Tuesday, January 31, 2012

PJs in Paris

There's nothing better than a lovely pair of pajamas. I can remember when I was a child, taking my evening bath and slipping into a pair of pajamas that my grandmother had made for me. It was the best feeling, all clean with the soothing feeling of the soft material next to my body.
I recently found the pattern in the above picture on Ebay. Oncillakat (the name of the store) has some great patterns. Just be aware, as I'm sure you know, vintage pattern hunting can be a little addicting. Lucky for me, no one else placed a bid on the pattern, so it was an easy purchase.

 I love the list of suggested fabrics, velvet!! What a pair of pajamas that would be.
 The shapes are really quite simple.
 A view of the back of the pattern envelope. The pattern is a size 16 which is a 12 in today's patterns.
And so my fabric. I found this wonderful piece of flannel while I was in Nashville a little over a year ago. I bought 3 1/2 yards thinking that this would be enough. For typical pajamas it would be, but these have flowing legs and the top is longer.
So off to the fabric store. Actually it is for the best. I picked up a piece of the flannel backed satin for pajamas. The pants are going to feel wonderful. Can't wait. But alas, it will be a while before I will be able to wear them to bed. I thought I would do a little contest. If you would like to win a copy of the pattern, (I would give you the original but the pattern is so fragile that a copy will be much better) guess where I will wear the pajamas for the first time. A hint, I need to have them finished by the end of the week. Leave a message on this post. I'll announce the winner on Saturday, February 4th. By the way, you must be a follower to win. If no one guesses correctly, I will randomly choose a winner, so regardless, there will be a winner.
 With visions of Paris dancing in my head.....I'm off to sew.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Morning Inspiration

I need a little pick me up this morning, something frivolous and fun.
Do you know about the blog, This Is Glamorous? It's another lovely blog that offers a beautiful escape into lovely pictures. Last week she posted this fabulous group of pictures from the Elie Saab Haute Couture Spring 2012 Collection.

If you would like to learn more about Elie Saab and see these beautiful dresses move, click here. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the show and the escape.
Now for a little surprise. The greedy side of me wants to win this, but the more gracious side would much rather share.
This beautiful necklace is being given away here. This is one of the most generous give aways I've seen. The necklace is the give away, not the ring. If you click on the above link you will be able to read all about the designer and her inspiration. Make sure and leave a comment as soon as possible. The winner will be chosen this Friday.
So how's that for a great start to the week?
Wishing you all the loveliest of weeks filled with inspiration and beauty.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Night Reflections

The Artist's Way
Week Three
Tonight, I find that I'm tired and there's a little me sitting on my shoulder saying, "it's okay, so what if you don't check in? Just go to sleep, it'll be fine." You see who won, obviously not the little me on my shoulder because here I am.
Week three is an emotional week. The author talks a lot about anger, synchronicity and finally growth. She says, "Growth is an erratic forward movement; two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself. You are capable of great things on Tuesday, but on Wednesday you may slide backward. This is normal. Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting."
When I began this process, had I known then what I know now, I don't know that I would have committed to such a public forum. I must say though that I appreciate that the comments have been few and those that I have received have been kind. Maybe many of you are adhering to the old saying, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. If that's true, thank you.
I have thought all day about my check in this evening. It didn't help that I was in a car all day with nothing more to do than a little knitting. The fact of the matter is that I would rather keep it all to myself, but I committed to sharing, so I will.
Although the  morning pages and the artists dates are the backbone of our journey, the exercises are very much an important part of the process as well. This week, one of the exercises that I did was on page 73. It has to do with detective work. The questions seem simple enough, my favorite childhood toy was....my favorite childhood game and so on. As I answered the questions, I suddenly realized that in my mind my childhood ended at 14. In the blink of an eye I went from being a child to operating as an adult. An example; I came home from school one day to find my mother on the floor of the bathroom. I took her to the doctor and he said that rather than calling an ambulance, I should drive her to the hospital and he would meet us there. Inside I was screaming that I was only fifteen and only had  a driving permit, but I remember feeling that my role was crucial in saving my mother, so off we went.  I came home that evening feeling so overwhelmed. I had an eleven year old brother and he needed care. So that night I began to play the role of the adult. I sat the table for breakfast and made pancake batter that could easily be cooked the following morning. She was in the hospital for a month.
Each night we would go to visit our  mother. No one asked how we were getting there or how we were getting home. One day my brother asked what we would do if we were stopped. In my innocent way of thinking I told him that we would tell the truth, we were alone, our mother was in the hospital and we wanted to see her. Now as an adult I know that had this happened, we would have ended up in foster care so fast our heads would have spun. We had a mother who was incapable of taking care of us and a father who wouldn't.  
The only birthday I have ever mourned was when I turned twenty. This would seem strange to most, I'm sure, but I remember being so excited about becoming a teenager. Although the thirteenth birthday marks the official beginning of the teenage years, nothing really starts to happen for a few more years, finally being able to wear makeup, getting a driver's licence and being able to date. The years that should have been filled with such happy milestones and thoughts of where I would like to go to college were spent watching my father lie to a judge and say that my mother had caused him such mental upset that it had rendered him ill all while she laid in a hospital bed. Worrying about getting snow tires off the car so that we wouldn't get a ticket that we had no extra money to pay and finally spending so much time being treated for ulcers because the burden of it all was so overwhelming.
With my new found revelations, I have experienced quite a bit of anger this week, but I have also found a tremendous amount of compassion for that child who did the best she could. Yes, I was still a child that only acted as an adult because there was nothing else I could do. How grateful I am that that period is over.
What does this all mean? I really don't know. Maybe it's just another step, maybe it's something more, I don't know. One thing I do know is that I am hardly unique in my experiences and I know that there are those who have experienced far graver situations than I have. My prayer tonight is that if this is you, you will be able to find the same compassion for yourself that I have. A child may be able to act as an adult, but they are still very much a child.
And so we move on to week four. This week we will work toward recovering a sense of integrity and discovering a new self awareness. One of the most important tasks this week is reading deprivation. I will challenge you one further, turn off the television. I know from my past experience that week four is a powerful week.
Thank you for coming by this evening.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our Beautiful World

