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13 July 2012

Yesterday morning, I sorted out the blue & white print linen suit (my "salwarish kameezish), pinned patch pockets to the back pieces of the pants, and sewed on one. Fortunately, I closed up the sewing machine etc. before taking my nap.

In the afternoon, I took two stitches in a job of mending I carry in my bag in case of sudden medical appointment.

In the evening, I was too tired to sew.

I feel pretty good now, but spent the morning playing with the computer, making tilapia salad, and cutting an old pillow case into skillet-cleaning rags. (It was a heavy cotton outer case.)

The rag compartment of the linen closet is getting fairly neat, partly because I've been removing rags to the pile of skillet wipes on the microwave, and partly because there's still a box of rags in the parlor from when we hastily cleared the closet for the carpet installers a few months ago. (When clearing the room, we forgot that the closet was carpeted.)



16 July 2012

Wash day, and once again there's still a clean white bra in the closet. When I made my latest white bra, I marked it to save back for good — and as a result it's been getting more wear than the others: I wear it every Sunday.

There's also a black bra and a red bra still clean. I have only nine, and it's been so hot that I've often worn two a day — but it's been so hot that my bra has often been so wet that I rinsed it out at once to keep the sweat from rotting the fabric.

Replaced a bar tack in my linen cycling jersey Saturday morning. Rode in a T-shirt on Friday, because I was going to the fair.


Got some work done sorta accidentally. After my nap, I sewed the remaining hip pocket on just to get it off my dresser, then decided that mitering the corners of the tunic pocket was a nice no-thinking job — hand work isn't mindless, but proceeds so slowly that there isn't any brain strain.

Basting proceeded quickly; though I took my magnifiers to the rocking chair, I didn't even think about them, not even when threading the #10 needle. The brain is really good at making up for missing information, and I'd been polishing my glasses for weeks before realizing that Something is Wrong, so it isn't starting flat-footed. I can even read this screen with my good eye shut — on the bottom, leaning forward (but not too much) through the reading part of my bifocals. But then I write my Web pages with an old DOS program that displays in 80-column monochrome, designed from scratch to be read on a glowscreen.

And the machine is still open — why not sew them on? Pinning was more trouble than it sounds like because the pocket location wasn't marked. (I must mark it on the pattern, in case I use it again.) After fiddling around a little, I laid the beta over the front and used tailor tacks to mark the upper outside corner of each pocket. Then I draped the piece over the sewing-machine leaf and used a ruler and a chalk pencil to make symmetrical marks. Then pinned, but I made a mistake rounding the first corner after the edge-stitching and had to take an inch of stitching out, and then it was time to put supper on the table, so I closed down because I plan to use the remaining daylight for exercise — Web MD says that I should ride my bike a little every day, and we do need a jar of sweet relish, so I'm going to the store — if I haven't already fiddled around too long. (Checks: a good two hours until dark, but I'm out of time for fiddling around.)



17 July 2012

Fiddled in the morning, found a spare half-hour in the afternoon to re-oil the machine and finish sewing on the tunic pockets. One bottom corner is a little wobbly and one is curved a tad sharper than the others, but it's navy on navy; who's going to notice?



18 July 2012

Fiddled the morning away again, but just before nap time I basted the tunic's shoulder seams, slip-stitched the part of the seams that will be inside the armsceye seam, and pinned in one sleeve.

There is so little ease in these sleeves that no gathering thread is required, but I had to pin from both ends to the middle three times. I envy people who can just hold the sleeve to the armhole, start stitching, and wham-zap everything matches. I bet they insert more than one pair of sleeves per year.


Most of my linen sheets are a little too narrow, and the one I just put on the bed is a little too wide. I wonder what I did when making them? Is the odd one the prototype? Hope I remember to put hot-and-bleach in to soak in detergent tonight; it is, alas, sure to be a good drying day tomorrow. Pity I don't have a way to pump the wash water out to thirsty plants.



19 July 2012

It worked!  We got two inches of rain in the night. (And nearly another inch during the day.)

The load is on final rinse now. I'll hang the sheet out, but put the pillowcases on a rack and set them in the garage. The sheet may end up on the bathtub-curtain rod. [The sheet dried; the pillowcases didn't.]

One pass of pinning did for the second sleeve cap. I can see how people who set sleeves in every day could do it with fewer pins, then no pins.


All right! The second flat-felled seam also went in nice and smooth, even where the hook-and-eye tapes fold back — and I tell thee, if I ever make a shirt that hooks at the shoulder seams again, I am not going to make the hook-and-eye tapes by hand!

And this time I didn't have to pick out a couple of rippled inches and re-stitch.

Now I can do the side seams and hems as soon as I figure out what I'm doing with the pocket slits.

A while back I tested the super-crisp interfacing by tearing off a strip wide enough to cut liners for the waistband; it tears as neatly as any other cotton fabric.

Had a brainstorm before stitching the second and third rows, and rotated the treadle by ninety degrees. There is just enough space for the chair between it and the wall, and now I don't have to pull it clear out into the room or turn it cock-eyed to clear the dresser when I open the leaf.



23 July 2012

Finally stitched the pocket-opening hems, but basting the pockets to them is not the next step. Avoiding lumps in pants-weight fabric is not the only reason I usually stay the opening with twill tape, and sew it over the raw edge of a turned-once hem: there are wide stretches of raw edge at the top and bottom of the hem — and this hem is wider than my turned-once hems usually are, too. Should have folded a hem into the paper pattern and cut extensions, the way one does for short-sleeve hems.

And I've got some exposed raw edge of the stay tape that isn't going to be hidden in the seam.



30 July 2012

Ironed a dress late yesterday, so I didn't have to go to church in jeans and a T-shirt today. While ironing it, I noticed that I'd been clever with the inseam pockets. Typical inseam pockets are teardrop shaped, or like half a heart. I'd made the edges of these meet the side seam at right angles, so that they were more like half an egg, and much easier to sew in — then when sewing the second stitching of the french seam they were set into, I'd rounded off that right-angled bottom corner so that it doesn't collect lint.

Pity I no longer make inseam pockets, said I, then started fantasying little pockets in the pocket slits of my current project. But the fact remains, if I put anything in the pockets, it would spoil the hang of the A-line shirt.



3 August 2012

On Wednesday, I mended the hems of the pocket openings and basted the pockets under them.



4 August 2012

On Friday, I mock-felled one of the side seams of the pants and was starting the second row of top-stitching on the other when my bobbin ran out of thread. I briefly considered winding it with the lighter-navy thread, then wound the remains of the spool onto the bobbin and put the bobbin and the empty spool into my jersey pocket. Stopped at Lowery's on the way to First Friday, but haven't opened the new spool or put the bobbin back into the machine yet.

I'm putting three rows of top-stitching on each mock-fell seam because the fabric is linen.


I've noticed that the edge of the brim on my newer hat is fraying, and the brim of the old faded hat I wear more often isn't. That could be the difference between cotton twill and cottonized linen, but I suspect that more of it is the difference between a blue sweatband and a white one — the newer hat gets washed more often.



7 August 2012

Finally put the new thread in the machine and finished the side seams. I should post the saga of the ride to purchase thread somewhere so that I could link to it here. I took notes on every road because I'd meant to go exploring that afternoon — the transcript is posted at page down to the first Friday, or search for "boring".

Then I started the inseams. Halfway through the first round of topstitching on the first seam I was thinking "Argh, and I have to do six of these."; halfway through the second I decided that it was time I stopped putting up with the drive-belt slippage — I'd been putting off cutting a bit out ever since I'd replaced the dried-out leather belt with the new-fangled elastic tube. I'd had such a hard time getting the belt on in the first place, and there's no way to know whether I'm cutting out too much or too little.

So when the seam was out from under the presser foot, I fetched the kitchen scissors and a pair of slip-joint pliers, gritted my teeth, and snipped an inch below the joint. A seam ripper took the old end off fairly easily once I'd figured out what I was doing, then it was struggle, struggle trying to slip the bared barb into the new end. Finally decided that I'd just have to trust the belt to stretch enough to pass over the handwheel —there is a notch for releasing some of the belt on the big wheel turned by the crank attached to the treadle, in case it didn't— and with the extra slack, it was comparatively easy; I didn't even use the pliers. And it was easy to stretch it over the handwheel to put it back — which makes me worry that I didn't cut out enough, but I'm not as afraid of cutting out more as I was.

Now back to work to see whether I did it right.

Right after lunch.


And a nap.

Don't know whether it's improved or not; the belt slips only on special occasions, and I don't know the occasion is special until it slips. Did finish top-stitching the inseams, and sew the two legs together. Three rows of topstitching to go on the center seam.

Then I can figure out how to interface a waistband. I've always used self-fabric interfacing for bands until now. I wonder how hard SuperCrisp is to hand-sew through. I still haven't figured out a better way to make eyes for the hooks than to embroider them on. Will use nylon machine twist for the job.

And it's way past bedtime. Should have shut down the computer an hour ago.



22 August 2012

Washed the ironing-board cover a week ago, and took days to get around to putting it back on the board. Putting it back was, of course, more complex than expected.

First I separated the three layers of padding and carefully arranged them to cover the edges of the board. I forget details of my first attempt to install the cover over the padding — just that when it was time to throw lines of thread across underneath to keep it in place, I thought "Why crawl around underneath the way I did last time? I'll just fold it up and lean it against the wall to gain access to the bottom!"

Whereupon all my carefully-arranged padding slid down about six inches.

