a Moneta Pas de Deux (a bit of Moneta Madness under the Midnight Sun)

So you thought I was just sitting around smelling the fresh air for the last two months in the Yukon, eh?

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Actually, my friend Dee and I had a sewing date and we made matching Moneta dresses: a Moneta Pas de Deux!

017Dee came out to the cabin for a weekend and we sewed. It was a lot of fun. I’d brought my sewing machine up the highway with me, and we plugged it into the solar battery system.

018Dee brought this fabulous salmon & teal roses fabric to sew her dress. My eyes turned instant jealousy green as soon as I saw it. And then, O happy day! there was enough left over for me to piece a dress, too!

021I think I was a little rude about it, actually…I just sort of said, “I’ll take that!” when we saw how much was left over…

011I had to piece the back skirt piece, which is just fine. Nobody would ever know that it isn’t supposed to have a back seam.

012I graded the bodice pattern for both Moneta dresses that I’ve sewn from the L at the shoulders up to the XL at the waist, but the dress is still too big across the top of the shoulder. So I’m going to grade the bodice pattern on the next one…the M for the shoulders, grading up to the XL at the waist.

013the neck isn’t really as bad as it looks in this picture. I’m standing wonky or something. The neck doesn’t actually slip down quite that far when I’m wearing it around.  On the plus side…Pockets!

007Cheers to Dee for doing such a great job on her first time ever sewing stretchy, slippery, slithery ITY fabric!

bonesAnd since Dee and I live 1700 miles apart, we don’t have to worry about being caught in the same outfit, lol!

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Love ya, girl.

My first Colette Monetta

Here you thought I wasn’t sewing anything during April. Silly you!

003I’ve been seeing this dress all over the internet and finally decided it was time for me to make one. This is the Monetta dress from Colette Patterns, and INDY designer.

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I have a lot to learn about sewing stretchy knits. I think this crazy striped fabric is called ITY (interlock twist yarn.) I’m still learning what the different types of knit are and what they look like.  The fabric is really stretchy. It drapes beautifully and is Very Comfortable to wear…like wearing pajamas except its a dress, lol! But not the easiest thing to sew…slippery and I couldn’t press a crease into it, so it was hard to make a nice hem.

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I sewed it on my domestic machine (I don’t have a serger, though would dearly love one!) and used my walking foot and a ball point needle. Oh, and I also used a twin needle for the first time.

I don’t know what I did, but I stretched the neck out somehow. It comes dangerously close to falling off my shoulders, though it hasn’t yet. I hope it survives the washing machine.  I’ll be more careful with the neck next time.  And I couldnt find clear elastic so used regular elastic instead. I liked how the skirt is gathered directly onto the elastic. It was so easy to do! The hard part was sewing the gathered bit into the bodice – I caught a bit of the skirt up into the seam here and there, making puckers (not too noticeable). BUT… The regular elastic is stiff compared to the clear stuff, so there is a hard ridge that IS noticeable, which is why I’m wearing a belt. 

Oh, and I put a button on the front for decoration (not really…it’s so I’ll know which is the front when putting it on!)

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And this dress has pockets! …though I’m not happy with the job I did on them. They kind of stick out a bit. And really, I prefer not to have pockets in a dress, so I won’t put them into the next one. This is version 2 of the pattern. It’s a great pattern, I recommend it. Three sleeve options, lined or unlined bodice, collar or no collar (and you can download a booklet containing a big handful of different collars to use when you pay for the pattern – bonus!) I’ll make the next one with the lined bodice version and a collar.

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Next one? You bet! My friend Dee and I will be having a Monetta day together later this month! You can be sure to see the fashion show right here!

2015 Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge

Happy 5th anniversary to the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge! It’s being organized by Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. High Five, Sarah! It’s a lot of work to organize a challenge like this!

Quilters are invited to make a quilt and donate it to one of the charities listed on the Hands2Help website. (But don’t worry if you can’t afford to mail the quilt, you do have the option of donating to a local charity. There are no barriers put in your way if you want to participate.) The object of the challenge is to get quilts wrapped around the shoulders of those who need them.

Extra exciting is that this year, Because You Matter Quilts for Kids is the Canadian recipient! That’s me!! Canadian quilters who don’t want to mail their quilts across the border can mail them to me as an option (if they don’t know where to donate locally or want to contribute to Because you Matter specifically.) How cool is that? !!! Thank you so much, Sarah! I’ll also be posting the quilts I’m making as I go along. I have a special project in mind for Because you Matter this year and I’ll be telling you all about it soon.

Sarah has arranged lots of sponsors and lots of prizes, a linky party, free patterns if you need ideas and all kinds of fun for participants, so head on over to Hands2Help and sign up.  Registration opens today!

Another Vintage New Look 6510: are you kidding me?

Well, what can I say?

