Thursday, June 19, 2008

True Confessions

I haven't been upfront with my fabric purchases. I know I signed up for the PR fabric fast and vowed to only buy fabric when I went to Paris (or other cities I may travel to), but I have to confess that I have added some non-foreign bought fabrics into my stash.

In March, Emma One Sock had added to her site this marvelous black sueded silk that doesn't easily wrinkle. I tried not to buy any, but the pull was just too great. Besides this stuff didn't wrinkle, how perfect for travel. So I bought eight yards and plan create my next travel wardrobe around this lovely staple.

Then in April I went to the Sewing Expo in Worcester, MA. I usually go for at least two days, but this year I only signed up for one day since there weren't that many classes that interested me this time. I think that this is the fifth year I have gone. In past years, I have taken a lot of classes and did not want to repeat any, therefore, that shrunk my class options. So that gave me more time to shop--which was dangerous. I had gone with the intention of only looking, but the temptation was just too great.

First of all, Cynthia Guffey had brought a truck load of silk this time and Cynthia, herself, helped me pick out a couple pieces that she felt suited me. How could I refuse her? I bought four yards of dark purple and two more of brick red. I plan to make a suit in the purple and a jacket with the red. I was tempted to buy more, but stopped with these. After all, I really wasn't supposed to be fabric shopping anyway.

Then I came upon Wool House who I have bought from in the past. They carry truly lovely fabrics. Actually, I circled around this vendor a few times, left to look at other goodies at the Expo, but couldn't help being drawn back to this particular place. In my stash there is a great piece of brown wool/mohair blend I bought from Michael's Fabrics last year and was looking for coordinates to go with it for a future swap. That's when I spotted a brown and grey tweed which would make a great jacket. Then there was a large selection of this fantastic wool/silk/bamboo blend and wouldn't you know, some of them coordinated with the tweed. This is another one of those fabrics that doesn't wrinkle and has a wonderful drape to it. Well there was a taupe that just worked great. There were lots more colors to choose from, but I was trying to keep with my fast (really, I was). And I couldn't overlook all the lovely pima cotton shirtings, especially the grey & brown stripe and the grey shirting which felt more like silk than cotton. So I walked away with another nine yards of fabric. When I went to Paris in April, I found another piece to go with this group. I am hoping to start sewing this swap by the end of summer.

And I can't leave out Vogue Fabrics. Their selection this year was not as good as in the past, but I found a few pieces of silk twill which would make great linings and they were priced the same a Ambiance. So another eight yards (in brown, green and butter) found their way into my bag. But lining doesn't count, does it?

So let's see, eight yards from Emma One Sock, six yards from Cynthia Guffey, nine yards from Wool House and another eight yards from Vogue Fabrics. That's 31 yards added to the stash along with another 15 bought in Paris.

I also bought another six yards of lining fabrics for the Great Coat Sew Along (but honestly, there wasn't anything in my stash that went with my coat fabrics). Since the linings won't be around long enough to age, I don't think they should count anyway.

I know I have a problem, but I was good in May and only bought needed lining in June. No excuses in July, I promise. Anyway, I've actually bought less fabric than this time last year and have had no regrets so far. Is there a 12 step program for fabric addicts?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What I Wore Today

T-shirt: Ann Taylor
Capris: J Jill
Denim Jacket: Jalie 2320
Hardhat: Case International Construction
Camera Case: Ritz Camera

Marilyn and Goliath

No, I don't slay giants. But thanks to my husband, I had the opportunity to go to the top of the highest structure in our city which is a crane built by General Dynamics in the 1970's. It is located in the former shipyard, stands 20 stories high, 400 ft across and is appropriately named Goliath. (A word about the former shipyard--this is the place which originated the saying "Kilroy was here"! During WWII, there was an inspector named Kilroy who left the saying on whatever he had inspected.) The picture at the top shows only half the structure since I was too close to fit it all in a frame. This giant once was the largest crane in North America. Since the shipyard no longer exists, the crane has been sold to Daewoo and will be transported to a shipyard in Romania. To build a new crane would cost $45-60 Million. The Korean company bought it from it's current owner for approximately $650,000 and it will cost $16 Million to dismantle it, ship it and then reassemble it in Romania. Recycling at its best!

Ken, our son, Kenny, and I arrived at 8 a.m. and met Mike, the project manager/engineer for the dismantling. Ken has been dealing with Mike for a while and it turns out that they both earned their undergraduate engineering degrees from the University of Illinois.

We were all given hardhats, then took an elevator (thank goodness!) up 15 floors to the first level. What a great view we had. Just a little hazy, but still panoramic. We managed to get inside the center beam which was dark, but walked the entire length once we were on top of it outside. We climbed five flights of stairs to get to that point.

We wanted to go to the highest point, but once we arrived there, a couple falcons were determined to keep us from doing that. One of them started swooping around us, just missing our heads several times. We appropriately changed our minds about going to the top. It turns out that the falcons had a nest there, but the babies had already hatched. The entire family was removed and placed in a new home a few days ago, but it appears they found their way back to the crane.

The structure to remove the crane should be finished in a week or so and it will take only two to three days to bring it down.

This was certainly a different way to spend the morning.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Great Coat Sew-Along

I have made all my winter coats for over 30 years and have no desire to purchase a rtw one. I have found that the coats I make are much warmer, last longer and of course, fit better. Because of past success in sewing coats, I have joined the sew-along started and run by Marji. When she first came up with this idea on her blog, I thought what a great idea--anyway I could use a new winter coat. Sewing one before you actually need it is an even better idea. In the past, I've started my winter coats in November, maybe not as bad as December, but I put myself under a time constraint.

My biggest problem was deciding on a pattern. I have a few in my pattern stash, but nothing looked right for the fabrics I had. I scoured the internet looking for the perfect pattern, checking out all the newer patterns, but also looking at all the vintage pattern sites. Then I kept changing my mind about which fabric to use since I had a couple choices in my stash. Back and forth I went. As for fabric I have a wool tweed in different shades of grey and brown, but also I had just purchased a beautiful taupe wool/cashmere coating in Paris. I finally decided that the taupe wool needed a really special pattern. Since I could not find any pattern at the moment which I felt was worthy of this fabric, it was to remain in the stash until the perfect pattern came to my attention.

So for my coat I chose the grey/brown tweed which I purchased from Emma One Sock last year. This fabric should be easy to work with as tweeds can be very forgiving. I still need to get lining, but should have that within a week. I'm still looking for buttons, too and can't decide if I want to make bound buttonholes or machine one. I think I will make both--a test bound buttonhole and a machine buttonhole--to help me decide. I also love topstitching, but think it might be lost in this fabric. I'll have to test that, too.

As for my pattern, I wanted a coat that just hit the top of my knees so it would look good with both pants and coordinating skirts. I finally settled on Vogue 7978 which should be easy to fit. I'm making the grey single breasted coat which I feel will look great in this fabric. This week I plan to start working on the pattern fitting and preparing my fabric.

Well, some ladies are making more than one coat. That was certainly not my original intention. But, hey, I had this marvelous vintage pattern and some lovely green wool I purchased from Emma One Sock (again!) which would work out great for a short coat. So if I can really get my act together, I plan to make the little coat shown in orange on the pattern envelope. I still need to find a great lining and single button for this, too. Maybe in the near future, I will tackle the suit to wear under it. But for the time being, I think this will look great with pants if I make it a little shorter.