So I carried it into the bedroom, where there is natural light and more room to work, and started over. This time I used tatting cotton to sew the corners of the padding in place, so I should have less trouble with it shifting than before I washed the cover. I never did find the carpet warp I sewed the cover on with last time, and used a weird maroon color of Knit-Cro-Sheen that must have come in a bag that I bought at a garage sale.

Took time out while typing the above to tighten the drawstring yet again. When I make another ironing-board cover, I'll make a pocket at the business end and have a short drawstring at the other end. In addition to having less slack to pull out, a shorter string can be made of something that stays drawn while I tie the knot. There are so many turns in that surgeon's knot that I have to untangle it before re-tying, and it still slips.

I'm using nylon mason's line so that the string will move easily in the casing. And a surgeon's knot is a square knot with more than one twist in the first half, to make it easier to prevent it from loosening while you tie the second half.

Light bulb! I could cut a yard off the nylon line and attach two half-yard pieces of cotton line with zeppelin bends. I wonder whether I can still find that print-out of how to tie a zeppelin bend? I suppose a weaver's knot might hold.

The board looks better than I expected it to — I suspect that at some point in the procedure I turned the cover inside out; since it's duck, not all the stains went all the way through.

When I took it out of the washer, I was surprised that it hadn't fallen into shreds, disappointed that little of the scorch stain had washed out, and surprised that the unbleached-muslin drawstring casing is now perfectly white.

After re-installing it, I did notice a tiny broken-thread hole.


In this week's wash, I learned that the oldest of my bras isn't likely to still be a bra the next time it comes out of the washing machine — so I was correct in deciding not to mend the fraying armholes a few weeks ago.

When it's gone, I won't know which is the oldest any more.

But wait! The oldest will be the black bra. Which isn't worn as often as the others, so it will continue to be the oldest for some time.

When I made the black bra, I used black cotton 50/3 thread, which is much less durable than the white 100/6 thread I used for the others, and a few of the darts sewn with strong thread hadn't held up for the life of the bra, so I top-stitched the dart seam after the manner of a flat-fell, then sewed the other fold to match. I liked the effect so much that I sewed the darts flat in all subsequent bras.

And the frayed bra is the last of those with once-sewn darts.

Perhaps I should embroider the year on the replacement when I make one. I did embroider a lazy daisy on my newest bra, to distinguish it from the other white bras so that it could be saved back for good. Which all summer led to it being worn more often than the others, because I wore it every Sunday, and the bra still in the closet on washday is usually white.


Frittered away the whole morning, but after lunch I top-stitched the center seam of my jeans, and tore off a strip of Super Crisp for the waistband. I measured it against the waistband of an old pair of jeans, and it looks absurdly narrow. [But it's wider than a quarter of the waistband fabric. I've decided that that is an advantage, as I can fold over a snitch to smooth the upper edge of the band.]

Thinking that I'd probably stretched it in tearing it off, I put it under the faucet. It got wet instantly, proving that this is honest pure cotton.

Which somehow reminds me of an advertisement for labels that bragged that these wonderful, wonderful labels are PURE COTTON so they won't scratch or irritate like synthetic fabrics. AND they won't fray because they are completely saturated with plastic!!

Needless to say, I didn't buy any.



31 August 2012

Finally figured out what I'm doing with the waistbands, and it's simpler than expected.

The linen pieces have been folded into four parts lengthwise for some time, and I've been attempting to mark the creases so that I'd still have the three lines after the creases are ironed out. Marked them with wash-out pen . . . duh, wash-out marks also steam out, and the instructions say that the interfacing requires lots and lots of steam to attach properly. Also been fretting about the problem of laying the interfacing precisely along the drawn line.

So this morning, I finally decided to use the selvage edge as the innermost layer — I'd originally planned it to be on top, as a finished edge, but folding the strips in thirds would make them too wide. Having cut the bands twice already, I'm not inclined to trim them. Not to mention that they have been folded into four parts for some time, lying on the board under weights to keep them from coming unpressed.

So I started to put the interfacing on the band with one edge along the crease — how do I mark the crease — duh, don't unfold it! I happened to fold it with the right sides inside —an artifact of making the first fold wrong sides together, then folding each edge back to meet the first fold— so I can just unfold the middle fold, and lay the interfacing along one of the folded edges, after peeking under to see that it's the correct edge.

And I don't need to mark the creases at all, because I plan to move them slightly: I want the selvage inside to form a smooth, firm edge to fold the facing around; having the center-line fold still in place at this time would be a nuisance, so it's just as well that it will be ironed out when I iron the interfacing on. When that crease is pressed in, I'll fold the raw edge to not quite meet it, and the crease now marking this spot is also not quite in the right place, not to mention being folded the wrong way, so it's just as well that it will be ironed out when I press the allowances after sewing the waistband on.

The 13/16" band isn't much wider than my half-inch seam allowances, and the last pair of jeans I made from this pattern was a tad long in the rise, so I plan to match the selvage of the band to the raw edge of the pants, then stitch along the edge of the interfacing, which I will iron on tangent to the stitching line.

All planned out: let's warm up the iron and do it.



3 September 2012

I intend to sew the waistband to the pants right sides together, so I want the bobbin side of the gathering threads to be on the wrong side where I can get at them, so I want the right side up when I sew. And the seam is to be 13/16" from the edge, so I can sew the first line of gathering half an inch —my usual seam allowance— from the raw edge; that will require more than the usual quarter inch between rows of stitching; perhaps I should sew 5/8" the first time and an inch the second. Ah, good, the needle in left position is almost 3/8" inch from the right edge of the zig-zag foot: just right.

And I *still* can't find the flat-bed plate. It's *got* to be within arm's reach of the sewing machine! But I'd rather sew a gathering thread without it than double-wind a bobbin for the White.



15 September 2012

Sewed the waistband to the back of the pants today, then looked at the front waistband and closed the machine. It was sunset, and I didn't feel very clever. Didn't even consider pressing the seam.

My oldest bra is now a cleaning rag. All of my remaining bras except the black one are a tad coarse. When I started designing bras, I figured that when I got the pattern tweaked, I'd buy real handkerchief linen from a re-enactor's supply house to make my bras; the pattern is now tweaked, so I went to a few Web sites to price it. But handkerchief linen is a tad *too* fine, and I've come to prefer my red, black, and orange bras over the white ones because they look less like underwear. I'm going to be looking a while before I find a color I like in 3.5 oz. pure linen. I seem to have ruled out black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, gray, and white. And I don't like dirty colors.



17 September 2012

Front waistband attached and iron heating to press the seams.

The interfacing didn't stick as well as I had hoped. The instructions said "lots and lots of steam"; I figured that ironing through a wet rag would make up for not having a steam iron, but either I was mistaken or I forgot to turn the iron up to "linen"; that's quite likely, as I've become accustomed to ironing linen on "silk" and cotton on "rayon", because my iron was built for people who ironed a lot faster than I do.


The back waistband is finished, save for zig-zagging the ends, which I'll do after all other work is done, or when something has to be zig-zagged before the next step can be taken. I pressed as sewn, pressed the waistband up, pressed it down over the selvage —exactly as planned!— sewed a toe-width from this fold, then folded the raw edge under to just meet the first row of stitching and top-stitched on the right side a toe-width from the seam. The interfacing is a success, the belt is flat and stiff. But I think I should have made it narrower.

Since it has to be finished on the ends, the front waistband will be more challenging. Perhaps I have enough excess fabric to try a diagonal-seam band end —similar to a mitered hem corner, or maybe more like the facing-hem corner I describe under "edge finishes"— that I once read about. I don't remember where I read about it, but I can probably figure it out.

The band is still merely attached; I did the pressing as-is and the pressing up, but will probably do it over when I'm ready to do the pressing down over the selvage. Or while I'm fiddling around with the ends. But I did plan it so the seam allowance can be folded back to meet the interfacing, so same lumps, and should probably go with that plan.

Remember when I covered the raw ends of the pocket-opening hems with twill tape? It turns out that the upper raw edges will be entirely inside the waistband, which I've made come down farther than originally planned.

After considerable thought, I decided to remove the un-needed twill tape — awk scrickle, the seam attaching the waistband passes over the tapes. No sweat — after picking out the thread attaching one of the tapes, I cut as close as I could to one side of the stitching, pulled on the other side, and it came out neat as you please; I didn't even have to tweezer any lint.

But the other twill tape was nipped only at the extreme corner and I was overconfident: while trying to nip off the corner, I cut a stitch and had to repair the seam.

Before that I'd found that one broadfall pocket had been caught in the topstitching of the side seam — only the last row of topstitching, luckily. So I picked that out and in repairing it, straightened out the pocket and folded the front of the pants under. I realized that before finishing, broke off, and picked out.

Now there's a load of clothes soaking in the washer and it's past time for my nap.



20 September 2012

Finished the front waistband on my new jeans yesterday, and did a neat job if I do say so myself. Tried them on and saw that I'm most definitely not going to wear these with any shirt but the tunic I'm making to go with them; I'm *not* a loud-floral-pants sort of girl.

Pity I'm not doing Handwork Circle on Tuesdays any more — I have four hooks to sew on and up to twenty eyes to embroider.

I like the idea of making the front waistband extend beyond the tops of the slant pockets — it's *much* easier to make a tab neat than to make a smooth finish with all seams piled up together. And this means that the hooks can be further apart.

