Monday, January 30, 2017

The elephants in the room / Missing my Upper Arms

I haven't been thin in  twenty years, but I had shoulders, even in this grainy photo 

I am missing my arms.

I discovered lifting weights when I started going to the gym twenty years ago. I'm no competitive weight lifter (although I lift with a couple) and I have enough congenital deficiencies to prevent me from a lot of activities. The hip/replacement hip never liked running or biking. It's hard to find a real yoga teacher (mine died).  But I have never stopped trying.

Nevertheless, weight lifting is fun. You can improve so incrementally, it's relatively easy to make any progress. Adding a pound a week is 52 pounds more after a year.

Or less, if weight loss was where this was going. But it's not about numbers; it's about feeling better.

In a fit of home improvement, I ruined my right shoulder a year and a half ago. Don't move trees by yourself. And either tore or injured something, beyond just the frozen shoulder I developed.

I've had frozen shoulder in my left shoulder, I know how this works. And this is different.

The problem for me is that I have lost all the progress I made over twenty years, and now have those big flappy 'lady arms'.

And why am I calling them that? And why do you know what I mean when I say that? That alone makes me mad. 

 I have been having trouble redrafting sleeves/bodices over my flappy arms, partly from "I will be able to get them back in shape quickly enough to avoid dealing with this set of alterations" to "I'll just wear sleeveless shirts and cardigans"

You know me: I have no difficulty with talking about fitting jeans over my sizable butt.



That's no sway back kids. It's a pinochle table!

My arms make me sad. I could bench my own weight. Now I can barely lift 25.
Which is better than the 20 of a month ago.
Or the 0 of the last year.

So we're going to spend some time talking about sleeves and sleeveheads.
I had to widen my sleeves but I didn't want to add shoulder pads that I'd have to remove.

Bigger sleeve needs some structure; sleeve heads.


Adding a sleevehead (a tube of rolled fleece in this case) provided some needed definition to this jacket's shoulders. And using a cool stripey bit to add to the collection of interior colors makes me happy.

eh. Gets the job done.
And there's the nifty button set to jolly up a severe style

Just a slice of fleece please (doubled and graded)

The encased fleece rides on the top of the armscye on the seam.
Then I finished the sleeve seam with a bias trim from the lining, The inside of this is so much prettier than the outside; the blue print is silky faille from Spoonflower from Edsel 2084

I'm cleaning house right now.
Or decluttering the hoard, or pruning the stash.

I'm putting in the earplugs and cranking up the shop vac; serious vacuuming in five. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Working out the bugs on the gloves

I have been poking at this pattern for years. 

I pick it up about this time of year to poke at it some more.

Bike gloves. This is version four.


I made the three pattern pieces up in three colors to keep the action clear. Further explorations have changed the order of assembly, the sizing of the pieces, and a few bloopers along the way.









And see those little thread bits? Yes, I put the thumb on wrong the first time. And picked it off.







This doesn't work. I need to make the seams for the back first.



And we need more gather on one side for the other fingers.






Ungainly but moving forward.

And it will get a cuff. Cuffs are easy. I can grab a mostly dead sock and cuff this in a heartbeat.

Fit issues. Big hands. Hard to pin fit a glove on the dominant hand with the other one. But we're moving the right direction here.


Scuba fabric?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wrapping up gifts and birthdays Winter 2016/17


I made pajama bottoms for the men

I finished the quilt for my friend

Finally made myself tights (pattern taken from a pair that fits)

Almost finished my McCalls vintage blouse but can't bring myself to put in the pleats on a shirt I won't get to wear for months and months. And yes, the plaid match at the front is PERFECT. There's an overlap and buttonholes there.

City maps available on www.spl.org website. I love the library!

I made a lot of tea towels out of fabrics I made the designs for on Spoonflower and didn't take photos of the towels. Or the awful scarf I made for my sister. Infinity scarves are not my forte.
Two hats from one sadly felted sweater vest.

The pussy hats will get there own post later, when I have the photos to prove it. Although I have a feeling that getting fashion photos is not on her agenda during the Women's March in DC this weekend. It was a gift, not a photo op. I'm good with that.


lousy photos I know. The dress has left the building.

I knocked off a dress for my niece

My niece is transgender, and has a lot of unrelated agoraphobic issues about shopping, leaving out the whole 'nothing is going to fit you because you're not a size  0 - 14 so you should just disappear' thang.  On top of every other thing she's dealing with, that is a crappy thing to discover that everyone else knows about it. "What? There's no size 40 A cup bra? You're not rioting in the streets?"

Eh, no.


