Archive for January, 2013

First Sewing of the New Year

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013


This gray jacket is my first sewing project for 2013. It’s a tailored jacket with a shawl collar and sleeve vents, and it’s fully lined. The gray wool tweed fabric had been in the cedar chest for a while.

Here are the sleeve vents.
sleeve vent

I hadn’t made a tailored jacket for a while so I needed some reference materials. The Bishop Method book is from 1959. It’s the same book (but not the same copy) that my mother used when she took a tailoring course and made a gray suit for me in 1959 or 1960. There’s lots of valuable information in that book. The other books are newer, and they show methods for using fusible interfacing. That’s primarily what I used.


The fronts, including the undercollar, were interfaced with Armo Weft. All the other pieces were underlined with French Fuse. The chest reinforcement is French Fuse. The back stay is made of poly cotton. I made the shoulder pads from poly fleece, making my own pattern so they would fit this jacket. The sleeve heads are made of lambswool that must have come from my mother’s stash. The lining is polyester.

The pattern is from 1989. Check out those shoulders!grayjacketpattern

One resource I did not have available was my favorite alterations book. Someone else checked it out of the library. The nerve! I’m third on the reserve list. As a result I was left on my own to make the many, many, many alterations. I made two muslins. Of course, I shortened the jacket and the sleeves. I lowered the back neck seam, adjusted the collar to match, narrowed the shoulders and the upper back, enlarged the biceps, and enlarged the waist and hips. By the time I was finished with all that and more, I had to draw a pattern for the lining.

And in keeping with the retro nature of this project, it was sewn entirely on my 1964 Singer. The Baby Lock was temporarily indisposed but has recovered by now.

This was a challenging, but very satisfying, project. I enjoyed re-learning lots of tailoring techniques.

The part where the seam ripper comes in handy

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

by Cathy

So, flush from the completion of a longstanding UFO, I decided to take Nancy’s advice and work on something for me — in this case, an even more longstanding UFO, the famous Quiltmaker Mystery Quilt. (Which Ann finished so long ago that it now hangs on the wall in her cottage. Overachiever.)

When last we checked, my version of the Mystery Quilt stood here.

Then, a baby intervened, which gave me a convenient mechanism for tracking how long it had been since I worked on the project.  Five and a half years later, I finally dug it out of the Crafty Closet to see what state I’d left it in, and discovered that it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.

I’ve spent the last two weeks in a flurry of quilting (aided by a young man’s desire to build with Legos in my study, which is handy), and I’ve been able to complete the Log Cabin-izing of the four smaller blocks, as shown below (the white envelope in the middle is so that I could do some color correction in Photoshop);

log_cabinsThey’re beautiful, don’t you think?  I’m so proud of myself for getting so much done in such a short period of time!

They’re also a full quarter-inch too small in both dimensions.

Argh!  ArgharghargharghARGH.

I don’t have enough fabric to make the outer strips a quarter-inch larger, and that would look pretty weird anyway. So, I’m going to take each one apart and re-sew them with ever-so-slightly-smaller seam allowances, and hope I can do better.  Tune in again in, well, a few weeks or a month or two. 🙁

Oh, no!

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

by Nancy

How did I not notice before now??? That’s what I keep asking myself. I was getting ready for the next-to-last step on my Granny Square Crochet Vest when I noticed this enormous problem:

Granny Vest problem

The front pieces, one of which you see above on the left, are not the same height as the back piece, seen on the right. This is very, very bad. And somehow I managed not to notice until now. I looked back at the instructions and determined that yes, indeed, I had followed them and they are wrong. They instruct you to make the front pieces 6 squares tall and the back piece 8 squares tall, and that is exactly what I did. Not only that, but I was very disciplined about weaving in my ends as I went, so it’s even harder to disconnect the back squares from each other. Sigh. This is kind of how my week has been in a nutshell.

So, while watching gymnastics on TV this afternoon, I took the first steps in the undoing process for the back. I don’t think it will be finished any time soon. At least the front two pieces match each other…

IMG_8539 (1024x860)

Finished Object!

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

by Cathy

I posted a little while back when I’d finished the top for this quilt, but now it’s completely done!

IMG_1368(Shown here with the feet of the intended recipient.)

It really is all scraps — which led to some, er, creative piecing choices for the backing:

IMG_1376aAnd here it is, deployed so that some stuffies can take a nap:

IMG_1372Now the question is: what should I work on next?