Why has so much fabric followed me home?

Not going to lie, this turned out to be a crappy week. I was all set to get started on some new and awesomely easy projects, and life intervened. That’s a nice way of saying my dog died and I didn’t take it well. Now, I should qualify this, it was sudden, but not unexpected and she had a good quality of life all the way until the end. However, Wednesday I was straight up a mess. And when I’m sad, I go shopping. In this case, I found myself in Jo-Ann’s for some waistband elastic and walked out with 8 yards of interlock that I had no intention of buying. They’re for kid’s t-shirts and the patterns are cheerful with monkeys and farm animals and giraffes, which made me smile. I have no excuse for today’s 4 yards of rayon/lycra, but I digress. No more fabric shopping for a while and time to get back to the project and fabric I was starting on earlier this week.


Am I planning on making the kids matching shirts?  Why, yes, I am.


And another thing…

I mentioned yesterday watching a video series on the everyday clutter in homes and it spurred me to make my kitchen spotless, which is awesome. I have two separate sections of countertop and the one next to the refrigerator acts as a landing space for school papers, unread sections of newspapers, batteries, shopping bags, general junk, etc. The rest of the counter gets cleared because it is workspace for cooking, but by the refrigerator is another story. Naturally, the worse the mess gets, the less I want to deal with it and I have a superpower- selective vision. After enough time, I stop seeing the mess. I know I’m digging through an eight inch tall pile of papers looking for the homework sheet needed for that day, but I refuse to see it. Yeah, way not healthy, but bear with me here. Yesterday, feeling the need to clean after watching the videos, I started in my kitchen at the dishwasher and cleaned the entire room counterclockwise ending at the refrigerator. I only set one rule for myself- once I touched something, it had to be put away. No hemming and hawing or putting things in a pile to move items out of the kitchen en masse. No, it’s not as efficient to make a ton of small trips with one item in hand to put it away; however, I’m really good at sorting stuff together and then never getting any of it put into a proper home. Obviously, that’s fertile conditions for clutter, which my house has in abundance. A couple of times I wanted to cheat, particularly with papers that needed filing. I have a stack that are waiting to be put away in the family room, and it would mean not digging through my thoroughly inadequate file box, but if I only set one rule, surely I can manage to not break it, right? Needless to say, it worked. It didn’t even take that long to clean the kitchen and I’m thrilled with the success of my one rule. This got me to thinking while I was finishing the coat, surrounded by my excess of sewing paraphernalia.

I make things, I have lots of supplies to make said things, and that stash has gotten a bit out of hand. A lot out of hand. In the past, I shuffled fabrics around based on the season, my whims, holes to plug in my wardrobe, whatever. That does not mean that I necessarily sew up those fabrics and the shuffle begins anew several months later. In cleaning up in here last month, I fished a big pile of fabric off the floor and it’s lined up on the guest bed, totally defeating the point of having a guest room. So my plan from now until Easter (call this my belated Lenten resolution) is to pick up one piece at a time from the bed and make a project. No, these aren’t necessarily my favorite pieces, though some are, and the big fold of corduroy is definitely unseasonal, but the idea is to deal with each fabric once and put it away where it belongs, as an item of clothing in my closet.


Does that mean, given that we’re easily talking 25 pieces of fabric, that I will try to choose wisely my projects? Yes.  The three pieces closest to the camera are knits destined for quick projects and to the right is an already cut out skirt that I started with a friend, but I should finish it before it loiters around too long.  I won’t use all of this up before Easter, but I hope to put a decent dent in it.


Shaming myself by blog works!

