Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nike Dri-Fit "Yoga Pant"


Can you believe Christmas has come and gone, and we are on the cusp of a new year?  A lot of bloggers look back at what they have made in the last year, but I'm feeling more like looking forward right now, and setting a few goals sewing wise.  I have a couple more 2012 made things to talk about yet, and here is one that has become a favorite or TNT if you will.

It's been getting a bit chilly here, in fact it was about 40*F here this morning.  (I know, small potatoes for those of you who live where it's reallllllly cold.)  I needed some warm exercise pants for outdoor activities, walking the dog, or just hanging out in my cold house. My sewing room is the coldest room in the house!


I looked through my pattern stash thinking I may try a new pattern, but I ended up going with Silhouette Patterns #3400 Three Piece Yoga Pant,  which I have made twice before.  This time I  modified the waistband.  More on that below.

Click for source.




I had purchased some Nike Dri-Fit Brush Back yardage from (speaking of cold climes) Dawn at Two On, Two Off a while back.  It is luscious fabric, so soft and cozy on one side (inside) and a matte stretch lycra on the other. I think she still has some up on her Etsy shop, which is linked from her blog. Let me just tell you, this fabric makes the yummiest, most comfortable clothes.

A little look back:

First pair of SP Yoga Pants made in November 2011
I made these in a 14W using technical fabric from Hancock's.  I did not show a full shot on the blog post, because they were rather snug and unkindly revealing.  I never wore these much, but kept them hanging in my closet.

Second pair of SP Yoga Pants made in November 2011
Before I made this pair, I studied the pattern measurements/proportions a bit, which I discussed in the post, and decided to go with a regular size 14 waist, grading out to a regular size 18 at the hip and below, which made for a nice wide leg.  These fit really well, and I wore them often.

Fast Forward:

A year later, I am 20 pounds lighter (all sweat and tears!) and needed to revisit the size issue.  I had a trying on session, during which my daughter took some cell phone pictures.

Pair #2 Front


Pair #2 Back


Pair #2 Back
Clearly, Pair # 2 are now too big, so I checked out Pair #1, the straight 14W.

Pair #1Front

Pair #1 Back (almost TMI!)

Another back shot indicating top of waistband.
 Clearly, the first pair, the straight 14W, fits fine now, and the second pair are too big.  I really like the narrower leg on this pair.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, I used the same pattern in a 14W to make my Nike Dri-Fit pants.

I made my own waistband, similar to what Dawn did here, just a little wider, and higher riding.  The next two pictures show the waistband unfolded.  I cut this on the cross grain, about 4 - 5 inches smaller than my waist.




Side view, in the midst of UFO's and the ironing pile!
 These night time indoor cell phone pics are really lousy.  I will try to get some better outdoor shots to post.

The Nike Dri-Fit Brush Back is really fabulous fabric.  I highly recommend it!  The Silhouette Patterns Yoga Pant is a keeper also, and comes in quite a range of sizes.

I hope to make it back later today or tomorrow with one more 2012 make, a rather new category for me, so until then, happy sewing!

Andrea





Thursday, December 27, 2012

Inspiration

Myra of Simple Inspirations kindly bestowed upon me a blog award, the "One Lovely Blog Award"!  She is the only sewing blogger whom I have met in person, and I tell you she is a gem, and makes the lovliest clothes that look beautiful on her.


  


There are some rules that go along with this award, one of which is to tell 7 things about yourself.  So, here goes.  Try to stay awake until the end, ok?

Drum roll please....

1)  Today is the anniversary of the day I married my husband.  Besides being a genius, he is a lot of fun, very kind and altruistic, he is humble, he is an amazing dad to our daughter, and I cannot imagine life without him.  I tell him jokingly that we've been together so long, that I know what he wants before he knows what he wants.  All told, we've been together for 25 years.  (That used to seem like a really, really long time!)

2)  I am very maternal, and love taking care of my family, including my extended family, and my daughter's friends.  