The interfacing had come loose, so before beginning work, I set the iron on "linen" and pressed through a wet rag. The rag got scorch stains, so I think the steam was hot enough. I steamed it as it lay, and steamed it again after folding the waistband up, and was folding the band down over the selvage when I realized that I should have folded in the seam allowances at the ends first.

I decided that hand-basting this short fold would be easier than pressing that thoroughly-steamed crease out and steaming it back in again, and ended up basting all around the waistband, and hand-sewing the folds on the tabs to keep the middle fold out of sight. In the process of hand sewing, I noticed that in one tab the steamed fold had wandered out of line, stitches that should have been just a thread to the back up to an eighth of an inch to the front. (These were stitches made on one layer as I stitched toward or away from the seam that first attached the waistband.) This would have been a bear to correct, what with the hand sewing being nearly done at this point, and I don't think I'll notice. And if I do, I'm going to wear a knee-length shirt over these pants anyway.

I'm planning to use black upholstery thread to sew on the hooks and embroider the eyes, and make no effort to hide the stitches. Small black specks will be lost in the dark-navy print.

I'll also use upholstery thread to sew on a D ring, should I get around to buying one. (I may have forgotten about it before I've time to go to Lowery's.) I've put a watch into my watch pocket a few times this week, and think that something to clip the watch to would be nice.

When I sewed a D-ring to my linen jersey, I made a strap, but this will be sewn to four layers of waistband, one layer of pants, and one layer of extra-crisp interfacing. I think stitches will hold just fine.



24 September 2012

Just checked — my old blue twill pants have a full set of eyelets. My linen-blend twill are on the mending pile, and so were my hemp hessians until I needed to buy milk and put them on anyway.

Perhaps I should watch TV tonight. There was a very good Hitchcock Presents on a few days ago.



25 September 2012

Spent the morning drafting a pattern for pocket-slit flaps and cutting them out of Pro-Woven Super Crisp interfacing. I made the job a lot harder than it needed to be by forgetting what I'd done when I drafted the tunic pattern yea many years ago.

I was intending at first to fuse the interfacing to scraps, cut a quarter inch bigger all around, and fold in the edge — but I think I'll zig-zag all the edge and then cut close to the zig-zagging. This will be both easier and flatter.

If I actually work instead of fooling around, I could have this outfit to wear to church next Sunday. And it's just turned cool enough to need it.



26 September 2012

It doesn't matter what shape the inner edge of the pocket-slit flap is, so I drew it on the straight of grain. This made it very easy to cut out. I put the edge on the selvage of the super crisp and drew around it with a #2 pencil, and then, because the seam edge was straight, laid the seam edge of the pattern against the seam edge of the drawn shape and traced again.

Which wasn't all that clever: I have two copies of the same side. But the shape really doesn't matter; since the seam edge is straight, I'll just put one of them in upside down.

My line was *meant* to be, "It would have been more clever if I'd left cutting the two pieces apart until after I'd ironed them onto a scrap."

Speaking of scraps, where are they? They were supposed to be folded inside the left-over yardage, but they are not. I looked in the "linen" box, and also in the "pant-weight linen" box. Perhaps I should take both off the shelf and look again.

Would have



30 September 2012

I wonder what I would have?

Found the small scraps — I'd hung them in the laundry room for ready reference. But these are all really-small scraps; there must be some intermediate scraps around somewhere.

Last Thursday I bought six gold-colored half-inch D-rings. I'd been undecided between silver and gold for some of the pants I intend to retrofit, but it turned out that gold was all that was in stock — and I suspect that they hadn't sold any since I made the linen jersey.



30 September 2012

The D-rings are pinned to the curtain. Five of them.

I got one of the pairs of pants off the sofa tonight: I replaced the worn eyes and firmed up a loose hook on my "oakwood" (tan) pants, then sewed a D-ring above the right watch pocket. I suppose I'd better wear those pants to see how it works before sewing D-rings on the others.

Might go back and pin the hems in the new pants. I've already basted the quarter-inch fold.

Hope I remember to add a D-ring to my cotton interlock jersey — I'll be wearing it often until it gets cold enough for the wool one. I'm planning to anchor a twill tape to the shoulder seam where it meets the strap supporting the rear pockets. Black or white, and should I also anchor it near the pocket? Was thinking of a short strap over it, with a snap — but why not just sew a snap onto the strap?

But I won't be wearing it soon — I hurt my knee on yesterday's ride, and feel that it should be firmly healed before I ride again. Knees are the only body part a bike can injure in normal operation.

I think it was the Sunday before last that I wore my short interlock slip under a long skirt for easier walking — knits tend to catch on my hose. I wasn't happy with the white muslin drawers showing under the black slip, and thought I needed to reproduce my linen drawers in black. Spent some time thinking about linen weights: I want them finer than pants weight, but not so fine as the black linen. After a day or two of cogitation — duh! There isn't any reason for winter underwear to be linen; the cheap cotton broadcloth I bought on general principles would be perfect for this job.

And after a few more days: just how many Sundays in the fall are cold enough to wear a slip, but not cold enough to wear wool tights? Four max, and on how many of those will I wear the shorter black slip?

Today I wore the brown striped slip under my silk ball gown, with the linen drawers. I felt rather warm at the end of the service even though the brown slip is thinner than the black ones. Ankle length, but it didn't catch on my hose much. I did have to be careful to catch hold of it when I lifted my skirt on the stairs, as I don't like the way it looks when it peeks out among the printed silk.



4 October 2012

Exhausting shopping trip yesterday. Meant to sew all day today, but it got to be noon and nothing done except reading my e-mail etc.

I did stay up late at naptime to sew a piece of twill tape to my wallet, and when "Diagnosis Murder" started this evening, I sewed half a snap to the tape, but the program was shaping up as the popular-with-everybody-but-me story about the woman who pretends to be an abused wife to get her husband killed, so I bailed out without even fastening off. Well, that keeps the needle tethered so that I can find it when I start up again! [DH says the husband did get killed, but they caught the wife and her paramour.]

During yesterday's shopping trip, I found a headlamp at K-Mart and bought it for my sewing machines — using table lamps hasn't been at all satisfactory, particularly when I get a lot of fabric wadded up under the throat.

I suspect that the light is badly designed because the wrapper says that the batteries last only a teeny bit longer when burning one red light than when burning two "white" lights. Red LEDs are the most-efficient LEDs, only one to two, and the one not as bright as the two? I would expect a dramatic difference in battery life.

That, and this is K-Mart. They stopped selling "cheaper than is possible" trash when Sears bought them out, but K-Mart still isn't where you go for high-class goods.

The headband is adjustable, but not un-buckleable. I thought at first that I'd have to cut it, which would be a pity because it *does* have a red LED, and I have sometimes wanted a red flashlight. Then I realized that it could slip under the presser foot.

It doesn't adjust small enough for a sewing-machine throat, but a clamp-type clothespin should take care of that. I'll also need some sort of wedge to make it shine on the foot instead of straight down. I think that having it in the middle of the throat and shining at an angle is better than having it shine straight down onto the foot — details show up better when they have short shadows.



5 October 2012

There were a few times this morning when I thought "Dave would never believe that what I'm doing right now is ironing his shirts."

Before ironing the shirts, I had to clear off the ironing board. Among other things, that meant pressing interfacing onto the scraps I found to make pocket flaps — exactly two scraps were large enough; I can't have cut out the tunic and pants *that* efficiently. That meant cutting out another piece of interfacing —I chickened out of using the backward piece upside-down— and that meant finding a flat place large enough to lay out two yards of fabric, and that meant changing the sheet on the bed, and it went on like that all morning.

I used my leg board —an eight-inch by thirty-eight-inch piece of cabinet-grade plywood— to make a firm place to mark around the pattern, and before and during marking I compared the other piece several times to be sure that I was making a mirror image.

Then I put the leg board on the ironing board, because I thought that the softness of the ironing board might be the cause of the failure of the waistband interfacing to stick the first time through. And the instructions say that some fabrics stick better if you use intense heat without steam, so before beginning operations I pressed the interfacing until the cover cloth scorched, which didn't take a full second when using a forties-era iron set on "linen".

I threw out a lot of white rags this morning.

Then I put on fresh rags, sprayed on a lot of water, and pressed those until they scorched. Then I put on dry rags and dried the interfacing with the iron, turned the work over, and pressed some more through more fresh rags. Since the linen was damp, I didn't spray on more water; perhaps that was a mistake.

Then I cooled the iron a bit by pressing some more, moved the leg board to the bed, and left the work to cool while I ironed two shirts.

After all that, the interfacing was loose at the edges of the larger ends! Holding the still-warm iron on them for a long time fixed the less-loose end, and leaving the iron on the other one while I typed for a while seems to have done the trick. [it didn't; the iron was too cool.]

Since I don't intend to cut until after zig-zagging, I drew a cutting line with a pink pencil at the seam edge, lest I forget that I wanted a quarter-inch of un-interfaced seam allowance.

One again, putting the pocket holes in a straight section of the side seam comes to my rescue! I realized, some time or the other, that I should have left the seam allowance off the interfacing, as it would be lumpy when folded. But the seam being straight, simply making the flap a seam allowance wider will work. I'm planning to use pre-graded flat-fell seams, so a quarter inch of allowance will suffice.



9 October 2012

Last Saturday, I wore through the seat of my older pair of hemp eight-pocket pants. They have been lying on the ironing board ever since, waiting for me to decide whether it's worth my while to patch them. If I do patch, I'll use coarse muslin. The scraps from making the jeans are too thick and would tear the thin fabric of the seat.

