Saturday, December 26, 2009

Worth my Sewing Labor: Three New Tops, & Stash sewing

I meant to put all my sewing creations out here and then I end up just posting them on Here are three recent top and blouse creations I'm really proud of. I'm particularly happy with them because:
a) None take lots of time to sew. Once they are cut out each takes between 2-3 hours of labor.
b) My sewing labor is well invested because they fit into my real life style well. I wear them a lot. They go with both the normal clothes I wear and also work for festive occasions.
c) They work well with my figure and clothing style so I want to wear them.

When I buy things I try to think about cost-per-use. $100 is worth it if I wear those comfortable, posture-enhancing shoes three times a week for 4 years. $20 is too much for a pair of shoes I bought to wear to a wedding and threw out because they hurt to walk in. (I didn't even donate them. Nobody should suffer in those shoes.)

I value my labor time even more than a dollar in my pocket. What does my value-per-sewing-hour come down to?

This is my festive occasion white silky blouse. I had this piece of material in one of my boxes I took down out of the rafters. Yes, the ones we put up there when we moved into this house 19 years ago. I remember I was originally going to make it into a pattern that Brooke Shields modeled. I'm so glad I didn't!

This is my favorite regular old peasant blouse pattern. I cut it straight down instead of following the pattern curves, so it's a little fuller and flows well with a belt over it. It's very quick to sew. The belt is a piece of very wide black elastic with one of those round black slider belt thingies sewed onto the end. I've worn the blouse three times over the holidays and it will work during the rest of the year too, even if I'm not dressing up. I can tone down the jewlery a little. My peasant blouse pattern works well with a vest on top too.

Here's the same top in a coppery challis print. Also from my rafter stash. Also my favorite peasant blouse pattern. I was really into challis skirts back then. I'm so glad I never cut this one out either. I've worn this top probably eight times since I made it about six weeks ago. I use that same black belt I'm wearing with the white silky blouse. Same cut-it-straight style.

I'm particularly proud of the last one. It's a velvety, rib knit. I'm not confident about knit sewing but since I became a big fan of Lori Van Monan's wonderful "Sew Forth Now" podcasts I decided to get brave and really think about how to make my knit patterns work out . I made sure to use knit type needles. I cut up a favorite old only-fit-for-exercising-in-the-backyard hole filed tee shirt and used it as a pattern. I made it up first in a stretchy green velour knit (no photo) and liked it pretty well but wasn't really enchanted with the neckline. So next I laid out my old tee on this pretty black knit fabric, chalked around it - adding seam allowance. Then I used a purchased tee-shirt pattern that had a good neckline, but had turned out lousy in terms of the rest of the fit and chalked in the neckline. Boy, I am happy with this tee. I've worn it three times since I made it about a week ago. Yes, I do cold-water wash these tops in between!

The beautiful young girl with me is my very sweet daughter. I used to sew darling dresses for her but now the only sewing projects we both like are double sided, tied fleece blankets with appliqued designs. I've made two for her and one for her best friend.


A certain flock of ladies have been really well behaved every night until tonight. When I arrived at bedtime to latch the coop door they ALL to a WOMAN hopped off their roosts and came outside to chat. I had to go take a walk, come back and sneak up on them to get the door shut. By the time they had jumped back off the roosts and started heading for the door (and they did!) I had it shut. They were not pleased. I'm glad I only eat the kind that don't get a chance to develop their personalities.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Part 2: Festive Season Outing in San Francisco (cont'd)

Besides the cute geologist I posted yesterday (yes- I DO happen to be married to him) my sweet daughter came along.

We had a loverly time looking at consumable items in Union Square. Oh my, so many fun little things a girl would enjoy having. So easy to put on the credit card.

The kittens and pups in the Macy's window were calling out adopt me. We have ancient kitties and pooches of our own at home. And the San Fran SPCA has a really high adoption rate. So we didn't have to feel sad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Part 1: San Francisco Festive Season Outing

When the American Geophysical Union is in town, it's a good excuse to go up to San Francisco for supper and look for cute geologists.

There's a cute one!

Oooo, I'll take him with a side of fries!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick Hooping Update

I did my 21'st hooping session yesterday. It's going really well. I have been hooping between 30-45 minutes six days a week, and I chart my progress each time on Excel. I use the time to walk over and write down my success count, to catch my breath before starting up again.

Yesterdays average spins/attempt was just over 80! My recovery skills are building and well and my next goal is to learn to go side to side.
Keep the chickens
wild and free!

One of my neighbors chickens has decided to leave the flock and spend her free time in my yard. This would not be unusual in places where other people live but in the surburban San Francisco Bay Area we rarely see chickens outside of the zoo or the egg carton.

My neighbor, though a determined vegetarian, was starting to consider the stew pot for this badly behaved foul. She offered her to me for my fricassee!

Friends don't eat friends!

We have struck a deal that Miss MegRose (yes her little boy had named her after me long before she developed her wandering proclivities) can continue her wanderings unless she becomes irritating. So far she has only dug up two cyclamen and they are easily replaced. Also chicken manure is a nice addition to my clay soil. We'll see how things go when we get to fly season in the summer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hooping: Whee! Up to 44 high successes

Big increase in ability to recover hoop and keep it going today. Up from 24 of those yesterday to 44 today. And yesterday was a big improvement over the past attempts. Also one of my high success rates was 215! Also two other successes of over 100. Yeah, yeah, yeah! OK I need to stop with the personal bragging and meditate on the sins of the world, or something more serious.