Anyway, my sister and my niece were walking out of Macy's and saw a Michael Kors dress in the window and Niece pointed and said Yes to that dress.

So they found it in the store, got one that mostly fits, and I made a straight copy, different color, of it for her over the holiday.
Since I am trying not to swear quite so much, I am making up a profanity for use regarding this fabric.
Cotton stretch sateen is a snurbswobble. The lowest rung of hell kind of snurbswobble.
It was a perfect rectangle until I ironed it.

So many puckers and bubbles. But the exposed zipper was a breeze for once.
I guess you give up a lot but you get one back.

 It won't take a hard press, it has just enough stretch to pucker and pull when you're topstitching, and this dress is ALL TOPSTITCHING. 
There is an epic tragedy under that wobbly patch. Actually less wobbly in person, but still tragic.

There is an entire roll of Wonder Tape in this snurbswobble, and even that wouldn't quite grab enough to stop the shifting. I couldn't press hot enough to fuse the fusibles. I pinned the nonsense out of this mother-snurbswobbler!
Wouldn't it be cool if that multicolored fuzzy thing was the sleeve extension? It's a purse I made almost ten years ago that hangs on the wall so I will see it and figure out how to make it functional. It's taunting me.


There will be no modeling yet. Aren't there yet. Looks good; she picked out the fabric and the notions, and while the fabric is a demon from hell, it's a good choice for the item and a good color for her.
This is my sister and that's the best view of the Space Needle from a pizza restaurant you will ever see. It's even better from the bar of that restaurant; the bartender has the best view in the house. For a change!

I had a birthday on Monday, I'm now roundly and soundly 58. Every day above ground is a good one.  Thing One turned 20 as well (same day) and he got snowed out of his Whistler skiing trip. It was his prepaid birthday present from me, so every penny he can get back from that is still his gift. Sorry sweetie. The irony is strong with this one.

And my favorite card. So favored, I could not give it to its intended recipient.







See, we can cross borders and boundaries in sewing with humor. Or the other thing.

Dad jokes forever!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sewing spacesuits - Linky love edition

Threads magazine letters section, #189

http://wp.wpi.edu/wpijournal/sewing-space/

A sweet Worchester Poly Journal piece on alum who sewed space suits.

image from Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo

The book on the topic that I referred Threads to:
It's come down in price, been made into a paperback, on it's way to me. I would like to thank Beth Butler for the reminder; I'm still excited about reading this.

This is as good a summary of the book and the topic as you're going to get outside of reading the book.


image from Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo


Still not in production.....

http://www.space.com/21297-bra-makers-moon-spacesuit-movie.html
(sorry, this webpage will ask you to subscribe to read it, so I didn't link it and be prepared)
This article is more about the movie deal than the book, and more about space movies in general. I had no idea Eastwood let the Armstrong book deal lapse.
Someday....



image from Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo




Sunday, January 1, 2017

New neck in old jacket

While I am not out smelling the flowers

or doing short book reports on Instagram...

Jane Dunnewold made a one book for all fabric surface design projects in 2005 for Interweave Press. It really does cover dyeing, printing, painting, and how to do it safely and permanently. And how to troubleshoot errors. The soda ash page saved my bacon several times over the years.
...I am rebuilding and remaking the clothes in my closet

L.C. King Manufacturing made a jacket that is, essentially, their coveralls chopped at the hip. It's a great work coat, way too many pocket, love it.
They no longer carry the jacket. Apparently they are also discontinuing the coveralls as well.
Think Bill Cunningham's blue jacket. Only not French.

The back of the neck of the jacket was driving me crazy; the weight of the jacket was hanging from and cutting into the back of my neck.

I know how to fix stuff.
I can do this.


 first you measure stuff.
Like the back half of your neck.

measuring the depth and shape of the back of my neck with a flexible curve


Make a pattern piece from that measurement/shape.

I wonder how many measuring devices I am going to cram into this photo


You would assemble the fabric for this. Unless you'd already ripped the collar off last week. So you could stare at it and think for a week.


Reassembled the removed collar and resewn it to make one long side, and redrew a grain line or two


Pin fit it inside out.
Had to think about it for another week.

And then at some point you sew it and forget about it because it's done and it's your go-to work coat

And this is the fabric on the underside. Because I save all the bits from Spoonflower 





I could have sworn I did a post on this in 2013, but I will be damned if I can find it. Oh well. I need to make another one, as the farm team of machines has grown.

I still have kids home for the holidays, so I will be articulate later. I'm trying to finish up some UFOs and a promised project or two. And those pockets in the pajamas still aren't done.....