Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The unrecognizable Mandy boat tee save....


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Well after much hacking away at the tee last night, I had managed to make it too small, so in comes,  the Kirsten Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark to save the day.


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I now have three of this style t-shirt,  am pretty sure I'll be wearing all of them.  They are all slightly modified, this one has side vents.  I am happy to save the fabric, because it really is very pretty in person.


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Basting is a big part of my sewing, which is why it takes me a bit longer, but at least I've caught all of the hem, and there's no ripping up or unsewing going on here.


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I will try a modified Mandy boat tee, one more time, at a later date.  In the meantime, I need more bottoms that aren't jeans.


I have to thank my sewing buddy for keeping me company through this project.  Thanks Boots.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Kirsten Kimono tee v.2

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The Kirsten Kimono tee version 2, here I added 4" to the hem, it looks cute on, I may set up the tripod to show you once the week is over, how it looks on the body.  This was a scrap in the stash of very bouncy thin rayon jersey,  The Mandy Boat tee remake is next....



Monday, June 27, 2016

The Kirsten Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark,, free pattern




In order to fix the Mandy boat tee I went searching for another simple tee pattern.  This was the muslin for The Kirsten Kimono tee, available Here.  I downloaded this pattern when it first came out a few years ago, it looks like she's made it more user friendly.  This pattern has a lot of good reviews, so I grabbed some scrap jersey and got to piecing.





I didn't have enough to cut the back out of one piece as the pattern calls for, so I made it work.

The machine did not like this fabric, which is a buttery rayon jersey, and it kept on getting caught in the plate, so it is catch stitched by hand on the neck, sleeve and hem.  I hand stitched a tank top the same way, fearful it would not make it through the washing machine and it has held up perfectly after 4 years.  I also like how it looks but it is by no means a fast solution.



I think this will be the pattern that will save the Mandy Boat Tee, and it will be a go to pattern for another scrap of jersey lying on the table.....first pattern ever, I haven't had to make adjustments to.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The test... Tessuti patterns, Mandy boat tee journey





Fell in love with this pic on pinterest, and followed the link down the rabbit hole to Tessuti in Australia.  It is chock full of inspiration. They started making patterns during my sewing hiatus, just be patient while I catch up. Do I really want to print out another pattern?  Not sure, let me think about that..... so I wandered the website and found a free pattern section.  The Mandy boat tee caught my eye.


It looks comfortable, not tailored by any means, but relaxed and nice for summer.
I printed out the pattern, it is a one size fits all (note: the 4x4 printing grid is not on the first page, you have to scroll down to find it, also their default is A4 paper which is common in Australia and the UK but not here, their option is to print on legal size, but I don't normally have that on hand).

There was this great piece of teal modal in the stash.
I measured the sleeve against some other long sleeved t-shirts in my wardrobe and it looked reasonable.

Remember to iron as you go, it makes a difference.




It's pretty straight forward, the neckline falls perfectly, and they show you a little trick to get it to fall flat against the shoulder.  That was a nice detail.


Here's the bad part.
The sleeve, which I measured, strangles my arm.  I would need another 1" so watch for that if you make it. I had sworn off garments without some shaping, but thought this would be ok for a casual tee, and find I'm distracted by it.  If it were made in a stretchier fabric, it would have been a non issue.  Sorry for the dark pics, I'm clearly not set up here yet.


Now it's decision time, do I take it apart and add some width to the sleeve, or do I drape it into a more traditional fitted tee?  I certainly want to wear it, the fabric is beautiful.

Stay tuned....










Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer wardrobe research... the flutter sleeve is alive and well



If taking 2 hours to find my iron isn't evidence of the state of my current wardrobe, then I don't know what is.  It's sad really, the only things in rotation these days are work clothes that don't need ironing, just washing and folding.  Easy, cool pieces are needed for this summer.  Chloe & Alexander McQueen have a few styles with flirty little sleeves.  The depth of the V will need to be raised for every day wear, but there is definitely potential here.






I think I need to make one of these.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Botanical Almada Relaxed Robe in Cotton Lawn

Kitty could not be persuaded to give up the fabric, another had to be selected.    Very lightweight cotton lawn, perfect for the project.  Some neon lace would have been fun to funk it up a bit. It's in a box somewhere, if it surfaces it might be added after the robe is sewn up.  Living out of boxes, no fun.



