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I’m in Denver for a few days! I’ve managed to spend time at the Botanical Gardens and eat lunch there, eat Southern Indian food at a buffet one night and take long walks in the nearby park with the resident dogs.

My daughter took me to JoAnn Fabrics to pick up a cardboard cutting board, some pattern tracing paper, buttons for a future blouse and a pattern for layette clothing. Yesterday my son-in-law and I went to Denver Fabrics (the brick and mortar one) to search for fabrics to make baby slings/wraps/carriers. He fell hard for some $69/yd silk decorator fabric but couldn’t quite bring himself to buy the 3 yds needed for a carrier. lol. But he’s still considering whether or not he can figure out something for the house or ?? with maybe only a 1/3 yard piece… 😀 He’s a carpenter by trade, with college majors in Art, Biology and Political Science.

I’m helping break in a new Bernina Activa 240. Yeah, life is tough. 😉 So far I’ve hemmed the linen pants I made before traveling here and figured out what changes I’ll make to the pattern before making it again (Sewing Workshop Ikina pants), worked on two ‘mattress covers’ (aka fitted sheets) for the crib, traced a Kwik Sew blouse/shirt pattern for me and a newborn-sized pant from McCalls (upon request…) and am considering cutting out another pair of linen pants and sewing together a pair of shorts for myself. If I am able to figure out how to use their camera, I’ll post a pic of the cute flannel she picked for one of the sheets.

Okay, back to sewing machine. The second sheet is ready for the elastic/hems.


I cut this camisole from a really nice soft light blue cotton/lycra jersey knit that I purchased from Ressy’s coop a year or two ago. I’ve been very pleased with the rayon/lycra and cotton/lycra knits I’ve ordered from her. For the first camisole from this pattern I added an inch to the length of the lining (I always lower bust darts at least an inch.) Otherwise I cut the medium sized pattern exactly as printed.

Everytime I use a Kwik Sew pattern I am reminded what great instructions they have. This camisole pattern is no exception. But even so, I sewed the elastic and banding on the inside of the top rather than the outside. Luckily I had a meeting last night, so I took the seam ripper and top along and picked out all the multiple zigzag stitches. Pulling off all the little bits of thread was really the hardest part. I’ll try some scotch tape to get the rest of it.

I tried it on this morning to double check that the elastic under the bust was the right length. I expected it to be just right or maybe a bit tight. Instead it’s about an inch too loose! So I’m considering what quick fix I can do to make it work; it’s not something that will show, so I can just do a quick fix and make a more permanent change on the next one. I guess we’ll just call this a wearable muslin.

I’m posting this now (2:25pm) to get myself into the sewing room and working on this ‘project’ 😉

In response to this introduction to the Take It Further June concept, Paula wrote:

When you say, “it becomes a project,” it makes that sound like a bad thing. But a project is full of possibilities of it’s own. I think it’s interesting that Sharon acknowledges these possibilities when she says, “these materials can take on another story. They can be made into something new and take on other meanings in someone’s life,” but then turns around and says, “material moves from being something that is full of potential to a project,” denying the potential that she previously acknowledged.

To which I responded:
“Interesting. Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe the process is somewhat different for crazy quilters, especially since they sort of make up their designs and decide to use pieces of their stash as they go along.

For garment sewing however, once you’ve cut a garment out of your fabric you’ve necessarily limited what garment is possible from that fabric. Now I will concede that there are things you can be creative about as you are constructing that garment; also opportunities to make changes (within the parameters of the cut pieces) as you tweak the fit and miscellaneous things like buttons and topstitching. But once I’ve done the planning, designing and cutting I often feel as though I just have to do the drudgery.”

Luckily Paula doesn’t hesitate to give me honest feedback and make me think. So of course she had more good points:

But a garment project is full of mystery and possibilities. Will it turn out? Will it be flattering? Will I feel fabulous when I wear it? Will it end up as a dress or will I turn it into a top? Will I keep it or pass it along? Will I scrap it and make a quilt with the pieces? What will happen to me when I wear it? Will I get the job? Meet the love of my life?

I think a garment have maybe even more potential to write new stories than a quilt. Of course I’m speaking as someone who has never really quilted so I may be biased.

