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typos corrected 28 December 2015





2 July 2013

Assembled the up-arrow jeans today.  If I put the waistband on tomorrow, I can have them to wear to the parties.  Probably pinned on; embroidering hook eyes takes a long time.  Must be some place where I can buy metal eyes.

More bike trouble.  I've been eying a flat front tire for a couple of days; today I put the spare wheel on and put the wheel in the car to be dropped off at the Trailhouse on my way to buy groceries and party food tomorrow — let them repair it!  Turned out I'd have needed to go to the Trailhouse even if I'd felt up to changing the tube myself:  it was the casing that failed.  Good thing it didn't fail during one of the long rides I've taken recently.  Must have been leaking a little all along; I had to pump it up before going to the Farmer's Market last Saturday.



3 July 2013

Drafted the waistband patterns today, and tore off a strip of interfacing.  It's depressing how much longer than the old patterns the new patterns are.



4 July 2013

I had the time to make waistbands today, but not the concentration.

And tomorrow is the day we party, concert, party.




7 July 2013

I left off proofreading January-June at "I need to patch some weak places".



10 July 2013

I'm curiously reluctant to get on with installing the waistbands.  Perhaps I should assemble the other pair just to keep my body in motion.

I noticed this morning that there were two places where the top-stitching of the center seam failed to stay the raw edge, and re-stitched those.

stopped proofreading at "bobbin box and thought"

Assembled the right leg completely.  Second row of the side seam failed to secure the raw edge in a couple of places, so I put in much of a third while working from the wrong side.  The inseam worked the first time.

I say, gang, gathering a tube up on the free arm and then stitching it off is the only way to sew!  I wonder why I ever thought it good to stitch a tube onto the free arm.

I dithered a little about making sure that the inseams were turned opposite ways, then realized that if I stitched both the easiest way, one would be pressed to the front and one to the back.

Pressing done with presser foot, of course.

Before assembling the leg, I fiddled a bit with the waistbands, and realized that I'd need two strips torn the full width of the interfacing to make one pair of pants.  So I tore off another, ran water on both, and draped them over the drying rack.



12 July 2013

Yesterday morning I assembled the other leg of the down-arrow jeans and sewed it to the first one, but just before sewing the last row of topstitching, I decided that I couldn't wait any longer for lunch and never got back to it.

Now I can stop worrying about which are the down-arrow pants and which are the up-arrow pants.  Though I did that as soon as I had all the up-arrow pieces sewn together.  Since the waistbands are torn from the width, they could be up-arrow and down-arrow too, but I didn't mark them and immediately lost track.

It's ironic that in factory jeans you get better results from crosswise waistbands and cheaper layout from lengthwise waistbands, where with home sewing it's the other way around.

The layout difference is from cutting one vs. cutting hundreds.

The quality difference comes because you can't pre-wash a hundred-yard roll of cloth —it can be pre-shrunk at the factory, but the factory can't perfectly emulate the effects of laundry— and lengthwise grain shrinks more than crosswise grain.  So you have to have the waistband and the pants on the same grain to have any hope of predicting what the shape will be after washing.

Whereas with home sewing, you can shrink the cloth until it can't shrink any more — but cotton will grow when the crosswise grain is stretched in wear, and doesn't quite go back to the original width when washed, so your belt is more likely to continue fitting if cut on the lengthwise grain.  And the crosswise grain is nearly always stretchier than the lengthwise grain in any fiber.

I've still got the pants I cut sideways in order to get them out of a short, wide remnant — because they are uncomfortable and I haven't worn them out.

I thought I'd saved all the iterations of my do-rag pattern, but this morning I discovered that while side pieces beta through delta are hanging on the nail, the pattern for the strip down the middle is missing — and I didn't write its length and width on any of the side-piece patterns.

Ah, well, making a new do-rag is way down on my priority list.  DH has worlds aplenty and isn't likely to have chemo on his scalp again, and I'm of two minds about making one to match my jersey.  I haven't even checked to see whether I have suitable scraps.  Probably do, but I did buy exactly enough of the fabric.

So the missing piece is likely to turn up —or I'll find a pattern for a 1950 surgeon's cap— before I want to make a do-rag.

Like along about now.

There is a rolled-up wool scrap nailed to the wall with two old sewing-machine needles near the do-rag pattern, and I pin long, narrow strips of old pillowcase to the wool to keep them handy for pressing seams.  While I was sitting here typing an account of yesterday's trip to the county fair for the Beeson Banner, I happened to glance that way and thought there was something odd about the bottom of the strips:  they shouldn't reach all the way to the floor, and they shouldn't be quite so neat.

Investigation showed that the missing pattern had somehow fallen behind the encyclopedia case with its pointy end sticking out behind the pressing rags.

Harrumph!  I did put chalk arrows on the strips I tore off for waistbands.  So I'm keeping track.  Luckily, I don't need to know which side of the band is up until I pin it to the pants.



13 July 2013

Finished proofreading 2013SEW1, so the first half of this year's sewing diary is officially closed, or will be as soon as I upload the corrected copy.  So the job is finished if anyone other than me can read this entry.

Last entry was "Do Something" about the bolt that snags my knickers.  I did, but it slid back to where it had been before, so my next chore, after freshening my back-ups, is to find some white electrical tape to make a non-skid surface under the cable guide.  Well, I think "cable guide" means something else; this is a hose clamp that's bent up on the side opposite the bolt so that you can pass a cable under it without squishing the housing.



16 July 2013

I asked on and was told that the dingy was called a "cable clip", putting cloth tape under it was a terrible idea because it causes rust, when properly installed it won't slide around and scratch the paint, and having one at all is terrible workmanship because a bike should have ferrules that render housing in straight stretches un-necessary.  (I do have ferrules for the shifter cables.)

Couldn't find the "white electrical tape", which DH tells me is really "fiberglass tape" but would probably work if used as electrical tape, but I did find some adhesive tape that I took out of the wastebasket when DH cleaned out the first-aid drawer because I thought that tape that won't stick firmly would sooner or later be useful.

This is the utterly-impervious cloth tape used before paper tape was invented.  Imagine woven cotton interfacing, substitute a thick rubbery glue for the iron-on glue, paint the other side with something waterproof or maybe it's the glue coming all the way through and being somehow cured so it doesn't stick, roll it up, cut off half-inch slices, put in metal reel with a snap-on cover.  White enamel and a lot of red-and-blue printing on the outside.  When it was bought, the glue stuck so well that you'd have black rectangles on your skin for days after the wound healed up, but after many years in the drawer, it's more like Post-It glue.  (I finally learned that you could get the stickum off without wrecking your skin by soaking it in grease, preferably olive oil.)

When I undressed last night, I put my bra on the typing chair intending to pick off and replace a couple of inches of the bias facing on one armhole this morning, but after inspecting the fabric near the frayed edge, I decided to stick the threads down with starch —it's hanging on the air filter to dry right now— and zig-zag over them with my extra-fine cheap cotton basting thread.  I have zig-zagged the armholes of this bra before.  Too much is missing to see whether the frayed section was skipped or the zig-zagging wore off.

My goal today is to finish at least one waistband.



17 July 2013

Well, I got the interfacing ironed onto one of them.  Spent today attempting a quarter century.  Haven't fed it into Google Maps yet see how close I came — I think I'm two or three miles short.  [this was an accurate guess]

Now I know where the little blue stain on my do rag came from:  it's my black gloves, and now I have a huge stain on the do rag and lots of stains on my taxicab-color jersey.  On the other hand, I appear to have sweated off the original small stain, so a cold-with-bleach wash might get them out.

I undressed into the washer and ran all sweaty clothes through a single rinse; I'm hoping that using detergent will get some of the dye out — and I'd better put the jersey and do rag back in before they dry.

Threw the curry bra in too, even though it appears to be completely unscathed, because without it I have precisely enough clean bras to get through washday and I like a little ease in my schedule.  Then fetched my Sunday bra, which is stained with sweat or sunscreen, and put it where I'll see it when I add bleach if detergent doesn't get the stains out.

In the hot weather, my sweaty cotton-linen knickers dragged on my knees the whole way, which inspired me to move making new knickers up to just below finishing the jeans on my priority list.

Since medium linen is too thick and lightweight linen is too thin, and because it's impossible to tell just how heavy fabric is by mail order, I think that I'll use my unbleached linen even though it will literally look like shit after it's been rubbed on a black saddle.

And hey, maybe my new saddle doesn't rub off.  My unbleached-linen shorts didn't take any harm from riding to the fair.  Of course, that was only a couple of miles each way, and I wasn't sweating like a faucet.  (Today, I never had to spit water on my sleeves; I kept them wet automatically.  Which is why I undressed into the washing machine.)

And I think that I need to actually list the projects that are waiting in line:

Jeans, bike knickers, black-linen spectacle-cleaning rags, one or more 8" handkerchiefs made from the worn-out floral-basket pillowcase for the pocket of my floral-basket dress, black bras, black briefs, linen briefs, assorted mending jobs, pedal pushers made of linen-cotton shirting, buy a gross of bar-type hook eyes from

These are not in priority order.

Do I want black or nickel bar-type eyes?  I'm making black pants at the moment and probably won't want more for ages —the knickers and the pedal pushers will have elastic waists— but nickel will do and black would look funny on light colors.

And my pound of #3 hooks is nickel.

I really should dig the "pound" out and weigh it.

Hrmmph!  It's only a gross, maybe an ounce; I'll have to post a correction on alt.sewing.  But I also have a gross of black hooks.  Perhaps I should get two gross of bar-type eyes.

2.44 ounces of black hooks (bag and all), 1.67 ounces of nickel hooks.  I didn't think I'd used that many hooks; I had quite a lot of hooks I'd bought to get eyes when I ordered them.  Perhaps they were all black?



18 July 2013

Soaking in detergent overnight didn't budge the stains, so I added bleach (and a dingy white bra) and soaked another half hour.  Before starting the first rinse, I fished the do-rag out:  there's a faint gray line down the tail, but nothing you can see from a distance.  No stains showing on the crumpled jersey.  Which appears to be the same color it was before being bleached.  A cotton-linen blend I have changed from red-orange to yellow-orange when washed with bleach.

I really, really, need to get on with putting the White back into service today.

Before the second rinse —with a little ammonia to kill the vinegar that killed the bleach— I straightened out the jersey.  The stains are no longer visible from a distance, and the one on the front of the collar is gone.  Yay!

The vinegar and ammonia seem to have gotten the rest of it.  I think the streak near the hem of the jersey is of a different origin, and the shadowy stains at the bottom corners of the back pockets turned out to be lint.

All are hanging in the sun to dry.  The dirty-orange "curry" bra is unchanged; the jersey appears to be lighter and yellower, which is all to the good (but it faded more in areas that are more exposed to the sun).  The do-rag and the white bra are brilliant.  At least while the sun is on them!

The next time I come home soaked in sweat, I'm washing my gloves in a bucket.

On the working front:  so far, I've gotten to page two in reading the White manual.  Off to check the needle position:  centered front and back, and slightly to the right.

It's slightly to the left, but studying the reasons for putting it off center and the innards of the machine, I think they meant the machine's right.

Schmetz needles really are "just as good", which is lucky because I have no idea where to buy genuine needles with "White F. R." stamped on the shank.

Egad, there used to be six sizes of needle, three of them for thread finer than sewing silk.