This morning I sewed the other half of the snap onto the pocket of my wallet and put my stuff back in. Considered attaching another piece of twill tape to the other pocket, but instead replaced the broken and worn eyes on my other pair of hemp pants, and sewed a D-ring to the waistband. I'd have liked to have sewn it to the middle of the band, but that's where the eyes are.

Wore the pants for a pre-nap walk. Repairs seem to work.

I think I'll attach the D-ring to the linen pants by way of a short loop of twill tape. In future pants (if I remember that long) I'll catch the tape in the seam that attaches the waistband.


Grump. When I was getting ready for bed, I discovered that one of the hooks on my newly-mended pants had come loose. Ah, well, the hook-and-eye attachery is still set up in the living room.



10 October 2012

To ride, or to sew — that is the question.

I'm already wearing my sewing clothes, and with the onset of cold weather it takes a while to suit up for riding.

I've been thinking about taking my gray linen yard goods to the church so I can iron it on the banner board. But I'd also have to carry the iron and the spray bottle, as the irons at the church don't get hot enough to iron linen.


Spent the whole morning cutting an old bath towel into four dish towels. Not so bad as it sounds, as I went bridge-inspecting before breakfast and ate lunch early.

I have decided that the flat-bed plate is truly gone, and I'd better get on with getting along without it. Zig-zagging long straight lines on a free arm isn't easy!

And I saw white thread on top and jumped to the conclusion that I'd left the machine set up for zig-zagging the old towel, but it had a double-wound bobbin for easing stitches. Luckily the machine jammed early on, causing me to notice while it was one quick jerk to take that out. But I didn't realize that it was straight stitch until I'd sewn several inches with the proper thread. Just re-sewed over that. And I used up a couple of bobbins of thread I've been trying to get rid of, and somehow re-threading the needle wasn't as easy as threading it the first time — ended up fetching my magnifying glasses and my small scissors from the hook-and-eye attachery.

This gave me a chance to try out my headlight. A clothespin shortened the strap to fit the throat of the machine, and I spotted a scrap of pressing rag on the ironing board, folded it, stuck it under the back edge of the headlight, and got it aimed at the needle on the first try. The blue LED was painful to see, but I got accustomed to it before the job was done.

Now I'm about to fill a forty-yard bobbin from a spool of dark navy that had only a hundred meters on it to start with, then zig-zag with it. There may be another emergency trip to Lowery's in my future. My knee will probably be up to it by Saturday. I should take a short ride today to encourage the healing, but it's cold out there and it was misting rain the last time I stuck my head out.


Chickened out when the bobbin was almost full and the spool was noticeably thinner. Turned the headlight out and relied only on the task light, because the presser foot cast a sharp shadow on the edge of the interfacing.

I turned the handwheel a lot at first, but I got the zig-zagging precisely on the edge of the interfacing, save for one stitch each end of the straight parts. The cutting wasn't quite that precise, because I'm chicken and really, really didn't want to cut the thread.

Now it's nap time. Whether I resume work depends on the weather —and time— when I wake up. I have a meeting at 5:30 tonight. Surely that is a typo — who would schedule a meeting half an hour before most people's suppertime and precisely on mine?



11 October 2012

Somebody who has to pick up children for Kidzone at 6:20, that's who. (I put a fruit-and-grain bar and a protein bar into my pocket, and served some chocolate cookies that have been cluttering up the church fridge as refreshments.)

Got to the meeting five minutes late because I broke a needle while re-sewing the hook on my white pants so that I could wear them to the meeting. (I suppose I should have worn the thin brown pants over tights.) The needle just calmly broke off at the base of the eye. I wrote in the Tools chapter that long eyes are weaker, but this is the first time I recall having proved it. This was also a needle that had corroded and been cleaned up with steel wool.

I wasted some time searching the pile of pins on my magnet, where I thought I'd stashed a needle meant for a finer thread, before I remembered that there was a suitable needle lashed to the spool of linen thread. I had used the linen thread to re-baste the hem of the then-brown pants and never returned it to the sewing room.

This morning I searched the closet and found a scrap of pre-washed muslin just the right size and shape to tear into two patches, so I guess I will patch the seat of the older white pants. My other pair of ratty old pants has lost its passport pockets, and those in the white pants are like new. I pinned the patches to it and hung it on the to-do hook; it isn't a high priority task.

My spouse installed a "giant storage hook" that is equivalent to a foot of closet rod, but much farther from the floor. Don't have any long stuff hung on it at the moment, but there is a pile of boxes under it that I'd have to find room for elsewhere if the hook weren't close to the ceiling. My long pieces of fabric hang in the laundry room.


Well, there's one thing off the to-do hook. To move the spare space to the front so that I could hang up the old white pants, I had to move stuff over one piece at a time, and that called my attention to the old blue pants I was wearing when the photograph on my splash page was taken. Looked them over to see what wanted mending, threw them into the rag bag before I found it. I did pick the hems out, because the cotton seam tape I'd used for hem tape was still in fairly-good condition and cotton seam tape is hard to find.

I left the black brass hooks on, but will pick them off when I get around to working on the new floral linen pants. Aside from some papers that need sorting, those pants are now the only thing lying on the sofa beside the nest I've been referring to as "the attachery".

Should have some working time after my nap — but the backhoe is swinging the wrecking ball down by the bridge in progress, so I may take a walk instead.

Woke up early enough to go shopping instead. Rode to the grocery and back just for the exercise, and spent more than I did when I went for milk.

Thinking about the strap for the D-ring. I'd like to use matching fabric, but it would have to be three layers thick. Pity I don't have any dark navy twill tape. Perhaps I should look at ribbons Saturday.

I was wishing for silk ribbon to attach the D-ring to my wool jersey, and realized that I could use a silk scrap — three layers of silk wouldn't be all that heavy.


12 October 2012

I'm too hungry to think, and four O'clock is too close to suppertime to eat. Natter here!

For years I've been unhappy with the decision to make the sleeves of the overshirt that goes with my black-print skirt three-quarter length, and months ago I realized that a fake tuck would cover the seam if I lengthened them. And for a long time I've been unhappy that the thread of the hem of those sleeves isn't as black as the background of the print.

Last Sunday, walking home in bright sunshine, I noticed that the thread isn't charcoal gray, it's light navy! That moved the sleeve-lengthening project onto the front burner, but I'd better not pick out the stitching until I've located the scraps from making the skirt and shirt.

So after naptime, I looked for the scraps in both closets —I thought I had substantial scraps despite having made a long skirt, an overshirt, a short dress, and a pull-over top; I'd bought rather a lot of that print— gave up, got down the silk-scraps box, found it rather confusing because I save very small scraps of silk. Quite a lot of china-silk bias tape, but I'm not sure I want bias and I am sure I don't want black. Here's the piece I cut the reinforcements for the jersey from, but it's rather loud to use on the outside. Perhaps these off-white selvages of the faille I made the "silk ball gown" from, but it's rather thick to make into a sewn tube and the selvage isn't really selvage. Ah, a white selvage cut from the silk used for the reinforcements of the jersey I want to add a D-ring to — perfect!

So I put the box back on the top shelf, dropping it three times which surely didn't improve the confusion inside — and then realized that the selvage was only 5/8" wide — no way to make that into a strap to fit a 1/2" D-ring. I have not yet taken the box down to put it back.

4:30, but the bing-beeng-bing-bong isn't for me; I don't take fructose an hour before eating. Perhaps a piece of chocolate wouldn't be amiss.

Umm, that tasted like another one.

Somewhere among the above flopping around I spotted a box into which had fallen a number of things I've not yet climbed up on a step-stool to put away (the disorder in here makes that very difficult), and that included a piece of the sought-for black print. So before writing about it I measured it: 29" folded in quarters, so there's at least three yards. Then I got the printed-cotton box down: yup, there's the small scraps. Project sleeve-lengthen is go!

Before deciding that I was too hungry to think, I pressed the first fold of pre-graded flat-fell seams into the back of the tunic and pinned the pocket-slit flaps to it. My first thought was to overlap the raw edges a bit to hide the flap seam under the side seam, but when pinning the second one I got a brainstorm and tucked the raw edge of the pocket-slit flap inside the flat-fell fold, then unpinned the other flap and did it over.

Now I have to take the dark-navy thread off the Necchi and put it back on the White. Or put it into my pocket and go to Lowery's to buy another spool!

Also pressed a T-shirt that I washed last Monday. If I didn't heat the iron up to sew, I'd never get the laundry ironed.

Ten minutes to cooking time — just enough time to take the silk box down again; I think the faille scraps will do. I can fold one in thirds and zig-zag the fuzzy selvage, and off-white goes reasonably well with yellow.



13 October 2012

And then I found the fuzzy "selvages" of a piece of wool challis in the box. The wider one is only an inch wide, but I can fold the cut edge a quarter of an inch, fold the fuzzy edge to meet it, and zig-zag down the middle.

I gathered up rolls of selvage and put them into a zippered sandwich bag, then rolled the faille selvages and put them in too. Box of scraps is still open on the ironing board, which inhibits me from getting on with the pressing. Not to mention that I'm tired tonight — I toured downtown Warsaw this morning, which I hadn't done since I hurt my knee.

One of my stops was Lowery's, where I bought another spool of navy cotton thread and looked at the Wright tapes. The navy polyester "soft touch hem tape" would have done, but I think I'll use black twill tape I've already got to attach the D-ring to my new pants. I was disappointed that there is no twill tape save for what's on reels, but Wright's hem tape, which looks like what we used to call seam tape, would do for most of the purposes that require colors other than white and black. It's marked 100% polyester, and appears to be filament. There was something odd about the weave, but I didn't think to pick up a light-colored package and put on my magnifiers.