Changes made to the instructions are as follows...
The center back seam was eliminated, so I drew a line 5/8" in from the center back and placed the fabric fold on the new mark for center back.





The grainline of the tie piece is now down the warp instead of cross grain.  This produced a slightly better yield.



The placement for the ties were brought forward about 1", the original placement created tension on the sleeves.  I'll have to wear it for a bit to see if this will be a problem.

Finishing changes...
Seams are french seam (because I like french seams :)

The center front and cuff edge are bound with a narrow double fold bias trim, which resulted in a contrast touch down the center front, and inside the sleeves.



It's really very cute, there isn't a deep overlap in front, just in case you're wondering.  It delivers everything I wanted from a casual robe. The sleeves aren't so long that it gets caught up in anything, and it's a good length for me.  I will certainly be prepared for the surprise visits from the neighbors with this at the ready.





If you are thinking of making this robe, there are a number of lovely versions online.  It looks especially good in a silk charmeuse, or satin.  Maybe I'll make a fall version in silk.

Update:  Wearing it this morning at breakfast, the cuffs get caught on the kitchen knobs, so be forewarned.

Meanwhile, I may have to consider one of these for the hot days ahead, click here!
If that doesn't scare the neighbors, I don't know what will.
:)





Friday, June 17, 2016

I remember now, that I don't like printing out patterns... Almada Kimono Seamwork

Hot temperatures here have me searching for lightweight cotton items I can wear at home in the evening.  I have resorted to wearing fun cotton boxers and t shirts or camisoles, but I need something a little more covered, because I have already had a "surprise" visit from one of the neighbors.  I'm thinking a kimono would be good, but every kimono or robe I own, is either polyester, or silk.  I need something lightweight, like cotton voile.

I scoured the web looking for something interesting.  Vogue had a kimono pattern, but people have commented on the strangeness of the sleeves and the generous ease of the pattern sizing.  I wanted something just a little different, something a little less traditional kimono, something that would stay closed around the girls and I found Colette's Seamwork pattern, Almada kimono.  I have fond memories of the Sorbetto tank top, so decided Colette's it would be....



I've been away from the sewing sphere for a bit, and didn't know that Colette's patterns had a magazine called Seamwork. The pattern can be purchased for $12.00 or a subscription to Seamwork for $6 a month, which allows you to select two patterns from their portfolio of patterns.  The Almada kimono is in the portfolio, so I subscribed and downloaded the pattern.  I hadn't decided if I would print it off, or take it to office depot to have them print it on their large format printer.  I played with the calibration and it started to print, all 52 pages.  Since I have been upgraded to Windows 10 by the generous people at Microsoft, the printer icon didn't pop up on my tool bar, so I couldn't stop it.  Sigh.  I will be back to office depot for another ream of paper.

52 pages will give you enough for a dining room table cloth.... I should charge Microsoft back for time and materials.




Estimated sewing time: 2 hours (these people don't know how long it took me to tape the pattern together)

** I will say this pattern came together easily, the reference points lined up perfectly.


Yardage estimate: 3 5/8 yds 45"  or 2 7/8 yds 60" for a size L

The pattern pieces are as follows
Front
Back
Cuff
Tie

There might be opportunity for color blocking here, and I'll need it because my fabric is still packed, so the design will depend largely on what I can pull out of the bins.  Like my bathroom, it will be cobbled together :)

...... meanwhile..... it's the following day

Just one more wrinkle to the project, kitty has commandeered the fabric.  I think it's because it smells like home to him, because I can't believe he is purposefully thwarting my efforts.  Now the fabric will be laundered before cutting....



Did you know Almada is a city in Portugal?  Me neither.




Thursday, June 16, 2016

The cobbled bathroom....







A lucky score at an outlet store, and it looks like I will be able to bring the bathrooms in under budget.  This is a good thing, since I am reeling from the first quote for new windows.  I have been on the mailing list for Restoration Hardware for over a year now, and every time they have a sale, I find myself driving the 2 1/2 hours, or 5 hours round trip, on the chance they will have the medicine cabinet, I have been eyeing forever.  They always have everything, but, so last month, they had something similar and I buckled.