Apparently, writing enough times that I have blown off finishing a project that I don’t want to deal with makes me, ahem, finish the project. I did not realize how much buttonholes frustrate me until having to do four of them in a winter coat. I have three sewing machines in my sewing room, and unfortunately, my buttonhole foot is missing from my main machine, an Elna 2130. I have the Singer buttonhole attachment for the Singer 201A I inherited from my paternal grandmother, but the tension is all wonky and I think it would benefit from servicing. However, I haven’t done that yet, making the Singer not a viable candidate for this task. Lastly, I have a Bernina 830, mid 1980s edition, and I have made it work straight stitch only; but I don’t have a manual, do have a bazillion attachments that my kids have kindly trotted all over the house, and no idea how to make it do anything other than the aforementioned straight stitch. (Un)fortunately, the Elna’s foot has been missing for quite a while now ::cough::2 years::cough:: so at least I know that the zigzag foot works in a pinch. My machine does a one step buttonhole, so with the stitch selected, I have to manually bump the lever that lets the machine do the last side of the stitch. I know I should have done bound buttonholes for this project.

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These are pretty much the worst buttonholes ever…

I ended up having to do the buttonhole at the waistline seam twice and I was ready to hurt myself with the seam ripper halfway through ripping out the first attempt since I kept snagging the satin of the lining.  The right side of two of the buttonholes ended up with a uber-short straight stitch, don’t ask me how, so I ran a line of zigzag hoping to match the buttonhole stitching.  I half succeeded, and decided that Fray-check will be this coat’s best friend.  Then commenced my afternoon of hand sewing.  I should learn to embrace the zen of hand sewing, but I don’t like it.  I had to tack the sleeve cuff to the lining, and while I’m sure there was a better solution that could have been done by machine, this wins the good enough award.  Actually, this entire project is an exercise in good enough.  I’m not proud.  After that, eight buttons, whee! Well, I sewed buttons ten times, since I used red thread to start, which with black buttons, I’m not sure where I misplaced my brain when I started.  I switched to black thread and remembered that I have button thread, which I love for being so sturdy feeling.  The buttons on the left side have thread shanks and the ones on the right side of the coat are as close to the fabric as I could manage so they should look even when the coat is worn.  The top left button had to be repositioned as in this picture it’s too low relative to the buttonhole.  Did I properly thread trace or mark the front pieces when I cut everything out?  No, and I’m kicking myself for it.  I spent too long today trying to guess where the buttons and buttonholes were supposed to go.DSC_0506

However, it’s all worth it when my daughter is happy with her new coat and it’s even supposed to be below freezing tomorrow morning, so she will get to use it this spring.  I’m still not entirely happy about the collar, and I wonder if there is a better way to shape it, but I don’t know how. I want it to roll over further up the neck but it wants to do so at the seamline. Would padstitching be the right answer?  I know that this style was a problem when I tried it for myself, but for what it is billed as an easy child’s coat, I’m not making the effort.



Procrastinator supreme

So, I’m avoiding my sewing room because I really really really loathe the idea of buttonholes. Yeah, that means that red coat is STILL hanging over my head. I need to do better, but I want to sew something, just not those buttonholes. Kick me, please.

In the meantime, I found this cool series on Youtube talking about average American households and the crazy amount of stuff we have stuffed under our roofs, and I can totally relate. I love to buy stuff for my hobbies or because it’s useful or because my dear husband is underway and I get lonely and vulnerable to the siren call of online shopping at midnight. I really could stand a good spring cleaning of the entire house and purge the clutter. Does that mean I will? Does that coat have any buttons yet? Yeah, long odds for both.

Distracted by shiny things…

This time last week I was this close to finishing the coat for my daughter. So have I finished it yet? Of course not. We went to Jo-Ann and then Hancock after striking out at Jo-Ann’s to acquire buttons. Lots of buttons. I was sort of kicking myself for going with the whole double breasted coat idea because everytime I found a decent candidate, I would find four or six but not the eight that I need for this silly thing. That, and the red hue of the wool does not work with any red I can find locally, so she picked out black and then it was a matter of finding eight of those and you can see where this is leading too. Nonetheless, I finished attaching the lining and put the sleeve cuff on and realized I totally forgot to leave the space for the inseam buttonhole. D’oh!

