I’m trying to look my best for my age.I started a hand applique project. I am in love with the Appliquick method. So when I saw an image of this owl, I rushed out and bought the book. It is an embroidery book, something else I enjoy doing, but my plan is to applique this owl.I went to Kinkos and had the image enlarged on the blueprint printer. No taping paper together. Well worth the $8 a sheet.The green background has more green than khaki in it, oh well, cameras.A lot of progress has been made. There is repetition in fabrics, it unifies the image.

Hopefully, all is well now and I will be posting regularly, rather than dealing with hackers. I love sharing with you and hate the idea that someone is stealing my little online journal.

Leah

Rayon, Rayon, Rayon!

International Silk and Woolens has some really lovely rayon. I couldn’t resist this one, the plans are another Libby shirt.Side by side, the rayon on the left is heavier weight, which makes sewing it a little easier.I guess I found another pattern I’m happy to make more than once. I’m finding that is what happens with shirt patterns, dresses, not so much.Look at those buttons! Little jewels on the shirt. Yup, this pattern in rayon is a winner.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t happy with the neckline on the flowly rayon dress. That fabric is so light and airy – like a voile, which is why the neckline simply wouldn’t hold it’s shape.

I know, people will say I should have made a muslin. Had I used actual muslin, the neckline would have been fine, but all the little gathering would have been too boxy. I don’t happen to have the exact weight of this rayon in a throwaway fabric. So I winged it, and came up with something of a solution.Not great, but it works and I’m more comfortable wearing this without it dropping off my shoulders. I simply removed the bias band, and put in some  gathers. I probably could have only ‘eased it’, like one does with a sleeve cap, but I just wanted it done.Being a little higher up on my back works better as well.

There is no science in this kind of sewing, it’s trial and error, as long as I make it work, it’s all good.

Leah

Summer sewing

Our summer really starts in July and goes through October, so sewing summer clothes now means I’ll still have plenty of time to wear them.This time I went to International Silk and Woolens, look at the incredible rayon I found!  I love the feel of rayon, sewing with it is a challenge, worth it for the end result.I bought another pattern from Sew Over it, the Marguaritte dress. This time I downloaded the ‘take to printer’ option and headed over to Staples. The whole pattern cost me $25, which isn’t cheap. But then I don’t know how much it costs when I print and paste at home.  This is a very lightweight rayon, which added to the issues.Cute, with my new crocs, yes crocs. Guess what, these darn things are comfortable, and look, even cute!My big issue is the neckline, sure I’m supposed to make a muslin, but I don’t. Had I actually made it out of muslin, the neckline would probably lie flatter anyway. So it’s a little too wide.The keyhole in the back looks ok on the models, but not great on me. Maybe because the fabric is so light, it usually just droops. Originally I used facing on the neckline. The pattern called for it to be interfaced, which I did with very light interfacing. It was all wrong, and no I didn’t take a picture. I put the project down and came back a few hours later, removed the facing and used bias binding instead.If I ever make this again, I will make the neckline smaller but will probably keep the bias binding. Btw, how do you like how perfect my nail color is with this dress!The sleeve caps are fun, honestly, I’m wondering if I should have avoided the interfacing altogether. Yes, I used very light interfacing, but because this fabric is so light, it probably would have been better without.A fun, cool, summer dress, one I could never find in any store.My dress is new, Joel’s shirt is about 5 years old.  We do make a cute couple!

Leah

A shirt for Joel and pillowcases

Every summer I try to make Joel a Hawaiian style shirt. Since I’m getting good at this, I should probably make him some long sleeve shirts in the winter.I’ll admit that I found the fabric on sale at Michael Levine’s, sure it has birds and butterflies, but the colors are muted and I like the spacing on the print. I did some fussy cutting, made sure to get a lone bird on the pocket.Back view.And on the model!  He loves these shirts, I did tell him he can retire some of the shirts from 5-6 years ago…

Every month at the Modern Quilt guild, I pick up a package of pillowcases to be assembled. I really like that they go to Foster Kids. I also like making the boy patterns, because I’m sure there are less of them.This time I wised up. I have a five thread serger, which sews the seam and overlock at the same time. I don’t get a chance to use this much. Last time, I sewed the top band on my regular machine, then did the side seams with the serger. Hmm, why not just serge the whole thing? As you can see, I had some problems with the seam, the thread broke, I had to go back to my regular machine to fix it. Such mishaps occur all the time when sewing.The back side of the seam is a chain stitch, so it is really important to secure the ends, otherwise, that seam can unravel easily.So there is one step that I do with a hand sewing needle, I pull the ends back and then I secure them with Fray-check.  This is the top, I don’t want lose threads. On the bottom seam, which is inside the pillowcase, I just use fray-check.One of them is trying to escape!  So in the package, everything is cut out and ready to assemble. For the pillowcase on the left, it came with a pink strip. There is a tiny pink dot in the stars. I know boys, on pink strip and they won’t take that pillowcase. So I substituted with blue.I went into my stash and made a very girly pillowcase.Six more to donate, I think this year I have made 13 or 14 pillowcases. Each one matters.

