So Close, Yet So Far

18 Apr

I am *almost* done with Jordan’s HP Windcheater jacket. Truly. I just need to add buttonholes and buttons and I’ll be set. I SWORE I would get it done today (we’re off for Good Friday).

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But, grrr, Nigel, my MINI Cooper,  got keyed overnight  by some dickhead and I spent a bunch of time talking to insurance and getting a police report.

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Anywho, I wanted to finish this for Jordan so he could wear it to my (20 year!!) high school reunion in Virginia this weekend, but it looks like it’s not going to get done. It’s more important I get my stray gray hair dyed :-)

Also, I somehow managed to lose the left sleeve lining. So, I have to cut and resew that when I get a moment. So, there’s like 2 hours of work left on this bad boy and I’ll be done. And, maybe ready to start one for myself…

Under Cabinet Lighting and Peg Board

4 Apr

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While I may not be sewing, I’m still moving along (just as slowly) with getting my sewing room set up. Last night, my electrician installed fluorescent lighting under my cabinets in the sewing room.

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When he saw that I was putting in pegboard too, he offered to install it while he was there. I’m super irritated with the peg board (and not just because he was over until 11 p.m. doing the work!). Please note that it extends past both the cabinet and counter on the left.

And it short on the right. Grrrr. But, he didn’t actually charge me above the quoted price for the lighting (and new outlet/ switch). So, beggars can’t be choosers.

I’ve got most of my pressing tools on there now and that helps free up a drawer.

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And this task lamp to the right (on the desk) was a Valentine’s Day gift from the hubs.  I still need some storage cups for the pegboard and a few more baskets.

Overall, SUPER happy to get this task done!

Liz has promised to help me finish folding fabric for my birthday this month. So, once that’s done, I think my room will be fully operational! (I’m not counting new curtains and wall decor in ‘fully operational’).

Belated Answer to Wedding Dress Question

26 Mar

I see now it’s been nearly a month since I last posted. I’ve not been sewing. I’ve worked a little on Jordan’s jacket and gotten some good feedback from Robin on it too. I’m going to see my Dad and help him arrange some things the first weekend of May and have spent an inordinate amount of time on the Tampa Bay craigslist looking for used Berninas. The prices are easily hundreds less than they are in the Baltimore area. Feel free to give me your thoughts on the old Bernina 830, 930 and 1130 if you have or had one of those machines. There’s a 1130 in Brooksville (where my dad is) that I’m partial to (automatic buttonholes). But, I won’t be there for another month.

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We had our 180 person wedding reception a couple weeks ago and I did not wear my wedding dress. I wanted to. But, umm, well. It just didn’t fit. Here’s the thing, pre-wedding I was traveling to China, stressed out and purposefully dieting to lose a few creeper pounds. And the end of last year and the beginning of this, I was engaged in a grief spiral that was best soothed with wine, french fries and Otterbein cookies. I tried on the wedding dress and Jordan said, ‘You’re not going to be happy with this this.’ And he was right. I wasn’t.

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So, I wore the cream dress from the rehearsal dinner that I had made in China.

It’s a beautiful guipure lace and a copy of a Valentino dress. That weekend of trying on dresses and finding that most didn’t fit was a good wake up call for me. I’ve cut out weeknight wine, processed food, refined sugar, treats, snacks etc. I’ve also started exercising again (I’d gotten off track due to a sprained ankle, pulled back muscle, a bout with the flu, two infections — honestly, my body kind of shut down mid December and has only started to cooperate the last two weeks). I’m pretty good now. It was just a bad few months. The party was a lovely start to this next phase.

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My dad  (above left) came in to town. He was kind of the life of the party. He’s talking about getting on to Facebook. Which means I will likely need to get off.

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My inlaws who threw the party (Ugh. I look a little like a stuffed sausage)

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This dress has a side zipper. I asked for that so the lace motif in the back was maintained. But, it is a beyotch to get in an out of.

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And you all know my bestie Trena. Plus Lisette, Robin and two other ‘internet sewing friends’ who don’t have blogs (Shirley and Elizabeth — who is also a neighbor!) were able to come. That’s the nice thing about having ‘just’ a reception. We were able to invite WAY more people than say to ‘just’ a wedding.