Hmmmmmm. I do think that crazy quilting and some types of scrap quilting include more creative decision-making while stitching/piecing than following a strict pattern or using a kit. I guess that aspect, being able to make decisions about the final result while actually constructing the piece, holds a lot of appeal to me. Once the creative and drafting/altering decisions are done, I tend to lose interest.

I guess I was thinking only of the immediate loss of possibilities due to cutting, not the future possibilities of that particular project. I was also thinking of the work and time needed to get the sewing done.

But the truth is that I have plenty of fabric and ‘losing’ one piece to a possibly poor decision will not make much difference in the long run of my life. lol. And certainly I can’t wear the flat fold pieces in my stash, so if I leave them uncut I’ll certainly never be able to find out the answers to your questions above!

I recently came across some notes from when I first joined the Fabric Fast:2008 at

I then went and reread some of the fasting thread. The original post by popoagiesmiles still inspires me. Also many of the posts by others since then.

I had committed to fasting ‘month to month’ but forgot to check in at the end of most months. I think I managed to keep to a complete fast about 3 of the 5 months, and definitely purchased fabric (beyond my initial commitment) during two months. Overall though, my total-dollars-spent is less, which is good. And I’ve actually used a bunch of the fabrics I’ve invested in in the last few years and learned which ones I should order more of (Siltex 100% cotton fleeces) and which types I should skip (floral silk georgette.)

So now, approaching the half-way mark of the year of Fabric Fasting, I’m considering my commitment for the coming 6 months.

A total fast would no doubt be a very good thing for my budget. The temptation to buy baby-type fabrics for sewing for my first grandchild who is due in September will no doubt get stronger. On the other hand, I think my money is probably better spent buying airline tickets to go visit him and his parents more often. I will try to keep this firmly in mind.

Tonight while cooking dinner I was thinking through why I was putting off starting to sew the camisole I cut out Saturday. Was it just a boring idea? Was I worried it wouldn’t fit?

Hmmm. Wonder if it’s because I don’t currently have a ‘home’ for my serger…. It’s sitting forlornly on a box while I get around to finding a table top for it. I’ve used it in the kitchen recently, but that’s not a very good permanent solution as that entails moving it for meals and it’s really heavier than I should be lifting these days.

But that can’t be the whole problem because a lot of the construction can be easily done on the sewing machine. In fact some of it needs to be sewn, not serged.

Or maybe I’m just feeling panicked because I have so many things I’d like to get done before I travel to visit my daughter next week? Some of them NEED to be done; others I want to do. For instance I need to decide if I’ll be shipping my clothing, etc by USPS or UPS rather than trying to figure out how to maneuver a suitcase (from out the car to the airline counter and vice versa) that’s WAY heavier than I’m supposed to lift. (I’m staying 9 days.)

June palette

I’ve fallen behind with the TIF challenges. These are the colors for June.

Here’s the idea part: Stashes “are either purchased or scavenged materials that have accumulated over time and as such they often have a story to tell. Or it is possibly more correct to say that stashes are full of stories. The interesting thing for textile practitioners is that these materials can take on another story. They can be made into something new and take on other meanings in someone’s life.” Sharon goes on to talk about the wealth that a stash represents monetarily, but also “there is the psychological wealth of a stash because a stash is full of possibilities. While material is uncut it is rich with possible uses. Once you have committed to using it the material moves from being something that is full of potential to a project.” … “So this month the idea to think about is stories that are and stories that are possible.”

I’m not quite clear what is meant to be considered, but I do definitely resonate with the idea that uncut fabric/material represents possibilities and wealth and once it is cut it becomes a project.

More about sharonb’s Take It Further Challenges for 2008.

I’ve been tagged by Paula of Sew Confused. She describes this as “a few questions designed to help us get to know one another a little better.”

I had just escaped 😀 from the best-paying, but most stressful job I’ve ever had. Since then I’ve been working at regaining my health. I’m still here, so I guess it’s working. 😉

Trace the two tops in Kwik Sew 3115
Kwik Sew 3115
Select fabric and cut out the camisole (above)
Weeding the garden for a half hour or so
Prepare for tomorrow – clothing washed, Father’s Day card ready for my dad, check written, etc.
Paid work (one hour; it’s Saturday!)

