Monday, December 31, 2007

Gotta start somewhere

Not sewing-related at all, but I just registered for an aerobics class at a local community college. I find that I'm more compelled to do things when I know I'm getting a grade for them. This is the same place I took aerobics, gym, and ceramics classes after college (to stave off the boredom and uselessness of coming home after a day at work and having nothing to do but watch tv since all my friends were back on the east coast, where I went to college). Maybe the "good vibes" from back then will return and I'll once again be lithe. Hmmph. We'll see if I'm still feeling as optimistic after Monday night's class. Either way, it's a step in the right direction.

11:14pm edited to add: Oh dear! Just looked at the schedule - the class started TODAY. What the??? I guess I'll be hauling myself over there on Wednesday. (Darn, thought I was home free till next Monday... ah well, let's get it over with.)

My camera died,

but on a lighter note, happy new year! 2007 went by so fast! I'm kind of glad it's over, because it's a year that started with lots of stress and things crashing or not working as expected (both at home and at work). So, here's to a new, smoother-running year.

So, like I said, my camera died. It simply konked out. I pulled it out to take a picture of my hubby holding our adorable neice on Christmas day, and it wouldn't turn on - this after recharging the battery. Unfortunately, this also means I can't rescue all the pictures I have on the card, because of course (just my usual strange luck), Olympus decided to use the non-standard xD card in it's cameras, and all of the devices accessible to me only accept SD cards. Bummer.

I had wanted to take pictures of the yummy chin chin I made (might make more tomorrow - if I do, I'll definitely save some for you, Krazy Krafter!). Now it's all gone - sent most of it to my sis-in-law who requested it, gave some to my brother, and ate the rest in two days flat. Yum yum.
I also wanted to take pics of the fabric I picked up last weekend. Ah well. (Oh wow, firefox just crashed on me - I'm glad blogger saves drafts... Seems like 2007 is trying to wreak as much havoc as it can before it gives way to 2008, eh?)

So, resolutions? Not fond of them. I just want to sew more. Of course, since graduating college, the whole weight loss resolution has hung around - but that's not a New Years thing, it's an all the time thing. I was going through my clothing this past weekend to donate what I don't wear to the Salvation army and stumbled across two bags full of clothing that gave me a reality check.

These weren't just bags of any clothing, mind you. These were clothes that were brought by my parents when they visited a couple of years ago. Clothes that were tailored TO MY MEASUREMENTS in Nigeria. Most of them were slightly tight back then, because between the time the clothes were "commissioned" and my parent's trip, I had managed to gain about 10 pounds. The ones that weren't tight were too large. Needless to say, those clothes had been forgotten until now - 30 more pounds later - and the "too big" ones are also tight.

I was good at first, trying some items on and then refolding them for donation ("some tall lady will be glad to have brand new - never worn clothes"). With each new skirt, top, jacket and dress that I folded, I began to feel agitated. These were all FULLY LINED clothes that would take me ages to reconstruct. They had been made specifically for me and never been worn. There was no duplicate. The printed fabric definitely didn't exist anymore. I refolded work-perfect skirt after skirt (especially agonizing since I can't seem to perfect the fit on my straight skirt pattern - talk less of lining). Got to some gorgeous summer dresses with border prints. Refolded three of them. Pulled out some more...

Then I gave up. I can't get rid of those. I can't. I almost fit into them 3 years ago. i never got to wear them, and they were made for my (long-legged, long-armed, bootylicious) body in particular. Nothing has changed drastically in my life since then. I haven't had any kids, no medical issues that make me gain weight - nothing. There is no reason why I shouldn't strive towards fitting into them again - at least for one more year. No, I'm definitely not going to halt sewing until then. I need clothes that fit my body NOW, that's for sure. When I met my hubby in my gym class, I could have fit into those clothes. Maybe I should take another gym/pe class since I probably won't be taking a sewing one this spring? Either way, I now have a goal to work towards, God help me!