"For colored thread, use needles one size larger than given in index above." ????

I didn't know the shuttle came out for oiling; I've been poking a greasy rag through a window underneath.



19 July 2013

I couldn't see any resemblance between the engraving and the bottom of my machine, even though the PDF will enlarge to four times the size of the original manual.  The manual must have been for a later model.  (The bobbin-winding instructions don't fit either.)  And I finally found "pitman" in the list of parts — marked "not illustrated".  Presumably because the various pitmans listed were for different models.  But for both the underguts and the "iron stand", I looked for oil holes, and moved the handwheel for the first and the balance wheel for the second and looked to see where metal rubbed on metal, and the machine seems to be working now.  No squeaks when I treadled vigorously after putting the belt back on.

Just looked "pitman" up in Wikipedia.  It's a connecting rod.  Yes, I oiled both ends of that.

I found the manual at



20 July 2013

I stitched the gathering threads for easing the jeans onto the waistbands this evening.  Eight rows of basting stitches turned out to be a little more trouble than I expected.

I have some unidentified threads on old bobbins that I'm using up for basting, and it turned out that the one I chose for the top thread was wound by someone who believed in winding the new thread over the left-over thread from the previous project.  (Probably not the woman who left the bobbins to me.)  I salvaged the change from orange to green, but I had to rip out a few inches when the green changed to pink, and that so distracted me that I stitched the next row with the wrong side down and I had to pick that row out.  Then I re-stitched it correctly, but when I started the next one, my double-wound bobbin ran out.

When I re-threaded the machine after re-double-winding the bobbin, I chose a different old bobbin to put on the spool pin!  (Another color was already showing through the pink.)  Then I finished the job with no further distraction.



22 July 2013

Darning the frayed spot on the bra included zig-zagging all around both armholes.  Also zig-zagged the frayed corner of a spectacle-cleaning rag I found while sorting laundry — then darned a half-inch tear I made while trying to detach it from the machine.  I zig-zagged down a stripe and over the slit, then zig-zagged up one side, pivoted, and zig-zagged down the other to give the zig-zagging of the butt seam a little purchase on the fabric.  Threw both into the white wash.

I think maybe I want white bras after all.  Two of my three white bras have been repaired, and all of my white shirts require white or flesh underneath.  And I refuse to make flesh, as I sometimes step outside with no shirt on and don't want to advertise that the garment I'm wearing isn't a halter.  Not to mention that I probably couldn't buy flesh-colored linen, and if I could, it would be the wrong shade.

And if I choose white, I can have real linen.



23 July 2013

Item left off list of projects:  a propeller gilligan hat.  I've no idea where to find a model-airplane store or other propeller seller, so deciding what colors and how many can hang fire indefinitely.

It would be cool —kewl, rather— to have a little solar-powered motor to turn the propeller.

And now that I mention it, both my hats are getting a little faded and fuzzy around the edge.

I'm wearing the mended bra, and the darned place doesn't rub.  That thin thread was worth messing with.  (It kept breaking until I loosened the top tension.)

Specific mending:  The white winter pants I just put away for the summer have some broken eyes.  Can postpone that until after "buy eyes".

I folded the corner of the front pattern to make a slant opening for the pocket.  I made the front waistband full width, to have tabs at each end.  So the interfacing needs to be marked to show where the edge of the fronts come.  There is seam allowance on the pattern, no seam allowance on the interfacing.  I folded the corner some more to finish the edge — and didn't measure it.  But I think it was pretty close to a seam allowance, so I marked the interfacing one cutting line to fold distance, measured at the seam line.  We shall see how this works out.

Meanwhile, back to trying to draw up the doubled threads without breaking them . . .

Broke one and had to re-stitch it.  This time I loosened the top tension a little, and the drawing went tug, tug, done.  Usually using a heavy thread in the bobbin unbalances the tension enough, but the upper tension had been cranked up a little for some reason.

Pinning the down-arrow waistbands went well, but I want to make a new pattern with half an inch more between the side seam and the pocket edge before cutting the up-arrow waistbands.

Which means labelling the patterns so I can see which works better, which means that I'd better embroider arrows in some inconspicuous location on the pants.

Speaking of inconspicuous locations, I haven't sewn name tags on yet.  Still time to sew them in my preferred location at center back of the waistbands. <jumps up to pin tapes to waistband> But I plan to cover the inside of the waistbands with mystery-fiber gray tape!

Well, I can sew the tags to the tape before sewing the tape to the waistbands.  <gets up and measures tape against waistbands, doubles it for the other pair, sticks in pin, leaves on ironing board so I'll remember to shrink a few more yards after my nap.>



25 July 2013

This morning I sewed the two seams I pinned on Tuesday, drafted a back-waistband pattern that allows half an inch less easing in the pocket, and put a few yards of gray mystery tape into boiling water and left it on the counter to cool.

Also corrected the index pages for my websites.  I changed the splash page for my personal site on Comcast to be an index to all my sites and their mirrors, and changed the index page to the mirror pages on the TIS site to include a link to the Comcast site.



29 July 2013

I've been rolling up my slopping-around jeans, so today I tore five inches off the bottom of each leg.  I should add "hem old jeans" to my to-do list — but one could say it's covered by "assorted mending jobs".

Jeans, buy one gross black & one gross nickel bar-type hook eyes from hem old jeans, bar tacks on pocket of white T-shirt, flowered T-shirt, lengthen sleeves of blouse that matches black skirt, one or more 8" handkerchiefs made from the worn-out floral-basket pillowcase for the pocket of my floral-basket dress, bike knickers, black briefs, linen briefs, black bras, black-linen spectacle-cleaning rags, pedal pushers made of linen-cotton shirting, assorted mending jobs,



30 July 2013

I ironed my new white T-shirt today.  No matter how much is left, I am not going to make another PFD T-shirt.  It absolutely has to be ironed, and ironing a T-shirt is a PAIN.



1 August 2013

Got halfway through attaching the mystery-tape waistband lining to the back waistband of the down-arrow pants yesterday.  The second row of stitching was getting the liner all rumpled, so I had to pick out what I'd done and hand-baste it.  The next liner, I'll baste instead of pinning and see how it goes.

I pressed the band into place instead of stitching the first fold.  That isn't as neat as pressing it with the presser foot, but I was going to applique a waistband liner on and didn't want the extra row of stitching.  But the pressing is a whole bunch less neat — there's a definite bulge in the seam allowance of the pants, where stitching would have made it flat.  And, hello!, this is black on black — nobody can see the stitching.  I is not only going to put three rows of stitching on the remaining waistbands, I'm going to zig-zag all remaining tape edges.

Unreasonably, I expect the zig-zagging to help with the over-scroonching rumples.  But basting should help.  I'm about to find out . . .

The down-arrow pants are hanging in the closet.  True, this is because I had to go to the closet to get a hanger for them, and there I was in the closet with the pants in my hand, but they are all finished except for sewing on the hooks and eyes.  I still haven't ordered eyes, but I found enough to do one pair of pants if I use black eyes where they show and nickel eyes where they don't.  Or I could just eye the left opening and safety-pin the right opening.  Or get around to ordering the eyes.

Also need to embroider a down arrow on them somewhere, since the waistband of the up-arrow pants will not be cut from the same pattern.

I wanted to miter the corners of the front waistband.  (The ends of the back waistband are just zig-zagged, since they don't show and not making lumps is the top priority.)

I quickly discovered that one can't put two miters one inch apart in bull denim.  So I mitered the seam allowance that folds up from the pants and just plain folded the one that folds down from the top.  And scroonched a little to keep the fold from showing on the right side.

Recap:  These waistbands are a one-inch strip torn off Super Crisp ironed to the middle of a two-inch strip torn off bull denim.  I sew it to the pants along one edge of the interfacing, then turn the top down along the other edge, slightly overlapping the first seam allowance, then cover the raw edges with twill tape.  For the front waistband, I allowed a seam allowance beyond each end of the interfacing, to be folded in before folding the horizontal seam allowances.

One of the miters went in the first time.  I lost count of how many times I had to pick out the other and start over because I'd folded at the wrong angle.  It was the first one — but it wasn't practice making perfect, because I did the second one, then noticed that the first one still wasn't right and redid it a few more times.  Perhaps the initial struggles —the first time I stitched, I forgot that one folds on the true bias and got a corner of about a hundred and thirty-five degrees instead of ninety— made the fabric soft and slithery.

I hand-basted the lining to the front waistband, working from one end to the other and not cutting the tape off the roll until I needed to fold the second end under.  I tried to stretch the tape a little as I worked, to compensate for the tendency to ease it on when folding it back to get the needle in, and to allow for it being on the inside of a curve.

The stitching went reasonably neatly.  At least I didn't have to pick anything out and start over.  Didn't even have much trouble getting the basting thread out, even though I'd had to put it under the machine stitching at the ends.  It would have helped, I think, to baste both sides and not just the upper side — but I don't think it would help enough to to repay the extra time spent basting.

I plan to go map-hunting tomorrow, so the up-arrow pants will hang fire a little longer.  Might get at some of the hand work in the evening.

I marked the stitching lines with my    [I forgot what I meant to say before I got back to this]



2 August 2013

The bicycle ride was rained out, so I hemmed the jeans I'm wearing, picked the hems out of the other pair of old jeans, and embroidered arrows on the new jeans.  I put them on the broadfall pockets, near the hems, and used the same basted arrow I use for fabrics that I'm going to wash in sections (a short stretch of running stitch, a stitch to each side to form the head, back along the stem to fill in the gaps) save that I secured the ends by overcasting the stitches on the wrong side.  This also put the neat end of the stitches at the nock end of the arrow, as a further clue if the head wears off.  I used the pink thread that was in the basting needle to down-arrow the down-arrow jeans, decided to do the unfinished jeans while I was at it, then thought about the possibility of stitches wearing off and put green thread in the other basting needle before working the up arrows.

I was about to warm up the iron to press turn-unders for the old jeans and the up-arrow jeans —they are identical to the down-arrow jeans, as far as leg-length goes, so I don't need to get them to a stage where they can be tried on before hemming them— when my stomach informed me that it was well past time for lunch.

While I was embroidering the arrows, I realized that the reason one miter was more difficult than the other was that one slanted with the twill and one slanted the other way.


To-Do List

up-arrow Jeans, down-arrow jeans
buy one gross black & one gross nickel bar-type hook eyes from
hem old jeans,
re-hem other old jeans, firm up hook, patch fronts of shins
elastic in neck of villa-olive shirt
bar tacks on pocket of white T-shirt,
flowered T-shirt,
lengthen sleeves of blouse that matches black skirt,
one or more 8" handkerchiefs made from the worn-out floral-basket pillowcase for the pocket of my floral-basket dress,
bike knickers,
black briefs,
linen briefs,
black bras,
black-linen spectacle-cleaning rags,
pedal pushers made of linen-cotton shirting,
propeller gilligan hat
assorted mending jobs,



6 August 2013

Hemmed the old herringbone jeans this morning.  I was nagged by the thought that there was something else I meant to do while the iron was hot, but I couldn't iron interfacing onto the waistbands of the other black jeans because I hadn't torn it off the piece yet.  So I did that, ran water on it to relax the torn edges, squeegeed it with towels, and hung it in front of the air filter.  It's dry enough to measure and mark now, but it's naptime.

