Monday, April 21, 2014

Remembering my mom

at Maria's wedding Aug 2008
At my friend Maria's wedding in August 2008.   I'm wearing S3833.

I'm really sorry to write this post to tell you all, my sweet sewing friends and blog readers, that my dear mom Judy Burkhardt suddenly passed away in the early evening of Saturday, April 5, 2014.

It was a shock and surprise to us all, though looking back the signs were there starting in the fall of 2012.

Mom and Dad, June 13, 1964
June 13, 1964.

It is really hard to believe she is gone.  She was 69.  If she had lived 10 more weeks, my parents would have reached 50 years of marriage.  They were high school sweethearts who had dated for 5 years before that.  And they still liked and loved each other!!

My parents.  Mom is 15 and Dad is 16.
My parents at 15 and 16 years of age.

Dad and I co-wrote her obituary and her eulogy. I might post the eulogy on my blog, or I might not.  Not sure yet.   The funeral was amazing, if a funeral can be such a thing.  We had the funeral in her hometown of Florence, NJ and had the funeral director, who went to high school with my parents and who my mom actually liked, read the eulogy Dad and I wrote.  We estimated mom gave away over a thousand bouquets in her lifetime.  We did not ask for donations because we wanted the flowers to come back to her.  The amount of "floral support" was outstanding--it was like a wall of flowers.  My uncle sent an amazing bouquet that the funeral home put in my mom's hands.  It was gorgeous.  Dad had the idea to bring the cat apron I made her for Christmas, and we draped it on her arm and over the side of the casket.     We dressed her in one of her typical outfits--white turtleneck, turquoise button down shirt, cream sweater, unbuttoned, with a cat pin.  She was always wearing cat or heart pins.

Mom's first & favorite car
Mom's first car:  1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, in turquoise burgundy

The support of all her communities was outstanding--Dad's family including my 98 year old great aunt Iris; Mom's high school classmates (she organized a monthly luncheon and loved chatting with them); her Wall neighbors; Dad's coworkers who all knew her from the summer picnics and Christmas parties she helped organize (and my dad's been retired for almost 13 years now!); my former and current coworkers who all knew her from the mini-pumpkins she decorated and gave to them, but most of whom she never met; my third grade teacher who we kept in touch with--she gave flowers to him on his birthday every year; my friend from the gym representing the evening rampers; my childhood best friend and her whole family--she always thought of my mom as her second mom and mom thought of her as a second daughter; even a college friend who is a professor trying to get tenure and has a family of her own but took the train from MA because "that's the impression your mother made on me."

4 generations Dec 1975
4 generations:  my great-grandmother Mema, my mom, me at almost 2 months of age and my grandmom in 1975.

Mom loved the internet and email.  She was the number one fan of my blog.  She must have been constantly checking to see if I wrote a new post; sometimes she'd email and comment on what I had made when I had just pressed the post button a few minutes before.  She always emailed me her comments; she never left one on my blog itself.  She was also fond of reading the blogs on my blog roll, in particular Sidewalk Shoes for the kitty cat pictures on Saturdays (Pam, we *both* loved your story of how Coco came to be in your life because it was so much like our Cali cat), and Marisa at New Dress a Day (she often would tell me to check out something interesting or a scandalously low bust line on Marisa's blog).    She also really enjoyed I can has cheezburger for the LOL Cats.

Mom's favorite picture of the two of them.
My mom's favorite picture of her and dad, taken in Myrtle Beach in the late 80's/early 90's.

Mom read all the comments you, my readers, left on my blog and sometimes she would email me about your comments, or she'd say "your sewing friends are going to love all this detail" when I'd write an overly long and picture heavy post.

Oct 1985
1985:  Mom, Aunt Barb, Uncle Jim, Grandmom, Granddad
Me, my cousins Kris, Ryan, Jamie

She was so sad, like I was, when GwenSews passed away; she couldn't believe it either and she cried like I did. She said she felt like she knew Gwen, as did I, even though we never met Gwen--but Gwen had commented on almost every post I had written since Gwen found my blog at the end of Jan 2012 and mom read every one!

August 1997
Before going back to Bryn Mawr for my senior year, 1997

I wore my favorite dress, Vogue 1351, to mom's funeral.  I wasn't sure about wearing it with the red belt but Dad said I should wear what I'd like and dress like me.  The red belt is me.

Mother's Day 1977
Me and mom on Mother's Day 1977.  Mom is 32 and I'm 18 months.

