Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In Which I Continue My Battle For Cute Workout-gear and Finally Conquer Sweatshirt Fleece

This post contains photos with really terrible lighting...and everything I photographed is black. Not a good combination. I am still working out where to take photos in the new house.


Remember awhile back, I made a shorts jumper inspired by vintage gym-suits? If you recall, I put the zipper in too low and couldn't rip it out again. I added some hook and eyes above the zipper for modesty's sake, but they didn't stay closed properly. Not good. Fighting with hook and eyes while you are trying to work out is not fun. I only wore it to the gym a couple of times before I went back to my old "rock t-shirt and capri leggings" gym style.

I recently bought a new seam ripper at the Japanese dollar store and was amazed at how sharp it was. I decided to see if maybe I could rip out and re-install that zipper with a new sharper seam ripper. It worked! The new tool plus the much better lighting in the new sewing room made it easy to remove the zipper. I re-installed it and now am much more confident about wearing my gym suit.

I also replaced the leg elastic. I used a much wider and longer piece of elastic. The legs no longer climb up and I don't have thigh rolls below the elastic any more. Success!

I was so inspired by the new look of my gym suit, that I decided it was time to make another one. I had a lot of sweatshirt fleece left over and I thought that this 70s jumpsuit pattern would be relatively easy to put together.

I made a sleeveless version with capri length legs. Construction was a breeze. The fleece didn't fight me nearly as much as last time and nothing major went wrong.

I left out all of the facings and, instead, rolled the fleece over at the stay-stitching line and then sewed it down with a zig-zag over a straight stitch. I trimmed off any excess fabric on the inside of the sleeve and it looks great. It's almost like the edges have been serged. Almost. We'll see how well the sleeves and neckline hold up after a few washings.

The final result is a bit more Bananarama than "glamour girl goes to the gym" but I like it.

It's so very comfy and soft: kind of like zip-in pajamas for grown ups. Plus it will make a great last minute Halloween costume, if need be.

I still had a bunch of fleece left over so I made a pair of shorts from this pattern.

Instead of putting elastic at the waist, I used grossgrain ribbon to make a drawstring. I love how it looks! They will be great for dance class...when I can afford to take dance classes again.

I don't know why I had so many problems with fleece the first time I used it. I had no trouble at all this time. Maybe the pattern I used before was too complicated? It's possible that I was just so nervous about using a new material that I made it more complicated than it needed to be. I actually, really liked using fleece to make these two projects and I think it's kinda cool that I can make my own workout wear instead of relying on whatever is on sale at Target.

...and I am seriously considering making big-girl zip-in pajamas.

Yesterday Was My Day on The Blue Gardenia

On Monday I was featured on The Blue Gardenia Learns to Sew Her Blossoms as part of Denise's "sewing spaces" series. Click here to read all about my space. I am so honored to be included along with so many people who I consider to be incredible fiber artists! I guess I'd better get working on my new project, huh? :)

Don't forget that Denise is sponsoring a giveaway for Erica B's favorite sewing book: The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing. Click here to read all about the giveaway!

...aaand if that's not enough exciting Blue Gardenia related stuff, I was just over at Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing and noticed that there is a sale on patterns at The Blue Gardenia. The sale ends at midnight tonight so get to shopping. You'll need to enter the code ILoveGertie at checkout to get the discount. Click here for more details.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Giveaway over at The Blue Gardenia!!!

Denise over at The Blue Gardenia Learns to Sow Her Blossoms is having a giveaway for a super duper extra cool sewing book, The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing. Follow the link above for all the details.

Also, be sure to check Denise's blog on Monday as I will be featured in her series on sewists and their spaces!! Squee! Thanks Denise!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Stove

Not much sewing to speak of lately. I have a few projects floating around my brain but, with the new house creating all sorts of new chores, it's been difficult to sit in the sewing room and concentrate.

I do have exciting sewing-related news though! In the next few weeks I may be featured over at the Blue Gardenia Learns to Sew Her Blossoms as part of Denise's series of posts on home sewists and their spaces. I'll be sure to let you know when/if that happens.

In the mean-time, the Hubs and I have been working on our new house and trying to make it into a home. Unfortunately, things keep breaking. It's a little frustrating, but I've been told that it's just one of those things to expect when you own your own home.

I had PG&E do a free appliance check first-thing after we moved in, and they red-tagged our furnace. That was exciting and expensive to deal with! The first quote we got was just insane and sent the Hubs and I into a bit of a panic. Luckily, we know a lot of people in the trades and were able to get some help with finding a reasonably priced furnace and installation.

If you ever buy a home, you might wanna have the gas company check the furnace out before you start signing papers. Our home inspector missed that it had huge cracks in all of the chambers and was a hazard both for fire danger and carbon monoxide poisoning. It's the kind of expense that would be nice to include in your contingencies, if you can.

PG&E also inspected our stove and discovered that the oven and broiler no longer worked. I can't really live without an oven. One of the things that is making unemployment less sucky is being Suzy Homemaker while I look for work. I bake things for the Hubs to take to his co-workers, and once a week I baby-sit a money-saving roast in the oven all day. Must. Have. Oven.

We thought about getting a vintage stove, but the space between our cabinets is too narrow for any of the vintage stoves we looked at. We don't intend to rip out our cabinets when we remodel our kitchen, so instead we looked for a retro stove that would fit in the space.

I would have really loved to have a stove like this from Big Chill.
Or one like this from Elmira Stove Works.
Unfortunately, these stoves are really expensive! We are on a very tight budget and I don't think we could ever afford either one of those stoves. We ended up with this one from Frigidaire.
Aside from the digital readout, I think it has a retro look not that much different from the Elmira or Big Chill stoves. The cast iron grate that covers the burners is pretty and I think the knobs look vintage. The center burner is another nice retro touch. I had a vintage stove in one of my apartments that had this feature and it's great for things like pancakes. I will be asking for a griddle pan for xmas, I think.

I've been using my new stove and oven for a couple of weeks now and it works great! It's a budget model so it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles (like self-clean or auto-off) but it cooks and bakes just fine. I like that the grates cover the whole stove because it's really nice to be able to simply slide a heavy pot to the other side of the range without having to pick it up. I've used the center burner quite a bit already. It's especially handy when browning a large roast right in the roasting pan.

Here is a photo of the new stove in its new home in our kitchen.