Busy, busy, busy

I shared the quilt with the Valley MQG. It’s getting a lot of admiration. Soon it will go to it’s rightful owner. I know she really isn’t expecting something like this.

A knitting friend is expecting a baby girl soon. Shower is next weekend, I had to get busy quickly.This is Honey bear from Funky Friends. A free pattern. I made it once before as a gift for someones first grandchild. I think it got lost en-route, because I never heard a word about it. This one I’m personally handing to the mom.Funky  Friends Factory designs the best toys!! I have bought many of her patterns, the fox, the cat and even an elephant I’ve yet to make. Since this is going to a baby, I not only embroidered the nose, but the eyes as well. There is no such thing as security eyes that a baby can’t remove. The ribbon can be removed, it’s just an extra touch. View from the top.and from the bottom. If the label falls off, oh well, that is fine.

I had a big holiday party this weekend.  I’ve been having it for ten years now, some people have been coming that long, some were new faces. It was about 25 people, my strategy is, I make a big pot of chili, some meat and potatoes, green bean casserole, because I don’t make that for Thanksgiving and a large store bought Lasagna. I ask the guests to bring appetizers and desserts – it works out really well.

No pictures. These days the only reason I’m on FB is because of some groups I follow, I haven’t posted in months and won’t post anymore. I’m on Instagram and I do share some of the same things I share here.  For me Instagram is about creativity, the moment someone goes political – they are gone.  Twitter for the breaking news – that platform is a cess-pool of ugliness, I put up with politics there, I’m also very selective about who I follow.   The people I  follow some very honorable people who share very good information. Everything is a compromise.

We had a discussion last night about how bad social media is. A college professor had some horror stories about how things have changed in the 15 years she’s been teaching. I met many of these people through blogs – but that is very different than social media.  We certainly live in interesting time.

For me this party is about being present in the moment with friends, no need to document it expect this one thing:

I love the friends who brings me Single malt, and not just any single malt, a really good one! He doesn’t even drink the stuff! I like how my window decals have cast this shadow on the wall.  Btw, I have hardly made a dent in last years Glenfiddich. I’m not a big drinker, Joel doesn’t like Scotch at all. Luckily my oldest son does, so next weekend, at the family Chanukah party I know what I’ll be serving.


The lure of fabric

I don’t like polyester, but when it looks like this, crepe, knit, gorgeous print and with a lot of body, I can’t say no.This is the same pattern I used for my previous knit dress, with one change, a shorter sleeve with a bell cuff.

I was hoping to make a different pattern, but I hadn’t bought enough fabric. So here we are. I think I need to shorten this dress. Clearly these black tights are a no go. I was being lazy, I had on a different dress and just didn’t feel like changing the tights.The shoes would be cuter without the black tights, but sometimes it is what it is.This is one of the few good side views that I have gotten!Good back view.Oh, and the lemon tree is full of lemons!Ok, I’ll shorten the dress!enough of the dress! This is what is really important.


Sewing for myself

I love knit fabric, not just for Shira’s dresses but for my own. It is so easy to whip up a dress, mostly on my serger and voila! About 2 hours of work and it’s done.Often it is the simplest pattern that works best with knits. Something I need to remind myself.I’ve been seeing in the fashion blogs that midi length skirts are back! I thought that would never happen. I also never thought that big full eyebrows would be the rage.Luckily for me, I only plucked my eyebrows a few times. Never into that tiny little strip. I just left them alone. These days, as they get lighter in color I do need to ‘pump them up’. At least it is my natural eyebrows that accept the pencil or powder, so it’s not too fake looking.I know, I wrote about hating polyester. And here I go and buy a polyester knit. I figure that when it’s cold I can wear a cotton camisole underneath. What can I say, I found this fabric on the remainder table at Michael Levine’s. I fell in love with the print and color, also, this is a pretty heavy knit, it has real body to it.I think I paid $10 for the whole piece, so if down the line I’m not happy, I will add it to the good will pile. I guess you could call this me made fast fashion. What can I say, this dress makes me very very happy. I hope to keep it in the wardrobe for quite a while.