3) I am (mostly) Italian, and learned to cook by watching my mom and my grandparents, and asking questions.  I love to cook and bake, and rarely use recipes except for baking.  Even then, I alter and experiment.  I've been working on a cookbook for years, to pass on the family specialties I learned growing up.  I hope to eventually self-publish it, perhaps after my girl goes off to college.  A funny story related to this - when my mom only had a short time left here with us, I asked her to write down recipes for a couple of her iconic dishes.  She said "What do you mean, write it down? You just do this and that, add a bit of  xyz, and that's it!"  She never did write any of it down.  You see why I don't use recipes?

4) I don't know a stranger.  I can talk with anyone, anytime, anywhere.  I regularly meet new people in the grocery store.  It is rare that I go out in my part of town without running into someone I know.  (Which drives my hubby crazy, hee-hee.)  I love my friends like family - they are all really important to me.  As much as I am social, though, I do really like my quiet time to unwind.

5) I play the piano, mostly for my own enjoyment.  I took it up after a lapse of a bazillion years when I retired (see #7).  I only twice played for an audience, both times it was a duet of Gounod's Ave Maria with my daughter, with her on alto sax. The first time I played for an audience, it was in front of 500 people, most of whom I knew.  {Nervewracking..} A nun asked me to play, and I never could say no to a nun!  Related to music, I love church music/hymns, both to play them and sing them.  

6)  My daughter describes me as a) intense b) sometimes scary (in a fierce, mom kind of way)  c) frugal and d) a health nut.  (She inherited the same intensity and frugality!)

7) Almost 8 years ago, I sold my private practice and retired from the practice of medicine because of some serious health challenges.  People ask me all the time if I miss it.  I loved practicing medicine, and still keep current in pediatrics and other areas of interest, but my health and family are my #1 priority.  I am one of those people that is just happy wherever I am.


Still awake????



Oh, one thing I forgot to throw in there is that I am a true coffee junkie. In fact, I am enjoying a cup right now. Thank goodness coffee has some antioxidant properties, eh?  

Another rule is to nominate other bloggers you find inspiring.  Here are some, there are many more:

1)  Dawn @ Two On, Two Off.  She makes great running clothes and lives where it is mighty cold! If you haven't checked her blog today, you must.  She made the sweetest thing for her kiddos!
2)  Rhonda Buss @ Rhonda's Creative Life.  Rhonda is a veritable cornucopia of creativity, and is the most sharing, lovely blogger I've found.  I always look forward to reading her blog posts, whether it is Sunday Soups, and inspirational post, or her FFPF (Fabulous Free Pattern Friday).  A gorgeous jacket she made is in the March issue of Threads! 
3)  Lori @ Girls in the Garden.  Lori is incredibly prolific, she makes my head spin!  She makes not only clothes for herself and her daughters, but she also makes bags and gorgeous quilts.  She has her first grandbaby on the way!
4)  Cindy @ Cation Designs.  She is a Chemistry teacher, a really great sewist, and a lover of all things LOTR. How come I never had a chemistry teacher like her?  Check out her cute cat, Walnut.
5)  Dixie @ With Needle and Brush.  Dixie is super creative with fabrics and paints.  She makes clothes, purses, the creativity just flows from her.  I miss her posts, but she says her sewing mojo is in full force!  
6)  Amy @ The Cloth Habit.  Amy is a lingerie goddess.  She has a free pattern on her blog called the Rosy Ladyshorts that are super cute and comfy looking, and are on my short list.  She is hosting a bra sew along beginning in January, my first! 

There are so many more I could go on all night.  I so enjoy the sewing and creative blogger world, as it is a constant source of inspiration, and I've 'met' so many nice sewists!  Thank you ALL for your creative inspiration.

Peace,

Andrea



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Circle and a Rack



Hello and Christmas Greetings!  If you celebrate, I hope it was wonderful.  We had a really lovely time, even though my hubby is recovering from over a week of influenza, and my daughter is recuperating from surgery.  Thankfully, though, they both had their appetites back today.  Good thing, because dinner was mighty good, if I do say so myself. 

First, the circle. A few days ago, my daughter asked me to make her a short, black, circle skirt to wear on Christmas day.  On Christmas Eve morning I did all the cooking for dinner (we subscribe to the Italian tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve, more on that here), then happily headed up to the studio to make the skirt.  On my Christmas present (that I bought in November).  Of the few woven black fabrics in the stash, DD chose a 3 yard piece of a light/med weight twill with stretch.  It was part of a long ago Fabric Mart Bundle, so fiber content is unknown, but I'm guessing it is poly/cotton/lycra.  