While selecting patches for the knees of the old herringbone jeans, I noticed the black denim jeans hanging in the "to do" depot, and remembered that I'd meant to hem the new and old jeans at the same time.  Right garment, wrong end.

Tore patches from a jeans front that I found on the patch-donor hanger, but pressing them is for after my nap.

While wondering whether to burn or landfill the scraps from tearing out the patches, I realized that they would make excellent skillet wipes and put them into the hot-with-bleach bin in the laundry room.  Before throwing the waistband into the trash, I noticed that it had four good hooks on it, so I draped it over the rack with the black-denim waistband parts.

Pressed and basted the hems in the afternoon, and sewed them after supper.  Basting doesn't take much longer than pinning, and makes the stitching much easier.  Besides, I can do hand work sitting on the patio.  In the afternoon, sitting with my back to the sun means sitting with my back to the lake, but I kept track of things in the reflection on the large patio windows.

Stitched the hems after supper & put the jeans back in the to-do depot.

Also pressed the patches and basted miters at the corners, but I don't think I'll sew them tonight.

There was bright blue thread under the pink thread on the bobbin now reserved for hand basting, with red thread already visible under it.  After using a couple of needlefuls of the blue thread, I can see something else under the red; perhaps when the blue is all gone, I'll be able to see what color.

Just now tore three squares off a floral-basket rag and put them into the pocket of the floral-basket dress, which is in the to-do depot because I washed it yesterday and haven't ironed it yet.  That dress is a pain to iron, and it musses instantly when I put it on.  Which is why the rest of the floral-basket print got made into pillowcases.

As pillowcases, it behaved itself beautifully.



8 August 2013

More basting, this done on the ironing board.  I suppose I could have bundled up all my equipment and taken it to the picnic table.  I gave that idea very brief thought while working.

And I'm again chortling over my leg board (an 8" x 38" piece of 3/16" cabinet-grade plywood), to the extent of thinking I ought to post on alt.sewing about it.

I basted the patches to the knees of my herringbone pants because pins tend to fall out, prick you, or both when rumpled up on a free arm.  (and they'd be even worse when rumpled up on a flat bed!)  But this also gave me an opportunity to press the patches nice and flat, and just to be sure they continue to cling to the pants while being sewn, I gave them a good bait of spray starch.  Which means letting them air for a while, so I can't sew them until after my nap.

I was thinking that a hem would be the quickest and easiest way to finish the edges of the three square rags for the pocket of my floral-basket dress, but when planning out how to turn the edges, I realized that there would be no way I could stop myself from making a full-blown handkerchief hem with hand-basted miters at the corners on these old rags, and realized that one doesn't have to draw threads to zig-zag around edges; one can stiffen the edges with a coat or two of undiluted bottle starch.

And while setting up to do that while the spray starch soaked in, I remembered that DH had bought a whole box of little bitty drop-dispenser bottles and asked him for one.  Running a bead around with a squeeze bottle is way faster than transferring drops with a fingertip!  (And I don't get starch on the threads of the bottle cap.)  But I quickly learned to do only a few inches at a time; if the starch is given any time at all, it will all soak in where it is and there will be none left to smear over to the edge.

Perhaps next time I'll lay the bead right on the edge, and see whether it will wick up what spills over onto the countertop.  That strategy will call for a very steady hand, but perhaps short strokes will do it.

Gave the edges another coat on the other side, and found that if I move the bottle around as if coloring with a crayon, I can get starch right up to the edge and keep my fingers out of it.  Of course, I do get starch on my fingertips while arranging them flat when I'm done.

Before doing that, I sewed on the patches and put the pants on.  The basting is still in them, but I'm saving that for patio-sitting time.  I sewed the second patch on in one go; it was awkward on the top edge and the last corner, but not as awkward as sewing with the waist end in the machine's throat had been.  Hope I remember that the next time I have knees to patch.

I added "repair herringbone high-water pants" to my to-do list, then took a good look at them while throwing them into the wash and took it off again.  They are too far gone to be worth any trouble.

The to-do list is getting pretty far up the file, but I don't want to move it down until I can copy it without black denim pants at the top.  Which means that I'd better get on with buying the eyes.



9 August 2013

Buying the eyes was my major accomplishment this morning.  Spent quite a while poking around the site to see whether I wanted something besides bars and round rack dividers.

I've been wanting to organize my bar in the closet for a long time — when I sort things, they don't stay sorted because I can't see where to put stuff back in, save for never-worn stuff going clear to the back and off-season stuff immediately in front of that — so I was delighted to see exactly the label I had in mind on the site.

Then check-out and finding that I was spending almost as much on shipping as on merchandise; if I hadn't found the rack dividers, the shipping would have been substantially more.  Which, though a shock, wasn't a surprise — my habit of reading the entire catalog before placing an order goes clear back to Sears and Roebuck.

Then Dave got me a virtual credit-card number to pay with, and sent it to my computer four different times.  First time, his computer claimed it was in my root, but Explorer showed no such file, so he e-mailed it to me.  I downloaded the e-mail with JOY98, then backed up Thunderbird on JOYXP (XP was bought as a back-up computer, but proved much better than 98 for web crawling, so I place Web orders from my secondary computer.)  The back-up took quite a while, because I have a ludicrous number of archived e-mails and haven't figured out a way to back up Thunderbird without copying all of them.  Then I restored the back-up copy of Thunderbird from the back-up file, which never takes very long (I presume that MozBackup has a way to skip files that match files in the destination folder), opened Thunderbird, and was about to copy the number when Dave said he'd figured out how to put a Notepad file on my desktop.  So I cleared the desktop and looked:  no file.  This time it didn't take us long to realize that it was on 98's desktop, so he sent it a fourth time and I used that copy to paste into the order blank.

After I printed out the receipt, I noticed that there were only two sheets of paper in the printer, and opened a new package to refill it.

Thank goodness one gross of bars is a lifetime supply!

I also got a little patio time removing the basting from my new old pants.  Since I'd put the old old pants into the laundry, I had a little trouble making myself decent:  I don't want to wear my fragile "oakwood" jeans around the house before I finish the black denim jeans, printed-flannel pajama pants are right out, no, not the bike knickers . . . I forgot that I had a seersucker daygown for just such an emergency and chose my unbleached-linen shorts.

And changed back right quickly when the job was done; these shorts are still around because I hate cold knees.



12 August 2013

My bar eyes are due tomorrow.  I'd better figure out how to mark the places to put them Real Soon now.  Sewing through paper, as I do for the embroidered eyes, wouldn't work very well.  Nonce pencil and chalk pencil aren't precise, silver pencil doesn't wash out —and I don't think it would make more than one mark before it had to be sharpened— and #2 pencil doesn't show on black.

I considered thread-marking through paper, but the more I thought about it, the more complicated it got.



16 August 2013

In the end, I Nonce-marked lines one inch apart, then measured lines halfway between in the places where the eyes were to be sewn.  This kept the two sets in the same repetition; not important when I have a tab reaching to the side seam on the front band, but very important when the waistband ends at the slant-pocket opening and the two sets are apt to overlap.

I centered the eyes by eyeball, which led to one eye in each of the two sets of five being too low, which makes the whole set look scraggly.

Friday the 13th came on a Tuesday this week.  In the evening I carried the new pants, the bag of just-arrived black eyes, a spool of polyester polyfilament upholstery thread, etc. out to the picnic table, settled in, anchored my thread, took an eye out of the bag, and combined my father's only cuss word with my mother's least-imaginative cuss word.

The eye was an omega loop.  The bag is labelled "bars", but it contained loops.

However, the curse that is supposed to fend bar eyes away from me (this is not the first such incident) was confused by dual targets.  The bag marked "silver bars" in point of fact contained silver-color bars. They make a decidedly-unwanted sparkle at the waist of my black pants, but I always wear my shirt-tail out anyway.

Two sets of eyes did only one side of the pants, but I wore them to the dentist on Wednesday with the other side safety-pinned, and expect to sew hooks on the other side this evening.  Since it was an early appointment, I had only a food bar for breakfast, and discovered that when I'm hungry and one side is safety-pinned to the middle position, they can't be adjusted quite tight enough.

I have been chirping and twittering about having nice-looking pants that aren't fragile ever since.  The "nice-looking" part will be over the first time they are washed, since this is poor-quality fabric, but they are black and I have two pairs, so that should take a while.

So I'd better cut out herringbone pants Real Soon Now.

Yesterday I marked and cut interfacing for the back waistband of the up-arrow pants, and re-sewed a rip in my slopping-around shirt so that I wouldn't have to change before walking over to the playground and going down the swirly slide.  A seam at the top of the slide needs to be re-welded, but I think that the proponents of the stylish new Unlimited Playground are going to leave it un-mended until it exposes a sharp edge and gives them an excuse to get rid of the swirly slide.

This morning, I pressed interfacing onto the waistbands.  I put my leg board under the waistbands, leaned on the iron as hard as I could, and pressed repeatedly until a wet cloth laid over the interfacing was dry.  Well, I laid it first and wet it after.  The interfacing seems to be stuck well.  In the dim, nearly-horizontal light from the window, the edge-of-the-iron marks are as distinct as the blue lines showing where to put seams and edges.

Somewhat to my surprise, the water-erasable marks on the interfacing didn't fade.  I did back them all up with #2 pencil ticks, which won't come off no matter what.



17 August 2013

Look ma, no safety pins!  I put in a little Lady of Shalott time on the patio and sewed on the remaining ten eyes and two hooks.

That last eye just didn't want to go.  I lost track of its various machinations.  It began with an epic thread tangle, then when I finally achieved the stitch, the eye slipped off it by way of the little gap at one side of the sewing loop, and the thread twisting around itself made it nearly impossible to hook it back on again, and I hooked the wrong end, so that the curve in the bar would have bent down into the fabric instead of up to catch the hook, then it proved completely impossible to push the thread back out through the gap, so that I had to unthread the needle.

And that was just for openers.  Pushing filament polyester through the eye of a needle gets harder every time you do it — filament thread is much more inclined to untwist than spun thread is to unply.

Up until then, it all went well.  I marked as for the other end of the waistband, then drew a Nonce line a quarter inch from the edge, and that kept the eyes lined up nicely.

I came up outside the sewing loop and went down inside it for every stitch, since it's the inside ends that I want exactly in the same place.  For each eye, I came up at the intersection of the two lines, made two stitches at the top to hold the eye in place, then made three stitches on the side that takes the strain, backstitched on the wrong side to the other end, two stitches at the bottom, three at the strain side.

I've been accustomed to backstitch horizontally to the next position; this time I finally realized that if I backstitched diagonally across the space between stitches, I'd begin every eye from the same end, and that helped considerably with keeping them lined up.

I guess I shouldn't say "finally" because this is my first experience with sewing a whole row of metal eyes in at least twenty years.

Anyhow, the pants are done, and with fully-loaded pockets.

I'd worn them for a walk earlier in the day, and had reason to be glad of it the first time I had to thread the needle.  I'd forgotten sewing glasses when I rounded up equipment, but the fine-print glasses in the pocket of the pants are the same strength as my needle-threading glasses.

I realized today that I haven't marked "edge of pocket" on the front waistband interfacing.