And that managed to make me avoid the sewing machine since Tuesday. Well, there was the small matter of finishing painting my daughter’s bedroom, which took all week. Mostly as I have dark stained trim that I am changing to white, necessitating at bare minimum a coat of primer plus the two coats of paint, though sometimes it’s more like three coats. Then there was the ceiling, which I just dislike on principle and well, I finally got the paint on the wall today, only two years after initially promising to paint the room. So, small victories, right? My daughter is very happy with her new looking room, but she told me as I was putting the covers back on all of the outlets, “You are going to finish my coat tomorrow, right? I want to wear it to school on Monday.” That’s gratitude for you. Looks like I’ll be cussing at buttonholes tomorrow.

Coat project is inching to completion

I put the lining together and on the coat now and what have I learned? I hate doing linings last. I have known this for years but do I learn? I think it was Ann from Gorgeous Fabrics that posted the idea of making the lining first before you burn out on the project and it will more likely get done, and I remember that I was positive that I had found the answer and would never be so stupid as do the lining last. Alas, I routinely fail to make the lining first, and that’s the major reason that I have not finished this coat up.


Obviously, I still need to finish off the bottom hem; and since I had eyeballed the added length, I think I will need to trim up the lining a bit so that it will play nice with the outer layer. I’m taking my daughter out to Jo-Ann/Hancock (they’re within a mile of each other, so convenient) to pick out the buttons to finish this up. The sleeves are finished in cuffs, which I guess I could do right now, but I’m not mostly because I am also working on a sweater for me and would love to finish it before it warms up this spring. Plus, I have a massive novel on the Kindle which I can read while doing stockinette stitch, win! Yeah, not as focused as I could be.

Yep, the single short sleeve is the latest thing for winter wear, right?

Time to work on clearing out some of the UFOs

I have an annoying habit of falling in love with a project and tearing into it with gusto only to run out of steam a little over halfway through. Unfortunately, I tend to leave the cut pieces of fabric, the pattern pieces, and other associated miscellany lying about my sewing space thus getting in my way later ::coughs:: years later.

Ah, the pile of UFOs that I swear every sewist accumulates. I’m sure there are people who can start a project, see it to completion, and only then start on another, but much like unicorns, I’ll only believe in them when I see them. I had already resolved to myself to whittle away at the UFOs over the next few months, completing one a month in addition to my monthly project. I was trying to decide which one to choose, but the weather made it obvious.

Can you believe it was 70 degrees out yesterday. Winter storm warning today. Yay.

Back in the fall, Fabric.com had wool coatings for dirt cheap (I take no credit for discovering this myself, I followed a blogger’s link), and Butterick had just released B5946 , a girl’s coat pattern.  I decided my six year old needed a wool coat to replace the acrylic one from Target that she got last year. I cut out the pieces, fused the entire thing except for the sleeves and had the lining fabric in hand.


The same lining fabric that with the exception of the pocket pieces had not been cut. Even more pressing, there is only so much winter left this season and I don’t want to finish it after she’s outgrown it, so today, I cut out the lining pieces and started assembling.


My daughter is small framed and I have found Butterick/McCall’s to run wide in the size on my kids, so I started with the size 5 which matched her back depth. Normally I would have just cut the skirt pieces at the 6 or 7 to give her the length she needs for this to be useful for more than 30 seconds, but alas, the size break was 2-5 and 6-8 so instead of properly adding pattern tissue to add the same amount of length to each piece, I half-assed it and eyeballed the extra to the bottom, as evidenced by that back skirt piece in the picture. I hope I don’t regret that once it comes time to bag the lining. The only other change I made was to add a pleat to the center back of the lining since it seemed like a good idea. I’ve only ever made one coat and it had a pleat, so I saw no reason to not add it to this one, even if the pattern omitted it. The front and most of the back pieces are together and I hope to get the lining done and in the coat tomorrow ::fingers crossed::

At least the whole thing is still a touch big so this should get wear into next winter too. If this one will just go away already. I’m ready to start working on spring and summer clothes.