Anyhow, armed with her waist measurement pluse ease and seam allowance, and the desired skirt length (otherwise know as the don't bend over length), I did some math.  Y'know - that whole calculating the radius thing, where the radius equals the circumference (aka waist measurement) divided by (2 x 3.14).  [3.14 is the value of pi just in case you've forgotten about that little bugger.]  Using the radius, I laid out my folded piece of fabric, and drew the waist curve (radius measurement) right on my fabric with chalk, then measured down from the waist at several points to make the hem curve.  After I cut out that skirt piece, I cut a second one the same, but cut the second one up the center (fold line), to put in a zipper.  Make sense?  

Well, even if that doesn't make sense, it worked.  I french seamed the side seams, and for the back (zipper) seam, I serged  the seam allowances.  I put a 1" wide waistband, interfaced (with something stiff-ish from the stash - sorry, I was in a hurry).  Inspired by Carolyn's fabulous use of bias binding on garment innards, I bound the waistband SA using purple bias binding for a pop of color on the inside.   Finally, this morning, (when I could see), I made a little tiny hem.  My new Babylock sewing machine makes sewing anything an absolute d.r.e.a.m.  {Thanks, Santa!}

After making this cute, simple, little circle skirt, I took the suckiest cell phone picture ever, for your viewing pleasure.  See it up there at the top of this post? ;-)  Seriously, I'll try to get a modeled pic, but when my girl got dressed (when the company pulled into the driveway), I was hot 'n heavy into cooking dinner, and literally 30 seconds after they left, she was in her jammies.  She did look adorable in her new skirt, though.  The waistband turned out a little big, but I have a remedy for that (in my head, anyway) which I shall show you later.   Her friend has already asked for a duplicate, so there will be another in my future.  But there will be a little something for moi fist!

Next, I just have to tell you all about the rack, because it was so good.  Rack of Lamb, that is.  The lamb came from Whole Foods Market, and I used a recipe found online here (scroll to bottom of page - last recipe).  And, um, no picture.  It was our second course at dinner tonight, after the pasta, and I just wasn't quick enough to snap a picture!  But seriously, if you like lamb, the recipe is a winner.  Better than any lamb we've had in any restaurant.  My father-in-law, who is all of 130 pounds soakin' wet God bless him, chowed down on it along with plenty of rice & peas and mashed potatoes - and that was after the pasta, meatballs, sausage, and salad!  Good to know he likes my cooking, right?  Made my mother-in-law wonder out loud at dinner if she was feeding him enough at home, lol.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, dinner was prepared, served, and eaten while wearing black Style Arc Sailor Sue Pants and a red Style Arc Creaive Cate top (at first unloved but now loved), two most frequently worn garments.  

So, to make up for the sucky skirt picture and general lack of pics in today's post, I will leave you with this:
Crystal keeping me company in the studio last night. She needed some time away from Zelda (L'il Z, Little Shit, etc).

Crystal and Zelda


A peaceful week to you and yours.  

See you soon,

Andrea


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peace

You know that time in the evening when everyone has gone to bed, and the house is still and quiet? Love that time of day. Last night as I was headed upstairs to bed, I snapped this picture with my phone. Far removed from the hectic outside world, it is simply peaceful.

On this last weekend before Christmas, I hope you have some peace along with the festivities and any last minute baking, gift making, or shopping.

Merry Christmas!

Andrea




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our Humble Abode

Gingerbread House from scratch!

Gingerbread snowman and girl.


Slight structural issue - not up to code!

Santa looks like he had a rough night.
Indoor lighting...
Left - from a kit, right - from scratch.


We had a lot of sticky fun making our gingerbread house from scratch.  For the gingerbread, we used a recipe we found here on Simply Recipes.  As you can see, it makes dark gingerbread.  We have some dough left over for cookies.  We have been making these for years using pre-made kits.  Lots more fun to make from scratch, and it smells reallllly good!

