A Wadder

Every creator / designer / maker of things has a project that makes us feel like an amateur. We question our so-called abilities and how we ever thought we could call ourselves a creator / designer / maker of things.

And then we think of our teacher, family, and friends who encouraged us to develop our craft – were they patronizing us?

I had such a project, also known as a wadder.



This is Burda 112.04.2013. The fabric is a cotton sateen from Mood. And the two simply don’t go together.

Did I make a muslin and test the garment first to make sure it was even right for my figure? No.

Did I consider the weight and drape of the fabric when I made my decision to use it for this dress instead something more simple, like a pant pattern? No.

Did I completely make up a fantasy image of myself (with auburn hair) in a lovely dress that reality would not produce? Oh, yeah.

This should not have happened. I’m not a beginner, and this is not a difficult dress. I know that I can only have so many pleats and folds on my body before things look frumpy. I know that the thicker a fabric is in my fist, the heavier I will look once it’s on my body. So many times, we want The Dress. I’m human – I wanted This Dress and this fabric, and I went into this project without using any of my experience to even pause and consider alternative fabrics, patterns, or even go slowly so that I wouldn’t waste time, energy and fabric. Well, rats.

I will make this dress, and the fabric will be much thinner. I will make a muslin so that it will fit properly. And I now know which of Burda’s steps to ignore. And I will look devastating.




Window Dressing

If I can’t find The Thing I’m looking for to go in a certain space, I don’t fill that space. Case in point, my living room walls were bare for the first 10 years that we lived here. Then I went a little nuts and changed the content on that wall three times. 

I have made several of my window coverings in my house. The reason is that the radiators and air conditioning vents are below almost all of the windows, so treatments needed to be made custom. Plus, I really don’t care for curtains in the stores. They aren’t very imaginative, at least the ones in my price range.

In the master bedroom, I made Roman shades and padded cornices for both windows. The shades have a bird motif, and the padded cornice was a blue/brown/off white stripe that coordinated with the birds. But it was dull and lifeless. A year or so ago, I removed the cornices and my bedroom windows looked like this:

ImageThey were fine but not “finished.” A few weeks ago, I FINALLY found a fabric to complete the look.

ImageThe picture is not the best, but the window looks much more polished and done. Now I’m thinking about making a duvet cover in that same plaid … Perhaps by next year …




My Studio

I love looking at other people’s work spaces, especially sewing spaces. I’m very sure that all of that organization will one day rub off on me.

Perhaps some of it has. Or I’ve decided to stop living vicariously through others. A few weeks ago, I asked my husband to build me a cutting/ironing table, on casters. The room is small – the table really needed to be moveable. After he finished it, I knew that I needed to spruce up the space. So, here it ’tis ….

ImageFirst, a panoramic view. This is taken from the doorway into the room, a doorway which is in the middle of the freakin’ wall. Makes the wall almost useless except for holding up the roof. But I digress … Onward – 

This is the larger of two bedrooms upstairs. It has a small closet that has not been organized yet, and plenty of outlets for my electrified toys, er, tools.

ImageCome in the door, and turn to the left. The cabinet holds sewing supplies. The containers are not nice enough to have on display. On the table are my serger and sewing machine (duh, right?), both Janome. It’s the brand that I liked at the time that I bought them, and they are wonderful machines. I keep (lots) of yarn in the boxes on the shelves.


I love my Kindle, but all of my references are, and will always be, physical books. And there’s not a better bookshelf than these from Ikea. 

ImageMood board and computer. The iron to the right of the window is in a wall holder also from Ikea (love that company). 

ImageThe table built by my better half. It’s perfect: 3′ x 6′ with a shelf for rolls of fabric underneath. The top has bolts under the padding that I can undo quickly to change the cover when it’s a mess of water stains and Sharpie marks. And finally …

ImageThe door in the middle of the damned wall. A door belongs on one end of the wall or the other – it’s a pain to deal with the wall otherwise. To mitigate the annoyance, I have pegboards to keep often-used tools where I can grab them quickly. Although, when the door is open, it covers up the pegboard on the left. Sigh. 

So, that’s the tour. Hope you enjoyed it. Come back again – things change often!







To err is frustrating

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I’m making a pair of socks, but I forgot to turn the heel.


I’m making a button-up blouse, and I’ve had to attach the collar three times. Grrr.


I’m making the most comfortable shirt in the world, and I made a slash in the middle of the sleeve. Kill me now.


But all is not lost. Everything is fixable. I’ll rip the sock back and turn the heel. I’ll pin the collar on then baste it before stitching it permanently. I have enough fabric to cut another sleeve.

I still feel like an idiot.

UPS = Santa Claus

I found this on my doorstep!


And this three yards of loveliness was inside.


This gray tissue-weight silk blend jersey will one day in the near future become this.


Burda 117.1.2013


PS. I’ve been sewing – just not taking any pictures. The light is icky around here this time of year.


Chicken Livers

I love my CSA, and on Thursday they delivered the prettiest chicken livers I have ever seen.

Yes. I like liver. And oysters. And single malt scotch. I’m attracted to strong flavor.



And dinner was fast. I just sprinkled them with salt and pepper, heated olive oil and butter in a skillet, and sautéed them over medium heat until they were done enough for me. I had some crowder peas leftover from a few days before to complete the plate. And Tamar Adler has me sprinkling chopped parsley on everything.


Ladies and gentlemen – let’s give it up for the farmers!

Knockin’ About

A new sweater! And about time – I have very few tops for winter that I actually want to wear.

This one isn’t for work – it’s definitely a weekend sweater. But it’s very comfortable and almost too warm. The high today was 53 degrees F, and I didn’t wear a coat. For those who know me well, that’s a really warm sweater.

The pattern is Unisex Knock-Around Cashmere Pullover by Teva Durham, and I got it from the book Weekend Knits. The center panel is knit and turned on it’s side, then stitches are picked up to knit up and over for the top front and bad, panels. Finally, stitches are picked up along the bottom of the center panel for the bottom panels of the tunic. You can either seam the sides in the conventional way, or if you’d rather wear it inside out, you can use the Kitchener stitch to make the sides seamless. Guess which finish I chose.

For reasons I can’t remember, I chose to knit the smallest size. On the one hand, the shoulder seams land right on my shoulders and the neck is perfect. On the other hand, it’s a little tight from my bust downward for the fit that I actually wanted.

The bottom panels are not actually seamed together – they are simply a vent. I am not 22 any more, so to avoid showing skin I seamed them together a couple of inches.

The yarn is by Cascade Yarns, 128 Superwash, which means I can treat this sweater very casually. This is the last purple garment I knit for myself for the next few months – there’s way too much purple in the stash.