007It was Valentine’s Day and for the very first time I was going to a Big Band dance as a general audience member and not as the bari player! A gal needs a new dress for such a monumental occasion, don’t you agree? I mean…I held down the bottom end for what…17+ years… and never heard ’em out front! Not once! Calls for a new dress, don’t ‘cha think?

003And reason #2 (as if I need a reason #2 to sew a dress): the Big Band is in Whitehorse, duh! Which meant that I was going home back to my beloved Yukon for a whole week! In February! Whoot whoot!

Valentines Day 2015I had a fabulous time! My in-laws were there. My sisters-in-law & brother-in-law was there, my niece was there. My number-one-son was there. My girlfriends were there!

006Yes, these photos are taken on the deck of our little cabin in the woods at Fox Lake. In the Yukon! On a very balmy day, I might add! Excuse the wrinkles…suitcase, you know. And while I do have an antique iron at the cabin and can heat it up on the wood stove, I don’t have an ironing board there anymore. (note to Whitehorse friends…if you see a cheep ironing board at the Sally Ann, grab for me!)

014Why yet another version of the vintage New Look 6510 shift dress? Because I only decided to sew the dress the day my flight left. Yup! You read that right. I woke up in the morning and said to myself, “Nita, you have 3 hours. You should sew a Valentine’s Day dress.” And of course the only dress I have ever sewn is this one, and I knew I could do it fast.

013I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the dress as one piece. So I split it at the “adjust length here” line. In retrospect, that was the wrong place. I should have split it at the natural waist. Because when I wear a belt, it sits up on the bottom of my ribcage. Not the most comfortable spot to wear a belt…

008And because I am Thrifty Retirement Girl (♫ insert super-heroine music ♫)… guess what? The dress .25. YES!!! I made this dress for twenty-five cents. Out of three pillowcases. Yes, pillowcases. From the thrift store. Ha Ha!

004Gotcha!

(this post is dedicated to my friend Cynde who just can’t get over it, lol!)

Thankful for Rick Rack: The Simple Woman’s Day Book, January Edition

Today I am taking part in The Simple Woman’s Daybook. I haven’t done it for awhile. Today seems like a good day for it. Check out the link to see what other simple women are up to today. And if you’re a blogger, join in! 🙂
simple-woman-daybook-smallOutside my window… The sky and the lake are both the same colour. Fog obscures the far shore. Everything is shrouded and still.
I am thinking… about how I am procrastinating this morning. I mean to wash the floors but keep finding other things to do first. Like this blog entry. And how I couldn’t do anything (even get dressed!) until I sewed a bag. And my fiction story is waiting for me. I would prefer to devote the majority of my day today to it. And I just might do that! Who needs clean floors, anyway? (insert shifty-eyed emoticon here)
I am thankful…for the love of my husband and the care of my friends and my laptop and the web. And for pink shoes. And rick rack. Definitely thankful for rick rack this morning!
In the kitchen…no mess! Nothing baking, nothing cooking. Just the kettle waiting to be filled.
I am wearing…leggings and my funky green baby-doll top, my favourite brown sweater that could really stand to be new (but maybe that’s why it’s my favourite – well used/loved), beige & brown polka dot socks and my birks.  and a good collection of loose threads. Insulation, you know!
I am creating… a bag! I needed a bag for the Friendship Garden Quilt that I finished (click the link to see it) and just happened to have some happy denim-like sunflower fabric that I got at the thrift store that actually kind of matches the quilt! But I had some bobbin tension issues…
002Ta da! Rick rack to the rescue!
003The bag looked kind of small. Would the quilt fit?
007008The pattern is from The Green Bag Lady. I changed up the pattern a bit…4″ straps instead of 3″ and I used French seams.
I am going…to the Big Band Valentine’s Day dance in Whitehorse on Saturday! Pink shoes, you know. Just sayin’.
I am wondering…who of my old friends will be there to dance with me? 🙂 …And also what it would be like to write a song. My friend Fawn Fritzen, who is an awesome singer, is taking part in FAWM (sort of like NaNoWriMo except it’s February Album Writing Month) where she has to write 15 songs during the month of February. It would be fun to write a song together, except maybe more fun for me than for Fawn, lol! since I have never written a song in my life and can’t sing a note to save it!
I am reading…Festive in Death by J.D.Robb. I checked it out from the library and it is due tomorrow!
I am hoping…that I can  finish this book tonight! Shouldn’t be a problem…I love J.D.Robb’s Eve Dallas stories. 🙂 (did you know that J.D.Robb is actually Nora Roberts? Such a versatile author! And prolific…eee gads, that gal can write!)
I am looking forward to…spending time at the Fox Lake cabin. Really looking forward to it. I want to walk in the door and not walk out again for days and days. I love it there so much!
I am learning…always.
Around the house…dust bunnies to sweep. kitty and doggy footprints to mop, a rug to vacuum, a bathroom to polish.
I am pondering…whether I should sign up for a free Open University Future Learn course called Start Writing Fiction, which focuses on the central skill of creating characters. It’s 8 weeks long and starts at the end of April. Only 3 hours per week, but I am so slow, I know I will  need to devote more time than that to it.  I should sign up for this. Yes, I should.  But I’ve never taken one of these free Open University courses before. Have you?
A favorite quote for today…“If we walk far enough,” says Dorothy, “we shall sometime come to someplace.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
One of my favorite things…cold left over pizza and tea, earl grey, hot – for breakfast! Served with a good book in a corner of the couch and don’t talk to me until I’m done!
A few plans for the rest of the week…Spend time writing on my fiction piece. I need to get another couple of chapters ready to send to my two critique partners, Holly and Lisa. And I’ve got Holly’s chapters to read and make comments on. Plus, I am determined to make 14 (yes, I said fourteen) baby elephants for the elephant-a-long that I’m participating in. 🙂 Here are the momma and daddy elephants:
013A peek into my day…because no matter else what I may or may not do today, writing is at the top of the list. 🙂
012and this:
045with a good dose of this little guy who will need to go for a walk.
IMG_1174What are you doing today?