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All in all a wonderful wonderful time. We had friends and family from all over (New York, Chicago, DC) come in to town. That’s my oldest brother and my neice with me above.  It was a little overwhelming and a whirlwind. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Oh! In honor of going old school and ordering an actual wedding album last week, I made a gif (below). I cannot express to you how proud I am of accomplishing this. The gif I mean.

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Even though I ‘own’ all my photos I still got a photographer’s album.  One of my fondest memories as a kid was going through my parent’s wedding album and asking them questions about people and what was going on. Plus, this way I can force everyone who comes over to look at my photos.

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We’re visiting Jordan’s brother in NY soon. I need fabric for a black tie dress event at the end of the April, tuxedo vest fabric for Jordan for the same event (buying a tux was expensive enough) and a second black tie dress for middle of May. Pray for sewing inspiration and good fabric finds. I am terrible fabric shopping under time constraints. Or, when people are watching / waiting on me. Never mind two dudes in the garment district.

OK. Back to the 30 thank you cards I still owe!

YO!!!! They are casting for an AMERICAN Sewing Bee!!!

27 Feb

Guys. AAAHHHHH!!!!!  All our dreams are coming true. Love Productions is casting for an American version of the Great British Sewing Bee!!!!! Can you dig it? Because, for serious, I can totally dig it!

Here’s the deal: They are shooting a pilot for the US version. They are casting (now) for people in the New York/ Philly / Jersey area. You don’t have to live there, but if you are selected / interviewed you’ll need to be able to spend some time up there. And since it’s the pilot phase, I don’t think they’ll be putting you up at a hotel :-) If the pilot is awesome and it gets picked up by a network there will be US VERSION!!

Check the release below:

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Click here to download the PDF: Casting Flier, Sewing FINAL (1)

Remember, this is the pilot phase. Which means they will make a test of the show, shop it around, someone will fall in love with it, decide to order up more and we will get our own version.  The pilot may or may not get picked up and it may or may not air. But, the more fabulous you sewists are, the better the odds are right?

Finally, a contest for home sewers. Ohmigoodness. Why are you still reading this? Go, go, go apply *right* now.

New Podcast and More Organization

24 Feb

For some reason, Trena and I like to take tw0-year breaks between our podcasting. You would not believe how incredibly easy it is to do now! Our latest podcast is up along with show notes. From the link you can play, download, and comment. Below, you can see us mid chat via Google.

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 And, we are up on iTunes (feel free to rate our podcast there too). I’d tell you to play from the embedded player below, but it’s not available for WordPress ::shakes fist::  This time we talk about sewing machine accumulation, current projects and other assorted sewing things :-)

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I’m still plugging away at the HP Windcheater. There is so much top stitching!

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My great success this weekend was making a lovely sample double welt pocket using Kenneth King’s method. The one on the Windcheater has a zipper behind it too. That one is not as lovely (the lips are too small). But, I like the decorative impact with the exposed zipper.

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This weekend I also managed to finally get my thread hung on the walls!

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And, I bought pegboard to install between my shelves and countertop. It’s not gone up yet because I need to get some wood for framing.

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Overall a productive weekend. I still have six bins of fabric that need folding. But, it’s just a slow going process :-)

HP Hemmingway Windcheater Muslin

9 Feb

Remember how I was obsessed with getting a pink scooter? Well, it’s not pink, but WE GOT A VESPA!!!

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We sold Jordan’s car (gas guzzling Chrylser 300), bought this blue Vespa pre-owned from friends and are now a one-car household. And, since Jordan has two coats, this one above that I bought him for law school graduation last year and an overcoat for work, I figured he could use something a little more casual for spring and running around on the weekend. Also, I have the same US Navy issue peacoat and we look stupid when we wear them at the same time (that said, I have like ten coat options to his one so I’m often the one who has to change).

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I picked up the Hot Patterns Hemmingway Windcheater to sew up for Jordan months ago on pre-order. I didn’t find the waterproof fabric until December when I was in New York . I figured I’d make this for his birthday or Valentine’s Day. Well, his birthday was last week and Valentine’s Day is this week and I’ve just now gotten around to a muslin.