Yesterday I ironed the floral-basket dress, and put one of my floral-basket handkerchiefs into its pocket.  The other two I threw into the wash, to get the starch out.  I used the two-ply cotton basting thread to zig-zag around them; I had some trouble with the thread breaking.  Since it's been hanging in a window for about a decade, I suspect that the folds around the bottom edge (which is on top, and therefore exposed to the sun) have rotted.

The thread is getting rather thin on the cone.  I suspect that another ten years will see the end of it.  I hope that thin, weak thread is available by then.  And not at a premium price like the Japanese basting thread folks on one of my fora were enthusing about:  "When you pull it out of the fabric, you can break it with your hands!"

I never minded needing a seam ripper or a pair of snips to cut basting thread into short pieces for removal.  I do mind having thread come apart while I'm trying to pull it out.

On my way out of town this morning, I stopped at a light behind a fellow who had a propeller on his trailer-hitch cover, and thought that instead of looking for a model-airplane store, I should look at the boat stores, of which we have plenty.

But a boat propeller has to be vertical.  Then again, so does an airplane propeller, and that didn't stop the designer of the propeller beanie.



19 August 2013

Still have an after-image of the sun on the flatbed interfering with my typing, but the sun should have moved on by the time I get the waistbands pinned; the sun hardly ever shines into this room.

Time to get back to work if I'm going to get anything done before time to roll out for my tooth-filling appointment.  So first I thread the machine with a double-wound bobbin underneath and one of the bobbins I'd like to empty on top, with some difficulty in getting the bobbin to go in and stay in.  Then fetch the up-arrow jeans — they've already got easing threads.

I'll leave the machine set for easing threads until the pinning is done, just in case.

The front easily eased more than enough even though the lower thread broke.  I quickly decided that the easiest plan with the back was to pick out the too-tight easing threads and start over.

Then I began the stitching with the pocket unfolded, went out to the patio to pick out those few stitches because DH needed to use XP and there's only one chair in the room, and almost made the same mistake at the other end, catching it precisely soon enough to fold the pocket with the hemmed edge touching the needle.

On to pinning.

And stitching, but it's now noon, and if I'm going to roll out at one, it's time to start changing clothes, packing a lunch, etc.  I put my sunscreen on when washing this morning.

I ran the edge of the interfacing along the inside of the right toe of my zig-zag foot, as I do when edge-stitching, and that neatly caught just the fuzz where the interfacing was torn.  Next I'll press as it lies, then top-stitch and press the waistband fold with the presser foot.

Though half the wood is showing, it looks as though the spool of thread is going to finish the job.  This isn't as important as it was before I found another spool of black #40 Coats Super Sheen while looking for something else.



21 August 2013

A Superior Threads e-mail newsletter arrived today, bragging that they now offer four sizes of sewing-machine needle to suit any thread.  In light of what I read in the White Family Rotary manual, I found that amusing.  But three of the sizes of thread that the White needles were for no longer exist, and I don't think the White needles went up as large as the Superior needles.

Might could be one of the three sizes was for Superior's 100+ thread.



22 August 2013

"Pressing the seam as it lies" really works!  Even though I didn't use any water, the puckers from easing simply vanished.  Then I pulled out the easing threads and pressed again without that constraint.

I think that pressing the crease with the presser foot comes out neater because I do it an inch at a time, very carefully.  On these stiffly-faced waistbands, anyway; I'm a mite quicker sewing flat-felled seams.

Then I trimmed and plucked getting ready to iron-press a crease on the other side.  Once, on the Creative Machine Yahoo mailing list I shocked a fine shirtmaker by suggesting the use of a whisk broom to thin a raw edge; for much of these waistbands, I had to do it her way, teasing out one thread a time with a needle.  For bull denim, my "needle" was a seam ripper.  (I think that I use that thing for an awl more often than I use it to cut stitches.)

But I used the whisk broom to make sure I'd removed all the snippets.

Now it's ready to press, but I'm hungry and it's 12:51 Double Daylight Time.

In the afternoon, I pressed and edge-stitched the back waistband, then pressed the front waistband and hand-stitched the miters at the ends.  I had to pick out some of the top-stitching to make the folds lie neatly.  This time I folded the fabric to the final position and whipped the edges together instead of trying to make a dart as I would on a shirt.  After pressing, I used my dropper bottle of starch to glue the edges down, but I don't think it took.  Probably got more result from running a bead of starch inside the fold-down crease of the top waistband.

Now all that remains is to stitch in the linings and sew on the hooks and eyes, but the natural light closed down early because of the rain tonight, and I intend to ride a quarter century tomorrow, having finally found a route to places that I want to go.  And Saturday is Farmer's Market day, so I probably won't get at it until Monday.  [Turned out to be thirty-six miles.  Was somewhat careful about how I sat during the Farmer's Market tour.  Monday was washday.]



23 August 2013

While dressing, I remembered discovering an advantage of the "vent" in jerseys the last time I wore my six-pocket T-shirt jersey:  A front opening makes it much easier to pin a cell phone into one's shirt pocket.



27 August 2013

I must think of something more graceful than pinning my pocket, particularly since all safety pins are unreasonably coarse and damage the fabric.  I put the pin parallel to the phone, off center, so that I can pull the phone out by rotating it ninety degrees, but it won't fall out without being pulled.  I don't think that permanent stitching is the answer, and buttons tend to come undone at inopportune times.  (Not to mention the difficulty of putting a buttonhole in an already-sewn patch pocket.)  I don't trust Velcro.

Pity the phone doesn't have a lanyard shackle.  How come cheap things, such as pens and styluses, have provisions to keep them in your pocket, but expensive toys are designed to slip away quietly?



28 August 2013

Unexpected time to write, though I should be using this time to "firm up hook" on the pants I'm wearing before the chore changes to "replace hook".

Sat down to resume basting the lining to the front waistband, which I'd barely begun yesterday, and pretty soon pricked my finger and got a speck of blood on the tape.  I was minded to just ignore it; after all, who is going to see the lining?

Me, that's who, so now I have to wait for it to dry before resuming work.  I got only the tape wet, blotted it well, and left it in the breeze from the air filter so it shouldn't take long.

I got the back band all basted yesterday.  I worked from the label to both ends, to be sure of centering the label.  It didn't take me long to bend the needle, and I frequently needed to use a wide rubber band as a gripper to pull the needle out of the heavy denim.  I tried to stretch the tape as it went on; seems to have worked better on the first half than on the second.

I needed the grabber less often after I thought of making the stitches diagonal on purpose, as I could then bend the band a bit without easing the tape on.  Things went even better in the second half, where I realized that this sort of situation is what the stab stitch is for.  Surprisingly difficult to pull through every other stitch with the closing loop on top where I can see it, even though that's the natural development of the rocker stitch.  Also zig-zagged some on this half, to catch all of the inner workings.

Used up the brownish-orangish red thread basting the back lining on, and the gray winding under it is the last one!  It matches the tape too well, but since I had to put some of the stitches securing the fold-under where the zig-zagging will go, perhaps that is just as well.

And now the tape is dry — and the blood stain didn't come out.  Perhaps I was rubbing the wrong place; it turned invisible once the tape was wet.

This time, I'm going to leave it.

The to-do list was hardly copied down before I got to strike "sew hook on old jeans" off it — I had to because I wanted to put them on.  "Repair spectacle rag that came out of the wash with a frayed corner" and "zig-zag around the necks of the three curry-color bras" never even made it onto the list — save in the sense of cluttering up my workspace since wash day.  It now reads:


To-Do List

remove stain from Sunday dress
sew hooks and eyes on new jeans
sew hook on old jeans
cut blend out from under linen patches on newer knickers
bar tacks on pocket of white T-shirt,
black bras
sew snap on black silk shirt, iron it
hem sleeves of cot-lin damask shirt, iron it
lengthen sleeves of blouse that matches black skirt,
examine DH's tan slacks to see why they are on the mending hook
flowered T-shirt,
grey linen bike knickers,
black cotton briefs,
linen briefs,
black-linen spectacle-cleaning rags,
pedal pushers made of linen-cotton shirting,
propeller gilligan hat
[linen gilligan hat]
evaluate 2 pair white hemp jeans
patch seat of black linen jeans
make black slippers
more pillowcases
[hem last case from previous batch]
[scan illos for Shuttle Solitaire]
[shorten silk faille gown one inch]


I seem to be adding items faster than I strike them off.

And I just discovered that the bra I'm wearing is going to come out of the next wash as cleaning rags.  <moves "make bras" up on priority list; they were just below "grey linen bike knickers">



30 August 2013

Spent a good deal of the morning picking stitches out of a cleaning rag, which is a silly waste of time.

Then I put the dress I want to wear next Sunday on the ironing board and used a dropper bottle to wet the stains with hydrogen peroxide.  No change; I used a cotton swab to add ammonia to the spot.  No fizz.  I'll let it air dry to see whether time will help, then try something else.

Now I'm about to add the files I found on Oocities to Rough Sewing.  Already have copied them from the Web-browsing computer into a new directory on this computer; now all I need to do is to write a table of contents and add a link to the main page.

Got tired & hungry soon after creating the file; didn't finish writing the introduction.

Picked some more stitches out of the cleaning rag in the afternoon, but that was less silly than playing computer card games.  Also marked the new jeans for sewing on eyes.  But I plan to read Usenet for the rest of the evening, and tomorrow is the Tour d'Warsaw, as I grandly refer to my trip to the Farmer's Markets.


3 September 2013

Repeating the treatment twice more, with and without ammonia, did the trick.  But the next time DH tried to use the dropper bottle of peroxide, he found that the peroxide had rotted it.  Back to using cotton balls to apply peroxide.

I think today I'll repair my new knickers; the old knickers are a bit alarming.  (But today is cool; won't be long until I'm back in the sweat pants.)



11 September 2013

I'm not sure I can report educational detail after all this time.

Tuesday, I observed that my stainless-steel pocket ruler is a tad less than half an inch wide, and used it to trace a Nonce-pencil line half an inch from the stitching holding the patches to the knickers.  I used the cap of a mustard jar to round the corners — I used to be fond of a mustard that came in bottles that fit a standard syrup dispenser, so I saved them.  It's been decades since I could buy gaskets for a standard syrup dispenser —they use plastic squeeze bottles these days— but nine-ounce jars with wide mouths have been quite useful, so I still have several.

My intention was to turn under a quarter inch all around and end up with a quarter-inch overlap.  The seam came out half an inch wide, nicely simulating the flat-felled seams in the knickers; I've no idea how that happened.

My "straight operating scissors" (scissors with one blunt point to make them suitable for carrying in a pocket) proved perfect for cutting along the Nonce line.  I used the pointed blade to start the cut, then turned the scissors over so that the blunt point was between the layers of fabric.  The blunt point made it much easier to cut one layer without damaging the other.

Then I hand-basted the turn-under.  It turned out that folding it so the raw edge met the raw edge of the patch made it neatly a quarter inch all around, except at the curved corners.  The corners turned out to be easy to fold neatly because most of the curve is close to the true bias.

Basting got easier after I used up the first needleful of thread and started the next one in the other direction, with the inside of the seam toward me.

Then I pressed the fold, and thought that it would be good to glue the allowance to the patch so that it wouldn't slither around while I'm rumpling the leg on the sewing machine.  So I got out the dropper bottle of undiluted starch and crayoned around under the seam allowance.  I didn't succeed in gluing the edge down, but boy did it get stiff!  This made it behave very well while being stitched.

