Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Tale of Two Blouses

 From the inside, today looks beautiful, but after a week of lovely weather, yesterday turned bitter cold and gross again.  Today is sunny but the wind will grab you right by the throat.  That's why aside from once around the park with Bella, I've been inside sewing all day.
  I started with the pattern on the right, a Rebecca Taylor design, full of ruffles and tucks.  I messed up the button bands, and have laid it aside while I picked up the newest project from Merchant & Mills, the Camber set.  I've started with the blouse, because I'm not sure how it will look on me as a dress yet.  I've chosen some coarse linen that I dyed a sage green last summer, and I decided to embellish it with some machine made lace.  It was my first try, and it didn't come out very well.  I think it needs a tulle backing.  The blouse will be a breeze to make up, though, and I'll do that after I write this.
  I've had an ideas while sewing all those ruffles on the other blouse:  wouldn't it be cool to make it again with lace instead of ruffles?  And wouldn't it be cool if I knitted the lace myself?  So when I needed a break from sewing, I started knitting some lace on fine needles with some linen thread.  It's fun!  It goes a little slowly, but I really enjoy it, and with only 6 rows to the pattern, I've already memorized it and can cruise along.

 Because of the fine weather earlier in the week, my Jane Magnolia has burst into bloom, and here it is, using the neighbor's stinky Bradford Pear as a backdrop.  I'm hoping tomorrow after work, I can finish tilling the garden without freezing, and get these pea seedlings in the ground.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Dress in a Day

The Merchant & Mills Factory Dress is another kind of frumpy, plain design, but there was something that made me want to make it anyway.   When LouAnn and I were out and about a few weeks ago, I got the end of a bolt at Gina's Bernina, a tiny print of pink flowers.  It wasn't enough to make anything, only 1.25 yards, but I had 3 yards of pink seersucker I bought last summer at Textiles in Nashville that was still uncut.  I put the two together, and made a frumpy, plain design cheerful and spring-like.  

It was almost warm enough to wear yesterday, and is seen hanging from the Red Bud tree that is about to burst into copious bloom.  But the garden beckoned, and is now about 2/3 tilled and weeded.  The leaves in the front yard finally got raked and composted.  I had to be content with admiring my morning's work--6 hours to finish the dress!--and enjoying the rest of a beautiful early spring day.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sow and Sew

Spring fever hit this week.  The temperatures soared from the teens to the 70's, the snow melted and the rains came.  Grass seed has been flung, seeds and soil have been purchased and planned, shrubs have  been pruned.
   I confess that I wish winter would last just one more week, because I'm almost finished with a beautiful winter coat, and I'm going to hate to put it away unworn. It's a brushed twill in a tan wool, and it's so soft and warm.  It's lined with cream colored polyester, and I've found such lovely oval metal buttons for it.

This is not a great photo, but I took a break from the coat to make another denim dress from Grainline Studios, and tried some fancy stitching on the pocket.  It ran off the pocket, and I'm still trying to decide if I can live with that, or rip it out.  I'll sleep on it.

 A few weeks ago, while I was making the black winter coat with the teal lining, I made a blouse from the same teal fabric.  It's from a  Colette pattern, my second Colette pattern, and I'm just as unhappy with the pattern as the first.  Things don't lie right, and aren't well thought out.  They're made, I think, to be easier than traditional patterns, and as a consequence, things just don't look good.  Instead of armhole facings on this one, the piece extends out, and you're supposed to fold it in and tack it down.  Well, the tacking shows!  And it's hideous.  I tried beading over it, but that looks worse.  I do love, however, how I hid the snap stitching, by beading daisies over it.  It was a great t.v. watching project, and I love the contrast.  I'll post a photo of the finished blouse when I've figured out how to fix the sleeves.

 Even though it's been misting all day, I did manage to muck out some weeds from the garden bed.  I quit when I got aggravated from walking around with an inch of clay on my boots!  But I got quite a lot done.  I have 4 bags of compost in the car waiting for me to finish.  And in the meantime, I got all the seeds in the starter trays that needed early starting:  tomatoes, pepper, beans, peas and more peas.  I cannot wait until there are little plants in my dining room nursery!
  It's almost spring, and I'll soon have a new wardrobe, and new edibles.  Yippee!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Accomplishing Things

As reported everywhere, it's been cold, icy and snowy here in Knoxville the last few weeks.  And like LouAnn, Carol and Tina over at Loomy Tunes, I've been stuck inside on my days off.  I kept myself busy, mostly sewing, looking at the back yard in its various stages of freeze and thaw.
  The first thing I tackled was the Dress Shirt by Merchant & Mills, the pattern company Theresa, from Camp Runamuck has been talking about on her blog.  I was disappointed in the finished result, because it just looks frumpy!  I made it of navy blue linen I'd had for years, and had hesitated cutting into it.  I think maybe in the summer it'll be a light, airy thing to slip on when it's too hot to bear anything touching me.  It was fun to make, and I think for future use, the pattern will make a wonderful night gown.  LouAnn stopped by last week with the whole packet of patterns, and I've copied two of them to try later.

 The next project looks awful in the picture, but it's really cute.  It's another dress shirt, a pattern from Grainline Studio, .  This is one version, with sleeves added to cover my middle-aged upper arms.  The other view on the pattern has a gathered skirt, and it's cut out but not started here in the sewing room, also out of denim.

 The next piece is a warm winter coat that I blogged about last time, made of a beautiful piece of silky wool, with a cashmere collar and the teal piece of luscious polyester.  It's had a spin or two around Knoxville in the frosty weather, and I like it a lot.
 And today, I finished a blouse I've been working on all week, grabbing minutes before and after work to make it.  It's a piece of cotton-polyester blend I got from Mom's stash last summer.  It was a plain old cream, and I dyed it a sage green that I really like.  I used the Loes Hinse pattern for the Milan shirt.  I'd put in a link, but can't seem to find the right one.  I've made this blouse three times now, and I really like its simple structure and straight lines.  I'll wear it tomorrow to the Neighborhood Conference, where I'll be all day, volunteering to help wherever needed.

Icy Red Bud
I'd rather be outside instead, but it's still cold, though sunny and beautiful.  Bella and I strolled around the park, but came in when the wind chilled us.  If you see Spring anywhere, please tell her we miss her and would like her to come visit us!