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I made him take photos first thing in the morning. Hence the less than amused face.

As long as he gets it before our honeymoon/ anniversary trip in August, it’ll be a’ight. Why is our honeymoon the drop dead date? Because we’re going to Europe! We booked a bike + barge trip from Bruges to Amsterdam. Trena and I had such a great time when we did it three years ago. I wanted France originally and he suggested Amsterdam. I jumped on it before he changed his mind. Don’t worry, I’ve told Katherine in Brussels and Sigrid, Marta and Hilde in the Netherlands. As I booked the flights tickets, I have specifically built in an extra day for Kantje-Boord and sewing friends and have started saving for my lingerie shopapalooza. Get this, our Air B and B spot in Amsterdam is in Jordaan! Seriously, it was meant to be. But, I digress. Jordan really needed a casual jacket for the trip and I thought this would work well.

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Here’s his muslin. Minus the sleeves. I only cut out the upper sleeve and ran out of muslin fabric. So, this is it.

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It’s pretty good right out of the envelope! His measurements were a perfect L (large) I’m worried it’s a bit snug, but it’s a spring jacket and he says he won’t wear sweaters underneath. I like the fit  through the chest and back. When things fit his upperbody it’s usually too big in the middle and long. But, this is the perfect fit for him. Near as I can tell. What do I know about men’s clothes?

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I still need to track down some flannel for the lining. I tried a Hancocks a few weeks ago and they were woefully lacking. I’ll try to hit up Joanns this week. From what I recall, they excel in flannel.

Jordan rode the Vespa at night for the first time yesterday and I’ve been told he needs some seriously warm base layers. LOL. I may whip some Jalie boxers from the Under Armour Cold Gear I am hoarding or purchase some merino wool from the Fabricmart sale. Haven’t quite decided yet. I’m hoarding the UA Cold Gear because Gus Woolens here in Baltimore has closed shop. They are just doing suiting now via email. Sigh. Luckily, I have a bit of the cold gear left. But, not as much as I would like to have over a lifetime. Which, to me, seems a reasonable amount to aspire to.

* (I know I can order online but the convenience of popping into a store near my job cannot be underestimated).

Hollywood Costume Exhibit

21 Jan

I’m a huge fan of costume/ fashion exhibits. And, my Baltimore location is a prime location for having seen several over the years including Ivy Style at the Museum at FIT, High Style at the Met / Brooklyn Museum of Art and a backstage look at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Over the last weekend, Trena and I went to see Hollywood Costumes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

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It was delightful. I’m terrible at describing clothes. But, I will just say I could have spent hours there. A total bonus was meeting up with two other sewing bloggers Meigan of Get My Stitch On and Tommie of Unseamly Girl. Meeting sewing bloggers is SUPER stressful! You just hope you come across as tall and skinny as you try and make yourself appear on your blog.

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Plus, you have to figure out what to wear! I went the comfy route considering the six hours of Saturday driving ahead of me and wore my La Mia Boutique sweatshirt dress. This is truly one of my favorite dresses. I want to make more! But, really have no idea what other color to make that evokes ‘sweatshirt’. Maybe navy blue? Too literal with a collegiate block “R” on it? Because, I totally wood.

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Meigan made her Jalie top and jeans. I am in love with her pink coat. Tommie wore the cutest denim skirt from Grainline and a slub knit top. I tried to make a slub knit dress in black and it was TERRIBLE. I could not control the seams. Her’s, perfect.

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These drinks are St. Germaine and something or the other. St. Germaine is my new favorite.  Also, a boring note on my hair. I’m slowly trying to vary my hairstyles. I’m bored with me. This is my hair pulled back with two flat twists. My friend Liz saw me and exclaimed I looked like Addy from American Girl. So, I might be trying something else soon -_-.


On Monday I saw Spike Jonze’s Her and American Hustle. I was so inspired by the purposeful costuming in both! Her made amazing use of the color orange on the set and dressing characters in opposite orange and blue. I couldn’t wait to go home and google the thoughts behind this. It’s easy to forget how purposeful costuming is when watching a movie.


