First project in my new room!

Thanks so much for all your nice comments on my sewing room – I really love it, and I’m pleased that so many of you do as well!  It feels like a million years since I sewed something (actually, about 2 months) so I decided to get right on it.  I’m starting out with something totally in my comfort zone, McCall’s 6554

McCall's 6554

The fabric is a stretch sateen that I bought last summer at SR Harris in Minneapolis.  I’m thinking this will be my Derby dress if it turns out well.

How long has it been since I sewed?  So long that I didn’t realize I was completely out of light colored zippers and batiste for lining!  A trip to the fabric store will be in order tomorrow, and then I think I can make this dress up quickly.

So far the new room is great – it’s smaller than the old room, which makes it easier to use, and it’s so nice not having to look at all that attic clutter while I sew!  I’m someone who doesn’t function well in clutter – I won’t realize what’s wrong, but I get all cranky and tired when surrounded by a mess.  Now if only my desire to de-clutter could keep up with that!

 

Sewing room complete (for now!)

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It took a month, but I’m happy to say that my sewing room is complete for now!  I painted all the trim white, and then painted the walls Benjamin Moore “Misty teal,” a pretty pale aquamarine.
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I really love the color – it’s such a change from the old purple (seen here, in the process of being covered.  I’m sure my husband appreciates me showing his painting shorts to the world!)

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The chandelier and curtains are new:
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The chandelier came from Overstock.com (link in my last post) and the curtains I bought at Target.  I thought making my own, but the cost for 2 windows was a bit much, so when I found these fabulous border print curtains for $15 a panel I snatched them up!  I found the thread holder at a yard sale for $5, and I had one of those jumbo packs of Guttermann from some day after Thanksgiving sale at Joann’s.  I love how pretty the thread looks on the wall!

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My machines are sharing an extra long desk (Malm from Ikea, very sturdy!)  I have a sewing table with my Rocketeer downstairs, waiting to be repainted and added to the room.

I bought a new ironing board.  Mine always seem to rust out every year – does anyone else have that problem?  My dress form (which, admittedly, is mostly decorative, as it doesn’t adjust down to my bust size) is happily sitting to the side.

I’m still planning to build my project table, but for now I’m ok with my portable table from Joann’s.  At least it doesn’t take up much room!

Now the only question is, what to make in my new room?

I’m starting graduate school this summer, so I’m hoping my things being more accessible will make sewing in small bursts possible.  It was just too depressing in the attic.  But I love my pretty room, and I’m hoping it proves inspiring!

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Mission: project table

 

 

 

I’ve been clearing out my spare room this week, in anticipation of all the painting and repair work that I start next week (easter/spring break are going to be my work days!)

My biggest issue has been what to do with my desk.  I currently have an old target computer desk that is on its last legs.  I thought about painting it, but to be honest I just want to move on.  I’m considering swapping my desktop computer for a laptop -we bought my best friend’s macbook, so I’m going to try it out for awhile.  If I can ditch the extra hardware, that frees up a ton of room.  My only concern was the mouse – I like a real one – but my husband pointed out that we have a cordless, so never mind that.   Then I won’t have to have piece of furniture dedicated solely to the computer.

I have in mind something like this:

 

Bedford Project Table Set

This is the Bedford project table from Pottery Barn, which can be yours for the low, low price of $1100 plus shipping.  Seems like a lot to pay for something that is basically a few storage cubes topped with wood.  I’m certain I can make my own for less.  Then I can place it in the center of the room and use it as a combo desk and cutting station.

I found full plans for a knock-off here.  I am reasonably certain I have the skills for this, and my Dad (an actual professional carpenter) will help me.

I would ultimately like a new corner sewing desk, so that I can make my serger and machine easily accessible, but I can wait on that.  My current desk is an Ikea Malm, and it serves its purpose well.

Plans are shaping up – now I’m considering wall colors (I’m thinking a pastel?  Something light and bright…)

 

Back again!

Well, I bet you thought I had gone off somewhere and died!  Nope – I’ve just been traveling for the past month and haven’t had a bit of time to do anything!  My husband and I traveled with the choir and jazz ensemble of the University where I work.  It was a fabulous time – it was so great seeing my students experiencing Europe for the first time!  We were in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.  As always, Prague remains my favorite city in the world.

I won’t bore you with my photos, but here is my favorite – Marc and I in the gardens of Schönbrunn Castle

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I also went to the national conference of the American Choral Director’s Association in Dallas last week.  This was my first time going, and it was overwhelming but wonderful.  I was not, you will note, happy to come from 85 degree weather back to snow yesterday!

Obviously I haven’t sewn, since I’ve only been home 2 days this month, but I really miss it!  I’m planning to get my new sewing room painted during the easter and spring breaks this month.  I also want to sew an ipad case (soft pouch, not one of the one that makes a stand) so if anyone has a tutorial or pattern to recommend that would be great.

I love to travel, but at this point I’m glad to be home – I hope you’ve all had a great month!

 

Slow sewing, and belated Valentine’s day!