Then I turned and they just happened to have these two beauties, two very modern bathroom sink stands.  Now, I struggled for a full minute, because neither of these have any storage, but I justified it by telling myself that the guest bathroom doesn't need storage, aside from the a few towels, and spare toilet rolls. The master bath, well that's another story but there's a walk in closet next to the bathroom, so supplies will have to be stored there, or I will have to toss my three bins of outdated bathroom supplies, which isn't a bad idea.  The idea is to make the master bathroom highly reflective, since it has no natural light, and it's not especially large.  The polished chrome of the stand, will accomplish that, and since it's not a solid cabinet, it will make the bathroom look larger, or that is the theory.

The guest bathroom vanity is complete with the granite counter, and glass shelf, but needs an undermount sink, the chrome stand for the master needs, the counter top, sink, and glass shelf.  They marked it down so much, I had to take it.  It will also gives me design consistency between the two bathrooms.

This is the medicine cabinet, it's nice and big, so lots of space.  I tried taking a photo but it just didn't do it justice.


I knew I had made the right decision when this was my view on the way home.



Meanwhile, the high temperatures here have me on the lookout for cool loungewear.... I may abandon working on the house until the temperatures drop and focus on unpacking the sewing machine...and iron... and the last UFO quilt I was working on.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Progress on the grounds....the edible kind



All I can say is that it is gratifying to plant something and watch it grow.  These are plantings for the future, so that when the big house is finished, it will feel more like home.  I wasn't banking on these trees producing this year, I just wanted to plant them and let them establish a footing in the soil.  A few of them have surprised me.

The fig tree is starting to produce tiny figs.



After a vigorous spraying to get rid of the ants and aphids, the apple tree has produced some tiny apples.




The citrus performance has been spotty, producing many blooms and dropping many.  I think they just may be too young yet, they need some time.  In the meantime, I see the trunks thickening and the trees getting bigger.  These are the Orlando Tangelos.  



The avocado tree will definitely not be producing, for a looong time.


Here, an out of focus olive from the olive tree, so I'll look forward to my harvest of one.




This is a continuing experiment, next year may see some of these trees being ripped up and placed in another location in the garden.  Still trying to plot the path of the sun through the oaks, to determine the best place for the trees.



A project in process...




Monday, May 9, 2016

Cedar beams, what to do?

The cedar beams were one of the things I liked about the house, but not the color.  I wanted them to return to their natural color.




Maybe sanding, yes, even I knew this was going to be a gargantuan task, working upside down, the dust, just the thought of all of that work....  I googled, looked to see how others have solved this problem, mostly, they repainted.  I especially enjoyed where the woodworking boards discussed some woman who wanted to refinish cedar beams, and all of the recommendations they made to persuade them to change their minds.  I knew I was not alone.  The green was dull, and not a part of my future color scheme.




I knew I wouldn't be doing this alone. After consulting with some local craftsmen, they opened my eyes to what an enormous task this would be.  They said I had over $3,000 worth of cedar, all of the beams are solid, some of them 15 ft long.  I didn't know, and it didn't stop there.  They couldn't figure out how they were attached, they said something about not being responsible for the damage.




What to do,  we decided to drop the ceiling in the living area, and the beams came down.  These beams were bolted from the attic holding them in place, and no one wanted to take that project on.  What they recommended was rebuilding the beams in the form of boxes, or faux beams.  That way I could run the electrical wires in the hollow portion for cleaner lines on the ceiling.  This would mean, you could have whatever color you wanted.  The estimate for that was a starting price of $2,000.



Enter, the insanity, and the idea I could have what I wanted with a little elbow grease.  This is where we explore stripping the beams, it couldn't be easier, right?  I applied the stripper, waited an hour, and pressure cleaned the surface.  Oh and this meant I could buy myself cool rubber boots :)


It doesn't all come off, but this is better than the green.  There was a bit of trial and error here, if the stripper was left too long, it would dry, and not come off.  It would even be more difficult to get off even if you applied the stripper again.


Today, the last beam is finished.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all that forced water doesn't warp the beams as they are drying.  As a precaution, I have stacked the beams in the house, hoping the weight will keep them straight.


The pressure washer ripped up some of the grain on the beams, so either hand plane, or polish them with an orbital sander and sandpaper.  The next step will involve some experimentation.