Saturday, January 26, 2013



I have a little time to myself between the kids' bedtime and my own. I usually do my sewing or Jillian Michaels-ing at this time.

I'd been trying to alter a black knit dress bought in a previous millennium. Thinking I'd try to add about 6 cm (2 1/2 inches) to the waist and 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) to the hips, I took out the 4 darts part-way and took out the side seams. Black thread in black knit fabric turned out to be really hard to rip out without damaging the fabric, and it was a slow, tedious process. If that weren't enough, when I tried the dress on, a good couple centimeters of the lining peeked out of the hem and it looked baggy at the sides. So I got frustrated and sidetracked.

I realized that on nights I didn't sew or exercise, I ended up eating chips and drinking soda. Which is unhealthy. Especially at night.

There's obviously only one solution, which is sew and exercise more and eat less. At night, anyway.

(I finished the dress alterations, by the way.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

(Wow, 3 posts in 14 days...better be careful, I might hurt myself...)

Of the things I said I wanted to do,  I've managed to make these for the Pumpkin Princess's boots. I bought the fake fur online. I cut a rectangle out of fake fur, sewed it into a loop, and turned over and stitched down the edges. I cut the black leg-warmer-ish thing out of one of my old T-shirts and stitched it on the fur.

The neutral color goes so much better with the pinks and purples she favors.

We took it on a test run to the local mall. About 20 minutes in, the black lining started sliding up and the fur cuff started sliding down. I think I will fashion a stirrup out of plain elastic and see if she'll do another test run.

My next project will be a 10 year-old black knit dress. It has 3/4 sleeves. It's a pre-pregnancy dress. In fact, it's a single girl dress that was bought before I started dating the Pumpkin Daddy. If i can take it out enough so that it's not drum-tight against my, um, curves, I can wear it under the cropped tweed jacket that started all this alteration/ sewing madness!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Just the right length

Choudo ii take
So I took in the sleeves of my quasi-trench coat. I say "quasi" because real trench coats are made of specially treated cotton or wool, and mine is made of the same material as the Pumpkin Princess's windbreaker. It's great as a grown-up windbreaker, and also during cedar pollen season (the pollen shakes off more easily than regular cotton or wool).

I ripped out the stitches in the cuffs and also part of the seams so that I could move the cuff strap up. The sleeves are slightly tapered, so when I tried to machine stitch the cuff, I got some really ugly creases. So I decided to hand stitch it in place. This way, it still looks a little lumpy, but smooth to the point where I can accuse a non-sewing geek who notices the lumps of having issues I can't help them with (and the sewing geek will totally understand about getting to the point where you just kind of call it a day. Unless, of course, they are a Japanese sewing geek, in which case all bets are off).

I tried the coat on, very, very pleased with myself...until I realized that the sleeves on the cardigan I was wearing were too long, and a good 2 inches showed from the cuff of the coat. I suppose I could wear it with the sleeves of whatever I'm wearing underneath rolled up, but that usually only works for the first 10 minutes after I go out the door. So it's either bracelet length sleeves (3/4 sleeves for you normal sized folks), or altering the sleeves on all my sweaters.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Made to order


I haven't made New Year's resolutions, but I did make New Year Holiday resolutions. It is a short list of things I wanted to do during my 6-day holiday.

1) Limit late night chips binge to 3 nights out of 6. Mission accomplished.

2) 3 sessions of exercise (probably Jillian Michaels's Ripped in 30). 2 sessions.

3) Alter or embellish 3 articles of clothing. Almost done. Sort of.

Item #1: a pair of Uniqlo pants I'd bought shortly after giving birth to the Pumpkin Princess. The idea was that I was not sure what my body was going to do after childbirth, so I would buy cheap pants to carry me over. I did lose most of the baby weight, but my body changed shape, so the cheap pants were a good call. However, they didn't fit right then and they don't fit right now. I tried taking in the waist at the sides, but now they look too tight at the hips. So I altered, but it didn't help.

Item #2: a pair of navy blue Eddie Bauer pants with a concealed side zip. I took in the waist at the back seam. They have now become the most perfectly fitting pair of pants I currently own, and perhaps are the most perfectly fitting pair of pants I have ever owned in my life (but they have ceased to be Eddie Bauers because I forgot to sew the brand tag back on before stitching the waistband back together). I'm now considering altering the leg line. They are slightly flared, but the flaring starts a few inches below the knee (flares are most flattering if they start an inch or two above the knee). I am swaying between making them a pair of straight leg pants and re-cutting the flare to be more flattering, or just leaving them as they are now. I love that they fit, but just because they fit does not mean they have ceased to be a lint magnet...

Item #3 (or 2.5?): The Pumpkin Princess' velveteen jumper that she can't wear to school because it doesn't have pockets. I cut pockets out of a dress she grew out of, fused interfacing to it, and stitched them on. I want to add lace (also ripped out of a dress she grew out of), so this one is not completely done.

So the new sewing machine is being put to good use! I have so many plans about what I want to alter/ make, and I need to control myself from biting off more than I can chew. Right now I want to:

1) Make boot cuffs for the Pumpkin Princess's new boots. They were on sale. They have adorable bronze colored, star-shaped studs, but they also have a red plaid cuff that clashes with 70% of her wardrobe. I ordered some fake leopard print fur online, and will probably stitch it to some quasi-leg warmers I hope to fabricate from an old T-shirt.

2) Alter some more pants. I ordered thread online. There are few things that make you feel like a better sewer than you already are than owning a set of color swatches for sewing thread.

3) Alter some jackets. I have an Eddie Bauer chambray jacket bought about 2 years ago that has vented cuffs with antiquated buttons. I want to see if I can shorten the sleeves at the shoulder, because I really like the vented cuffs. I also have a jacket that I bought about 10 years ago that still fits, but...looks like I bought it about 10 years ago. I haven't managed to put my finger on exactly WHAT makes it look like I bought it about 10 years ago, but the fabric is still in great shape. If I mess up, I'll just use that as an excuse to buy one like it. If I don't mess up...I'll come back to this blog and brag everyone's ears (eyes?) off!

Happy New Year!