As for my dad and myself, we are doing ok.  I have always had a great relationship with my dad but we are spending more time together and learning more about each other.  The obituary, eulogy, and funeral came together better because we worked on it together.  We are grieving but are functional.   At work,  the software upgrade happened on April 12, the day after mom's funeral. My kind and amazing boss said we could move it but I felt like we were so close to go-live we should just do it.  My coworkers were a huge help and I am grateful to them.  I am still working on this other huge software project that goes live July 1.  I'm looking at that project like my college degree:  I've been setting aside things I want to do in order to work on the project and just get it done. I had been keeping a list of things I'd like to do after go-live that I haven't been able to do personally.  I had gotten myself onto a schedule that let me go to the gym after work, work 6 days a week, keep the house clean, and do sewing on Sundays before Mom's death.  I think the sewing is going to slide for now but I'd like to pick it up again after go-live.  I really want to get back into making dresses.  I have somehow gotten mired in fit and I just want sewing to be fun again.  Time is so precious, life is so short to spend it on struggling over fit (besides many other things).

Thank you Mom.  I love you.  I miss you. I can't believe you're gone.

 Be well.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

StyleArc Laura Cardigan wearable muslin

StyleArc Laura
I bought this pattern in the summer of 2011, but sewing it up meant I would have to learn how to use my serger first (see the overlocked edges above) and find some sweater knit.

Finally, 2.5 years later, the time came to make a muslin.  I made the straight 12.  I think it fits pretty well.  The only thing I'm unsure about is the length.

StyleArc Laura cardi

My usual work photographer was not available for pictures so this is a different work photographer who insisted we use his windows phone.
StyleArc Laura cardi

Here is the walking away shot, to show how it flutters.  I feel like I'm a caped superhero when I wear this.

StyleArc Laura cardi

This is to show you the impressive wingspan

StyleArc Laura cardi

And here are some pix my regular work photog took before I serged the raw edges

StyleArc Laura cardi muslin (unserged)
StyleArc Laura cardi muslin (unserged)

StyleArc Laura cardi muslin (unserged)

Serger practice
I was pretty afraid of serging the raw edges.
I cut some sample squares.

cutting samples
I bought this 4x4" square "ruler" after taking the PR class "understanding knit fabrics".  Mainly I use it for cutting sample squares when I wash and dry fabric to determine shrinkage...but it has another use...when I serge the edge, is it getting longer or shorter???

practice sample squares

Then I serged.
And it was terrible.
No matter what I was setting the differential feed (DF), it was gathered.  Adjusting the DF was always my fix in the past, but not this time.
I gave up.
Then I googled.
And then I found the right setting.

from gathered to perfect
First three:  great if I wanted gathering!!

I had no idea that I had to release the needle tensions down, and the upper looper tension down too, but so it was.  I experimented a bit more than above, but finally figured out that the last settings above are right.

I then serged on the lengthwise grain, expecting the settings to be different, but they weren't!  This was single layer, which is exactly what serging the raw edges involved.
perfect both edges

In the above photo, the top and right sides are serged.  I cut the edge so the square is no longer 4x4.  If you really want to check if the stitching is changing the length/width you need two samples:  one where you only cut the length and one where you only cut the width.

So here's what it looks like on the garment.  Wow, that black serger thread really blends into this blue and black fabric:
StyleArc Laura cardi wearable muslin--now serged!

So I wanted to serge the inside too, which meant 2 layers.
I wrote down the settings in my notebook where I keep sewing notes for myself. The fabric was from the San Diego swap meet with Elizabeth last November.

my notes about the sweater knit
and this is what it looked like inside on the sleeve cap
StyleArc Laura cardi wearable muslin--now serged!

For the bottom of the sleeve I serged the raw edge and then blind hemmed it.  The arms seem to be extra long and begging to be hemmed so that's what I did.
StyleArc Laura cardi wearable muslin--now serged!
Wrong side of the sleeve.

What to do with the serger tails
I was also unsure of what to do with the serger tails on the single layer, around the edges.  It turned out to be so easy...but maybe I'll talk about that in the next post.

So what do you think of the length?  Too long?

Be well!!!

StyleArc Laura cardi wearable muslin--now serged!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oliver + S Heart Ornament times 10

Oliver + S Valentine Hearts
When some were done and others were in progress

I don't craft too often, but when I saw the Oliver + S heart tree on the Seasoned Homemaker blog, I had to craft.

This was back in early February, around the time I had sewed the red + white gingham flannel shirt and had some scrappy baps left over.