Which wasn't until the following day; the seam hadn't ironed quite dry, and I needed to have my lunch and my nap early because of an afternoon appointment.  So I draped it over the ironing board with both patches un-rumpled.

I stitched it on Wednesday, and on Thursday wore it on an expedition that wasn't as major as I expected because I got a flat rear tire and called for a ride shortly after the turn-around point.

At one point I looked down and noticed that the "good part" I'd patched the left leg with had been worn translucent.  Ah, well, that leg gets less wear than the other, I'm going to be switching to sweat pants before too long, and I should have the new pair done by spring.

Since then I've been spending my sewing time fiddling with my web site, and tomorrow I'm taking another crack at that major expedition.



12 September 2013

Off to Spring Creek by bicycle — carrying a rain jacket, after consulting three weather websites.

And after adding "scan illos for the tatting book" to my to-do list.  If I'm going to spend sewing time fiddling with web sites, I might as well get credit for it.  (Not to mention that the reason this job wasn't done years ago is that I keep forgetting that I have illos to scan.)



15 September 2013

Got the folder marked "Shuttle Solitaire illos" out of the file, was disappointed to find only two medallions, neither very useful.



16 September 2013

But I did find two borderline-useful scans in the "TAT/JPG" folder and wrote links to them:

While sorting laundry, I found that the other of the older white bras had worn out.  I'd better sign up for Don McCunn's last "bust sling" bra-making class.

Pity he's retiring; there is no-one to replace him.

I do have two orange bras still in the closet, thanks to two "undress into the washer" incidents, but it's more convenient to have at least nine bras so that I can put on a fresh bra every morning without evaluating whether yesterday's is still clean, and so I can postpone washday without running out.  This leaves three orange, one red, one black, one white:  only six.



20 September 2013

This is Friday; I rode a quarter century (actually 27.9 miles, plus a few short bits Google maps refuses to measure) on Wednesday and was worthless on Thursday.  Sounds as though I should give up quarter centuries, but without them I'd be worthless every day — and they've been bringing down my blood pressure.

I'm digging into the pattern trunk in search of my slipper pattern.  Since it's been many years, I'm starting at the bottom, and finding stuff I'd forgotten about.  I'm not sure I ever knew that I had instructions for the crocheted glove that I found while searching for tatted trefoils.  I don't know where I got that glove or how long it's been rattling around.  Perhaps I should wrap it in acid-free paper (to protect it from the pulp paper many of the patterns are on) and put it into the pattern trunk.

I must have sorted before; the bottom layers are all knitting patterns.

When I resumed searching, the top item on the pile I had removed from the trunk and turned upside-down so that items would be returned in the same order was Singer Home Decoration Guide.  I put it on the shelf next to American Needlework.

I didn't know I'd saved the pattern for my pants protector!

A paper pattern for the Busch Garden shirt?  You draft that one directly on the fabric.

And it turned out that the slippers were almost at the top:  had I taken out one more item before deciding to search from the bottom, I'd have found them.
slipper soles heel 
                     end of upper



22 September 2013

I'm getting pretty deep into my pile of worn-out pillowcases:  the one I tore a sweat rag out of this morning had a label in it, meaning I didn't make it.  It was also yellow with age; perhaps I shouldn't skip over the printed fabrics when I make sweat rags.



24 September 2013

The label says "Spring Knight/Springmaid" on one side and "size before hemming/42 x36" on the other.  There is more writing that I could read if I bothered to pick the label out of the stitching.

Whaddayouknow?  This hem is one of those where "brrp happens".

In creating that link, I discovered that the line "sometimes brrp does happen" occurs without the antecedent "delicious hope that you'll hit upon the method that goes "brrp!" and the seam is out".  Also found that I never linked from the contents page to this file!  Nor is there a link to part two in part one.

And I fiddled with GIMP and made links to the two scans I had made of the slipper pattern.  Unfortunately, the scanner died while I was trying to scan the vamps.

Whatever, on one side the label reads "Spring Knight/A/SPRINGMAID/Cotton (R)" and on the other, "TYPE 128/SIZE BEFORE HEMMING/42 X 38".

So I've been trying to remember whether I've bought pillowcases or always made them from old sheets (and, sometimes, purpose-bought fabric that was supposed to be extra nice and wasn't).  I don't remember buying pillowcases, but I remember buying sheets only because I paid a premium for the first perma-press sheets on the market, didn't like them, and when they'd worn out, I had to pay a premium to get sheets that were not perma-press.  This annoyed me very much.

I recall not being happy about the quality of ready-made pillowcases, but whether that was at home after I bought them or in the store before I didn't buy them, I don't recall.

Being born with a defective memory gets more and more inconvenient as one accumulates years.


1 October 2013

This evening, I put my foot on the pattern for the slipper sole, and found that it hung over a tad at the point where I get corns if I'm not dilligent with the moleskin and plastic pumice.  (Which is why I need new slippers:  instead of carrying slippers to change into, I can wear these home-made slippers inside my winter sandals, and just take off my "overshoes" when I get to church.)

So I traced the sole pattern onto spreadsheet paper, then thought about tracing it to make the pattern for the innersole and re-traced it onto a 2008 calendar that's printed on light card.  Then I put my foot on the pattern and traced around it with my disappearing marker.  Since the second line was purple, there was no confusion with the first one.  I found that less than an eighth of an inch needed to be added to the little-toe side.  The added width was closer to the heel than I expected.

Cutting out light card is harder than cutting out paper:  it won't bend out of the way, so one has to make false cuts to be able to turn the scissors.

I traced the template onto spreadsheet paper twice and labeled and dated the new patterns.

I don't plan to make any changes to the back upper, but I copied it onto spreadsheet paper just to have a matched set.

Then I thought I might as well finish the job, and copied the vamp pattern onto spreadsheet paper, then added an arbitrary amount to one side to make it asymmetric, and also less pointy.  I didn't make two copies of this because I'll probably want to change it after making the beta.

I plan to use twinkle-twinkle for the beta, partly because I have a glut of it, and partly because I can wear the beta with my Wizard robe on Halloween.

No sewing tomorrow:  I'm going shopping, and usually come back tired.



3 October 2013

Got the "twinkle-twinkle" down off the shelf, and a pile of black-background tulip-print interlock I'd forgotten about.  Briefly considered using the tulips, since there isn't enough of it to make a shirt, but then remembered that I could wear twinkle-twinkle shoes come Halloween.

I wish I knew what the twinkle-twinkle is printed on.  When I undress at night, I throw my old beta shirt on the floor in a heap, and it always looks neat and freshly-pressed.  I'd like to buy some more of that — in a somewhat less-memorable print.

I'm still groggy.  I think that has as much to do with the rain and gloomy light as with the skipped nap and exercise yesterday.

Folding up the tulips preliminary to unfolding the twinkle-twinkle, I was thinking "maybe if I cut very cleverly, and piece the sleeves . . ." when I noticed that one piece is yellow and pink tulips; the other is yellow and purple.

I recall that print as being ubiquitous at the time; I saw it on all kinds of fabric.

Oops.  I forgot to mark the centers of the vamps and heels.  Folded the heels to mark with the Nonce pencil, fetched out the patterns to fold and mark the heel pattern, and mark the vamps with the center mark already on the vamp pattern.

("Heel" is short for "heel end of the upper".)

And then I was just unbearably hungry, so I knocked off even though I'm about to sew on the soles and after that, they will be finished.

I absent-mindedly cut the vamps with the long grain running widthwise, and the heels with the long grain running the long way — which is less serious than the vamp error.  I got the soles right, with the long grain running the long way.

Next I measured the old slippers and cut two nine-and-a-half inch pieces of quarter-inch elastic, folded the heels.  I folded the each end of each heel in half with the end of the elastic snugged up against the fold, and zig-zagged to keep the elastic in place and encourage the heel to stay folded.  I basted one vamp to each end of each heel piece with straight stitch.  Then back to zig-zag to sew the two vamps together.

One of the vamps has a flaw in the goods that I didn't see until assembling; I'll sew that upper to soles first to be sure of turning that side to the inside.  The other upper is good on both sides.

And now it's time for a nap.

All done.  The old twinkle-twinkle slippers have been ceremoniously dropped into the waste basket.

I had to pick out about two inches of the first seam because I didn't catch both layers of the sole.  Before assembling the second slipper, I put pins all around to hold the layers in place, and pulled them out and used them as I pinned the uppers and sole together.  I may baste the nice wool slippers.

Turns out that only the mark at the heel is necessary; I fit the toe by working both ways from the heel.

This pattern is symmetrical right and left; one needs mirror images to make inside and outside.  Three double-sided pieces compose each slipper, and one makes a right and left by pinning the upper to the correct side of the sole.

But I'm going to have to make right and left patterns.  My feet aren't the same size, and the right slipper is a little tight.  Not too tight, because I happened to make the right slipper second, and had figured out by then that I needed to make narrower seam allowances.  (The upper with the defect on one side turned out to be the left slipper.)

When I make slippers of my wool interlock, which is thicker than the cotton of the beta, I'll have to make the right sole just a bit longer.

I started out sewing zig-zag solely to make a stretch stitch, guiding the outer edge of the presser foot on the cut edge as for a quarter-inch seam.  But that's for a straight stitch with the needle in the middle; with the zig-zag on full width, that was a tad too wide.  Then I realized that the seam would be neater if I guided the inner edge of the toe along the cut edge, so that the zags fell just barely not through the fabric.  This makes a minimum-width seam allowance, which is less obtrusive inside the shoe — and made the right shoe a tad larger.  (I'd tried the left slipper on my right foot before turning it right-side out.)

I think that changing only the sole will suffice.

My alterations to the sole and vamp appear to be correct.  Because of yesterday's shopping trip, when my right shoe started to cramp my arch, obliging me to walk on cold tile in very thin wool socks, I plan to make the soles three layers of wool.  Never mind that the church is carpeted, they don't run air conditioning ducts under the floor, and I'll have another pair of shoes on over the slippers while walking outside.

This will mean I need an midsole pattern, since the wool is too thick to allow five layers in the seam.  I'll trim a tad more than a quarter inch off each sole pattern (right and left), and quilt the midsole to the inner sole before basting it to the outsole.

I decided to make the right-sole pattern —I think that I don't need to lengthen the upper also— and found it so very easy that I also made two midsole patterns.

I got out the light-card template I used to make sole patterns for the beta slippers, carefully aligned it with the lines on a sheet of spreadsheet paper, traced around it, moved it a tad and traced around the toe again, smoothed the two corn-bumps together and made them a hairsbreadth wider, and cut it out.  (A certain amount of "that's not enough, that's too much omitted.)

Then I traced the template —now a left template— and the new right-sole pattern.  I went around the edges marking by the quarter-inch tab on an advertising-premium seam gauge I happen to have, which made the strip taken off just a bit more than a quarter inch, and the seam will take just a bit less than a quarter inch, so there should be worlds of clearance.

Cut 'em out and put them away.

Perhaps I should climb up and see what I have in the way of black wool interlock.  The box of wool scraps is the bottom box of a pile on the top shelf, so this is going to require the step stool.

There is hardly any interlock in the box of wool scraps, and none of it is black.  The length of jersey in my stash is suitable for tights, but I don't want to make slippers of it.  Where did I get the fabric the shabby pair are made of?  I may end up using cotton interlock even though it doesn't dye as black a black as wool does.