And I didn't think to look at ribbons, which are on the other side of the store. (And there was a scrap of ribbon in the 5¢ box, which should have reminded me.)

I think moths have been at my wool interlock jersey. Since wool doesn't ravel, I was inclined to leave the holes alone, but I spilled chili on it at the cook-off, and when I was hanging it to dry after washing it —the stain seems to have come out, but the jersey is inside-out and the fabric is very thick— I noticed a hole near the hem that is large enough to catch on something and tear. Perhaps instead of darning it, I should appliqué a snippet of the challis I'm using to make the watch strap.



15 October 2012

Cut a strip of wool challis and pressed it today. Gave it a good bait of starch, which didn't make it stiff but did make it stay folded.

Opened my new spool of thread and sewed on the pocket-slit flaps. When I hem the other side of the slits and sew up the side seams it will be down to the finishing.


Also washed and hung up the blue pants. They got saved from the skillet-rag wash by matching a hat and a shirt that I'm still using.



17 October 2012

Now to face the front of the pocket opening. I've about made up my mind to use Super Crisp on it. The piece of Shirt Crisp would probably be more appropriate, but I've already got tapes of Super Crisp torn. I'd like to cover the interfacing with inch and a quarter black twill tape, but I don't think I've ever bought tape wider than one inch, and none of my black tapes are even that wide. The bag of selvages includes a broadcloth selvage that might do: aha! I've got linen selvages. The linen tapes include some black: two pant-weight selvages and some scraps of narrow bias tape left from making my black bra. I believe that there is a good selvage on the piece of linen I'm planning to make bras from — you'd think I'd have something *navy* around here.

I do have some selvages from the suit itself. I wanted something thinner, but this will work. There's a bright white stripe along the edge, but I can cut the strips wide enough to keep that out of sight. If I fuse the interfacing to the facing instead of the front, I can leave the inside end of the facing flapping free so as not to have stitching show on the right side, save for two rows to simulate a flat-felled seam. Make the seam allowance on the facing a tad more than a quarter inch so the cut edge won't pile on the cut edge of the turn-back on the opening. And fuse the interfacing a tad more than the seam allowance from the edge, so that I can baste the facing on and then stitch it from the right side so as to match the top-stitching on the flat-felled seam the opening interrupts.

Don't want to put the interfacing *too* far from the cut edge, because it needs to be caught in the real top-stitching if it's going to do its job.

I don't want the facings exactly the same length as the pocket flaps, to avoid the piling-up of edges. Shorter, I think. Or I could make them the same length and sew them on a quarter of an inch off, so that it's longer at one end and shorter at the other.

Yesterday, I darned the hole in my wool jersey just before wearing it to the grocery store.



19 October 2012

Turned the iron on, pressed my pocket-slit flaps, unplugged the iron without ironing anything else.

Made the flaps yesterday. Basted notch marks and "this end up" arrows because steaming the stiffener on would remove washout marker. Reflecting that this stuff was intended to be used with a professional press, I put the flaps on my leg board and leaned my weight on the iron. That seems to have done the trick, but I zig-zagged the edge that won't be caught in the fake seam just to be safe. I was surprised that zig-zagging the raw ends didn't scroonch them up, because I didn't think to cut them a quarter inch too long and trim it off after stitching. Stitching under tension and using two rows, with the inner row stitched first, sufficed. Of course, that left them ruffled, but this morning's pressing took care of that. I sprayed them with starch and left them to dry during my nap, but didn't get back to them before this morning.

I'm planning to rely on the stiffener caught in the "seam" to keep the facings in place, but I may need to starch them when I wash the suit.



24 October 2012

I sewed the facings on and started one of the side seams yesterday. Many amusing adventures, but I didn't write while I still remembered them. One was that while taking a nap, I thought of a frightfully-clever way to form the crease by basting in the middle of sewing the seam, the way I make the elastic openings in the casings of my bras. Alas, further thought showed that it would be quite impossible to top-stitch the facings to match the seams if I did that.

So I pinned the facings to the fronts with the raw edge sticking out a little beyond the raw edge of the front, then stitched a quarter inch from the raw edge of the facing. This left about an eighth of an inch of seam allowance on the front. I top-stitched to make this seam a mock fell, turning the allowances toward the facing so that the facing edge had a stitched-in crease and the front edge remained flat. Then I pressed the seam and turned a quarter of an inch of the front to the wrong side, beginning about an inch before the facing and ending a little bit after. This rolled the mock-fell seam well to the wrong side.

Then I edge-stitched the facing, beginning a bit from the end, in the area where the seam top stitching would overlap the facing top stitching, and stitched again a seam allowance from the fold. This last was a mistake; I should have stitched an eighth of an inch narrower than the seam allowance, since edge-stitching takes a sixteenth off each side. Ah, well, it's dark navy on dark navy.

When I pinned the side seam, I was vastly surprised to find that the pocket slit laid nice and flat and exactly where it should, and continued to do so after the seam was stitched. But keeping it in that configuration while top-stitching took a lot of concentration, and just when I got things lined up nicely after skipping the pocket opening, I knocked my lamp off the sewing machine and broke the filament in the bulb. (Yes, the head lamp I put on the Necchi is detachable, but that glary blue light really isn't worth the effort.)

Luckily the lamp itself wasn't injured —though I did have to screw the socket back into its socket— and I was soon back to work. But the incident made me keenly aware that once the sun sets, there is no light in that corner at all. Even my spouse noticed, and offered to bring in the floor lamp that I had exiled from the room for its glary blue light. I chose, instead, to knock off when I had finished that row of topstitching.

Which entailed another surprise. I'd forgotten that once I got past the awkward bit where the seams cross, I'd be sewing a sleeve. And I'd forgotten to turn the sleeve right-side out before beginning. But the smooth-an-inch, stitch-an-inch wasn't any more difficult for being unexpected, and this is a fairly wide sleeve.

This morning, I went out for breakfast and came back so tired that I took my nap before lunch. (Having eaten a restaurant breakfast had something to do with wanting lunch after my nap instead of before.) So I woke up in plenty of time to make a bridge-inspection tour once or twice and still get some sewing done before plopping left-overs on the table. I figured that I'd finish that side seam and start on the other, but when pressing it, I discovered that the top-stitching had secured the dart rumpled up instead of smoothed down, and while picking out top-stitching, I discovered that the top-stitching was wrong because the seam stitching was wrong, so I had to take out more top stitching in order to get at the seam stitching.

And then the machine refused to sew. After re-threading the bobbin and much other trouble shooting, I finally noticed that when the needle had come unthreaded, the take-up lever had also come unthreaded. And when I finally got the mending done, it was time for supper.

After supper I finished the part of the seam below the pocket slit —I even remembered to cut away some of the allowance to smooth the hem first— and then wanted to inspect the bridge one more time while the light was still good and all the workers had gone home so that it was safe to walk up close. I'm getting so used to the girder that they laid down for a temporary foot bridge that this time I stopped in the middle and bounced a little. That made the asphalt feel strangely resilient for several steps!

I had intended to sew some more when I got back, but I closed the machine and hung up the tunic before leaving, and it's dark now. About time to get on with the hooks and eyes on the trousers. But the TV shows are particularly repellent tonight. (My hand-sewing nest is in the living room.)



30 October 2012

When I was putting away clothes that I washed yesterday, I noticed that the neck of one of my white bras had frayed enough to be in danger of tearing, so I picked the hem out, pressed it open, and cut along the weakened line (trimming the fuzz where the fabric was missing entirely.

I had reason, once again, to congratulate myself for having DH cut a piece of plywood just a tad larger than my smaller cutting board to protect it when I carried it to church in a bag, and guarantee that I'd have a firm surface to put it on. I didn't fancy the fluorescent light over the eating table, but despite the gloomy weather (fringes of Sandy aka Frankenstorm), there was good light on the walk-off mat in front of the patio door. So I went back to the bag, took out the plywood, and cut on the carpeted floor. As a bonus, all the snippets and trimmings ended up on the walk-off mat, easy to shake outdoors.

I pressed the first crease of the hem, thinking that I could form the second one as I sewed, but ended up pinning point-to-head, a pin-length or two at a time, with the work stretched on my sleeve board. I would fold a half inch as far away from what was already pinned as was straight, stick a pin through it into the sleeve board, and tuck under with the pin I was about to stick in while stretching the hem with the other hand.

I zig-zagged the hem instead of straight stitch as I have always done, thinking that that would guarantee that it doesn't break in the bias stretches. I like the effect, and will use it when I next make a bra — but with 2mm stitches instead of 1.5mm; I'm quite sure that that hem also will have to be taken out a few months before the bra wears out.

But it won't make the hem wear any longer. It's the fabric that fails, not the stitches.

Since I had the machine unthreaded, I rustled out some silk thread that was already on a bobbin, stitched the strap I cut and pressed some time ago, sewed a D-ring to one end, and pinned the other end to my wool jersey. I don't think I'll need a snap to hold the watch strap in place.

The D-ring comes all the way down to the bottom of the pocket, but if I decide that that is too long, I can cut the ring off and won't have to un-stitch.



31 October 2012: Once more into the sleeve, dear friends

Meanwhile, back at the salwarish kameezish, I've sewn one side seam, and top-stitched it below the pocket slit. Everything seems to be hanging correctly, and I think I know what I'm doing with the other half of the topstitching.