Speaking of cookies, there has been a lot of cookie baking going on around here.


Butterballs (aka wedding cookies) - a little piece of heaven.


Soon to be Pizelles.  

My favorite breakfast - a Taralle (that's half of one) dunked in coffee.
My aunt made the Taralle this year and mailed me a box.  We make them savory.  

Growing up, cookies (lots of Italian varieties, especially) were a big part of the Christmas season.  It's in my blood to stay - so I bake a lot, and give out a lot of cookie tray gifts.  One of my top all time faves is the Cuccidati - an Italian fig cookie, with a crust like a Fig Newton, only knock your socks off good.  They are rather time intensive, so I'm not sure if they will get made this year.  My waistline will be better off if they don't get made, know what I mean?

Do you make cookies for Christmas?  What are your favorites?  I'd have to say the Cuccidati, Pizelles (with anise oil), and Butterballs are my top 3, then in a slightly different category, but on equal par in my book is a sweet and sticky pastry called Pignolata.  It is an Italian recipe passed down from my Calabrese grandmothter's family.  I'm seriously addicted to these, so I don't make too many!  I'll post a picture when and IF they get made, but for a little eye candy and recipe, here is a similar recipe.


Pignolata
Click for source and recipe.


Gotta tell ya, if you make these, the best part if the citrus infused honey that drips down to the bottom of the pan.....  Oh how I wish I could share with you!


I'm headed up to the studio this evening to finish a little pair of pants for a little guy (his sisters got the skirts), then start on a special request from my daughter - a short, black circle skirt.  I have the perfect fabric in the stash!

Hope you are enjoying precious time with family and friends, getting in some satisfying sewing, and just enjoying the season.  And remember to hug your loved ones tight!

See you soon,

Andrea







Friday, December 14, 2012

Men of the Cloth

Hi there, yep, it's been awhile since I've posted, I'm alive - just lot's going on this time of year!  This evening I want to share something with my readers that I read on another blog and found interesting enough to pass along.  

Men of the Cloth is a documentary type film that is in the making by a woman named Vicki Vasilopoulis.  In order to raise money for production, she has a Kickstarter Campaign going.  Vicki posted a movie trailer video, which you can see by clicking the links on this page.  I thought the trailer was quite good, and would like to see the movie come to fruition.  If this sort of thing floats your boat, take a look!  (She only has about a week left to get funding!)

video here

An inspiring portrait of three Italian master tailors with a
passionate devotion to their Old World trade.


I have one other website to share with you. It has to do with underwear for men, so if this isn't your thing, you've been warned. I have been on a search for high quality whites for my hubby. The crap fabric and crap construction of the commonly available brands drives me insane. 




Flint and Tinder is a webstore that sells men's undershirts, underwear in several styles, as well as other items made in the US. It came about as a young fella's idea, and was also funded on Kickstarter. My husband never understood why I hated the quality of his whites, until he wore the flint and tinder shirts and shorts. In fact, he asked for more. Have to warn you, they are not cheap, but IMO, worth the price tag.

The only thing this second site has to do with sewing is that I have no intention of sewing my husband's underwear.  :-)

I do hope you are having a peaceful and wonderful holiday season, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or another winter holiday, and wherever you are.

My heart aches for the people of Newton, CT, and the families affected by such horror. My God keep them all in the palm of His hand.

Andrea




Monday, November 26, 2012

Skirts for the Little Ones

Sewing for kids is fun and quick!  One day I was breezing through Hancock's and spotted a few bolts of super cute corduroy fabric that just HAD to come home with me.

Scottie Dogs!  How could I resist?


This is what the fabric became this weekend:




I was excited to find this plaid on grain and matchable at
the seams.


These are simple skirts with elastic waists - no frills, no pockets.  I just drafted up a skirt pattern in a jif.   The only difference between them is the red skirt has a smaller hem and is slightly shorter for the shorter of the girls.  I like the beefier hem better.  Hubby was kind enough to lend me his thigh to adjust  the elastic for the waists.  (His thigh measured the same as the girls' waists, oddly enough.)

The plaid fabric was originally intended for pants for the boy, but I had second thoughts and cut out a plain blue corduroy instead.  Those are in the 'soon to be sewn' pile.