4 October 2013

When I went to bed last night, I was still wearing the slippers I'd put on to see whether they fit.  Might could be I should make some more of those.

I quit making house slippers when it became impossible to buy polyester doubleknit for the soles —the original pattern called for poly throughout— but I've come to think that polyester doesn't wear any longer than good natural fibers.  Sleazy, rumply, short-staple "natural fibers" are another matter; I suspect that synthetics can go farther down "we can save a whole penny" than naturals without falling apart.



16 October 2013

It is quite silly to keep intermediate copies of the to-do list, not to mention inconvenient to find the current version when several entries have been made after it, so I've moved it down to the end matter.

I've just deleted "sew hooks and eyes on new jeans"; spent the whole day on it because I need to wear them tomorrow.  (The whole day aside from packing my suitcase, helping DH unpack his, run a load of wash, etc.)

Finished at half-past eleven; no Usenet tonight.  When sewing on the last ten eyes, I kept dropping the teeny irreplaceable things and freaking out; I dropped the last one three times, twice because I thought I'd secured it with a stitch and it managed to get the gap in the loop over the thread.  Of course, by then I'd moved to the sofa —I'd sewed the first ten sitting in the plain wooden rocking chair with my back to the glass door— and had to look under the cushion each time.  Then when I was sewing on the very last hook, I made a false stitch, unthreaded the needle, and dropped it.  Never did find it.  I spent quite a lot of time looking for fear of finding it the hard way.

Anyhow, the procedure was to sew on the hook at one end of the front waistband, sew ten eyes on the back waistband on the same side, hook a loose hook into one of the eyes in the inner five, hook the attached hook into the corresponding eye of the outer five, mark the place to sew on the loose hook by putting the point of a pencil into each of its two loops and twisting the pencil to make a dot.

Also struck off "sew snap on silk shirt"; I did that yesterday or the day before.  Turned out two snap-halves had come off, each firmly attached to its other half, by good luck.  The original stitching was done with Gütermann so it wouldn't be shiny; I did the replacement with Tire so that I wouldn't have to do it again.  Doesn't show much against the raw silk — particularly the stitches of the upper snap, which are all on the inside where you couldn't see them if they were red.



23 October 2013

Reading back, I see that I didn't explain "irreplaceable".  I found exactly enough black bar eyes in my stash to do the job.  This is strange, because I distinctly remember using up all my eyes, after fasteners on cards went extinct.

One card had two hooks and ten bar eyes, so the eyes on the service opening match, and have hooks that were made for them.  The adjustment opening has two or three kinds of eyes.  I think the hooks match some of them.  The matching set were "plated and enamelled steel".  The others were some brass and some steel, and didn't look as well made.  Seeing brass eyes that seemed inferior to some steel eyes rather surprised me.  No way to tell which is which now, save to wait until the paint wears off — which in an adjustment opening should be a long, long time.

Today, I sorted out three pattern pieces to make a flowered T-shirt, all marked as having been used to make my white T-shirt with the collar.  Also considered laying the flowered jersey on the table to relax, but didn't.



24 October 2013

Trouble with using the eating table as a cutting table is that we keep wanting to use it for eating.  Pretty much rules out laying out a fabric to relax and leaving it for days.  Not to mention that it is now a cat-medication organizing table, which makes clearing it off so I can expand it even more complicated than half a dozen kinds of salt, etc.  The condiments, napkins, etc. can be tossed in all directions and returned as they are wanted; the medications have to remain organized.

But I managed to clear off a patch of floor exactly as wide as the flowered jersey in the parlor/storage room, and lay out enough to cut a T-shirt.  Egad, I have a lot of that fabric!

I think it's enough to cut a T-shirt.  I'd misted it with water before I thought of laying the pattern on it.  I laid it out single; the front and back patterns were made on folded paper that can be opened out.

As I was passing by, I bent down to straighten a wrinkle and found the fabric already dry, so I tried the patterns on it:  there is worlds of room.  Then I misted it again, more thoroughly.  The fabric has been misted with starch several times, so I don't think this will do any good, but it will have plenty of time to dry while I'm napping.

If I use my rotary cutter, I'll have to use the smaller cutting mat — it's the only one that has a matching piece of plywood for cutting on carpet.

But we do have firm carpet in there, and the mats are reasonably stiff.  It might be worth trying the larger one.  I definitely can't use an un-aided mat on the fluffier living-room carpet.

The cutting mats do work on the carpet, and I used both to cut a strip off the bottom to bind the neck with.  But I concluded while doing that that the easiest way to cut this project is with scissors.  Not an *easy* way, since there was no standing space beside the fabric.

While cutting off the binding strip, I felt that three pattern pieces weren't quite all there was to it, and while cutting the sleeves, I remembered:  pockets.  I thought the pockets on the white T-shirt a trifle oversized, so I found the pattern I'd used to make those pockets, then selected one slightly smaller.  It turned out to fit nicely on the scrap left between the front and the back.

I've treated grain in this piece with a great deal of contempt, since I can't draw a thread and the print is artistically skewed to obscure the repeat.  I cut the neckband by laying a two-edged ruler along the jagged edge where the jersey had been cut off the bolt, then cut the front and back with their straight hems on this cut, and arranged the sleeves by "that looks about level".  I did peer at the columns of stitches while arranging the pockets on the scrap.

I absent mindedly cut the sleeves upside-down with respect to the front and back, to fit their curve into the shoulder slant, but they match each other and the print is very small and busy.  I did cut the pockets to match the "nap" of the main pieces — and then nearly lost track while turning the first pocket this way and that to come at it from the easiest direction with the scissors.  Wrote "hem" with washout marker before cutting the second pocket.  I was cutting on the table, since I didn't have to expand or even clear it for such a small job.

At the moment, the sleeves, neckband, and pockets are draped over the accumulation on the ironing board and the front and back are loosely associated with the cutting mat on the parlor floor.  I have yet to mark notches and darts.

And I just now remembered to pick up my Grabbit (magnetic pin tray) and put it upside-down on the sewing machine.  The poor cat has enough troubles without letting him play with my pins.



28 October 2013

Later that day, I pushed the front and back under the coffee table to keep them from getting stepped on.  I've had something else to occupy my mind every day since then.  Today was laundry day, tomorrow I'm taking a Sprawlmart tour, just for the exercise, and the next day is the last possible day to buy my winter supply of flour.

My linen hat has worn into holes.  I'd better get on with making a new one Real Soon Now.

There's a model-airplane shop where the Salvation Army store used to be.  I'd better ask them whether they have propellers before they go the way of all the other stores that have occupied that building since the thrift shop moved out.



1 November 2013

Today I marked the front and back, sewed the darts, and flat-felled the shoulder seams.  I turned the fells as little as possible, which will make the shirt slightly looser, and makes the seams more ladylike.



5 November 2013

Yesterday I basted an eighth-inch flat-fell fold on one side of the back, and was almost done with the other side when the needle ran out of thread, and the X-ray technician called my name before I could re-thread.  I hope that I can find the needle I hastily stuck into the shirt.

No broken bones, but there's a lot of bruising in my chest.  The grabber I use to get boxes of scraps off the top shelf was a major help in getting the wash done today.  I dried everything on racks, so I don't have to take it down until tomorrow.



6 November 2013

Couldn't find the needle; I assume it's somewhere in my go bag, rather than where it will get sat on.  Took another, finished the job, basted turns into the sleeves and pockets while I was at it.  The next step should start making this thing look like a T-shirt.



8 November 2013

Yesterday I cut twenty-one inches off the strip I cut to be neck binding and sewed it around the neck.  I should have cut twenty inches; the binding flops in the front.  But I intend to thread elastic through it instead of picking it off and doing it over.

I folded and pinned the binding in place without pressing, and did the entire stitch-in-the-ditch round by twirling the handwheel with my finger.  Nipped the fold now and again anyway; if I use this finish on something fancy, I'll ditch-stitch by hand.

I think I clunked against a pin, so I'm going to have to change the needle before proceeding.

Attached the sleeves, and sewed the ends of the pocket hems and turned them right side out.

Need to clear the ironing board before the next step.

I think I'll make fold-bottom pockets, since I've been discussing them on How to Make Sewing Patterns.  I didn't cut them with the extra quarter inch, but patch pockets aren't all that precise.



10 November 2013

Marked a wash-out line one inch above the edge of the hem on my silk gown, and picked the old hem out.  I don't know whether I'll have the patience to do such a fine job of putting it back in.  And I'm pretty sure I haven't any more brown silk thread.  I have plenty of black silk, though.

Need to clear the ironing board before the next step, which is to press the old crease out.  I doubt that I can make it flat, but I can make it flatter.



18 November 2013

Deleted "shorten silk faille gown one inch" from list of things to do.  I pressed and pinned it Saturday, intending to wear it to church on Sunday, but I'd just finished the first needleful of thread when it was nap time.  (It turned out too warm to wear it anyway.)  Worked on it some Sunday night and finished today.  I used "100+" black thread, which makes the stitches nearly invisible.  Simply running-stitched near the fold, taking stitches rather smaller than required (hence the three-day hemming).  It's un-natural to take long stitches with a #10 needle and #100 thread!

Pressed darts, pockets, and turn-unders for the flowered T-shirt today.  I'd be sewing the pockets on right now, but I forgot to press the bottom fold.  And just now remembered that I intended to leave the bottom un-folded so I could make a fold-bottom pocket.

I also deleted "hem last case from previous batch".  I pressed and pinned it Saturday, after flattening the crease in the silk gown, and stitched it on the treadle this afternoon.



19 November 2013, three in the morning

I decided that I didn't want to zig-zag the pocket and turned an eighth of an inch to the right side.  (The fabric had been starched, so finger-pressing was enough.)  In the evening, I picked up a needle to miter the corners, realized that you can't miter a corner between folds on opposite sides of the fabric, realized that these corners will be completely enclosed, cut out the excess fabric.

And basted the folds just because I had the needle in hand.  Hope I don't regret that.  The thread with which I basted the fold on the pillowcase bled.  Appeared to be red thread — don't know why I would baste with red.



19 November 2013, 9:45 — up again and fully awake

It was the fold on the shirt-back that bled when I used a damp cloth to set the crease on the sleeve.  (I didn't think that I basted the pillowcase fold — or even use a damp cloth to press it.)  And on inspection, there's only four inches of red thread.  Obviously, I used up what was on the needle before threading basting thread into it.

No breakfast yet, and I've already done a little mending.  While dressing, DH caught his foot in a loop of worn-off hem on his jeans, so I grabbed the pair of scissors I keep in the drawer of the treadle and cut it off.



20 November 2013

I bought a pair of "fleece lined" black pantyhose today.  Black slippers would look as though I were running around in stocking feet.  Feeling as though I were in stocking feet is the whole point of those slippers, so wearing my Capezios isn't a serious option.  But I haven't tried standing long enough to sing hymns in the Capezios recently enough to know whether it would hurt my hip.  And the dancing boots would definitely do.  They are, for all practical purposes, leather stockings.  (With non-skid soles.) 

I think I've just talked myself out of making a pair of not-black slippers.  Particularly since there aren't any not-black colors suitable for shoes that aren't made for a specific outfit.