Yikes, that was quiet a long post - and with no pictures to break it up (darned camera). I'll quit while I still have some energy left.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas and all (aka "Still not sewing")

Christmas Eve. I'm at work. Got all my gifts (and giftcards) ready, but still haven't made the most time-consuming gift. No, I'm not sewing for anyone. My SIL asked for a Nigerian "snack" called Chin-Chin. I have all the ingredients, and it's certainly not complicated to make. It's basically dough that's kneaded and then rolled out and cut then deep fried. My mom always made hers in a twisted 8 shape though (more time consuming) so I always do about half of those and half of the regular square/rectangle/diamond ones. However, after wrapping gifts yesterday I ended up doing dishes that had been in the sink for er... a few days... and then making dinner (whaaat? yah, I cooked). Then no time left since I had to come to work today.
The nice thing about being at work the day before a holiday is that we're usually allowed to leave early(and traffic's great! I got to work in 30 mins today!!). So I'm out of here at 2. Then I have to go get my MIL and FIL and take them to my place to pick up my DH and then off to Riverside for Christmas eve dinner. I thought it odd at first that their family congregates on Christmas eve rather than Christmas day, but now am glad for that cultural difference b/c it means we get to spend time with both families without time conflicts. Okay. I'm boring myself. That means time to get back to work. Later. Have a great Christmas!
(yes, I know, I still haven't sewed a stitch. Got some more fabric tho - pics later!)

Hmmm... looks like everyone's getting in on the top model reality show theme. Even my motherland --> Nigeria's next top model
** Updated 12:08pm - Apparently it's not a show, it's a "competition". Not sure if that means it's a non-TV thing. Hmm...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My first dress

No, I can't wear it. Unless I lose about 75 pounds and have plastic surgery to change my body type. Not happening. Anyway, it's my first dress and it was from one of the many drapes we did for class. We had to create a garment using something we'd learned in class. However, we had to use bandanas and/or remnant fabric. I used both, as you'll see. I fell in love with the mid-neck dart the first time I saw it, so I knew I'd be using that. With time running out, I ended up with just a basic straight skirt. It's not perfect by any means, but I feel so proud of myself!! It was also the first time I used piping, and the first time I underlined a garment (with bandana fabric). In reality you don't notice the bandana fabric under the sheer fabric of the skirt. However, the camera flash makes it much more obvious. I have a seam down the center front and also had to make the bottom of the back from another colorway of the sheer fabric bc the scraps I had were too small. Well, here it is.
I'm definitely not a designer (nor do I want to become one). I just would like to get really good at sewing basic silhouttes. Nothing too fancy for me - I just want clothes that finally fit me. So... I need to get sewing, nah? What am I doing at the computer!! I should be tracing my next creation!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last night was my last draping class for the semester. My dress wasn't perfect. It certainly wasn't properly finished on the inside, and it had armhole gaposis due to something my teacher described as not taking out a wedge of fabric where the grain is on the bias around the armhole. Apparently this is something that happens with sleeveless garments.
Where are the pictures, you ask? They're on my camera. Which is in my purse. However, I forgot my cord at home, so was not able to upload the pictures when I came in early this morning. So, next post I'll have pictures of my dress for class.
I'm so looking forward to having my evenings to myself again. I have to decide what my next project will be - the jacket that discouraged me in the smaller size? The skirt that continues to defy me? Or a new top pattern? I really, really need jackets in my wardrobe because I currently have 0. This is due to the fact that jacket arms are NEVER long enough for me. So maybe that's what I'll pick up again.
Now, back to work.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Alas, another couple of weeks have gone by. I finished my very frustrating skirt (what am I going to do about my darling rear? I love it, but it makes sewing clothes so difficult). It was also made frustrating because I have a protruding rear end, but am not particularly curvy in the hip area.
I'm waiting for my draping class to be over so I can concentrate on sewing. That's one thing I definitely missed this semester - sewing in class. We only have to sew our final project, which I spent Saturday working on. I made my first dress! I was/am so proud of myself. I was lazy and left all the inner seams unfinished (plus it's due too soon - this week) but I tried a few things I've never done before - like adding piping. I've been gaga over piping for a loooong time, and want to make lots of my clothes using it as an accent (once I can get some TNT patterns) I'm going to try to take a picture of it on the dress form at school tomorrow.
Now, why can't I get an exact body double and do away with patterns and just drape all my clothes? I so wish I could. Anyway, sorry, not much interesting here today - just had to say something (and give an excuse for why I'm not fervently sewing).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Simplicity 3789/3990 Rerun

Just got done hemming this and am not quite as happy with it as with my first version. The fabric stretched in a few places, and I decided to leave the side zipper out. Here are the front and side pics. Sorry for the fuzziness on the front view - not sure what's up with my camera. See that rear end that I have to work around? I'm looking at that side view now and wondering if the fact that I hemmed the front and back at two different lengths makes my butt look disproportionately bigger...