Leah

Party dress, finished

First off, the lapped zipper. This is something you hardly see anymore, even on fine clothes. It’s the details that take simple cotton from plain to a really lovely dress.I have so many dresses with a separate bodice and skirt, it’s nice to have one with princess seams.
A very nice party dress, not too fancy, but if I make a little Bolero style jacket, it will work in colder weather as well.In the pattern instructions, the inset is supposed to attach to the bodice with snaps. I bought the snaps, but didn’t feel like that was a good solution. So I just sewed it in place, I think it looks fine. I did double lace. Wasn’t too sure about the color, but this greyed down blue works really well. Just another small detail that makes a big differenceHere I am, admiring a mosaic bird I made a few years ago, I keep on thinking I’ll make more for this wall. I really should.And now, lets see the skirt in motion! It looks lovely, clothes are meant to move. Who knows, I might be dancing in this, it should swish well – and it does.

Leah

sewing

First of all, I have to share a picture that Yvonne put together of all the blocks from her workshop.The great thing about being in a workshop is seeing how the same pattern comes out so differently depending on the fabrics that are used.

A while ago I found a sewing You Tube Channel, Sew Over It, I watched a few episodes than forgot about it. Meanwhile, a new sewing podcast has started up from London. It’s called Stitchers Brew and in it, Megan and Gabby either talk about their own sewing or interview, usually in person, other interesting sewers. So there I was reintroduced to Lisa Comfort, not only is she adorable, she really knows her stuff!

I have been burned by Indie patterns, I am fine with the big four, I guess that just means I’m older and not a hipster, oh well. But I have had problems with some very big names in the Indie world, like a sleeve that didn’t have a front and back. Which means it didn’t fit right. Or the patterns are all the same, very basic.

After her interview I went back to see some of her videos and I came across this pattern:What is so nice about You Tube is she showed a number of versions and she was very explicit about using a drappy fabric like rayon. There are a number of interesting features, like a half stand collar. So I ordered the pattern and taped the pieces together. Then I went to Michael Levines and looked for rayon.

Rayon isn’t easy to come by and often, I don’t like the print. I found this print, fun, my colors and it works! Sewing with rayon isn’t easy, it is a slippery fabric. Lisa is right, had I made this out of cotton, it just would be one big box, because the rayon drapes, the shirt has a lovely shape. So yes, I will be ordering more patterns from Sew Over It. Lisa really knows what she’s doing and I’m seeing original designs, not the same old same old.

Still working on the party dress, I could have put in an invisible zipper, but I want to elevate this dress, make it more ‘couture’ so instead I lapped the zipper in the back and as you can see, I’m tacking it down with tiny stitches.I love the rayon lining, gives the dress more body as well as being very breathable and comfortable.I lined the complete dress, something I rarely do, I just serged the lining but used lining lace on the dress.This sort of works like horsehair, it doesn’t give as much body as horsehair would, but just enough so the skirt has volume.  Next post, me modeling the dress.

Leah

All kind of creativity, nothing finished yet

Still exploring the city and being creative.Block by block, this quilt is growing.Top is now done. Most of the blocks are very similar, with differences in placement of color. There are some other shape differences as well, but not much. I love scrappy, I don’t like rainbow.

Now I have to figure out how to quilt this.I started a new knitting project, this is the swatch.It will be another cardigan. I know yarn stores are having a very hard time surviving, the big knitting craze of 10-15  years ago is over. So most stores carry specialty yarn, not the basics. Sure,  I will be ordering basics online, but that does make it hard for me to support my LYS when I can’t find what I want. Because this is a very simple shape, the kettle dye look works, but I do miss just finding Cascade yarn at my LYS.

Clothes sewing continues. I have a wedding this summer which gives me an excuse to make a cute party dress. Yes, this is very simple, and yet it is lovely. I went to Mood LA and saw my friend Kay who now works there. We both agreed that the option on the right isn’t very accurate, it would take so much fabric to get those very large elements to look like that, in reality, they’d be chopped up.

So I started looking at silks, no luck, I don’t want solid color, what can I say, I’m a print girl! The prints were either too busy, or like this too big.So I ended up with the blue cotton print, a pretty lace for the inset and rayon lining. By fully lining the dress, I will give it more structure and that will help elevate it from a simple cotton dress.This time, I made a muslin, I want the dress to really fit right. I have a long torso, so I did add to the length of the bodice before making the muslin.It fits the dress form.More important, it fits me, no on to actually sewing the dress.  Although it is a simple pattern, I’m not rushing anything. I want to get this right.

Ok, back to work.

Leah

Still sewing

I bought some lovely rayon in Albuquerque last fall. Although it is dark, I waited to make a summer dress. Rayon is so light and flowing, which makes it a little hard to sew with, but I make one little move and:the skirt just flutters! There is some nice detail and draping on the bodice, but with the busy print, it’s probably not that noticeable.I stepped out of the sun, you get a better idea of the print here.Side view, later this week the temperatures will climb again and I’ll be able to wear this dress.I needed a new knitting project, so I went to a new to me yarn store. They don’t make them like they used to, hardly any yarn and no books or magazines. So I sat there, went through Ravelry, until I found a pattern. Lucky for me, I do like this royal blue.Maybe the yarn stores figure that everyone is buying the basics online. I actually miss Cascade or Brown Sheep yarn in stores. It is true, I do buy some yarn online, I guess I’ll just be buying more online.

Meanwhile, there was an interesting article about the demise of Classic Elite Yarns, another great standard quality yarn company. Business is always changing, it’s true of the fabric companies and the yarn companies. Right now everyone wants the one of a kind hand dyed yarn – so I guess that is why the stores don’t carry the basics.

Leah