I got this crazy idea that it would fun to make 10 hearts, one for each member of my mindfulness meditation group, and distribute them to the group at the med before Valentine's Day.   After all, one of our teacher's most favorite sayings is, "What is the most loving thing you can do for yourself?"    Which, the night before our weekly meeting Valentine's week, turned out to be giving myself a break and not staying up late to get them all done.
Oliver + S hearts

I just finished the 11th one this week. For the longest time I had 9 of them done (and I had given one away to my work photographer).   So those 8 have been hanging on my wall in my sewing room.

Oliver + S hearts

I downloaded the free pattern here from the Oliver + S website.  There's a really cute family story there too about why Liesl likes hearts on trees.

Because I was going to make so many of them, I decided to cut a cardboard template.  But using the heart as a template meant I couldn't center my heart for cutting out.  I wound up using the leftover cardboard (with the heart cut out) as the template instead, instead of the cardboard heart itself!

Making Oliver + S heart ornaments

This was my first one, where I cut it out straight on and used a thick ribbon.

making Oliver + S Heart ornaments

Cutting it on the bias was MUCH cuter.  As was using thinner ribbon.
It mostly disappears but not completely because the gingham was not printed on grain.
Can you see the heart?

Then I realized, the lines need to match when right sides are together.  But again, there were issues with the printing of the fabric.
Oliver + S Valentine Hearts
Adorbs, right?
Oliver + S Valentine Hearts

I love this basket.
Oliver + S Valentine Hearts

It amazes me how differently they all turned out.
Oliver + S hearts
Like real life, no two hearts are the same.
Oliver + S hearts

Each is unique.
Oliver + S hearts
Some of the lines line up better than others.
Oliver + S hearts

Soooo....what is the most loving thing you can do for yourself?

Be well!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Jalie 2682 done

Jalie fleece

Ever since PR Weekend Chicago 2011, I have been wanting to make the Jalie 2682 polar fleece.  PR Member "Kathy in NM" was wearing hers and I just *loved* it.  The quarter zip looked difficult but she assured me it was easy.

Jalie 2682
In the meantime I felt very intrigued by zippers, which resulted in zipper pouches, interior zipper pockets in bags and even a briefcase-style bag with a chunky metal zipper.

Turns out Kathy was right---the front, upper portion of the bodice of the Jalie is lined and inserting the zipper is just like inserting one in a zipper pouch.  It's basically a zipper sandwich.  It is *super cleverly constructed* and generally fun to sew.

I made a muslin and a half and then the real deal.  I consulted with Sunny Gal first who said I would probably need to lengthen the upper bodice half an inch to lower the armhole and give more room, and possibly widen the arms.  She was right!

The chocolate brown fleece is from and the zipper from SIL Thread.  I used a 10" zipper; next time I'll use a 12".

Muslin #1:
This was size "V" for "Very Tight" and "Very much matches my bust measurement".   This is way too tight in the upper arm/armpit area and in my biceps.  I couldn't wait to take it off.  I didn't hem it because it was just a muslin. Also the upper bodice ends at a strange place.  Definitely needs to be lower.

super tight Jalie muslin (size V)

Muslin #1.5
At that moment I felt most of my fitting issues were in the upper bodice so I made a sample out of some hot pink fleece from Joann's remnant bin that I've had in stash forever, and a stash zipper that had tarnished in the middle somehow.  I think this was a straight "X" for "Xtra space".  But it wasn't enough.

Jalie muslin #2

The real deal
This is size X, but with a half inch added to the upper bodice and also fanning out the sides in the bust/armpit area to create more room.  That meant the sleeve cap was longer, so I was able to add more width to the sleeve for the bicep.

So here was my snowy look from two Mondays ago.  This was the only decent-ish front picture in the bunch so here you go:
Jalie fleece

My work photographer felt the prior version was much better looking/fitting but it is just too tight for me to wear.  Maybe in a stretchier fabric I could get away with it.  This fleece has 25% crosswise stretch.

The zipper:
Jalie fleece

The sleeve caps were really, really hard.  I had *not* practiced my sleeve caps with fleece and I should have!!  They were lumptastic because I am not used to handling such loft.  Always always always make a sample first.

Finally I got my sleeve cap to look like this.  Finally something smooth.
Jalie fleece

I blind hemmed that bad boy.


Jalie fleece

And because I'm all excited about the serging

Jalie fleece
Jalie fleece

Verdict: I don't know that I love it but I'm glad that I finally made it and in the appropriate season.  Another item to cross off my 2014 goals list!!!  It is now hanging in the magic closet with the muslin.  I might try again with a performance-type fabric that is stretchier...we'll see!!  There are just so many other things I want to sew and I am kind of itching to sew a dress again, and maybe (spoiler alert) another cardigan... I am only behind by two "completed garment" posts now.

Be well!