Trying to mini-SWAP

I recently tried and (in my mind) failed while trying to create a jacket from Simplicity 4789

I realize that part of the frustration stemmed from not having the right size pattern and the pattern not having multiple cup sizes. So I got the correct size pattern (I have to use a 20, not an 18) during the last Simplicity sale at Joann's but haven't worked up the gumption to re-trace. I really am trying to avoid having to do a full-bust adjustment because... well because I'm a scaredy-lazy cat and because it takes me a looong time to complete each step. I could see that the armholes would be too tight and it was too tight across the bust. I love the collar style though.
To make myself feel better, I decided to make another version of Simplicity 3789(links to my review). For some reason, it was more difficult this time. Some of the fabric stretched while I was connecting the front side sections. Anyway, this second shirt is supposed to end up being part of an outfit. Here is the almost completed shirt with some coordinating fabric:
I added a tab with a button to the sleeves. Next time I'll add some piping to the tab edges to make it stand out more.
Now, my dilemma with the coordinating navy blue fabric is that I would love to be able to get a skirt AND a jacket out of it.
The prospect is a tad daunting since I need extra fabric to lengthen a skirt and lengthen the arms on a jacket. I have 4 yards of the navy blue, and it's 50-60 inches wide (lemme check)... Okay, just measured, it's 55 inches wide. So... after flipping through the patterns I have that include jackets, I settled on an out-of print one - New Look 6159.
I've made the A-line skirt from this pattern twice. For this ensemble, I'm going to use the straight skirt and just make do with a 3/4 sleeve jacket. Am I asking for trouble making a jacket out of something that is actually meant to be a fitted top??? Should I just use the fabric for the skirt and find something similar for a jacket using a real jacket pattern? I don't know... I guess we'll see. I'll start cutting the skirt once I've hemmed the top - which I guess will be tonight.


Yes, I woke up at 7am and went to Joann's today. I acquired a few things as a result. First was the knowledge that I really shouldn't have bothered coming early to wait in a long cutting line of women buying 99c/yd flannel. Second was a bag pattern I have been wanting to get for some home decor fabric I found at Walmart for $2/yd. I also grabbed two Vogue patterns I've had on my wishlist. I don't think I am ready for Vogue patterns yet, but might as well grab them now.

Next was a few notions (not needed right away, but how often can you get 70% off notions, eh?
Then of course, I heeded the call of a cute print, and returned to my Nigerian roots for some batiks - something that existed in my wardrobe before I came to this country for college, and has been sorely lacking ever since:
All in all a good haul. I considered getting another cutting mat, but I don't really need one yet - especially since the items I'm making right now are separates.

The only bad thing about acquiring more sewing paraphernalia is that it increases the pressure to create. I was recently discouraged by a jacket attempt, and put it down for now. But that story is for another post...

Friday, November 9, 2007


Well... My serger came. I was so excited!
.. gulp
.... swallow
It's missing a part.

The stitch finger.
Bummer. It ruined my day when I found out. One of those "it was too good to be true" moments, you know? So, after moping around the rest of the day, I asked the seller if he would look around for it. He says he's looking...

I found only one site that seems to have the part, but it doesn't have a picture or a diagram, and I hate buying stuff online and having to pay shipping and handling plus a "restocking fee" when I need to make a return. So right now I'm just waiting to see if he will find it.

The blades also need to be replaced (I learned this by trying to serge with extra fabric to the right and breaking the needle in the process!). I'm torn between whether or not I should take it in for maintenance. The only sew/vac shop I know nearby will charge me about $200 for cleaning and servicing. I so don't want to go there bc then I will be kicking myself for spending enough money to buy a spanking new serger. Sigh... Maybe that's what I should have done - just gotten the 1034D from Walmart or something... The good news though, is that it really is easy to thread, and even without the missing part, it does a decent 4-thread stitch - you just have to watch that the fabric doesn't fold over on itself (ending up with a rolled hem).

Ah well. I'm moving on in the meantime, to my next project - Simplicity 4789 - the shorter jacket. I wanted to make myself a light (and simple) unlined jacket before delving into anything complicated. I don't take failure well - hence my current approach to sewing. I cut my muslin pieces out and have the bodice front and back together. I can already see that I will need to lengthen the bodice slightly (interesting because my last simplicity top had to be shortened 3 inches). We'll see how the rest of it goes. Hope to finish with alterations this weekend.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Purchased Serger!