But if I wear my dancing boots in church, I need a bag to carry them in.  The shoulder bag I carry the Capezios in is too small, and my other shoulder bags are huge.

Got the pockets sewn onto the flowered T-shirt yesterday.  Attached them at the bottom first, then remembered that I hadn't sewn the hems.  At least that wasn't as much of a pain as making the same mistake with regular patch pockets:  Then it would have been either pick the pockets off or sew the hems by hand.

I sewed a pleat of shirt into the top stitching twice — both times in the same seam, and (of course!) both times at the ticklish end where I'm scroonching to keep the underpart of the fold out of sight.  (I started at that end, so that isn't quite as daft as it sounds.)  I eased the underpart onto the thread a little when I basted the turn-under, but didn't ease it enough to make the fold-up easy.

I folded the pockets up right on the stitching lines, marked where the top corners fell, then pinned the corners three-eighths of an inch lower than that.  I like the result quite well; the benefits of the fold-bottom are there, but a three-sixteenths pleat is very subtle and neat.  And the narrow fold-bottom will minimize difficulty in brushing lint out of the corners of the pleat.

I noticed that my leg board is warped, so when I was through pinning the pockets, I put it on the ironing board concave side down and put a pile of dictionaries on it.  It looks nice and flat now, but I haven't taken the dictionaries off yet.  ☺



21 November 2013

Pulled out the red thread that bled onto my pressing rag; it hadn't bled onto the T-shirt.  It would have been on the inside, and inside a seam, but it's nice that it didn't.

Ran out of thread at the end of the first row of top-stitching on the second side seam.  Fortunately I have a spool of 100/6 for each machine and the Necchi wasn't using its spool, so I didn't have to re-wind before continuing.



22 November 2013

Did have to take a pizza out of the oven, though.  It was kinder groggy making that last line of topstitching.  Didn't matter much that the sun had set, because it had been gloomy all day.

Different points of view:  while reading a Creative Machine post this morning, I came across "longish stitch say one centimetre into the garment then a tiny half centimetre into the fold of the bias".  For those who don't speak metric:  that's almost half an inch, and a fifth of an inch.

I call a quarter inch "long", not "longish".  Unless I'm basting, in which case a quarter inch is "short" and eighth-inch stitches are for securing ends.

Chimed eight bells just as I was getting up from the sewing machine, so I got all the hems done in the morning.  I turned up one inch for both the bottom and the sleeves.  Remains only to put elastic into the neckline.

I tried it on yesterday, and I think I'll wear it to the Thanksgiving party.  Not with a red bra!



23 November 2013

"flowered T-shirt" deleted from the to-do list, and the shirt is in the washer soaking its wash-out marks out.

I sewed 1/8" elastic to one of my steel yarn needles.  It was very difficult to keep the fabric from gathering up so tight that I couldn't feel to make sure the elastic was flat, and it proved impossible to pull the last half-inch loop of elastic inside the casing.

With the elastic being so fussy about going in, I sewed permanently instead of using a safety pin to try the length, reasoning that if it turned out to be too long I could cut the splice out.  20" (minus half an inch for the splice) was just right, and pulling it over my head finally persuaded that last half inch to pull inside the casing.  The binding was definitely gathered in front (a little off to the right) but I reasoned that the gathers would gradually distribute themselves evenly, and sure enough the neckline looked much better after I pulled the shirt off.

And I got the shirt off without removing my glasses!

So I mended the seam that I'd opened to get the elastic in and threw the shirt into the washing machine for a fill, agitate, soak, agitate, and spin in plain cold water.  That should get out all the water-erasable marks and some of the starch — though I'm not worried about starch because it already wasn't hurting anything.  Knits don't seem to notice starch in wear, even when one can finger-press creases in.

When I make my next T-shirt, I think I'll sew the seam allowances of the neckband down, just in case.  One of the allowances on the neck binding was rumpled or something —I couldn't actually see it— and that caused no end of trouble.

I noticed, a few days ago, that the pieces I cut out from under the patches on the knees of my cotton-linen blend knickers are a good size and shape for spectacle-cleaning rags.  Pity I zig-zagged them with white thread before washing them.  Perhaps I should pick it out and do the job over with black.  And somewhat shorter stitches.



24 November 2013

And maybe trim off the fuzzies first.  I picked out the stitching and starched the edges today.  A drop-dispenser bottle is a major help with starching edges; every household should have a boxful of them.

I thought that the zig-zag machine was already set up for the job, but the black thread on it is polyester.  What have I been sewing with polyester?

Got the dancing boots out of storage.  Reached up and took the right box off the shelf at first try!  But I found that they need polishing, the shoe polish is dried up beyond crayon consistency, and with these stockings they pinch my toes.  So I wore my wool slippers, and inspection showed me that new slippers are a high-priority project.

And I remembered, just now, to spin out the T-shirt I put in to soak yesterday.  The water looked a little starchy.  Looks pretty good still wet.



25 November 2013

The new shirt needs ironing.  I trimmed off the fuzzies and zig-zagged the spectacle-cleaning rags today.  Then I threw them into the laundry basket, but the black stuff had already been washed by then.

After supper, I thought about cutting out my new slippers, but there are at least three colors of black cotton interlock scraps; I think I'd better wait for daylight to sort them out.

I wonder:  would it be gauche to make slippers to match the two "villa olive"-print dresses that I wear to church fairly often?



27 November 2013

Yea rah!  This morning I put on one of the two pairs of silk tights that I bought last spring just in time to put them away for the summer, and so far it isn't squishing my belly.  That means that I don't have to pick out the elastic and hand-sew a casing for looser elastic.  In fact, they allow for much more belly than I've got:  they pull up so much more in front than in back that I checked to make sure I hadn't put them on backward.

Yesterday I found some sweat pants on the mending hook marked "zig-zag crotch seams".  I thought at first that I would put the polyester thread back on the Necchi, then reflected that polyester can be irritating and there isn't all that much wear left in the pants; Gütermann does hold for a while.

This morning I did it.  Would have been two quick and easy runs down the two sides of a gusset, if I'd put brain in gear before engaging sewing machine.  Managed it in quite a lot of break-offs and start-overs, and one picking-out.  (Managed to sew a pleat of the other fabric into the seam.)  Then I zig-zagged back and forth over a small hole that had developed where a broken stitch had exposed the fabric-edge to wear.

Unfortunately, these sweats are for wearing over the kind that I'm hunting for because of the signs of wear in last year's two pairs, so I still have to shop shop.  Perhaps I'd have better luck hunting for "leggings".  Haven't found any sweat pants at all so far, which is surprising even though I haven't been many places.

I also dry-ironed my new T-shirt so that I can wear it to the party tomorrow.

I would be exaggerating if I said that no two scraps of black interlock were the same color — but not by much.  I found a scrap big enough to cut the heels and vamps, then selected one to cut the soles from with no regard to color.  I cut the midsoles from banana wool, since that's my thickest knit fabric.  The scraps seem to be thinner than my banana-wool jersey, so I suppose I'd better waulk them before sewing them to the innersoles.  I gather that "waulk" means that you lay wet fabric out on a flat surface, and waulk, waulk, waulk it with a stick.  (Wikipedia says that hands and feet were also used to pound the cloth.)

And here progress ceases for a two-day party.  I'm taking my banana-wool jersey and equipment for darning with me.  Thought about my new balls of bedspread cotton (I always carry a #8 hook), but I don't know of any pregnant relatives and that takes the fun out of crocheting baby booties.  And there is no end of darning in that shirt.

I remembered to put in my favorite pair of +3.5 reading glasses.



29 November 2013

Stitched loose spots on one of the bands supporting the pockets.  Was surprised at how hard the first needleful of thread was to handle, noticed when cutting the second that I had 100+, not #50.  After using up the second I decided to postpone the other strap until I got home to my thread collection, so I rethreaded with two strands of the thread salvaged when I took the elastic out of my silk tights and started a darn.  Then the boys came back from skeet shooting and I never got back to it.  But I didn't lose any needles!  At least not permanently.

I was wearing one of the two pairs of silk tights that I bought because the pair that the silk thread was salvaged from is completely worn out.  Apparently, the factory eased up on the ferocious elastic; I'm *not* going to have to take the stitching out of the new pairs.  It wasn't hard to get the five rows of stitching out, but I had to sew the casing for the new elastic by hand because the fabric is so delicate that I needed to use the original holes.  There was more thread left over than I used, since the factory stitching was done with an overlocker, and I saved it because it was silk, and it proved perfect for darning moth holes in my wool bicycle jersey.



2 December 2013

I didn't waulk the midsoles because I don't know how.  Instead, I put them in a pie plate of water and rubbed them all over with a bar of soap, as if trying to take out a stain, washed them in the soapy water, rolled them between my hands, rinsed until the water ran clear, washed them in water with a dash of vinegar to make sure all the soap was out — soap attacks animal fibers if given a chance.  Then I rinsed them a few more times, rolled them in a towel, and wrang the towel.

All this had left the edges very curly, so I ironed them dry.  At first I thought all I'd get from this was neat curls:  one of the first things new knitters must learn is that you can't block curl out; you have to use a stitch that doesn't curl if you want a scarf to lie flat.  But a good hot iron can press curl out.

To my surprise, this procedure left the midsoles a little bit narrower and a lot longer.  I suspect that this is because there was a lot of longitudinal stress as I rubbed them with soap and rubbed the iron back and forth, so it won't do to just trim the excess length off; it must be eased in somehow.  I'll start by basting the midsoles back to back so that they can't curl, wetting them again, and letting them dry relaxed.

I hate the present participle of "baste".  Both "basting" and "basteing" are wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong wrong wrong.  The guys on Alt.Usage.English say it should be "basting", but that's the present participle of "bast"!  Yes, "bast" is a noun, but it could be used as a verb.  And even if it couldn't, pronouncing "basting" with the same "a" as "baste" grossly violates the rules of English orthography.  Having complicated rules is no reason to flout simple rules when you've got 'em.

I re-threaded the Necchi with thread that had lost its provenance, lengthened the stitch, and zig-zagged around the midsoles.  It's a pity that I didn't do this "shrinking" yesterday, as I could now throw them in with a load of wash, if I hadn't just completed the washing for this week.



4 December 2013

I got a little darning done in the dentist's chair yesterday.

And this morning I scratched "bar tacks on pocket of white T-shirt" off my to-do list.  Discovered, in the process, that the shirt needs washing.



7 December 2013

DH bought a pair of flannel-lined jeans yesterday, so I'm cutting them shorter this morning.  He wore them folded up yesterday; I pinned them before he took them off after First Friday.

Rashly, I'm cutting before washing.  These are Carhart — as proven by the brown pocket linings.  (Is that color trademarked?  I haven't seen anybody else use it.)

This morning I measured them and determined that I want to cut off two-and-a-half inches, leaving an inch and a half for the hem.  Found a two-and-three-eighths hem gauge in my snack bag of cards, figured that marking along the edge and then cutting off the mark would be just right.  Reasoned that I'd be cutting the instant I finished marking and grabbed my purple self-erasing marker.  No mark.  Would the newer pink one work better?  Probably not, this mark happens to lie right along a black stripe.  Back to the pencil mug for the Nonce pencil.  Well, I went for the chalk pencil, but saw the Nonce pencil first.

