Food and Fitness

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Me-Cation es Sew-Cation

People often ask me how I avoid burn out with the often emotionally draining work that I do. My first answer is usually that I have been blessed with the ability to completely shift gears the minute I leave work, which is definitely part of it but the other very important part is that roughly every three months or so I take a me-cation, that's a mini vacation when everyone else in my family is still working or going to school. It usually is only 2-3 actual days off but when you combine my regular days off it will be 6 days. Not having to do anything for anybody, not having to solve problems or hold fears, getting to sleep in, read, knit or sew, cook more elaborate meals for my family and overall just getting to take care of myself is very restorative and keeps me from burning out. Honestly, I haven't had a real me-cation in nearly a year and boy am I feeling it. I took off last June but it just so happened that while I was off a friend came to stay with us and unfortunately she expected to be entertained. Sorry but I have two little boys, a husband and I talk for a living, when I'm supposed to be home relaxing, I don't want to talk or help people figure out their problems, but I digress. Over the holidays, I was off the week of Thanksgiving and two weeks at the end of the year but my kids were also home so while I loved spending time with them and we had a blast, I got no rest.

This time, I am planning a sew-cation to to finish a few more Winter pieces before I finally do move on to Spring sewing. With any luck, these will turn out to be transition pieces.

I like View B which I plan to make in a black stretch suiting. I finally found 7" nickel zippers so I think I'll be good to go.

I also want to make either

B5284 or

M5968 to wear with a pencil skirt I plan to make from a gray wool blend suiting with light blue pinstripes. I'm leaning toward the McCalls version but it will depend on which one I have to do the least amount to (since I have alter every pattern I use). If I get these things done, I will feel so accomplished because I really am pretty fatigued so I need to be getting a little bit of rest while I'm at it.

I'm also planning on taking a beading class because I'd like to step up my accessorizing and I have a knitting lesson scheduled because I'm ready to move on from scarves. Overall I'm feeling pretty pleased with the plan. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is it just me or do you find yourself constantly thinking/dreaming of sewing, matching fabric to patterns and patterns to fabric and then changing it up and starting all over again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wee hour ramblings

One of my New Years Resoultions was to organize my stash and set up my dedicated sewing area. Over the past week, I have been emptying boxes and white water proof evelopes filled with fabric and placing the fabric in 18 gallon storage bins -- not my ideal storage solution but I would truly need a space the size of my master bedroom walk-in closet to properly store and categorize all the fabric I have. Just for a little history, I stopped actively sewing about 12 years ago because as I tend to be a bit on the obsessive side, I was spending way too much of my money on fabric. At that time, I was lucky enough to have three fabric stores in my town (New York Fabrics (now JoAnns), Hancock Fabrics and House of Fabrics (which was also bought by JoAnns) so I had tons and tons of fabric to choose from and boy did I choose. When we moved to a new house in 2005, I moved three 18 gallon bins FULL of fabric with me and with two extra bedrooms, was so excited about the possiblity of a dedicated sewing space. However one room was quickly claimed by my mother as "her room" when she comes to visit for the weekend and the other room began to shape up as my home office as I was also just starting my practice. When I returned to sewing last year, I was sad to see some of my old favorites gone (i.e., belt and covered buckle kits and this wonderful elastic product that would let you stitch on the blue lines, pull on the elastic and presto instant shirred waistband) but I was also excited to find new favorites (, denverfabrics, and cleanersupplies (excellent prices on many kinds and colors of zippers). I rekindled my obsession for fabric collecting with a vengence. I don't dare try to estimate the money spent or yardage purchased, however I do know that I have filled another four bins with more fabric to go. The realization that I have more than doubled my fabric stash in less than one year leaves me speechless and now I remember the feeling I had back then when I gave it up. Since I love sewing and don't want to find myself in that position again, I have instead shifted my focus to creating a space to create so that my process is more fluid and therefore can be continual instead of the stop-start disjointed process that it currently is with me having to set up and break down every time I get ready to sew. I'll keep you posted on my progress and I'll post pictures when it's done.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

McCalls 3280

Pattern Description: Top with various sleeve detail options. I made view E with the opening that goes nearly the full length of the arm.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I think so.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were very simple although the front facing for the keyhole was a bit odd. You actually cut the keyhole after you have stitched the facing at the neck line and along the stitching lines for the keyhole which means you really need to mark your pattern pieces well and pin down the facing piece well so that you get the key hole in the right place because once you cut it, you're stuck with it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This came together fairly easily. I also liked that although this is an OOP pattern from 2000 but the style still works 10 years later.

Fabric Used: I used a polyester charmeuse I picked up at JoAnn's back in October. I was supposed to wear this on my birthday in November but didn't get around to it until now.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made my standard FBA and added two inches to the side seam. I also finished with a rolled edge hem instead of the two inch hem called for in the pattern as the rolled edge seems to work better for me with silky fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might sew this again. I like it but don't love it but it's easy and can be dressed up or down. I think I might add more length to it and add a fabric belt.

Conclusion: This is a cute little top. I recommend it if you can find it or it you have it hiding in your pattern stash. I remember thinking this would be too difficult for me when I bought it years ago. I only wish I would have made it sooner.