There! That was tedious, but not difficult. I forgot to trim the allowance for the sleeve hem, but the stitching I'll have to take out will be hidden.

Pulled the spool of silk thread off the Necchi, pulled the headband of the light under the presser foot, carried the light to the White, contemplated unthreading so I could pull the band under the presser foot: duh! this band is way too long; I can fold it in half, slip a folded end under the thread, and use the clothespin to hold the ends together instead of making a loop in the band with it. Now it's no trouble at all to switch the light from machine to machine.

And the same wedge that worked on the Necchi put the spot of light in the right place on the White.

The eye of the needle is completely invisible in that bluey glary light, but after all these years I have a pretty good idea where the eye of a sewing-machine needle is, and got the thread back into the needle on the second poke. (I wonder what it is that pulls the thread out of both the needle and the thread guides on the needle bar every time I leave the machine?)

There are better fluorescents than the one in this K-mart headlamp, but why not let LEDs be LEDs, and use two reds and a green? Yellow light wouldn't distort colors any more than blue light does, and it would hurt a great deal less.

I ban tink I need a nap before I sew the other seam. Woke up half an hour early today.



1 November 2012

Hand-sewed the strap to the jersey this morning.



5 November 2012

Bike-riding today. While pinning the ankles of my sweat pants, I saw the wash-out marker I'd given up and replaced: it was lying between two boxes on the floor. My flat-bed plate may turn up yet!



9 November 2012

This morning I sewed the side seam of my tunic and hand-basted the part the machine couldn't reach, to give me a guide while top-stitching from the wrong side. I intended to slip-stitch the seam, but running stitch along the fold was easier, and did the same job.

Also sorted my mail-order catalogs and put most of them back on the shelf.



12 November 2012

The undershirt I was designing at the beginning of the year is in the washing machine.

While brushing lint out of the pockets of DH's Carhart pants, I discovered that the restrained double row of straight stitching on the back pocket isn't merely decorative: the bottom of the pocket is double, and the stitching secures the top of the partial lining.

But my pockets wear through at the top, where I rub them putting things in. I just checked my ragged old jersey, which I kept in case of emergency, and the pockets are all in perfect condition except where a hem has worn away to expose the elastic inside. (This is the "curry" jersey described in one of the HTML files.) I'm pretty sure I have had pockets leak at the bottom, but none of them are still around. On the other hand, I've seen back pockets in DH's cheaper pants wear through just where these pockets are reinforced.



13 November 2012

Finished the side seam this morning. About halfway through my last trip through the sleeve, I reflected that this would have been a very good job to do on the free-arm machine.

I did the topstitching below the pocket slit in one pass, on the wrong side. Above the slit, I top-stitched from the right side first, as in an un-interrupted flat-fell seam, so that both trips through the sleeve could be made in the easier direction.

Also basted embroidery guides to one end of the back waistband of the pants, and pinned hems in the ends of the tunic sleeves.

I'm going to put elastic in the sleeve hems, absolutely plain, not even a one-thread "ruffle" to neaten the edge. I'm not as pleased with the multiple rows of elastic in the sleeves of my raw-silk shirt as I thought I would be. Well, two rows of elastic — I'd planned three, but the silk is so stiff that it needed the middle channel for ease.

Perhaps I would like that sort of cuff in a thin fabric, in a garment worn only for dress-up and *never* eaten in. Sometimes I push the shirt sleeves higher on my arms, but nearly always I just take the whole shirt off — it's too warm to work in, and I always wear a T-shirt under it.

I've discovered that I can tuck some of the flowing floppy sleeves of my silk gown into the tight-fitting three-quarter sleeves of my under-dress when I want to use my hands.



15 November 2012

I put those pins in backward, and had to reverse them before I could stitch yesterday. I sewed the inner round first, for some specious reason that I now don't remember. As I prepare to put elastic in, I realize that that was quite clever of me: this way I don't have to use pins to keep the elastic from getting caught in the second round of stitching.

Yesterday, I examined the old red shirt that my black raw-silk shirt replaced, to see what sort of elastic I'd used (quarter-inch), and noticed that when I put my arm into the sleeve, the casing stands straight up, making an attractive blunt end to the sleeve. *That's* why I didn't want to neaten the edge with a vestigial ruffle! Must review the chapter on elastic in casings.

While looking for my box of elastic (which I eventually found in plain sight on the shelf under the shelf of miscellaneous old books) I spotted my great-grandmother's scrapbook of quilt patterns, which has been missing ever since we moved eleven years ago. It was lying on top of a stack of Threads magazines which has most definitely not been there for eleven years. The *shelf* hasn't been there that long! Whatever, it's now in her son's wife's secretary with the other rare books.

This morning I wrapped elastic around my wrist, cut it an eyeballed half inch longer, and trimmed another piece to match.  One piece measures 7 1/8", the other measures 7 1/16". Since the tape I measured with is marked only to the nearest eighth, that's exactly the same.

Now to resume threading the elastic through the casing.




16 November 2012

Lost and found, lost and found.

After securing elastic in one wrist hem, I found that my bodkin had vanished; even though I hadn't risen from my seat and it had to be within arm's reach, it wasn't.

I'd been through this before, on a padded bench with no place to hide, and repeated searches over at least a week failed to find it. And I'd whimsically chosen to use a less-valuable "weaving needle" with only one hole and a bent tip, so after shaking my clothes, looking in all the possible places, and taking a token peek under the sofa cushion, I took the other "weaving needle" —I have two because I'd been obliged to buy a weaving needle and a sacking needle to get a bodkin to replace the one that vanished into a bench— and finished the job.

Later, when I returned to the attachery to darn my wool jersey, I found the weaving needle in the exact center of the sofa cushion that I had peeked under. Maybe it was clinging to the seat of my pants all the time I was hunting for it?

After threading elastic into the casings and sewing the ends together — the elastic seems a tad tight even though I overlapped less than half an inch, but I'll wear the shirt for a while before deciding. Just in case, I left the basting in the first fold of the hem at the spot where the gap is: will show me where to open the hem, and keep the fold in line while removing and replacing the elastic, should I need to.

I opened the White to mend the gap and sew the outer round of topstitching, and observed that a hem gathered into less than half of its width was a job for the free-arm machine.

So I took the work and my chair into the other room, reached for the little plastic bag containing a spool of navy thread, a Necchi bobbin, and a threaded needle — it wasn't in the drawer. Perhaps it's on the thread shelf? This bag really belongs in the White drawer, since the thread and bobbin in that machine also belong in this bag. Maybe I just didn't see it. After cleaning all four drawers, putting some overlooked plastic spools into the plastic-spool box, and starting a new box for wooden spools, I darned the wool jersey, which I'm going to need tomorrow and could have chosen to need today.

I darned the moth hole with ecru buttonhole twist. According to the Superior Threads web site, this is slightly finer than current buttonhole twist: it's marked size D and Superior calls theirs size E. But they mark 100+ as size A — their #50 is about the same as my old A, and 100+ is half that.

The darn is conspicuous. I should have used multiple strands of #50, but didn't think of it until this morning.

Before washing the shirt last time, I'd decided that having the pencil pocket on the wrong side annoyed me enough to make it worth while to do it over, and picked out the stitches. After the darning was done, I searched linjersy.htm to find that my pencil pockets are 3/4" wide, marked a stitching line with my newly-found wash-out marker, and sewed the pocket with thread salvaged when I removed the painfully-tight elastic from my Dharma silk tights. It's the same as #50, or a tad thicker.

The just as I was saying "all done, I can hang it up!", I noticed a flat-felled seam had come unfelled and the edges of the jersey were curling. Managed to flatten them and re-felled with the still-threaded needle.

So when I inspected the darn to write the above description, I bethought me to check the same seam on the other side. It's starting to break but the edges haven't started to curl yet, so I'd better get at that before getting on with the wrist hems.

Ah, yes, the second "and found" — this morning I decided that since I couldn't use the machine, I'd start embroidering the eyes on my new pants even though I prefer to do that kind of work in the evening. So I walked into the living room and saw the missing bag of thread and bobbin on the end table next to my sewing nest. I'd taken it in to do permanent basting on the side seams.

Then I wrote this instead of working, and it's time for lunch.

I haven't been writing the whole morning, I took a walk when I heard that backhoes were at the bridge.



17 November 2012

And after re-stitching the fell, I darned a moth hole near the shoulder with the same thread. It made a beautiful darn, but was very tedious. Next time I'll double the thread.

Today is for exercise, but not much: a Sprawlmart tour. I'm getting a very late start.


19 November 2012

A delay in getting dressed. I put on underwear, threw my slopping-around clothes on the pile of blacks, started the whites-and-lights washing, took my pills and ate a yeast muffin, and went to the closet for my other set of slopping-around clothes.

My original plan was to wear tights around the house and pull my jeans on over them when I wanted to go out into the cold. But tights are a great deal of trouble to design, so I bought a couple of pairs of sweat pants instead. These fit so loosely that it's hard to pull jeans on over them, I have to reach up the leg and pull my long-johns down afterward, and sometimes they wrinkle up in there. I've long been thinking that a dart running from the hem to the waistline would help with this.

As I pulled the sweat pants out of the closet, I decided that today is the day and instead of putting them on, laid them out on the table, drew a line with a chalk pencil, and stuck in a bunch of safety pins. Trying them on showed that the dart needed to be let out at the calf and brought in at the knee. Two or three iterations later, I replaced the safety pins with straight pins — and why didn't I use those from the beginning, eh? The pants don't get wooled around like something that's pulled off over your head, straight pins are easier to put in and take out, and I can put them closer together for a more-realistic basting.