I don't have a cutting mat small enough to put inside a pants leg, so it's bent-handle trimmers for this job.  It was very difficult to snip the initial puncture long enough to get the scissor blade in.  Picked up the second leg.  Do I push harder to make a bigger hole?  But that would also make a wider hole.  A light bulb appears above my head and I reach for the triangular-bladed Exacto knife.  It punched a slit quite easily, and then I sawed along the pencil mark until the slit was long enough to put the scissors in.

And now I'm about to deconstruct part of the hem on one cut-off piece to see whether Carhart has any advice on how to sew the new hem.

Stitching began and ended right on a seam lump — but I see that it begins and ends right after the seam lump on the other leg.  From the outside, it appeared that the second fold had been made exactly on the raw edge, but inside I see that there is an eighth of an inch of clearance.  Absolutely nothing has been done to reduce the size of the lump, except to use mock-felled seams instead of the traditional flat fell.  Unlike my mock fells, the edges are finished with overcasting.  I suspect that they were overcast, sewn, and top-stitched all in one operation.  I'd like to see a step-frame movie of the machine that does it.

Hrrrmmm . . . the inseams are mock-fell, and the side seams are simply overlocked together.  It's the other way around in cheap jeans.  And the side seams are pressed opposite ways at the top and bottom.  On both legs; my first thought was that they were pressed at the bottom in the direction that made them go through the hemmer more easily, but that would make one seam match the way the pocket forced it to fold.

All done.  I marked dashes using the 1 1/2" arm of my little blue plastic dinger, intending to fold the raw edge to almost meet the dotted line and then fold feeling for the raw edge.  It turned out that the turn of the cloth pushed the flannel out more than an eighth of an inch beyond the denim, so I folded so that the flannel covered the dotted line and (I guessed) the denim didn't.

Which machine to change the thread on?  The free arm on the Necchi was made for just this sort of stitching; on the other hand the White is made for punching through heavy cloth and you don't really need a free arm for a circle this wide, on the third hand I have to change both the thread and the needle on the White.

And, it turned out, I had a terrible time getting the new needle to go into the White.  Finally resorted to taking the whole thing apart and looking at the pieces, then I was able to get it in, and it didn't give me any back-talk when I had to replace a broken needle.  But I still haven't found the bit that broke off.  I don't *think* it's down in the machine.

My first thought was that any old black thread would do, then I remembered that I have some shiny black upholstery thread that looks like top-stitching thread — not that anyone will ever see it, but *I'll* know it's down there.

It turns out that there are hard places in the mock-felled seams.  When a fabric is too thick to stitch, you can move the handwheel back and forth and sort of pile-drive your way through, but these stopped the needle in the same place every time.  Sometimes shifting a thread's width would get off the hard place, sometimes pushing harder on the handwheel would get through.  But when I did the first mock-fell lump, I came to a place where shifting even long distances didn't help, and pushing harder broke the needle.  Oddly, I had hardly any trouble stitching over the mock-fell seam in the second leg; I didn't even have to lift the presser foot very many times.

And I did trim as much bulk out of the lumps as I could.

He hasn't tried them on yet, but I'm going to bed.  I have to get up before 2:30 —preferably 2:00— to get ready for a tea party at 3:00.



9 December 2013

Sometime or another I thought of gluing the midsoles down with starch so that I could scroonch them.  So I sprayed the left midsole with starch on the lid of the washing machine, then when that didn't stick it, poured on a little undiluted starch.  Whenever I passed by it, I would push the ends to make wrinkles and pat the wrinkles smooth.  This morning, I peeled it off and laid it on the pattern:  It had returned to exactly where it started.  (What a lot of wasted effort!)

So I put the right midsole on the lid.  This time the diluted starch in the spray bottle sufficed to glue it down, presumably because there was already a film of starch on the lid.  It's dry, and nothing sticks out when I lay the pattern on it, but I intend to leave it there until I'm ready to sew it to the insole.  Next time I make slippers, I'll use wool flannel if I want to insulate the soles.  I've got some of that in black — I think.

I'm planning, Real Soon Now, to move my collection of Threads magazines to the top shelf and put the more-frequently used boxes where the stack of magazines is.



17 December 2013

The morning after washday, with most of the wash still on drying racks, I found nothing but PFD briefs in my drawer and took this opportunity to count the old ragged ones:  three striped, three twinkle-twinkle, and one charcoal gray that used to be black.

And I've still got eight PFD briefs, one with self lining and seven with well-worn hemp-and-cotton jersey lining.  I ought to get down the scraps from making the hemp briefs that I cut up for the seven linings and zig-zag them (if that seems required), and put them into the laundry room to go through with every load until they are soft an thin.  That way I could start right to work when the ragged panties finish wearing out.

I wonder whether I can still find all the pieces for the slippers I started weeks ago?

All there, and now the midsoles are quilted to the innersoles.  I measured the right midsole against the left outersole (which I'd mistaken for the right innersole) and thought it needed more scroonching, but it was dry by the time I mailed the Christmas cards and took my nap.  (Which-all I did about halfway through quilting the left midsole.)

I re-sewed hems on two of the towels I washed yesterday, and in the process mislaid the bodkin Grandfather made for Grandmother.  It has to be within arm's reach of the sewing machine, so I'm confident that it will show up sooner or later.  I hope that it's sooner, because a seam ripper isn't nearly as good at flattening wrinkles in fabric as it approached the presser foot.



18 December 2013

Oh, I love zippered sandwich bags.  Every carefully-coiled piece of elastic in my elastic box is still carefully coiled!  And I pulled out every piece of black quarter-inch elastic in one grab!

I wouldn't dream of trying to wrestle a sandwich into a "sandwich bag", but there are a million uses for zipper bags.

Pity I haven't been able to buy non-zipper bags since fire gutted the Mexican supermarket.

Now to cut one 9 1/2" piece of elastic and one 10" piece of elastic.

When I cut the heel pieces, I drew the cutting lines of the ends with nonce pencil on the top piece, then cut half an inch beyond that, making two right heel pieces.  I'll make the right upper first, then trim the left heel piece.

Make the whole right slipper; then there are no mistakes.  First tack the elastic inside the heel piece, then pin the edges of the upper into register — oops, I marked only the upper of the two heel pieces when cutting out; easily remedied by folding it it half and rubbing the crease with a chalk pencil.  Also used the chalk pencil to put an X on the toe side of the vamps, because the asymmetry is very subtle.  Better mark the pattern to remind me to do that when cutting out next time.  I made no difference between the right and left vamp.  [Erases word "left"from the vamp pattern.]

I permanent-basted the heel to the vamp using a 2.5 mm straight stitch, then overcast the other side of the vamp to the first side and the heel piece with a 2 mm zig-zag.  That looked too narrow to hold; I measured, and running the edge of the foot on the raw edge would have made a 3/8" seam:  too wide.  So I stitched again with the raw edge just barely riding under the toe of the foot, and that came out about 1/4".

And the right slipper is complete.  Because the fabric is very stretchy, it's a bit loose, but I do plan to wear it over stockings.  Since other fabrics I might use aren't so loose, I don't think I need to make any changes to the pattern

I stitched around striving to make both zig and zag penetrate fabric, but just barely.  When it was done, I found a bit at the toe where one layer of the sole hadn't caught, stretched it to lie flat with the other layers, and re-stitched.

And now it's time for lunch and a nap.

Sometime today I think I'll write an essay on how I organize thread and post it on alt.sewing.  Maybe even write instructions so you can access alt.sewing.  It's easy, but not something you can stumble onto by mistake.

I tacked the elastic with straight stitch instead of zig-zag this time.  The right slipper looks as though some stretch had been sewn into the upper-sole seam, so I lengthened the stitch to 2.5 mm.

Triumphantly, I stitched the upper to the sole and completed the slipper a good five minutes before time to start cooking supper — only to realize that I'd made two left slippers.

So now I have to pick the seam out and re-sew it with the right sides together.



19 December 2013

What with zig-zag and the stitches being two and a half millimeters long, I got most of the seam unpicked before the light failed, which is pretty early this near the solstice.

Then as I was falling asleep last night, I realized:  Wait a minute!  This is *supposed* to be a left slipper!

You'd think that the quilted lining being on the inside would have clued me in; instead, I wondered how I'd managed to quilt the midsole to the wrong side.

make black slippers  All done, and on my feet.  These slippers aren't as attractive as the ragged old wool slippers they were intended to replace, but will do for putting in my bag in case I need to take my shoes off.

The jersey from which I made two of my Sunday dresses is about as substantial as the Twinkle-Twinkle I made the beta slippers from; I think I'll get that down and cut out another pair.



20 December 2013

I made the elastic on the right slipper half an inch longer than the elastic on the left; I think that that was a mistake.  And I should have added a quarter inch at each end of the heel piece instead of half an inch.  I'm seriously considering paring up to an eighth of an inch off the toe of the right sole to make it a bit rounder.

Dressed this morning in twinkle-twinkle shirt, twinkle-twinkle underpants, and twinkle-twinkle slippers.  There's more than enough twinkle-twinkle left to make a pair of tights (they are calling them "leggings" these days), but I don't think I'll add that to my to-do list.

Got the villa-olive down.  There's probably enough there for yet another T-shirt, and that might do for perfecting my bound neck.  I'll think about that while I'm cutting out the slippers.

While I was up there, I noticed a substantial quantity of scraps of hemp-cotton jersey.  Not enough to make another pair of briefs, if I recall correctly, but it looks like enough to make third-piece linings for lots of cotton briefs.  Pity I didn't think of it when I was doing a hot-with-bleach wash last Monday.

"Third piece" — no nannybots read this blog, but when you censor yourself long enough, it gets to be a habit.



23 December 2013

I'm thinking of cutting out Villa Olive slippers today.  I used a horseradish-jar lid to draw a line to round off the toe of the right-sole pattern, and trimmed off a tad more than a sixteenth of an inch, but this didn't shorten the slipper any.  Used the same lid to mark to pare slightly less than that off the midsole; technically this left corners, but so obtuse as not to show.  I also pared slivers off the corn bumps of right sole and midsole.



2 January 2014

Closing Out the File

I only thought about villa-olive slippers, and I'm still thinking about them.  Baked a lot of fruitcakes, though.  A pint of English walnuts in every batch.  Plus at least a cup chopped up to keep the cakes from sticking to the pans; these fruitcakes are *nutty*.

Yesterday I wore one of the pairs of jeans that I was drafting waistbands for at the beginning of this half-year.  Kept the waistbands in the smallest notch — while they were worn over silk long-johns at a New Year's dinner.  The denim must have stretched; I'm sure I haven't lost weight!




››⁆   To-Do List   ⁅‹‹

black bras
hem sleeves of cot-lin damask shirt, iron it
lengthen sleeves of blouse that matches black skirt
examine DH's tan slacks to see why they are on the mending hook
another T-shirt to perfect bound neckline
grey linen bike knickers
black cotton briefs
linen briefs
old black-linen knickers → spectacle-cleaning rags
pedal pushers made of linen-cotton shirting
propeller gilligan hat
linen gilligan hat
evaluate both pairs white hemp jeans
patch seat of black linen jeans
make not-black slippers
more pillowcases
scan illos for Shuttle Solitaire
Darn writing mitts
sort and repair warm clothing
remember where lobster-claw mittens are
refurbish alpaca shawl


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