So... I did a lot of research. And settled on a serger that I wanted. It was the Brother 1034 D. Yes, at $232, it's not that expensive. However, I have to watch my budget, and have plans for the holidays that will require that I pinch pennies for a while. Yet I coveted that machine.
I got on ebay. Lost one auction for one. Comforted myself.
Looked again this past weekend - there was another! I bid on that. I also bid on a Singer, and another Brother (432d or something). Lost the 432d. That's okay. Searched some more. Found a 925D that looked okay. Note that at one point I was winning on three sergers. I was slightly panicked when there were 2 hours left on one, 4 hours on the next, and 2 days on the third - all with me leading. Outbid on the 1034. Sad, but okay. That was the priciest. Outbid on the Singer. Should I bid again? 1 hour left on the 925 and no one else had bid yet... Decided against it. If I didn't get the 925, I would save weekly to get the new 1034 - I wasn't in the mood to go through the hair-raising ebay dance again.
So... I GOT THE 925D! I was the only one who bid on it, and I got it for $99 + s+h. I'm so happy. For now at least. I hope it works as it says it does. I've been very lazy about finishing seam allowances in my last three projects - although I had no choice but to zigzag on the two skirts as they would have unravelled otherwise). I can't wait to get my serger! Not that it's keeping me from starting on my next project (a simple jacket with a mandarin-like collar and mid-armhole darts on the front), but it sure would make it sweeter!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finally got done with the Simplicity 3789/3990 top. Here are pics. About to review on pattern review.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bad girl

I have been a bad girl. I haven't posted in a while. I have an excuse though (tee, hee, as always!). I'm waiting for my Dritz My double deluxe to arrive. In my mind, that will signal the beginning of a new sewing era for me. I will finally be able to take pictures of my completed garments on a dress form. I'm also hoping to be able to apply some of the things I'm learning in my patternmaking class to the form so I can start to create custom clothing for myself. Still a distant dream, but I'll get there eventually.
Excited about the weekend. Going go Joann tonight to pick up a few simplicity patterns at $1.99 and then will hit up Walmart to see if they have any decent $1 and $2 fabric. Then, on Sunday, the 50% off red tag fabric sale starts at Joann. I kept kicking myself mentally for not taking advantage the last time they had that sale, so this time I'm budgeting for it. Every time I go, I peruse the red tag stuff - and often find some fabrics I like, but am not willing to pay $5/yd for (yes, I'm cheap, I know. Being taller and wider than average, I have to buy more fabric per garment than most ppl, so back off!) So. Things to look forward to this weekend!
I also FINALLY got a 36X48 cutting mat and rotary cutter. I got the Fiskars dual-sided mat. It smells!!! But it's living in the living room for now, so hopefully the smell will subside eventually.
I'd like to work on Simplicity 3789 this weekend. I don't usually do button-down shirts because of the whole "gaping" issue at the bustline, but after a positive review from someone on pr this week, I may try it. After all, with two new skirts, I'll need some new tops, no?
Okay. At work. Lunch time. Over. Gotta go.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Long Hiatus

Yes, I haven't posted anything recently. No, I haven't been out of town. Just busy with school starting (for me), and trying to squeeze time out for myself during work and school. The denim skirt I started is still waiting for me to shorten and re-hem (my least fave part, so imagine having to do it twice!). At work though, so can't post a large blurb. I really need to keep up with this blog - to keep myself sewing - if nothing else.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Midweek "blahs"

Okay, so I didn't get round to posting my pattern review yet. I will. Ur... um... tonight. It's 7:49am and I'm at work, but feel all beaten up already. Can I make it till 4pm?
Started a "patternmaking by draping" class last night. Was great to hear all the reasons people are taking the class as well as all the industries people are in or want to get into. There are stylists, costume designers, people doing it for fun, people who aren't sure what direction they want to go in yet, folks who want to do buying, some who want to do marketing, folks who want to do costumes for the movie industry, folks who want to be fashion editors... It's amazing. I just want to do this for little old me. Nothing complicated. Now, I don't have a dress form at home, but I'm hoping I can at least get an understanding of how and why patterns look the way they do, and learn how to judge where and how to alter my substantial (about 35) stash of patterns when the time comes.
Okay, I've got my little 8oz cup of coffee next to me, and it's reminding me that I need to start my work day. I'm still trying to shake off the annoying person in the parking lot who for some reason thought I should wait for her while she made a left into my (going straight) lane, and then had the audacity to honk at me. Honestly, the driving manual needs to be weekly mandatory reading for some people. Sigh... Anyway, to work...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The "Mondays"

I can't believe I have to be at work in less than 12 hours. Where did the weekend go? I thought doing pretty much nothing during the weekend was my best bet for getting the hours to go by sloooowly...

