March 13, 2015

Links and Things

Links and things. 

  • A few weeks ago I was talking about how I didn't want to use quilting cotton anymore because it's not the best for garments. It is definitely not the best for the types of blouses I'm making at the moment but I've used it successfully for garments where the stiffness and lack of drape usually found in a quilting cotton works to the advantage of the pattern (as long as it is good quality quilting cotton... a lot of the super cheap stuff I used to buy was horrible but I've found lovely fabrics in that genre as well). Tilly and the Buttons has a nice post on when and how to successfully use quilting cotton for garment sewing. 
  • I think I'm finally going to get around to making some mustard. Maybe I'll start with this Brown Maple Mustard. (on Putting Up With Erin)

March 4, 2015

More Sewing Things and the Weather

I went to Joann's yesterday hoping to find some inexpensive cotton voile (or any voile actually) to make muslins out of and I thought maybe I'd pick up some voile, lawn, and chambray to use in my final garments. I've been swatching gorgeous, fine cloth from various online sources but a few less expensive basics would not come amiss. 

Yall, the amount of polyester in that store is out of control. 

If you are a lover of polyester clothing then I envy you. If I felt comfortable in polyester my wardrobe would be easier and cheaper. Alas that is not the case. Anyhow, I really couldn't find any fabrics, synthetic or otherwise, that I thought would mock up with the drape similar to the fabrics I'm planning to order for my final garments (I am in love with this one, this one, and this one for starters and this one is going to be used for a small yardage project because extra pricy!). So I ended up buying the finest muslin I could find and calling it a plan. I also found these:
A light smooth tealish green gingham in the sale section with just shy of 2 yards on it. I don't know what I'll do with this yet. 

Also this linen/rayon blend (45/55 or was it 55/45?) which I'm going to make into a skirt. Hopefully it works out. My experience with rayon is that it shrinks a ton (I'll pre wash it of course) and stretches like crazy. And of course linen has a growing nature as well so we'll see. I decided to risk it because I love the print! Let's just deal with those colors for a moment. I could wear any color shirt with a skirt made from this. 

The moss shot cloth for the Ashland tunic
I also had a 50% off all regularly priced notions coupon which was very helpful. Not only did I find the perfect match for the green shot cloth in those expensive tiny Gutterman spools but I then got them half off. Also stocked up on needles because now that I'm doing this sewing thing for real I plan to approach it professionally which means changing the needles after each project. There were lots of other notions in the basket including a tube turner (because after trying the safety pin method on the narrow loops for the Gathering
Apron I was annoyed) and more glass headed pins, but not the extra fine ones I already had. Those were way too thin for the wool I just worked with and they were kind of a pain! Since there is more wool in the sewing stack, I needed a more substantial pin.

In other sewing news, I've been reading everything The Curvy Sewing Collective has written in addition to some of the contributor's personal blogs. The Collective rocks. Their pattern reviews are incredibly helpful since they give their measurements, describe their shape, and then talk about how a pattern worked for them fit wise and what they had to change. I narrowed down my pattern options a lot after reading all that. They also have great tutorials like how to do a full bust adjustment in general and how to do them in special circumstances, fitting sleeves when you have big upper arms, and more advanced techniques (or at least advanced for me!) like making a pocket stay. Also, while I love all the contributors, Mary is my favorite. I think her writing is hysterical!

In gardening news, the grass (and "weeds" which we love) are growing, the air smells sweet, the high today is 82 degrees... and the low tomorrow is 32 degrees. Texas be crazy. 

If all the flowers don't freeze off (and there are a lot of flowers in bloom) I'm going to take a bunch of pictures and show you what early March is like here. I've been trying to teach Small the names of the spring "weeds". So far we've done vetch, chickweed and henbit. He knows all the vegetable plants we grow so the weeds should be no problem. Pop quiz when he gets home today after MDO!

March 1, 2015

Another Q&A: Drip System Blues

And another question to the garden agony aunt from the "I Love My Farmer (Local Farmer Fan Club)" FB page of days gone by :-)

"Drip System Blues"

Dear Local Farmer,
The joints at the main line and the drip lines WILL NOT stop leaking (it's a pretty bad leak). I just replaced the main line and carefully reattached the drip lines. No luck. Same shit. The drip lines are fully connected to the connector piece. Help! This drought it killing us! 

