Friday, March 13, 2009


That's how I've been feeling lately. Very, very... blah. I don't know if it's in my head, the change of seasons, or something else. What I do know is that I feel lousy. I wake up feeling run-down, despite sleeping 10-12 hours per night. I'm pretty sure that is TOO MUCH sleep for anyone. This has only been going on for a few days, so maybe it's just a bug or something. In the meantime, I am completely unmotivated.

I hate being a downer, so I'm probably going to keep quiet for a little while. Once this slump passes, I hope to have some fun things to share.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Souvenir Sampler Progress

This has been an interesting design to stitch. If you aren't familiar with the pattern, I'll fill you in. Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead a bit. ;)

Drawn Thread's approach to this pattern is interesting. It is created in a way that allows the stitcher to personalize it, to make it more meaningful to themselves or family. I thought it was a great idea and a lovely design, so I had to try it. The pattern is laid out with "optional areas" that are denoted by placeholder boxes within the pattern. There's an accompanying booklet that gives various options for each of these boxes to be filled. It recommends for certain areas to be filled with scraps of fabric or lace. Some are supposed to have charms, and others have stitched motifs. In most cases, the stitcher gets to choose which option to use.

All of that works fine, as long as you want to put scraps of fabric/lace and charms on your sampler. It doesn't work quite as well if you don't want these things. Guess what? I don't. I chose to stitch this design on 36 ct. Edinburgh linen, and I really want the whole thing to be stitched. No beads, no charms, and no bits of fabric. I found out too late that certain parts of the design do not have anything available to stitch in the optional blocks if you don't use a charm.

I also discovered-- too late-- that certain areas are supposed to have initials and dates. I presume these are for marriages, children, etc. I don't have these things. Well, I had a marriage, but certainly NOT one that I want to commemerate on a sampler. LOL My only "children" are the four-legged furry kind. So, what to do? Mostly, I'm planning to improvise. ;) You'll see a little of that in the photo.

The top half of the sampler really didn't give me any trouble. I was able to choose optional motifs from the pattern, and I'm happy with the result. The only area that is still lacking is the very top border. I might end up using some tiny buttons from some of my own baby clothes, but I am not absolutely sure yet.

Also in the top half is the nasty little tree that caused me so much grief a few weeks back. I'm happy to report that the tree, along with it's neighboring house, additional trees, and tiny little birds are all in exactly the right spot. :)

The bottom half of the sampler is where I am running into trouble. There are three tiny, blank areas that I don't quite know how to handle. The first two are by the "P" and "R". I will probably use those to sign & date the sampler. That leaves the obvious, slightly larger area that is to the right of "S". I have a feeling I'm going to be stuck putting a charm there, whether I like it or not. It's an odd shape-- 8 x 9 stitches-- and I don't feel like designing something to go there.

You might notice that there are a pair of initials & a year above the house. Those are for BF & me. The date under the house is 2008, which was supposed to be the year the sampler was completed. We're just going to pretend that I intended it to represent the year that BF & I moved to the "country". ;)

I'm getting so close to a finish on this one that I really need to decide what to do about the few stray areas. Otherwise this will be destined to become a UFO, and it's way too pretty for that.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New McCall's Top

I think I must be the world's slowest sewer. It seems to take me forever and a day to put a piece of clothing together. That is because I have sewing ADD. I just cannot seem to work on a sewing project for very long at one time. I end up doing a few minutes here, half an hour there, and eventually... I have a new piece of clothing. I'm this way with my stitching as well, but I don't mind having 20 or more stitching projects in various stages of completion. I'm not able to do that with my sewing. If I did, my clothes would be out of fashion YEARS before I'd ever be able to wear any of them. LOL

I have to say that I love this top, although it turned out a bit large. (That's what I get for following the size guidelines on the pattern. LOL) I'll probably have to take it in just a bit. It looks a bit droopier on Wilma than it does IRL. She's a bit stiff for the flowy fabric, and it's made worse by the fact that she has no arms. Poor girl!

Pattern: McCall’s 5662

Fabric: Lightweight Polyester that I picked up for $2/yd. at Wal-Mart. I have to say that this fabric was much nicer than I ever expected, and it worked great for this pattern.

Pattern Description: Misses’ top/tunic/dress with sleeve & bodice variations. I made View E, a top, which has a gathered, draped middle section and used the kimono sleeve option from View F.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, and no. It’s not a complicated pattern, but there are several different options for sleeves & bodice, so the instructions jump around a lot. I chose View E. The instructions jumped to View B for gathered middle section, followed by View A for the rest of the top construction. If you’re familiar with top construction, you won’t have any trouble, but I think it could be confusing for a beginner.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that it has so many options that can be combined in different ways. My only complaint is that it runs too large. I chose a Large, based on my bust measurement, which turned out to be too big. (I should have read the reviews BEFORE buying the pattern!) I sized it down a bit during construction, but will probably have to go back and take it in a bit more.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Originally, I planned to do View E exactly as shown on the pattern—gathered/draped middle section and three-quarter length sleeves gathered into cuffs. I wasn’t absolutely sure that I’d like this in the finished top, so I waited until everything else was done before finishing the sleeves. I’m glad I did! After doing the first one and trying on the top, I realized that it was just “too much look” for me. I’ve seen it done this way on other people, and thought it looked great… on them. Not so great on me, though. Instead, I simply hemmed the sleeves as shown in the kimono sleeve option (View F).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, would absolutely sew this pattern again, but a different view. I would recommend it to others, although I think the pattern may be a bit confusing for beginners.

Conclusion: A great top, in a flattering and versatile style.