Tried them on one last time, realized that anything taken out of the hip would be taken out twice, shortened the dart a good bit, and sewed.

I'd been thinking that transferring the dart to the other leg would be difficult, but when it came time to do it, it was easy. To see what I was working with, I laid the leg out flat on the table, laid the sewn leg over it, and made a chalk mark where the dart-seam crossed the hem. Light bulb! I folded the hem back an inch or so, made another guide mark, and worked my way up the leg slick as grease.

I was half-way through pinning along a line drawn through these marks when the load of whites came out of the washer. Perhaps that is why I forgot to try the pants on before stitching, but I'd gotten it right the first time and the pants fit fine. Wrinkles radiate out from the crotch, but they did that before. Perhaps when I trim the dart, I'll use some of the removed fabric to put in a gusset. And add a handkerchief pocket?

I sewed the dart on the outside because it was easier, and because it would make the inside smoother, and really a black-on-black mock felled seam doesn't look all that bad. Also, this allows me to wear the pants winged until I get around to modifying the pair that is hanging on the line.

And it allows for further modification — I may let out the last six inches a little bit and put a six-inch dart in the inseam. This one I would sew on the inside, press open, and zig-zag flat.

Oops! I forgot to change to a knit needle before doing all this. Ah, well, the pants are about half worn out anyway. I'll change before I do the top stitching.


20 November 2012

Arrgh! Also forgot to change before sewing the other pair!

(Time out to change needle — and prepare lunch) dart ends at crotch — move pins 1/8"



21 November 2012

I no longer know how I meant to expand that note. Job is finished on the pair that was in the wash when I began —I'm wearing them now— and the pair I was wearing is hanging in the closet with two darts standing out like wings. When this pair goes into the wash, I plan to let out the darts an inch at the ankle, take the inseams in by the same amount, and trim and finish.

I zig-zagged the seam open for the inseam dart, and it looks nicer than the original overlocked seam. To my surprise, the transition from one to the other isn't lumpy. I zig-zagged over the overlocked seam about an inch, and that flattened it.

Mock fell on the right side worked out well. I used a narrow zig-zag for the first row of topstitching, then worked a wide zig-zag over the raw edge.

I cut after the first row of topstitching was done, measuring from the narrow zig-zag to mark where to cut. I wanted to measure from the seam, but I couldn't see it by the flat overhead light. I put a line drawn on a slip of paper on the zig-zag, and stroked a chalk pencil off the edge of the paper, which made a nice sharp line to cut along. Then I eyeballed the underneath cut that would be completely hidden.

Perhaps it would have been easier to cut by eyeball before cutting the upper layer; there would have been more upper layer to take hold of to keep it out of the way, and it would have been easier to concentrate on cutting straight if I hadn't also needed to keep the scissors out of the underneath layer. Hope I remember that when these pants get dirty!


And I remembered to change the knit needle for a wovens needle before resuming work on my suit. At the last minute; I'd already changed the thread and threaded the knit needle.

I thought little Al could rest undisturbed on the White (I cover it with a felted piece of wool when it's not in use, just for him) while I used the Necchi, but he wakes up and looks at me every time I open one of the drawers to put away thread or get a needle.

One day I searched out all the machine needles and put them in the upper-right drawer of the White. Easier to get at than the spot under the tray in the Necchi's toolbox, and now they are all in one place. I seem to have a surplus of stretch needles and a shortage of universals. A good excuse to go to Lowery's next week?

I also tend to keep threads that are in small plastic bags with White bobbins in the White drawers. There's room for only one plastic bag at a time in the paper drawer of the Executive stand.

(The Executive was a very heavy typewriter with a very heavy electric motor and a platen that thumped back and forth; a table designed for it does very well for an electric sewing machine.)

The wrists are done at last! All that remains is to finish the lower edge of the skirt.

I dithered, hem or bias-tape facing. I do have some black linen bias, left over from the black linen bra, and if there isn't as much as I think there is, there are some scraps from the bra in the linen-scraps box.



24 November 2012

While getting ready for my nap, I bent over to switch the lamp plugs back to where they belong, and found the magnifying glasses that had been missing from the sewing-machine drawer — I hadn't carried them off somewhere, I'd simply knocked them off the table.

I'd gotten along fine snitching the glasses from the Necchi. It has its own glasses, now that I've replaced the glasses I carry in my pocket with a pair in a newer and shinier case.

Proper post when I wake up, if I don't spend the whole afternoon buying eggs. (I'm behind on Beeson Banner entries, too. Partying is a better excuse than I usually have.)

Spent the entire afternoon buying eggs. (That was only an hour; I got down for my nap late.)

I embroidered ten and a half hook-eyes while digesting turkey, occasionally securing the needle so I could hug a great-great-niece.

Pieced and pinned bias tape for the hem of the tunic Friday. Attached and pressed it today; now it needs to be pinned and sewm and the tunic will be complete. My first thought was to top-stitch to match the flat-felled seams, but I think I'll turn the facing up as if it were a hem.



25 November 2012

Sewed a piece of elastic into a band for a visor-extension project DH had in hand. Sewing it by hand wasn't really less trouble than changing the thread on the machine, but it took less brain power — and I had the fun of him wondering "did you glue this? I can't see the stitches."

The hem of the tunic still awaits. Too sleepy out to do it tonight.



26 November 2012

Should get it done today. I was planning also to re-work the old beta shirt I've been wearing, but I decided that it needed washing, it's mainly black, and I'm washing the blacks first.

I still have a substantial piece of the "twinkle-twinkle" cotton doubleknit-sold-as-jersey-and-it-has-the-same-stretch that that shirt, and the one that I'm wearing, are made of. How much of that stuff did I buy?

Reflection: these everyday shirts should have their pockets brushed out before every wash, if only to keep me from washing paper handkerchiefs.

I found shredded cheese in the pocket of the shirt that's in the washer. (I made pizza yesterday.)

I meant to modify the long sleeves. The hems of the sleeves, sewn with 3-ply thread because good cotton thread doesn't come in black, are coming undone and getting involved in my cooking. My first thought was to make short sleeves, then I reflected that it sometimes gets cold and decided on three-quarter sleeves, then I said "eh, I'll just push them up", but they won't stay pushed up. So I plan to cut off the hems —perhaps a strip an inch wide, perhaps just the width of the hem— and re-hem. Or maybe I'll just mend the hems and the seam that has split, so that it stays closer to my arm.

Calloo, Callay, oh frabjous day! Sometimes it pays to get confused. When 98 proved strangely unresponsive to the reset button on XP, I pulled XP's tower out so I could see the button. pulling the tower out required me to move the box the keyboard to XP sits on, and when I moved the box, there was my long-lost flat-bed plate! It had somehow slipped down between the keyboard box and the pile of boxes the monitor sits on.

I didn't twig that I was pushing the wrong button until I called DH in to deal with the "dead" computer and he started fiddling around with the correct tower.

I did some free-arming on the treadle Saturday. The skirt of the tunic I was hemming was wide enough to slip over the leaf that folds out to support the work. Constantly pulling the underneath part to the top took attention, but not as much attention as wadding up everything on top.



28 November 2012

Y'all know how hard it is to keep knit fabric from distorting while you cut it out? A couple of clever people on the Creative Machine mailing list take advantage of that.

Sometimes a shirt has an ugly loose spot in the middle of the front of the neck hole. You could cure that with a couple of little darts, but you don't always want darts radiating out from your neckline. If you close up the darts, enormous darts open up elsewhere — and have to end pretty close to where the neckline darts would have ended.

So what these two do is to distort the fabric ever so slightly so that the top of the center-front line on the pattern hangs out over the fold a little. One slops it over by a quarter inch, the other by three-eighths. The part of the pattern that hangs over is a dart, but no dart shows in the finished garment.

That would also be a good way to eliminate the dowager's-hump darts on scoop-neck shirts. Pity I don't plan to make any in the next ten years.

Having mopped a skillet with my last disposable cleaning rag, I cut up an old shirt I found on the rag shelf. I learned two things:

First, high quality remains high quality all the way down; it's much easier to cut up a shirt with all its parts aligned and on-grain.

Second, I'd overlooked a button sewed to a tag in the side seam. Since the shirt has been among the rags for a long time, I don't remember where I put the rest of the buttons, but it doesn't really matter. After going through a wash with hot water and bleach, it doesn't match.



29 November 2012

I had all day for sewing yesterday. I cut the grubby hems off my old slopping-around shirt, re-threaded the Necchi, and brought the knit needles and a container for the partly-used universal into the sewing room and laid them on the free arm.

Got up at six-thirty this morning and got home about the time I usually wake up. I may or may not get some sewing done.

I wore the black undershirt I made last January. It's been seeing a lot of use this fall.



30 November 2012

I've got the entire day to sew today, and I'm not only not tired, I woke up early.

So I made it my first order of business to cut this journal into two parts so that my spelling checker would resume working.  This will require changing the index page, and spell-checking and otherwise polishing off part 1 . . .



1 December 2012

I managed to fritter away all of yesterday, but after supper, I did get the sleeves hemmed.  I re-stitched the main hems and the pockets before starting the sleeves, and took off the shirt I was wearing and re-stitched the corner of a pocket that was working loose.

