Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

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Sewing Frustration!

Today I seriously almost had a cat fit! I had my shirt all cut out and was starting to sew. Of course the neckband is only 1″ and I needed to fold it in half and iron it. Ok. Well the fabric rolls like crazy. Just to iron it flat I had to pin it all over the place.

So then I thought – ok that’s done – start sewing. My Bernina skipped six or seven stitches just on a sleeve seam. I changed the needle, re-threaded the machine – same thing. I cleaned out the tension discs, put in another needle, same thing. I changed from a jersey needle to a standard point. Same thing.

At this point I’m almost in tears, because this sewing machine has never given me a lot of trouble. So I try to sew on some other fabric, a heavier knit and a woven muslin. No problem. The Bernina does not skip a stitch. Hmm.

I go to my favorite reference, known as the internet and what do I see? Fabrics with lots of lycra and/or nylon act like a trampoline for the needle. Yes, that would be what happened. So before I even started, that top is in the trash. No way I’m frustrating myself for days trying to get the fabric to behave itself. I won’t be buying anything else that looks like that fabric – it looked like scarf fabric except it was a knit. Never again. Luckily there isn’t any more in my sewing room or it would be heading out the door too!


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My Beautiful Dining Room


They’re done! All four dining room chairs have a new life with new cushion covers. It’s so nice to have CLEAN cushion covers. I don’t know how many times I’ve washed the old ones but they never looked clean.

I always like when I wear something I’ve made and I feel great in it. That’s the way with this shirt


which I wore again on my last nursing home visit with DH. It’s very loose and comfortable and perfect for a 95 degree day with high humidity. I was comfortable. I’m going to make this again. Right now though I’m going to concentrate on getting some things done that I will want for work. Yes, you heard me, work.

I feel very blessed to work for a company that you can tell in July you can’t come back and then you can call them 3 weeks later to see if there’s anything open. I did and there was. I start back at LL Bean on August 28. This time, I’m doing the second shift. I think this will be a better fit for me because I dislike getting up by an alarm and rushing to get ready. This way I can wake up normally, putz around, get dressed and get to work without all the rush.

My work attire includes jeans. I can always wear something else, but jeans are so comfortable and you can relax and feel good working. I don’t know what it is about denim that makes us all feel like we’re on holiday! But I love it and everything I sew usually hinges around how it will look with jeans.

There are more patterns from the Drape Drape 3 book that are on my wish list. This one I love



And this pattern from Style Arc



Both of these will be seriously comfortable. The tee shirt will be flattering on me and thankfully Chloe drafts these patterns by hand. This means it will actually fit! I don’t need to do any adjusting. Just cut it out and sew it up.

The bubble top is very cute and would look great out of a sheer or a silk. I have plenty of both. I have a Milly print that was used in a handbag and a dress and sold in stores for an enormous amount of money. It’s this print



and I have it in silk with enough yardage to make the bubble top. I love this print.

I found the fabric for my lower cabinet curtains in the kitchen hiding in my stash. Well not hiding. It’s a beautiful bright blue and periwinkle print on white. I brought it down to the kitchen to see if it looked good with the Martha Stewart Enamel paint color. It looks fantastic. Thank God because I can’t afford to buy more fabric just yet. I have some white muslin my mother had to make quilt backings and I’m going to make the kitchen curtains out of that. Even though the windows are new, I’m going to cover them with insulating shades too in the winter. Every little bit helps.

And every little bit needs to help. I wanted to sell a bunch of stuff through an auction this summer. I haven’t had any luck with the three or four I’ve contacted. One agreed they could sell the stuff but they aren’t coming up here at any time in the future as far as I can tell and it’s way too much for me to haul in the back of a Subaru. So I wait. I spoke with another auctioneer and he flatly said nothing in the price range of what I have will bring any price at all. So here I sit. I have a huge $2300 oil bill from last year to find the cash for. Plus I will need oil this winter if only to keep the water hot. My dream of an on-demand hot water heater just went whoosh out the door.

There are many things that need fixing in the house and I have to take them one by one. Not having my husband be able to fix things since 2010 has been a rude awakening for me. I’m going to get very good at handyman work. Or else.

I’m going to leave with some pictures of the nursing home where DH is living now. It’s out in the country – which isn’t far at all from my small little town.



Sad as it is that he has to be there, it’s  a beautiful place!





It is Almost a Sweater!


I have crossed a milestone and am in the home stretch! My Boxy by Joji is almost done. I am shaping the back and shoulders now. Only a few more rows and I can put the shoulder seams together – I have to learn how to do a 3-needle cast off – and then I do the neck edging and add the sleeves and cuffs!

The color of my Boxy is this

dusty pink

This is alpaca and it has spoiled any other fiber for me. It is super soft and light and makes a beautiful fabric. I tried knitting with some wool and alpaca blend – which I will do – but it was scratchier than alpaca. I am hooked on this yarn. Luckily I can get it at Nordic Mart in California and it comes in lovely colors.

On the sewing front, the fabrics are washed, the table is cleaned off, I’ve done my countertop work for this morning and now I can cut something out. Ready to rock with the serger for sure!