I’m still working on Vogue 1317.  I will tell you all the truth – I never would have started this dress if I’d realized just how much work it was!  Every seam is sewn, edge stitched, and top stitched.  In addition, every edge is faced instead of hemmed.  I’ve eliminated the back zipper, pockets, and hem facing, and it’s still taking ages!

I’m pretty unhappy with the way the ties are sewn – they call for making mitered corners on the back, hemming, and trimming close to the stitching.  There’s no way that wouldn’t look terrible in my fabric (ponte) so I eliminated them entirely.  If I were making it again, I would cut two tie pieces and sew them together.  I don’t have enough fabric to make that work, so mine will do without!  Ah well though – I’m nearly finished, so hopefully I will have photos as soon as I sew on the neck facing.

I know my posting is sparse, but I am incredibly busy this semester.  I have rehearsals three nights a week minimum, sometimes more, and I’m maintaining my teaching studio at home along with my teaching at the university.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything though – I love my job, students and colleagues!  We leave for Europe soon, and after that I am going to Dallas for a conference.  After that my schedule should settle down a little.  I am not complaining – I know how lucky I am to do what I love for a living!

In the meantime I’m trying to get together my travel wardrobe, reading a lot, and sewing when I get a chance.    On Valentine’s day Marc and I went to Skyline chili as per our tradition:

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Yes, that is red wine in kid’s to-go cups!  Our Skyline has a 3 course meal every year, complete with fancy desserts.  Since Marc is from Cincinnati, he’s always happy to go, especially since most of our friends don’t care for Cincinnati chili. Not to be gross and sentimental, but as each year goes by I am reminded of how lucky I am to have found him – I know I’m not exactly normal, but he’s never expected me to change who I am!  And just to be increasingly sappy, here is my favorite photo of us: we don’t celebrate anniversaries (I’m not a fan of them) but I love this picture from our wedding five years ago!
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I always tell my friends this: It’s totally worth waiting to get married until you meet the right person.  I could have gotten married younger, but I’m happy that I didn’t!  It’s worth the wait for someone who will understand you – someone who will never expect you to change into their idea of a perfect spouse.  I never had that before, and now that I do I can’t imagine going back.

Happy belated Valentine’s day!

 

 

Found my coat fabric!

After checking all my usual suppliers with no inspiration, this popped up at FabricMart:

Houndstooth suiting

It’s just what I wanted for my coat – I have another houndstooth coat (gray and royal blue) that I wear more than any other.  I wanted something fun, and all the suitings I found were too plain for what I was imagining.

They also had great prices on some ponte knits:

This ponte will become this new Chado Ralph Rucci dress:

I bought a few other colors, one of which will become this new look pattern:

I like the rolled collar.  Finally, they are having 50% off solid knits, so I got this knit:

 

To make this tunic:

My fall plans are shaping up nicely!  I have cut my shantung blouse and my concert dress.  I hope to finish one this weekend!

 

 

 

Fall/winter sewing 2012

Bet you wondered if I was going to sew curtains forever!  I finished my last 2 sets this past weekend, and while there will be more later on, I want to stop and work on my wardrobe for a few weeks.  Pictures of the completed living room are coming this weekend – I am not exaggerating when I say that it’s like I live in a different house now – I love it!

Having said that, I’m not super excited with the fall patterns, though there were a few that I loved.  And my life has changed so much – I’m working outside the house again, which means I need more professional type pieces than before.  It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of wearing whatever I see first, but I’m really trying not to – I know that I feel better in general if I put in a little effort.  With that in mind, I’m trying to identify holes in my wardrobe and fill them.

I like to ask myself these questions when working on wardrobe planning:

1. What image do I want to project?

I firmly believe that the way you dress makes a difference in how you are perceived by the world.  I don’t want to get into whether that’s fair or not (hint: it’s not, especially as pertains to women).  Having said that, I find that as an introvert (thanks for the comments on my last post – I am feeling better!) that it helps me to imagine myself filling a role.  As a musician and actor, this sort of thinking comes naturally.  Right now my concerns are two-fold:  I want to appear confident and competent, but I also want to be approachable.

2. How do I want to feel?

It’s not just about the outside – clothes affect your mood.  I always want to be comfortable, but I don’t wish to feel messy or sloppy.  I’m not interested in being uncomfortable for fashion, because I think you can be fashionable without torturing yourself.

3.  What are the practical considerations?

I have to walk a fair bit, sometimes in cold weather.  I don’t like to wear anything that is tight around the ribcage (for breathing).  I prefer sleeves, and can’t understand why women’s clothing doesn’t seem to come with them anymore.  If I make something with short sleeves I have to wear a sweater all the time (or not wear the item at all.)  I don’t like to wear black because I have a long haired cat.

I find that these three questions help me to narrow my focus.  After that I go through my closet and donate anything that doesn’t make me feel that way (I always recommend doing this with a friend – I know I’m not objective about things that I’ve made!)  I have that planned for this weekend, and after that I’ll have a better idea of the state of my wardrobe.

Off to think about patterns…