Water waster

my response:

Dear Water Waster,

I assume we're talking about T-tape and not aquapore. My T-tape system always leaks at the intersection of mainline and tape. It is definitely a design flaw and it drives me crazy as well. My only suggestion is to try and make the h
oles you punch in the mainline as small as possible (while of course still big enough to put in the barbed tape-attachment piece...which is often a frustrating operation in and of itself).If you need to re-punch the holes, sells "goof plugs" which are supposed to patch the old holes (i need to order some myself)

And if all else fails you can think to yourself "At least we're not wasting as much water as if we were using sprinklers" and put a water loving plant in the ground right under the leak.

-the local farmer

Oliver + S School Days Coat Pattern and Cabbages

OF course I didn't follow my original order-of-garment-sewing plan. I made a muslin of a Butterick kimono top, a wearable muslin of the Lane Raglan by Hey June, and the Gathering Apron by Sew Liberated. Then I made Small the School Days Coat by Oliver + S. I have never sewn a coat or anything with this kind of lining and since I want to sew a coat for me this year I decided that starting with a kiddo version was much lower stakes and great practice. 

This coat is a FABULOUSLY written pattern. Having just sewn an apron with poorly written instructions this was delightful. Everything was clearly illustrated and explained in great detail. Love it! I'll definitely be sewing Oliver + S patterns again!

The exterior fabric is a poly wool coating in red, yellow, and blue plaid that I got on sale from It was a little thinner and floppier than expected but it worked well. It's a pretty loose weave though, so there was much fraying if I wasn't careful. The body is lined in a dark green cotton who's origin is lost to the mists of time. The hood is lined with a cool pinwheel print quilting cotton from my grandmother's stash. The sleeves and patch pockets are lined in a mustard yellow broad cloth I bought from a fabric warehouse in TN 12 years ago. I made the toggle cording from some bright yellow bias tape I've had in my stash for years. I didn't have toggles and didn't want to go to the store so I used some vintage buttons from Stitch Lab and made my own. Other than the fact that I made the closures too short (not paying attention!) I think it turned out great! I sewed up a size 5 which is a little large for Small so the shortness of the closures is ok for the moment. I'll fix it later when he grows fully into it. It took about 14 hours to make and I do not, by the way, recommend that much sewing in one 24 hour period.

In other sewing news, I'm about to trace and cut out a muslin for the Ashland Dress (I'll make it tunic length though) also by Sew Liberated. We'll see how this pattern turns out. The apron pattern had "basic written instructions and assembly diagrams" and then you can access videos online for further instruction. Um... no. I'm pretty sure I'm not a beginner sewist but these instructions were terrible. Not fully illustrated and not complete basic instructions. I also don't want to have to watch online videos even if I was a beginner. I want to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer or listen to Savage Love while I'm sewing. Sometimes I want to enjoy some peace and quiet. Patterns should come with instructions. If this one isn't easier to work with than the apron pattern was I think I'm done with Sew Liberated. Anyhow, I'm planning to make the final version out of Kaffe Fasset shot cloth in Moss. I got swatches of moss, viridian and Aegean last summer at Stitch Lab and I've been waiting impatiently to bring these colors into my wardrobe because they're gorgeous. 

In gardening news the cabbages are getting to a harvestable size and I've already made (and consumed!) a half gallon of sauerkraut. There is another half gallon on the counter just starting to get fizzy. The broccoli harvest has also been amazing this year and the greens as always are chugging along nicely. I planted new lettuce a few weeks ago. These were plants I started myself so they shouldn't bolt prematurely like the ones I got from the nursery (really not impressed overall with this organic nursery near me). The onions and celery are also doing well. The yellow snow peas I planted are growing fantastically but they aren't sweet so we're mostly not eating them. Ill harvest a big batch of them soon, as they are now long in the tooth with fully developed seeds, and use them for soup. Our tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos, as well as spring herbs
and flowers are ready to go in the ground when the weather warms and stabilizes (a few weeks). I didn't grow eggplants because I normally find eggplant varieties I like at the store. I usually buy jalapenos and serranos from nurseries as well.

We also planted 2 Fuyu persimmons, a Golden Dorset apple and a Japanese plum. Added to the 3 figs, 2 mandarins, a loquat and a kumquat, I'd say fruit abounds on this property!

And just because I think his ability to curl his tongue is amazing, I give you Small.