I am grabbing the camera after I wash up – since Gigi of Rethinking Reality wants pictures – and I will post a bunch here in a few minutes! Time to get breakfast on for DH. Luckily he eats cold cereal …………….




Washing Buttons


I recently purchased this pile of buttons and buckles from a nice lady on Ebay. There are some real treasures here and I am pleased. They all felt just a teensy dirty though. Kind of like they’d been in the garage or attic for years.

I put them all in a dishtowel this morning and tied the dishtowel. I am soaking them in dish soap and hot water and I will get them out and let them air dry once they are clean.

Before I stuck them in the towel, I separated out the fabric-covered buttons and anything I thought wouldn’t survive the swimming trip. Most of them are not fabric-covered so I will be able to get them clean and fresh.

I’ve been doing quite a lot of drawing using this book as a reference

fashion illustration


and I am going to take pictures of my work for you all to see. I hope to post those pictures later today. I still have the problem of the Nikon D50 residing upstairs in my sewing room while my Mac is downstairs ………… I think I need two computers and two cameras. Or I need not to be so lazy.

I am cutting out a new shirt today. I haven’t decided yet if it will be this



or if it will be this



For the first shirt, I am using this fabric

Whew this is cute


and I have several for the second – here’s a few of them

Alas I have more ……………… my fabric buying in April and May got a bit out of hand …………… I think I’m stocked up for a LONG time – especially since I still have the entire order of fabric from way back in 2011 AND fabrics I bought longer ago than that. I have marvelous fabric ………………

Update with pictures of the drawings and pretty purple shirt later!


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Sewing Notions and The Fear of Not Having THAT One Thing You Need

There are so many “extra” things you need to complete your wardrobe – here are just a few and I’m sure you can think of more ………….


There are several wonderful websites to help you accumulate everything you will need. I like SewTrue for most things – including wonderful patternmaking supplies and hard to find tailoring supplies. Also they have a large thread selection and every weird notion you can name.

Mood Fabrics has a notion department too and it is fantastic. MJ Trim is good for – wait for it – trims. carries pattern tracing material you can sew to fit and it’s $2.15 a yard. Also has muslin which you will need to mock-up your garments.

One thing I love that I cannot live without is my Olfa cutter and mat. I have the 24 x 36 mat and I use it to cut out fabric. An extra supply of blades comes in handy – it needs replacing often if you cut a lot – mine is cutting weird with skipping every so often. I think it’s the cutter itself as I’ve changed the blade and it’s still doing it.

Anything else? Let you imagine run wild.


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There May Be Hope!

This morning I had a gentleman from my oil company come out to see what we could do to eliminate SOME of the heating oil we use. Last winter – and on into April – we used 2200 gallons. Which is astronomical. I’m not sure that’s the exact count but it is HIGH. And we weren’t even warm. Only once in a while would I raise the thermostat over 60.

So we have some hope here. We’re going to look at adding a mini-split heat pump/ac unit to the downstairs to eliminate heating the place we normally hang out. It will supplement the oil and hopefully save a bundle. We’re also going to install an on-demand hot water heater so we don’t pull water off the boiler any more. This costs around $1,000 a year just for hot water.

This will all work out if 1) the electric  company approves me putting it on my bill (whimper please) and 2) if I can sell enough stuff to pay for the installation and unit for the hot water. I need this to happen so I am going to do everything I can. Except fight the world.

And here’s an update – after the heating guy left – I went upstairs to the sewing room and threaded the serger. It worked! I now know how to do this ………….. I am so proud I didn’t give up after the first day …………..



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Knitting and the Life Behind the Wool

I’ve recently started following Juniper Moon Farm and Shepherd Susie on WP. I’ve had so much fun during lambing season watching the little gals and guys come into this world – well, seeing their pictures after they are here.

This farm is the epitome of sustainable. It is life in action. Susie’s trials and tribulations are the trials and tribulations of all of us – but she has a secret weapon – the love from all of her animals. In the photos she takes you can see the love from the eyes of the lambs. When I gaze upon them I am so glad I do not eat meat and I wish desperately that no one would.

Susie sells Yarn Shares on her website – she was the pioneer in fiber CSAs which help the farmer financially throughout the year maintain their farm and gives the owner of the share a stake in the farm. When you purchase a CSA you get fiber or yarn. What a treat! It is enough just to see the babies and then to get the wool – oh my that is heaven!

Susie is moving now. She packed up all the critters on a van and took off to her temporary home until she can find that just right place for her and the babies. This is a monumental task, as we who have ever moved know. I’ve moved 16 times in 35 years of marriage and countless other times before marriage – but I never had to haul a trailer of animals behind me. My wish for all of them is a safe arrival and enjoyment of their new adventure.

Soon’s the ship comes in – I’m buying a CSA. It doesn’t cost any more than buying a few skeins of yarn from the retail shop and it is so much more IMPORTANT.  All knitters and spinners – heads up – charge to the website above and let’s get cracking! You know you want that wool – and those cute little lambs can’t wait to give it to us!

I’ve added some pictures of baby lambs here – none of these are Susie’s lambs but you can see her lambs on her blog – there’s a link at Fiber Farm.