The kidlet crew lives in another state, and we don't get to see them often enough.  It was great having them here for Thanksgiving (and they brought their parents, too)!

I have done a crapload of mending, made ever so much more enjoyable by my new sewing machine, the Babylock Crescendo.  I love it!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or just a great weekend if you aren't in the US!) with friends or family, and of course got some sewing in!

Happy sewing,

Andrea



Monday, November 19, 2012

Cosplay Sewing!

Hey there!  I hope it is going to be a wonderful week for everyone!  For my American readers, hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends.



I know I haven't been around much lately, but there has been some sewing which I'll blog later.  Tonight I wanted to show you all what I spent Saturday doing with my girl.




First, for those of you not familiar with the term (probably most I'm guessing), let me define the word 'cosplay'.  Follow the link for the wikipedia page.  Cosplay is short for costume play.  There are conventions that people go to dressed as their favorite character.  Some costumes are incredibly intricate and involved.  

My daughter asked me to help her with her costume.  She gave me an animated picture, since her character is from a wecomic. DD made the chainsaw prop and horns, and bought the logo t-shirt.  I made the skirt, cummerbund, and large bow and tail.
 

Here is a basic sketch of what the skirt looks like:


We dug through the stash, and chose a red cotton knit and 2 1/2" wide black elastic for the waistband.  I drew up a pattern, cut the fabric, and did a few in-progress fittings.

For the bow, tail, and sash, we used a purple woven cotton, and Shirt-Crisp interfacing from Pam Erny's site.  It turned out to be the perfect amount of stiffness.

The black long sleeves were legs from black tights, to avoid wearing two shirts and being hot.

Here she is in her costume!




That's my beautiful girl!
Did I mention she made the horns?


Her character knits, and so does she.  My mom taught her one summer. 
The drapes in the left of the frame I made a few years ago.

Posing with her chainsaw.

Hard to see the detail of the skirt, but you can vaguely see the side sections in this picture.  


In other sewing news, I made the bodice to a dress for the fundraiser last weekend, but life got majorly in the way and I did not finish it in time.  It will be finished though, after Thanksgiving.  I have some sewing to do for the nieces and nephew kidlets coming for turkey!

It will be at least a week or two before I'm blogging again, so stay well, have a wonderful holiday if you're in the US, and I'll see you soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

Andrea











Thursday, November 1, 2012

A New Sewing Machine!
















Meet my new sewing machine, Babylock's Crescendo. 

Just a few stitches.  The stitch on the lower right the hubby calls the EKG stitch.












Random characters - Japanese?





















I really love the chains.

After trying out many of the stitch settings and generally road testing my new Crescendo, I attached the walking foot that came with the machine.  It actually plugs into the machine by way of a short cord and what looks like a camera connection.  I had some fleece blankets for a charity event that I needed to sew up.  I've previously sewn similar blankets on my old machine, and by comparison, my new Babylock sewed the thick fleece layers like a hot knife cutting butter.  The blankets are pictured below.  When I was on the second blanket, the machine beeped, stopped sewing, and a note popped up on the screen that the bobbin thread was almost empty.  Loved that!  Winding a new bobbin was NBD, because there is a separate motor for that purpose.  












The most boring sewing ever.

The Crescendo has features I haven't even tried yet, but is extremely user friendly.  I browsed through the extensive manual, but the cool thing for visual people is on-screen instructions and instruction videos.  The screen size and brightness is fantastic.  The lights are very bright and plentiful, good for my aging eyes.  I'm in love!

I have been an absentee blogger, but I've been keeping up on blog reading as much as possible.  Life is busy these days. The fundraiser I am involved with is coming up soon, and we have begun attending college fairs and visiting colleges.  I've got several things lined up to sew, but haven't found the time or energy.  Nothing like a brand new, booty-kicking sewing machine to fuel the mojo!  

My heart goes out to all who were in the path of Sandy and suffered loss.  It was surreal watching it - we are so often affected by tropical weather systems here in Florida, but this time we were the ones calling relatives and friends up north to make sure they were ok.  I hope all of my blog friends and your families are safe and well.

Be well, and happy sewing,

Andrea