I had planned to sew SOMETHING. But nothing has emerged from my sewing machine, so I guess that didn't really "plan". I did manage to pre-wash some fabric...
Okay, I know I'm supposed to machine baste the crossgrain edges of the fabric before pre-washing (and I did), but this denim STILL managed to have a jolly old time unravelling in the wash. I wonder what really went on in that washer..?

Oh, and before I forget. I finally washed and ironed the skirt I made and wore last week. Here are a few (not so good) pics of it.

The fabric is an army-ish/pea green twill of some sort. I'm not sure exactly what it is as I got it for $1/yd at Walmart years ago. It's a thicker, denim-y weight. I paired it with a brown top and a3/4 sleeve multicolored jacket (also shown).
To get it to fit my "rounded rump", I added an inch to each back side seam and lowered the center back 3 inches, which I then (haphhazardly) "blended" back up to the side seams. Somehow that worked.

I didn't plan it - was just trying to use up stash fabric - but the skirt manages to already match a number of items in my wardrobe! Now if only I didn't have to work tomorrow... Oh, and I should probably post a review for this pattern on PR, shouldn't I? No time now. Will do on the morrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Have you ever woken up from one of those naps where you immediately said to yourself "Aargh, I shouldn't have taken that nap"? Yah. I just woke up from one of those. It was a sugar-induced slumber - thanks to two 99c store ice cream "treats". And to top it off, I was jarred out of my sleep by someone's shrieking car alarm.
Not much done today. Said "Adios" to some clothing from my closet - as well as my knitting needles, crochet hook, and a ton of unused yarn. I have not completed a single knitting or crochet project since I got those. It was time to stop fooling myself. I thought of giving them to my MIL, who occasionally crochets scarves for people... and then realized that would just be putting off the inevitable. I needed that stuff out of the house right away. So my DH and I drove it over to the nearby Salvation Army thrift store. Now I can't wait to see what else I can give away!!
Taking off in a short while to see my darling niece. It is always amazing to me how much she has grown each week yet how little she still is. And, of course, I leave there thinking how nice it will be once DH and I start a family, yet immensely grateful that we have not done so yet. Where would I find the time to do "nothing" like I currently do??

Friday, August 24, 2007


Argh! My upper back hurts from sitting all whacked up in front of a computer all day. You'd think I'd get up and take a walk now that I'm done with work, right? No. That would be too sensible.

Two new additions (the pic's out of focus , I know. I'm new to this, give me some time) to my library. I'd heard so much about this issue of Sew stylish from other bloggers that I figured I had to get it for myself. Of course, I just missed the 99c Simplicity pattern sale at Joanns (this is not to say I didn't get 99c patterns, just that I didn't get the one used in this issue - 3631), so I've got the mag, but not the required pattern. Not much of a loss, bc I can't see myself in most of those outfits, but the alteration info is priceless!

The book on skirts? Mostly for ideas. I already have a TNT pattern for an a-line skirt. Of course, I've only made one skirt with my altered version of the pattern, but it looks flattering -hence TNT in my opinion - in spite of its slightly too-large waist. I would post a pic of that, but it's been sitting in the pile I left it in since I wore it on Monday and quite unsightly with the acquired wrinkles. I did get quite a few compliments on it, though, so I know it either looks good, or was so hideous that folks just had to say SOMETHING. Now I just need to peruse the skirt book again and figure out how (or if) there is a good way to accommodate my pleasantly plump rear while retaining the original hem line in another skirt style.

The thing that concerns me (and I may have read stuff wrong the first time) is that they seem to have you take your waist and hip measurements and create a skirt front and back by adding ease and dividing by two. Is it just me or does that sound like a recipe for side seams framing my butt? I don't know. I'll have to look at those formulas again.

Okay. I'm hungry (no, not really, but need to convince myself to walk away from the computer). Will be back.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Cidell gave me a shout out on her blog. I feel so special!! What am I still doing up? I have to work tomorrow. Had HAD to see if she'd posted anything new before I logged off though... She's my "blogdol" (think blog + idol). Cheesy, I know. Goodness. You'd think I was a kid with the dizzy way I'm acting. Lack. Of. Sleep. Yes, that's it.

There once was a shy girl...

My goal: To share tidbits of myself while remaining anonymous...
I have no clue how often I will post or if anyone will care.
Does it matter? Not really. I want to sew. And sometimes vent.
However, I am blocking.
This will be my self-prescribed therapy.
We'll see how well it works.