the dust is thick around here

I’ve done little, if any, sewing these last three months.  Summer began with a whirlwind at the beginning of June, and apart from the drapes and bed canopies, I’ve done a little mending here and a little hand sewing there and nothing else.  Except taxi. People. Everywhere.  To swim lessons, dance, summer school, horseback riding, the beach, overnight camp, school orientations, dance school assessments, the farmers’ market….

Even this last week, the first back into school routine, has been filled with driving endless places, ticking items off the endless to-do list.  And my fabric languishes.  My patterns collect dust.  My sewing table cannot be seen for the myriad of strange not-related-to-sewing articles that have found a temporary home on its surface.

And I find I don’t really care.  I feel a little tug when catching sight of the patterns under their layer of accumulating household detritus.  Or a wistful “that would be nice” or “I remember you!” when catching a glimpse of fabric.  Then there is the stack of stretch denim and some denim-look linen that should have been capris and summer trousers.  But they never were, and still aren’t.  Somehow I just made do this summer with three me-made skirts, a few T-shirts, a couple of me-made knit dresses and a pair of Roots sweatpants.  I think I wore three out of my summer dress collection twice each.  I have put two of those dresses aside to be re-fashioned into something because I hate how they fit.  The rest of my me-mades were never touched.  I think the biggest shock looking back is that I never once put on a pair of stilettos:  I spent the entire summer in a three-year old pair of Italian slides.  And there was no need for make-up, so I didn’t wear any unless I was going to the mall and HAD to put some on to look a little better than something found in my summery back yard.

I purchased a Kate Moss for TopShop white dress for DD2, with the intention of altering it to fit her petite frame as she was baptized this past August.  It was fun to take it apart and discover just how well made it was:  twill tape on the neckline and the armscye; bodice underlined with lightweight cotton; lining actually interfaced with a lightweight fusible.  Who knew a RTW garment would be put together so well?  In the end, she didn’t wear it and decided she didn’t like it, and neither did my other DDs.  So I sent to to the thrift shop.  Someone will be absolutely thrilled with that dress.

I bought one length of fabric this summer:  a black cotton voile to copy a Tommy Hilfiger skirt for DD3.  It’s pre-washed and folded neatly on the stack of stretch denim, waiting to be sewn into the skirt she wants.

I have thought often of sifting through my fabric and pattern stashes with the intention of selling some of the more superfluous items.  I look at the pretty silks and the luxurious wools on one hand, and then look at what I need to live my life on the other, and don’t see any connection points.  Hence, no desire to sew, and no need for so many of the fabrics or patterns.

I’ve also been thinking about this blog.  I’ve written one technical post, and there are more than a million other tutorials on anything sewing related on the web, so I don’t see the need to add yet another to the mix.  I mean, how many tutorials on hemming or bound buttonholes or fly zippers does one really need to read?  The photography is iffy, and I really hate the picture-taking process, frankly.  The garments very rarely look like I see them in my mirror.  I just don’t have that gift of capturing light and shadow that make for good documentaries of the garments or processes.  If I’m going to photograph/model something, I take about 100 pictures and end up posting the best 5 or 6.  This is time consuming.  Actually, it’s a consummate waste of my time, in DH’s opinion.  And unless something is out of the sewing ordinary, I struggle for words to write about yet another garment.  And I don’t see the need to fill my closet with the trendy things in the latest fabrics just so I can rotate them out in six months.  Frankly, I don’t have the budget for that, and in my life, it’s wasteful.

So I won’t be blogging unless something really shakes up my sewing world or there’s a big project that I’m chuffed about that I just have to share with you all.  I have a Flickr account, so if I do take photographs for the purpose of documenting makes, I’ll post them there, and if I have anything interesting to say about them, I’ll write a review on

I’ll still be reading your posts and cheering you along your sewing trails.  I’m always inspired by what you’re all making and doing.  So, cheers and happy sewing until next time!

bespoke drapes: dressing the drapes

haute decorWell, here is one full panel of my pinch pleat bespoke drapes.  Now they need to be hung and “dressed”, which translates into this:dressingThe panels get hung and shaped into the pleats in which they will hang, tied loosely together, and then they cure, much like we cure bias before sewing it up. I’ve read varying pieces of advice. Some books say 72 hours, others say 48. I’ll be curing mine during the day, since I really want to move out of my living room and back into the bedroom. dressing drapesThat’s the valance hanging on the closet door.  I had originally hoped there would be enough fabric to make the drapes ceiling to floor length, but, as you can see, there wasn’t.  So the valance and curtain rod will be hung about 4 inches lower tomorrow.

bespoke drapes: cutting

working on drapes We are slowly renovating our entire little bungalow. My goal is to have a 1950’s bungalow-sized Fabergé egg house, only it won’t be so spectacular on the exterior.  I want a bejewelled interior that I will love to inhabit for the long haul.  To that end we’ve redone our kitchen, the girls’ bedrooms and have just laid the new floor and re-painted in mine.  The living room is coming together piece by piece…

But right now I need to make my drapes. I didn’t have enough faith in my sewing skills to do a shaped valance, so I paid a professional to do that. (Hey, it was velvet and I really don’t know what I’m doing with drapery, OK?)

I’ve had this fabric in my stash, awaiting this day for almost two years. Today I finally hauled it out and laid it out and measured, cut and joined it.joined lengths of fabricAnd because I’m new to this and don’t want to make a mistake that can’t be undone, I’m taking my time.  A lot of time.  Like 4 hours of time just to get the cutting and joining right.  Tomorrow I’ll start hemming the bottoms and the sides.

bed crowns and curtains

Well, the curtains are finished.   Actually, they’ve been sitting on one of the sewing tables waiting for the crowns to be adjusted. bed cornice My camera does weird things with perspective. Anyways, the problem is a long story. You see, this is not what I usually sew, and I don’t always measure or understand the math involved in proper pattern making as some of you well know. This flaw spilled into this project. The curtain headings are 4 inches deep, which is the depth of the crown. The original eye screws were put into moulding at 1/2 inch intervals, 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the crown. But my drapery hooks are 1 inch long, so you smart readers will know that the bottom 1/2 inch of the hooks will be peeking out below the moulding. But I had to sew them up and hang them before I realized this. I solicited DH’s help, and he glued 2-inch blocks of wood inside the crown and has re-screwed the eyes up moulding So now, all is good in the bed curtain world, and we have this:

bed curtainDD1 slept, for the first time, in her be-curtained bed and informed me this morning that she likes the curtains because they can be adjusted for privacy and light control.   I’m glad they’re a success.

And my dear eldest painted this lovely scene from Barbie and the Island Princess for the bedroom door plaque.  She’ll be stringing DD2 and 3’s names painted in flourishes underneath for the finishing touches.door plaqueIn my last post I commented that I was pencil pleating these curtains by hand.  I suppose I could have used the readily available pleating tape, but I wanted perfect control of the pleats, and I didn’t trust the tape.  Besides, I find sewing by hand extremely relaxing.

Well, this home decor project is finished, and if you thought doing pencil pleats by hand was more work than a home decor project is worth, you’ll think I’ve really gone off the deep end for the next project.  :D