Vogue 8379: It’s a Wrap!

Have you heard of the Curvy Sewing Collective? If you haven’t, and you are a curvy gal, plus-sized or not, you’ve got to check them out! Anyway, right now they are having a wrap-a-long, which is being hosted by Jenny.  Since learning to sew my own dresses is on my retirement play list, I decided to play along.

Jan 13 007

This was my first real foray into sewing with stretchy fabric and I was quite nervous! I didn’t want to screw it up and end up wasting the money I’d spent on the fabric and the pattern. I really hate waste (which is probably why I love scrap quilts so much). Anyway…I’m not going to learn how to sew if I don’t jump into the deep end, and this sew-a-long was the perfect opportunity to have a support system. If I needed to call for help, I knew help would be there.

Jan 13 016

Jenny was making an entirely different pattern, so her instructions didn’t match exactly up with the Vogue instructions. Because I don’t have the confidence to step off the path yet, I elected to follow the Vogue instructions, but at the same time pay close attention to the differences as I went along. My thinking was that this would be a good way to learn, and I could then make a second dress and follow Jenny’s directions where it made sense to do so. That way I’d understand the whys and how comes instead of just blindly doing it. (If you know me, you’ll recognize this trait! I always want to know how come things work the way they do!)

Jan 13 020

Some of the differences in instructions were:

  1. Vogue had me assemble the bodice and the skirt separately, before attaching them together while Jenny suggested sewing the back bodice to the back skirt, the front bodice pieces to the two front skirt pieces, and then sewing together at the shoulder seams, leaving the side seams open (for now).
  2. Vogue had me sew the sleeve seam and then insert it into the arm hole scythe. Jenny walked everyone through how to sew the sleeve in flat and then sew up the sides and sleeve all in one.
  3. Vogue had me make an interfaced neck facing. Jenny taught everyone how to replace the facing with a t-shirt edging.
  4. Jenny also had us using products such as wonder tape and knit stay tape. Which I didn’t use, but probably will next time.

Jan 13 015

I plan on sewing this dress again, using Jenny’s directions this time as everything she said made perfect sense and I could follow along with her reasoning for the changes. Also, I’d like to try the different way to finish the neck line.

Jan 13 010

I didn’t have enough fabric for the ties, so I had to piece them. Since I was piecing them anyway, I also made them longer. Surprisingly, I can wrap them around so they cross in the back twice! I love this because it feels much more secure. Next time, though, I’ll use a  diagonal seam on the piecing because the straight across seam has left a bulge that annoys me (even though I’m sure I’m the only one who can see it).

Jan 13 006

It was a challenge! I can’t tell you how many times I balled it up and threw it in the corner! Seriously!

Jan 13 014

I had some trouble with the neck gaping. It really bothered me.

Jan 13 021

…then this morning I woke up with the idea that if I moved the side opening (where the tie comes through from the inside) down onto the skirt instead of having it on the bodice, it would snug the left bodice piece up a bit.

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And it worked!

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…but if any of you are sewers, I’d appreciate some tips on how to prevent neck gaping in general. What can I do next time to make the neck edge snug down instead of curling back? Does it do this because the interfaced facing prevents stretch?

Jan 13 018

Next time I’ll also lengthen the bodice about 1 inch. I’ve been giving the dress a test run around the house today, and I find I have to keep tugging the bodice down. It wants to sit just above my waist. Again, a bit annoying. I don’t like to be constantly tugging at my clothing. Other than that it is very comfortable!

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Vogue 8379 is a keeper. I think it is surprisingly flattering (I didn’t expect it to be!) and so I will definitely make it again. Next time I’ll make view A with the long sleeves.

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