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And, finally… remember the party Jordan and I planned to celebrate our marriage?  With less than week to go, we had to reschedule the December date  Really happy to say it’s back on for March. But, I’m not quite sure what to wear.

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Can I ask a honest question? Is wearing my wedding dress corny? I honestly don’t know. I planned on wearing a red China lace dress when it was near Christmas. Once rescheduled, I’ve had several people ask if I’m wearing my wedding dress (or why I’m not wearing my wedding dress) and at first I was totally surprised at the thought. I mean, the wedding will have been five months before and we had a ‘real’ wedding. And when I say ‘real’ wedding, I mean it didn’t feel rushed or elopement or destination. It was honestly the wedding I always wanted but didn’t think I could get away with given the size and proximity of our families. So, if you came to my wedding party five months after the fact, would you roll your eyes at me in my wedding dress?

Meet Us in Richmond!

13 Jan

It’s another Trena and Renee road trip. This time, to a museum.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has a super-sounding Hollywood Costume exhibit through February 17th.

Organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Hollywood Costume explores the central role costume design plays in cinematic storytelling. Bringing together the most iconic costumes from a century of cinema, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the clothes worn by unforgettable and beloved characters in films such as The Wizard of Oz, The Birds, My Fair Lady, Superman, Titanic, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Dark Knight Rises.

You should know that I’m obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. I DIE!

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We’re driving down this Saturday (the 18th) if you’re interested in meeting us there. We think we’ll be there around 1:00 p.m. (following lunch — hopefully at Bottom’s Up). If you’re interested, leave a comment here or email me at missceliespants at gmail dot com.

And, if you’re wondering, we hope to do another Fabric Mart trip and go see this Costumes of Downton Abby exhibition after it opens. Let’s hear it for the east coast and most things being withing a three hour drive!

Organizing Continues

8 Jan

So, the hardest thing about getting my sewing room organized is that my old basement sewing area was and continues to be in total and complete disarray. The great thing about this process is I’m finally seeing just what and how much I have. For instance:

I have seven automatic buttonholers.

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I am not really sure how this happened…. I think a combination of factors have led to this. Mostly, I had two already, some came with machines as I purchased them, and I have no inventory control. I honestly didn’t know I had this many. I thought I had, like three. Maybe four.  Maybe I’m a hoarder? No, I’m not. Peter seems to have the same ‘problem’.  How psyched am I that I can still put my hands on the eyelet template (umm, have never used it)?

Next? Still folding fabric. Remember, my original idea was fabric would go in all the drawers. But, I have too much for all that. But, I am trying out my harder to fold fabric there. Liz got the idea to put these knits away using archival foam core (thanks for the suggestion!). Here are some poly and silk jersey knits. I just want to run my fingers over these!!

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For now, I’ve also just dumped all my silks and slippery lining fabrics in the drawers.

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 Liz, more patient than I, also started sorting out my lace trims in bins. These are on the comic book magazine boards. Fits perfectly!

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These bins are now on the shelf. And, I need to track down one more.

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So, still sorting through my 20 years of sewing ‘stuff’. Slow going, but truly, worth it.

Remember that scene in Sex and the City when Carrie said she really was the Old Lady Who Lived in Her Shoe? I’m the Old Lady Who Lived in Her Sewing Room. Just 30 more years until retirement :-)

Evernote It Is!

3 Jan

Thank you for all the terrific feedback on pattern cataloging. I’ve decided to keep my patterns for now sorted by brand. I like the symmetry of it. But, i have switched to Evernote. I was an early adopter of Bento for Mac. But, they discontinued it. Evernote, based on your feedback, seemed to give me the best of it all. I can access the patterns and pictures on my computer and my smartphone. And, I can print them out if I want to create a folder. Also, I could use the same program for fabric stashing (which is how I used Bento).

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I also like that for current patterns, I can grab and paste a ton of info into this:

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I’ve done 28 so far. And, um, 200 more to go. I’m also going to hunt for these Australian zip lock bags that fit the Jalie patterns. Seriously, I got to get a niece over here to do some work for me :-)