Monday, August 17, 2009

Over the weekend I finished that dress! I am delighted to have actually finished it - but it won't be making a public debut. The style turns out NOT to be Me. I look like a sack of potatoes in the thing. *sigh* Ah well, it'll make a good housework dress.

Its real value was as a learning exercise. I discovered that by golly, I do remember how to put in a mean zipper! After making every mistake it's possible to make, and ripping out the first zipper I ever tried to install about fifty times, back in junior high school home-ec class, I have never had any trouble with zippers since then. (This is how old I am: back then, girls HAD to take Home Ec, and could not take Shop; boys HAD to take shop, and could not take Home-Ec - which is short for Home Economics, in case you're wondering. Funny that; they never showed us how to balance a checkbook or make up a budget. Damn them.)

I have stacks and stacks of fabric. A friend (male, decidedly NOT a sewing type) inherited several HUNDRED lengths of fabric when his mother died. She had made all her family's clothes, and the trove includes men's suiting fabrics as well as every kind of women's clothing fabrics you can imagine, plus window-dressing and furniture fabrics, and most of them are now "vintage." He's been selling them awfully cheap just to get rid of them. I consider I've done more than my part toward his effort. To the point where I shouldn't have to buy clothes for a decade, actually. But I need to graduate from my training-wheels-level sewing skills.

My next project is another dress, a different fabric and pattern (see above; it'll be the jumper). I'm big into dresses since I discovered they are MUCH cooler in the summer time, specifically when I'm walking the 6 - 8 blocks to my car after work when it's hottest. I've got family visiting in two weeks, so I won't get to it before then. After THAT, the big project: sewing Roman shades for seven windows on my first floor (oh, except one is on the upstairs landing). We kept the drapes that came with the house, being too cheap to replace them, but now (after 16 years) I am thoroughly sick of the ugly, dark old things. I can't WAIT to yank them down and throw them away. I picked Roman shades in a pale blue linen-blend. Roman shades are, theoretically, pretty easy. Before I start I'm going to do Before pictures of the ugly current ones, then After ones once I've finished the shades. I'm itching to get to those shades...

And I need to do some sewing for Christmas presents. Smaller projects that don't require knowing the recipients' sizes.

I have all the sewing equipment I could ever want; I got a lot of my late mom-in-law's sewing stuff. I didn't know there'd been such an explosion of methods of marking fabric - for use with marking paper: the old stapler-type stamp, the teensy pizza-cutter (with dull edge) in both toothed and smooth edges, then there's white pencil, and both purple and turquoise washable-ink felt tip pens. I tried several of those methods on this first dress, and wasn't happy with any of them. I think I'll try tailor's tacks in this next one.

And I have my first self-healing cutting mat and rotary cutter! My goodness, are *those* things neat! I've got at least two (and maybe three, I'm not sure) pinking shears, two regular sewing scissors, several tape measures, and some things I don't even know what they're for. Like, a ruler-type thing that is curved on one side and straight on the other. ??? And I have my little Baby Lock, simple sewing machine with everything I need: variable length straight stitching, zigzag, and a Reverse button. It also has one of those hemming stitches but it didn't work so well for me - it seems turned backwards from the direction *I* would think it should go. I'll work on that. I bought that machine with money earned *writing*! I wrote a regular nature column for a local kids-oriented newsletter, donkey's years ago. I'm still proud of that. :)

And I've bought a ton of patterns at some great sales at Hancock's. So there's really no excuse for me not to go to work on my wardrobe!

I remind myself of this every time I go read The Panopticon. That's knitting, and Mr. Franklin Habit, the blogger, sings a very siren song to me, to get back into knitting. Big-time. But I resist; I have too many other things I need to work on first. Like, the top floor of my house is practically dismantled, furniture-wise, right now, as I try to sell a couple unnecessary and LARGE pieces of furniture to make room for a Major Rearrangement, with Desired Outcome: two nice guest rooms and a LOT less Stuff.

So, anyway, I'm getting back into the Domestic Arts. Don't worry, there is no danger of my turning into Rachel Ray or Martha Stewart. It'll just be *my* version, and I promise to keep it to myself. Sort of like my Paris vacation album. I had fun putting it together, but it's about as far from a present day "scrapbooker" as you can get. And that's fine with me.

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