What I did with My Winter Vacation

Dear Mom,
After the holidays, I settled down with the sewing machine and began some serious production. First I made this skirt (in an afternoon, then wore it that night, I believe).

This was also the work of only an hour or so. I wanted to make a jean skirt from an old holey pair of jeans, but I did not want to do it the usual way, with the long pointy triangle inserts. There's no perfectly neat way to deal with the fly in front with that method, and the triangles look tired to me, too predictable. So I fiddled around and came up with this.

I began by cutting the leg pieces in half along the seam line, then using the old side seam as the bottom, I wrapped two leg halves around the skirt. The bottom hems of the pants are that poochy bit on the right side in the photograph above. I left them open for a bit of a slit (I also saved one of the old patched holes on the dangling part in the back). This skirt looks better on me than it does on the hanger - I pulled and eased the pants legs to really get it to fit well.

Then, after the two skirts, I thought I better sew something to wear on top.

This is New Look 6976. I had both the fabric and the pattern here, waiting to be used. This is the second time that I've made this pattern, and I think it might be my last. I thought the gathered (tiny) cap sleeves (they're really more like cap epaulettes) might compensate for the general boxiness of this pattern. I may add some applique or a bit of ribbon to the side seams to tie in back. This will still be a useful shirt to wear under sweaters and jackets now, and by itself in the warmer months - I do like the print quite a bit.

Then I took a time-out from the garment sewing and whipped this out before going over to campus one morning. It's a sleeve for my laptop.

I bet you recognize the fabric? I used two layers of batting for extra cush. The green ribbon was in the bag of odds and ends from Julie.

And finally, I sewed a dress. Another quick and easy garment, this is Simplicity 3875. I cut it out and started sewing late last Saturday night, then did the rest of the construction Tuesday night because I really wanted to wear it on Wednesday.
It is flannel. My goal was to make a dress for winter; I've been wearing my summer dresses quite a bit, with extra layers underneath and sweaters, which has been a good solution, but also means I wear the same things all year round. This dress is pretty toasty, even though the (kimono) sleeves are really only elbow length. It is also extremely comfortable - nightgown-comfy, really. I wore it with my tall black boots, and my grey stole, and it was a good outfit for a long day. (I only matched the stripes on one place - the front center bands!) I will sew another dress from this pattern again, because I think it produced a good, basic-but-not-too-basic everyday dress (the sizing seems overly generous, though - I made a size 10 without any altering at all and I think it may still be a little big).

This sewing has been no fine hand-rolled hem. This spurt of sewing has been strictly about the product, and using things that I've had set aside. But still - satisfying.

Love, Gwen
(ps - glad you like the new look of the blog)


January's Spring Fever

This can not be good!
I found these verdant tips coming up under the deck. My gardening memory is a bit hazy as to what I planted in that spot last year. I hope they go back to sleep until May. Their exuberance is commendable but possibly fatal. After photographing these upstarts I buried them under a pile of leaves until Spring.
Our mild winter has taken most of us on a lark, having gotten us comfortable in mid-temperature weather. Yesterday it actually turned to winter wind and cold with a touch of snow in the air. Out of habit I reached for my light windbreaker coat. Possibly I was thinking its black color had something to do with warmth. I had been wearing it with wool scarves as a nod to the season. Thank goodness for electrically heated car seats or your Mother would have froze.

Peaks of green from the indoor garden.
These photos are only closeups because all the plants are straining toward the meager winter light and all are now oddly shaped. This tuft of lavender has managed to stay upright, holding its own against a sea of bias.
And I have butterflies.
This scarf is a work in progress. I decided after all these years of handsewing I would try the elusive hand-rolled hem. I now know why they invented the rolled hem foot for the sewing machine. This hem IS labor intensive. But the end result is much more elegant than the machine produced variety. When the thread is gently pulled through the stitches the hem tucks in neatly to produce a tiny little roll along the edge. Very Fine! Despite the time input I would certainly choose to do this again. It is a very pretty finish on a delicate woven fabric.
I have also been thrift shopping for fabric and discovered a printed panel for placemat sets. I used two of them as the sides of a large tote bag. The fabric was thin so I interfaced it to add stability. The structural fabric is an upholstery fabric I could not resist buying on another outing. I made the lining taller than the bag top so it would fold over to the outside to create a framing effect for the panels.

Spring fever indeed!

love, Mom