Friday, May 29, 2015

Burda goes to PCH (not)

I laughed and groaned when I saw the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) collection in the May 2015 issue of Burda.
PCH without traffic?  License plate is not CA.
 I know that I sound like a broken record, but I am disgusted by people perpetuating the myth of a California filled with blondes.  That is very disrespectful to the people who actually do live here.

A Stanford group made an informative visualization of the 2010 CA Census statistics.

Females on right, males on left.
California is relatively young overall--but mainly due to the hispanic population.  The population of young females is predominately not blonde.  So what explains the prevalence of blondes in imagery about California?

Oh, then there's the inaccurate portrayal of beach weather.
Satellite imagery shows that the real PCH is typically fogged in for most of the summer.
My PCH posts showing real California beach communities and their residents.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Simplicity 1199

After the success of Iris' Simplicity 1199, I made one for myself.

Very oversized.
There's not much to say other than that it is .very. oversized. I made a medium, per my measurements. But, I could have gone down to a size small.
Side panels and neck band cut from thrifted t-shirt.
Construction techniques same as last time.  Again, a thrifted t-shirt yielded the rib-knit neckband and fabric for the side panels.  I used a soft jersey bought by the pound from SAS Fabrics.
Love that graphic design on the side back panel.
When will the weather warm up so I can wear this top?
Tops on pattern envelope do not look extremely oversized.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Me Made May Superhero

Since my first Me Made May challenge in 2010, I have found it increasingly easy to fulfill my pledge to wear something me-made every day. You want to see what I wear the most?

Me-made-May is really good for pointing out the obvious.  I should focus my precious time on stuff that is truly useful for my real life, instead of what's fun (shiny, new) and will garner lots of pageviews.
I have worn this flannel robe every night in our dreary month of May.
I made this in 1997 and this robe hung on a hook in our bathroom in LA from 1998 to 2014. That bathroom had a skylight, which faded some of the parts of the robe.
This is a good time for a digression on buying quality fabrics. Do you ever wonder what makes some fabrics worth 50-100% more than others that look similar in the store?
See how badly faded the windowpane plaid and the small floral are compared to the geometric?
Why do some fabrics fade more readily than others? It's the quality of the dye.  If you are making something out of cotton for the long haul, buy only fabrics with fiber-reactive dyes.
The inside facing shows more fading on the part that got more sunlight.
For this robe, I pieced a bunch of blue fabrics into a long strip to trim the collar band.  Notice that the right and left, which got equal amounts of sun exposure, shows drastically different amounts of fading?
Right and left got the same sun exposure, but the results are different.
The geometric fabric is what is sometimes called "quilt-shop quality", which means it was made specifically for quilts, which tend to get more sun exposure than clothing (which is put away in the dark when not being worn).

The blue with pink flowers fabric is what I call chain-store or Joann's quality*.  It looks the same at the store.  But, once washed, you can tell that it is printed on lower quality cotton.  The thread count is not as fine.  The cotton is not as long staple, so they have to add chemical finishes to make it feel smooth in the store.  The dyes are cheaper and not sun-resistant.

If you have enough money, buy quality.  If you don't have the money, find someone with good taste in your area who is de-stashing.  ;-)

I gave 3 bags of fabric and patterns to one of Iris' classmates who is learning to sew.  Amazingly, I still have more.

* Joann's now sells "premium cotton" prints which are discontinued old stock "quilt-shop quality" cottons.  The selvedge will state the artist and fabric mill/company info and a copyright date that is 3-5 years past.  Pass up the stuff that says made expressly for Joann's.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Bon Voyage

I'm feeling so much enviroguilt these days, I feel a compulsion to use every last scrap of fabric.  (Though that doesn't stop me from buying more--just less.)

I turned one of Bad Dad's frayed Hawaian shirts (bought on our Maui trip ~2004) into another Simplicity 2938. Do you recognize the black/white center panel from the duvet I made in February?
 The inside is finished in true grandma sewing style with flat-fell and French seams and bias binding.
I purchased 4-5 yards of this black/white ponte knit from SAS Fabrics years ago.  It didn't have enough stretch for the ski underwear that I tried to make for Iris.  But, she wore two pairs of yoga pants (Kwik Sew 2666) in successively larger sizes in this fabric.  Now she has another pair of Kwik Sew 2666 shorts.