I am a big fan of raw almonds. Easy to carry with you. Keep well.
On the other hand, I’m always ready for a chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie. Well, one without casein/milk in it, anyhow…
I love strawberries…but they don’t love me —>> Itchy welts

Hire someone to help me organize the house where I live. And repair and paint the barn. And someone else to paint and do the other prep work needed at the other house.
Expand my online businesses by hiring help (neighbors and friends.)

Armington IL
Goshen IN
Hyden KY
Matalgalpa Nicaragua
Urbana/Champaign IL
Henry IL
Tiskilwa IL
Peoria IL
Chicago IL
not necessarily in that order…

Tractor driving and other grain and hog farm work
Crew chief of corn detasseling crew
Pizza factory line
Crafts director at summer camp
Student Travel service clerk (university)
Food service director
Postal service rural carrier
Fabric store clerk/assistant
Natural Foods (Kroger) department head clerk
University graduate teaching assistant
Univ. graduate research assistant/associate
Self-employed dissertation editor
Contractor for Univ clothing research study
Univ teaching: “Cross-Cultural Aspects of Clothing and Dress” and “Consumer Science Intro”
Investigator for court-ordered custody studies
Quality Assurance Coordinator
Quilt shop clerk
Farm & trucking company office work and general go-fer
Online businesses (book sales, textile collectibles, magazine subscriptions, used farm equipment)

Several volunteer positions over the years: head cook, cookbook recipe testing, mediator, office work/Excel input, banner artist, musician, ‘community host’ for an online forum, etc.

This is hard, especially since I waited so long to respond to Paula’s nomination…
If you haven’t had a chance to do this yet, please write to me…

Thanks, Paula. That was fun. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to remember all the places I’ve worked. It’s always interesting looking back. It did occur to me that this list is the ‘outer’ view of what was happening in other parts of my life… family and health issues, for instance.

Publishing some drafts that got delayed…

Dawn of Two On, Two Off has to be the queen of zippered fleece jackets, especially orange ones!

Her tutorial of her separating zipper insertion method is one I’d like to try on my next jacket. (Next fall, that is…)

like the way she serges the zipper edge and fleece together and then how she determines exactly where to put the line of topstitching that holds the fleece away from the zipper teeth. Check it out!

Take a look at the fabric I just noticed on two of these swim suits…
Are you familiar with this brand? “merging the worlds of high fashion and hip-hop style”

Some of the others are tagged Nomad, but I haven’t found much online about that…

My son (who lives in Thailand) sent them to me as samples – I think he thought I might sell them somehow….
See the back story here.

Seriously. Would you like one or more of these? Leave a comment and I’ll contact you and we can discuss sizes needed. They are marked medium and large, but my impression is that they are small and medium. I could send one or more anywhere in the US for about $5.00 (priority flat rate envelope.)

My other options are our annual yard sale. Or donating them to the local thrift shop.

Okay, I’ve got an odd problem. I have about twenty two piece swimsuits, all brand new, sitting here in a nice Rubbermaid sweater box. And NO, I’m not EVEN going to try one on as I don’t think bikini and/or halter tops would look too great on this nearly 60 year old bod. They are a lot like these, but not the Roxy brand:
similar suits

How did I get them? Well, my son had this idea that I might be able to sell them, so he special-ordered several different styles in eleven different fabrics and brought them with him when he came home from Bangkok to stay a couple months last fall. He even managed to get some photos taken, but I don’t have the URL (or more accurately, I can’t find it right this minute.) But no, he didn’t tell me HOW to sell them or even who might want/fit them… I’d guess he had some help from his good friend Chayanith when selecting the styles, etc. as they seem to be stylish prints and well made.

I don’t know all the sizes… I’d guess SMALL, but several have a size Medium tag and at least two are labeled Large. Some have adjustable ties on them which would help them fit a larger range of sizes. But the cup sizes these will fit will be relatively small, I think. The knit fabric appears to be mostly nylon with some lycra. The tops all have knit lining in the cup area.

So…any ideas? Know any teenagers or twenty-somethings who have a lot of friends? You think I should send them all off to Lindsay’s daughter? 😀


June 2008
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In honor of my late father-in-law