Oh, and I was at Michael Levine’s this past week, guess what I bought? Yup some more polyester knit… I hope to use it soon so you can see what is getting me into all this trouble.


The Jelly roll rug

I first saw the Jelly Roll rug at Quiltcon in February. Moda owns the name Jelly Roll for a bundle of 2.5″, width of fabric, usually about 45 of them, from one line. It started popping up all over the internet. Basically, a flat rope basket, made from fabric and batting. I don’t like using precuts, but since I picked up this Jellyroll on sale, I decided to jump in. I also bought the precut batting, cutting the batting myself would be a pain and a waste of time. On the quilting retreat weekend I did buy the die for 2.5″ strips from a fellow quilter who had two. I tried using that on the batting, still a lot of work. Like most precut packages, this consists of a number of colorways from a line of fabric. I usually find that completely boring. Now that I have the die, I may cut up some of my own fabric….There is a pattern for sale with the instructions. There are also many people on YouTube who share basic information on to do this. It’s pretty much a very large rope basket.Clover clips are a must, here I am creating the rope. Sewing the rope together. I used a topstitching needle. One of the instructions were for a jeans needle, I didn’t have one, but Top Stitching is a pretty big needle. I also used some Common Threads thread. I had bought it a few years ago and I hate it. Sure it’s cheaper than Aurifil or Gutermann, but it’s thick and sheds lint like crazy. My machine, newly back from the dealer didn’t like this thread at all, so I just threw away whatever other spools I had. Roll it all up in a ball, so that it doesn’t get too tangled. I did have to stop and untwist. Going around in circles created a lot of twist.Then it is zigzag around and around. I tried keeping the rope taut on the straight edge and slightly eased in the fabric on the curves so it would stay flat.The end result wasn’t perfect, I’m sure it will be just fine underfoot.A perfect spot, in my kitchen.

Oh yes, I still have to finish the owl quilt, I’m at the hand binding part. Then it will need a label and will be done. I’ll share that soon.


Hacking a shirt pattern

I’ve made the button down shirt so many times, long sleeve and short. So I decided to go ahead and add a peplum. I found this fun shoe fabric at Michael Levines. I knew I had to play with the directions of the fabric. Yes this is one directional fabric! That thing I’ve complained about! Oh well, even I break my own rules.Wearing the shirt open. I’ll be honest I’m not so sure that I love the peplum.You can sort of see that on the collar the shoes mirror the front of the shirt. I achieved that by sewing the upper collar with a seam in the center back. I get, you get dizzy just looking at this fabric. So maybe my efforts are for naught. You can see the center seam on both the collar and the yoke, seeing to it that the shoes on the yoke go in opposite directions to the collar.I did the same with the cuffs, have them going in opposite directions as well. I just noticed that the front and back match! The rows of shoes match that is. That is serendipitous! I didn’t plan it that way. Maybe because I was so concerned about the rest of the shirt it just happened.This shirt came together very nicely, I know I’ll get good wear out of it.

And  now, onto another sewing project. My friend Roberta invited me over to ‘help’ her make Halloween bags for her grandsons.First is this bucket. She has had this fabric forever, it is darling!  I think I made the bucket a little long! Oh well, mom will carry it. I didn’t use a pattern, just cut out a circle for the base and measure the circumference for the sides. I did a simple quilting with batting to give it body. Folded over the linning and added a strap.For the baby, same fabric, simple bag. I did, self-line the bag by sewing the two together a the top, then sewing the side seams and the bottom, leaving an opening in the line to pull through to the right side.Roberta was paying attention!!!  These are ones that she went ahead and made for friends.  I love helping out, it’s even better when she learns from me. Not that she will stop asking for my ‘help’ to make things. But she actually does a lot of work on her own. We just have a grand old time with me creating and her chattering away – as well as paying attention to what I’m doing.


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


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.



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.


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.


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!