There was still a little bit of fabric leftover.  A petite friend is going on 3 trips this summer and I thought the ponte would be make her a good travel skirt.

Because two of the trips are overseas, I put in a hidden passport pocket. The pocket is functional, but not fully functional.  Next time, I need to make it 1" deeper and move the opening/overlap up about 0.75".  My passport is in the pocket in the top photo.  Can you see it?
I put my passport in it to test.
This is the bottom half of Vogue 1224, which I have used to make 4 skirts so far.  It's subtle shaping is a cut above most knit skirts.

All three pieces were made from materials in my refashion bin or scraps bag.  OK, I used new thread and elastic.  But this is my sartorial version of Stone Soup.

With this outfit, I get to say Bon Voyage to both this ponte and my friend.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Me Made May Heroes

I'm still participating in Me May May, but I have had trouble collecting documentary evidence due to the spectacularly dreary weather and my busy schedule. It has rained every single day in May.  Moreover, I work at 6,100' elevation and the rain clouds come upslope and stack up against the mountains.

Weather gods, where are our 300 days of Colorado sunshine?
May Boulder weather visualization from
In really cold weather, I wear RTW pants and a turtleneck and throw on one of my hand-knit sweaters.  In this in-between weather, I wear lighter RTW cardigans or a button-up shirt layered over a knit shirt.  Then I toss one of my me-made scarves over the outfit.
Most, but not all of these scarves were blogged.  Not all my me-made scarves are here in Boulder with me.  You can see more by clicking on the knitting or the shibori keyword tags.

I move into our newly remodeled condo in 6 days, yipes!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

On the needles

It started out as an Amiga cardigan, but it was going to become too wide by the time the armholes were deep enough for my squarish shoulders.  Half of the full arm depth, I switched to the slower increase rate I learned in a_simmetrie that worked so well in Not Marsala.

I'm using two strands of the olive cotton/rayon/linen slubby coned yarn I used in the Absorbas shown here1 and here2.

Lest my sister call this fabric sleazy (knit with too large holes for the yarn), I want to assure her that I knit and washed a swatch.  The linen fibers will plump up to make a solid fabric. It will also shrink about 10%, which I took into account when I cast on.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Does this make me a granny?

I solved my exercise vs. errands dilemma again by running the errands by bike. This time, I tackled some gratuitous hills for added challenge.

I thought I was pretty strong because I barely used the lowest gear on my rear derailleur.  But, the shifts were not as clean as I expected; I checked the gear indicator on the shifters.  I did the first half of my bike ride in the "granny gear"!  (That link is pretty sexist and ageist, but explains why mountain bikers call it the granny gear.  Read this transmission mechanics link for how it works.)

I climbed the uphill without stopping--well, one red traffic light.  On the way down, I stopped to take pictures.

Hauling 50 pounds of groceries uphill to my apartment was a bonus workout.

Read the real reason I stopped to take this picture.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Me Made May 2015 Day 14

I made my top using Vogue 1071 and a remnant of yummy cotton lawn that I purchased from Poppy Fabrics when I was an undergrad at Berkeley. It only took me 20+ years to sew up the piece.

I did not make my pants, socks, or shoes.

This Calvin Klein for Vogue Patterns top takes very little fabric.  I've made this view three times.  I made another view, but, sent it to Goodwill. Poor fabric choice and my inexperience (years ago) with bias edges in rayon crepe made a real mess.

I think that one of the hardest aspects of learning to sew (or knit) is pairing an appropriate fabric (or yarn) and pattern.  What did you find most difficult as a newbie?

In the background, I'm screening Precision and Accuracy in Geodetic Surveying, which uses surveying to teach the difference between precision and accuracy in general.

Lately, I've been thinking and writing a lot about geophysical data formats and metadata standards. To procrastinate do research, I see how others do it.  ;-)