28 June, 2016

Boys Grow Up

This is my boy.

Celebrating in style after completing his Pharmacy Doctorate Program from OSU (Oregon State University).

Out of a class of just over 100 graduates this year, OSU and OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University) gave away ten awards to twelve of the graduates. My son was given the Most Outstanding Graduate of the entire class.

He has been president of his class, been active in the pharmacy fraternity, attended numerous pharmaceutical conferences and events, helped produce a winning film for OSU about the pharmacy program. He also helped get legislation passed that allows Oregon Pharmacists to dispense birth control to women.

Above and beyond that, he has a mom who has an auto-immune disease. He has seen me actively seek tests and information so I can be as functional as possible. His education, just like medical doctors leans heavily on drugs to help symptoms. He knows I would like to be drug-free for as long as possible and has acknowledged that my naturopath and voodoo hippie doc (chiropractor) have identified what is wrong with my immune system where traditional doctors have failed miserably.

He has seen my awkward health journey and has worked to incorporate it into his training.
He will be doing his residency closer to home next year (residencies are optional) and is very excited to finally be out of school.

 I am so proud to be his mom. He is amazing.

Central Oregon

26 June, 2016

Little White Purse

I know someone who is attending a wedding next week. I felt like sewing a small purse with a cross-body strap that would go with anything.

A purse that could hold the essentials including the all important phone with camera.

It does look bridal - maybe too bridal white.
I lined it with pale pink cotton.

There is a lace zippered pocket in front for 'valuables'.
Behind that is a slip pocket for the phone.
And behind that the main pocket of the bag.
Everything from stash (yay!)

20 June, 2016

Random Humming



Putting up the berries.


Got the kid graduated.

I go into my sewing room and pull fabrics for my next project, then I get interrupted.

I go into my sewing room with another project in mind, pull fabrics and zippers, and get interrupted.

I have five projects pulled, pattern picked, too much to do.

Strawberry Moon - I saw it this morning. Summer solstice.

Riding my bike to work this week - no rain, not super hot. It takes time.

See me on Instagram - RocketGirl50

06 June, 2016

New T-Shirt

It's been a thousand degrees here in Oregon. I succumbed to the air conditioner and set up the fans so I could sew.

Rusty, our very old Lab, has been suffering, needing to pace at night, so what with the heat and not getting enough sleep, I started this shirt in the morning and finished it after my two movie snooze fest.

 The original tshirt was a Walmart wonder. I bought it online, sight unseen, because I needed five bucks more to get free shipping.

 I loved the blue 'camo' but it pilled asap and took on underarm odor after working in it on Saturdays. The blue ikat color was flattering to me. However, the neckline was a tad wide and I was always hiking it back up the shoulder bump.

The neck opening was cut nicely where I can show some chest but not have all my assets on view. I rarely sew t shirts from commercial sewing patterns as the necklines are either too high or way too low. This one was just right.

When it was  time to dispose of this shirt to the rag bin, I knew I wanted to draft a pattern. The body of the t-shirt extends past the shoulder bump and has cuffs folded back so your upper arms don't get burnt. It was also cut perfectly to skim over my lumps and bumps despite being a tissue-weight knit.

For the back side - which roughly matched the front side, I laid the shirt carefully on my Swedish tracing paper and traced around. All the seams are serged - as is most RTW (ready--to-wear) so I didn't need to add seam allowances.

For the front side, I cut up the side seams carefully and snipped through the under arm area. Then I flipped the back side out of the way to do my tracing.

Invariably, since knits stretch, you are going to skew up the tracing. Not too mention this item has been worn out and stretched. To make sure my neckline and sleeves and hem were 'even', I folded my tracing fabric pattern in half lengthwise and trimmed until both sides matched.

 The only 'alteration I did was to draw the neckline in a quarter of an inch so it wouldn't be as wide and show my bra straps.

You can barely make out my copious thought-notes on the tracing fabric. I may make this again and I will have forgotten any cool stuff when that time comes. Best to put it down on paper.

This is when I realized my knees hurt from the wood floor, My knees were sticking to the floor and my swedish tracing paper and I neglected to set up a fan here. 100 degrees. We Oregonians are puddles of whining and complaining. Off I went to the couch for a snooze fest.

 I bought this blue-grey tie-dye knit from Helsinki, Finland four years ago when we visited my host-families and friends and my husband re-united with lots of cousins.

 Eurokangas is a big department store with lots of fabrics. I have another thin knit with mini red stripes percolating in stash.

I had bought 1.3 meters which was just enough to get both front & back lengths top to bottom.
I had to trim off 1/2" from the back because it was that tight. Lots of scraps left over for neck binding and armhole banding plus numerous scraps to determine serger and coverstitch settings.

In fact, this is how I buy yardage without a pattern nearby. I can't fit both front and back sides next to each other. Thus, you need to lay out your pieces in tandem (Ha! airplane lingo  - one in front of the other). You need to buy from neckline to hem times two, which equals two lengths.
If there were a sleeve, then you would also add in a rough sleeve length to your calculated yardage.

 How cute are these sleeve cuffs? Just a band of fabric sewn to the 'armhole' then doubled back over and tacked in place.

Neckline bands are the second hardest part of sewing a t-shirt.

There is an art to getting it to be the right length and stretching it just right. The figure I have heard is 10% less than the neck opening. My neckline measured 31 inches. Thus, the band would be 3 inches shorter (3.1 to be exact).
Then you want the band to lie flat against your skin so most of the stretching would be in the front center and arcing around those curves and again on the back of the neck. My front wobbles a bit, meaning, I needed a bit more stretching right there. But hey, this is a t-shirt and I am not a perfectionist. Good to go.

The back neckline needed stabilizing and I had already sewn around once to top-stitch the band in place. Instead of using the selvedge of the knit, I used some small rickrack and sewed it down on the line of stitching I already had sewn.

One of the reasons to stabilize that back neck is because the shirt hangs from this area and this area will stretch out over time. I could have put clear elastic there but I thought it would be scratchier than the rickrack. I did use the clear elastic in the shoulder seams to stabilize there.

The most difficult part is hemming.

I'd already sewn everything else and knew this would be squirrely. While this knit is not a tissue-weight, its still thin.

I took some scraps and used some ultra-thin Stitch witchery (iron-on webbing) to see if i could stabilize this area without making it stiff. It seemed to work so I got the cover stitch  out - the machine that makes twin rows of stitching - like on all RTW clothing.

I haven't used my coverstitch in a long while so it might have been faster just to stitch the hem on my regular machine than the time it took to figure out the settings that would work on my chosen knit. Except, my regular machine would not be stretchy enough for the wear this shirt will receive.

I also used tissue paper strips underneath so my machine wouldn't grab the stretchy knit. Which helped a little. (Instead of tearing the strips off by hand, I threw this into the washing machine to dissolve the paper. Removing it by hand would have compromised my horrible coverstitch stitching)
I'm not particularly happy with how this hemmed. It skipped some stitching, tried to start gathering instead of moving forward evenly. I'm not sure how much the squirrely knit had to do with it and how much my machine knowledge needs tuning up. Pencil Girl? You better come over here....

A shout-out to Vacuuming The Lawn:
Most knits do not stretch evenly in all directions.  I had taken note when my blogging friend, Kyle, who is a wee bit of a perfectionist, said that the settings on her serger were different when stitching in the stretchy direction and the other direction with less stretch. This really helped with this squirrely knit.

I think the blue in the original shirt was more flattering. My freckles aren't vivid enough yet for this cooler blue.

Frizz-curls from working already this morning.