Weirdness:  while I was stitching the first hem, the needle suddenly snapped.  I found this so puzzling that I checked my bodkin for needle dents even though I hadn't been using it to control the fabric at the moment.  While putting a fresh needle in, I discovered that the presser foot was loose.

The end of the needle was still on the thread, which I don't think I've seen before; a needle is most likely to break at the eye.

So I'd like to remind all you contact wearers: get a pair of glasses for sewing. (I've seen "readers" that don't magnify, and if you're gung-ho, you can buy regular safety glasses at the hardware store.) In this instance pieces didn't fly —I think; I didn't fit the broken needle back together to make sure I'd found all of it— and when pieces do fly, they aren't sure to fly toward you, but the price when they do is so high, and dollar-store glasses are so cheap, that it's worth doing.



3 December 2012

The tunic is finished and hanging in the closet. Like to never got enough of the hooks to stay hooked to keep it on the hanger. I truly hate zippers, but the next time I make a shirt open at the shouder seams, I'll put in zippers.

Or maybe make overlapping shoulders like a baby's undershirt, or have the yoke come down the front and button.

The facing would have stayed in place if pressed, but I didn't feel like heating up the iron, so I folded it so that a scant quarter inch of the right side showed on the inside and pinned near the edge, which left room to edge-stitch the bias down without removing the pins.

I like hem edges better when they are pressed after sewing anyway.

I did this work on the White, so when I discovered, while putting the laundry away, that the shirt I was wearing when I wrote the previous entry was coming undone at the neck hem, the Necchi was still set up to re-stitch it.

I wore the shirt I mended in my last entry today. The sleeves are enough shorter that I can work in them —though I do push them up before cooking— and with the worn part cut off, they look much nicer.



5 December 2012

Ironed a shirt, ironed the fabric I mean to make into summer jeans, started picking out the expired elastic in a worn-out pair of wool tights.

The linen had been in the freezer for weeks, if not months, and I got it out before taking my nap and ironed it after, but parts of it were wet and parts barely humid, with nothing in between. Ah, well, I only want to flatten it enough to cut it, not to make it look good.

It was just a tad too wide to iron in one pass; foolishly, I took that as an excuse to leave the iron on the board instead of bringing in the tall stool, and every time I moved the fabric I bumped the iron. Once I caught it as it toppled, but didn't get burnt, though for a few minutes I thought I might have. And once it crashed to the floor in an incident like the one that finished off my other iron that gets — got — honestly hot and doesn't have holes in the bottom. The temperature lever works hard, but I'm not sure it works harder than it got from the previous such incident.

Since the tights are worn out, I meant only to cut a hole in the casing and put some quarter-inch elastic in, but on inspection, I decided that the stiff, wide old elastic had to come out



11 December 2012

Grumble, grumble, gripe, gripe -- got a strap sewed to my wool jersey with a D-ring for my watch to clip to, and a good start on retrofitting the watch pockets in my jeans with D-rings.

The watch died today. And it took five years to luck into it.

I guess my next bike tour will be the Walmart loop. All three of the watches I've lucked into were found at Walmart. (On the other hand, each was worse than the one that went before.)

If Walmart were still in the easy-to-reach shopping center, I'd check every month and have a better chance to catch a passing fad.

When I got out the five yards of PFD cotton jersey I bought from Dharma, I was surprised to see that it was the same order as the raw silk from which I recently made my warm shirt/light jacket, and the silk long-john pants that have worn out and really ought to be replaced. Ah, invoice date November 2009.

It's been in the laundry room all this time because I still haven't washed it. Fabric doesn't go into the sewing room until it's been washed.

I thought about washing it, then cut out one pair of panties to see whether I could get away without washing it. I think I did that on Saturday; haven't sewed them together yet -- and may forget, because I laid the cat's wool sheet over the pile of pieces to keep him from shredding the pattern. I made pizza on Sunday, washed on Monday, and today I took my Saturday exercise, now that the rain has stopped.

Did some old-fashioned flat-iron work while flattening the fabric, which was too wrinkled to cut. I already had it on the kitchen table, so I slid the plywood that belongs to my smaller cutting mat underneath it to provide a pressing surface. The cord on the iron wasn't quite long enough to reach the table, so I unplugged it while using it, and plugged it back in whenever I set it down to move the plywood.

I had plywood cut a little bigger than the mat to protect it in transit and guarantee that I have a firm surface to put it on when I get there, but it's been handy at home too.



12 December 2012

Assembled the panties today. I think I'll finish them as simple hemmed-leg briefs, but leave myself the option of putting in baby elastic at a later date. Seeing as how the pattern I used allows for a hem wide enough to be a casing.

Skimmed the chapter on women's underwear to see whether I sew the crotch or the crotch lining first, and realized that it needs a remark about the allowance for turning the hem. First few pairs I made tore at the ends of the crotch seams because they got narrower just where they needed to get wider. Having a turrible time wording this concept clearly; meanwhile I'm reading the whole chapter (and making minor edits) just to get it into context.

The edge of the toe on the White is a smidgeon less than a quarter inch from the needle, so I "basted" with the toe hanging over the cut edge ever so little, and sewed the lining in with the cut edge sticking out from under the toe ever so little, which made the two rows of stitching very close but reliably separate.



14 December 2012

Finished embroidering hook-eyes on one side of my floral-linen jeans, and in the process discovered an unexpected benefit of using removable labels as a stitching guide. The first eye I worked in that session was at the joint between two labels, and my thread kept catching on the paper. So, says I to me, I'm done with this mark -- I'll just rip it off.

And my thread disappeared. Black thread on navy fabric was quite invisible. Now I remember that before I started using paper, I whitened dark fabrics with chalk.

I invented the paper guide when I made a pair of pants out of fuzzy fabric, and the fuzz incorporated itself into the work, converting an attempted buttholed bar into surface embroidery, of no use whatsoever for holding a hook. I thought of several separators that didn't work before hitting upon paper -- and found that marks on paper made it so much easier to make the bars evenly spaced, lined up straight, and uniform in length that I'd quite forgotten that it can be done any other way.

That was the last of the embroidery guides left from the last time I marked up a page of sticky labels. I still have the package of labels, but they have entirely lost their sticky, so I plan to make guides for the other side on typing paper -- or, perhaps, spreadsheet paper; it's tougher and slicker and I can take advantage of the pre- printed lines. I'm glad I decided to write this before I started work!



20 December 2012

The lines on the spreadsheet paper provided as much confusion as help, but the horizontal lines are exactly a quarter inch apart, and the strips I made are fourteen inches long, so there won't be any catching of the thread on joints between labels.

The new panties have been washed and still fit, but the PFD jersey is in the washer, having a good long soak in hot water, a dose and a half of real soap, and a good bait of washing soda. I've decided to cut crotch linings from the good parts of the hemp-and-cotton briefs I've just discarded, and those have been thoroughly washed.

I wonder whether I should throw one of DH's softener sheets into the dryer with the fabric? I won't be using any on the finished garments -- they won't be going into the dryer at all -- so I guess not.

Took forty-five minutes to dry, and came out fuzzier than the briefs that were washed and air- dried.

And the floral-linen pants and a strip of eye-embroidering guides have been lying on the rocking chair untouched all week; I wanted to wear them the day after tomorrow.



26 December 2012

Copied from the Beeson Banner:


I've been thinking of making a new bra, so I inventoried my linen this morning -- I've got two pieces of red. I remember buying three yards each of "curry" and "lipstick" when Phoenix Textiles (now had a clearance on three colors of linen -- but when did I get the other red piece, and why would I buy it when I already had some? And is it really linen?

[much later] -- aha! It's *ramie*! [Time out to re-attach an invoice to the cotton jersey I washed a few days ago.]


I had something to say about the quote, but had such a time pasting it that I forgot. I'll use one of PC-Write's copying mechanisms the next time I want to transfer a string from one text file to another.



29 December 2012

Cut out a pair of briefs to try out the idea of using hemp/cotton jersey for the lining. At the exact moment I started clearing off the kitchen table to sew, DH started clearing off the counter to make soap. This turned into rather more togetherness than either of us wanted.

The selvages shrank quite a lot more than the main part of the jersey. I used my magnifying glasses and a rotary cutter to remove them. Then went on to use the cutter to cut out, since it was already in my hand. It would have been easier if I'd used the larger cutting mat.

I did a little dab of darning on Christmas Day.



31 December 2012

Used a double thread; it tangled something awful, and wax didn't stop it completely. Mainly because the kinks were still in part of it.

Today is washday -- and tomorrow is a party. I may take the darning along. Perhaps I'd better cut some needlefuls of thread and wet and dry them.

I wet, dried, waxed, and threaded one needleful, stuck the needle into a silk scrap, and put it into my baggie of thread and thimble.

I sewed four hooks onto my new pants today, hemmed them, and plan to wear my linen suit tomorrow. Probably with silk underwear, since it's way too late in the season for thin linen. (I put my hemp pants into my purse under the jersey that needs darning, just in case.)

I couldn't find the blue pants that I held back from the cleaning rags, so I used steel hooks. At least that made it convenient to keep them on a scrap of magnet while I was working.

The waistband is too tight, and has to be adjusted so open that the wrong side of the pocket shows. It's past time for me to draft a new waistband from scratch.

This week is probably a good time to cut out summer pants. I'm having third thoughts about using the gray linen for that. It would be cool, but wouldn't wear very long. I don't think has tightly-woven twill, and other sources just barely have linen. Sometimes being a bad data point isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Time to close out this file. Probably won't spellcheck etc. for a few days yet.

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