For the last three weeks I've had the wonderful opportunity to ski, snowshoe, visit with friends and enjoy all that a winter wonderland has to offer. As we leave, I thought I would share some of the beauty that I have had the opportunity to enjoy.

The world seems to go on forever.

Looking through the village at Winter Park, Colorado.
 The Fraser River.

These pictures were taken while doing some back country snowshoeing, one of my favorite things to do.

 A fox. I wish that I had taken a better picture. He was so beautiful.

A billboard ad in Chicago. The picture was taken while I was out on my morning walk. I think it sums it up. Never settle, embrace your life. Wherever you find yourself, get out and enjoy all the beauty that this world has to offer. 
Wishing you all a weekend filled with delight! 

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

The Layered Circular Skirt
Happy Friday Everyone! Where does the time go??
Today marks the half way mark for the Fabulous Free Pattern Friday series, number 26! When I began this series, my intention was to have 52 posts over the period of one year and to post pieces that are extremely simple and hopefully stylish. Sewing can be quite difficult with all the fitting and detail work (which I do love), but I am hoping to show that it can also be quite simple, easy and fun. I've enjoyed doing this more than you can imagine. I find it challenging and exciting to take a garment and turn it into a  series of basic shapes. All of you who stop by every week to see what I've done, thank you, thank you. It's such an honor to have you.
The skirt that I am posting today is really quite simple. We will use two types of circular skirts, the 1/2 circle and the 1/4 circle. The drawings make it look a little intense, but it really isn't.

My skirt is a little short. I love to wear skirts on an everyday basis and I like for the skirts to have a casual flair. As you can see, I enjoy wearing this skirt with tights and with over the knee boots. Once I saw the pictures, my first thought was, "I look like Peter Pan!!!!!" Oh well, Peter Pan or not, I like the skirt. As I said, mine is a shorter version, but you can make this skirt any length you would like.

This is the front of the skirt. On the left side you can see that there are two layers. The two layers are 1/2 circles. On the right side is one layer and it is a 1/4 circle.
 The side view. The 1/2 circles do not go all the way around the body nor does the1/4 circle.
 The back view.
The opposite side view.
Before we begin, I need to tell you that I made the skirt to rest on my hips. I cut an 8" wide band that was just a little, about an inch, smaller than where I wanted it to sit. The band was folded in half and the skirt pieces were sewn to the band. I did not put elastic in my band. You can make the skirt to sit at your waist and add a casing for the elastic if you choose. Just do whatever is most comfortable for you.

To begin, you will need your waist or your high hip measurement, which ever you feel most comfortable with and the desired length of your skirt. When I posted the circular skirt instructions, I explained the different types of circular skirts. Today we will be drafting two, the 1/2 and the 1/4 circular skirt. Neither of these skirts will go all the way around the body. As an example, we'll say that your waist measurement is 32". Divide this measurement by 4. The result will be 8. Multiply 8 x 3 which will equal 24". For the 1/2 circle skirt, subtract 1" from 24", which will be 23" and divide this number by 3. The result will be 7.66666, so for the sake of making it easier let's just say 7.5". As shown in the above drawing, measure down from the apex of the angle 7.5" from one side of the angle to the other. This will form the waistline. The vertical line of the above angle is a fold line and will also be the straight of grain for our skirt.
Although this is a circular skirt, we are going to square it off and make it more the shape of a rectangle. Measure down from the drafted waistline the desired length of your skirt. On the horizontal line do the same. Notice in the above drawing that the horizontal line is at an angle so the vertical length of the skirt is slightly longer than the length used on the horizontal line. We are drafting the top layer of our skirt at this point.
This skirt is not the same on both sides. Remember, the vertical line is a fold line, so once you finish drafting, you will need to transfer your lines to the opposite side of your paper. In the above drawing the line drawn for the left side of the skirt is about 2" shorter than the opposite side and is also drawn at an angle. It also tapers down about 2". The bottom line is about 4" longer than the left side and angles back to the fold line. At this point, we have drafted the top layer of our 1/2 circle skirt.
Last night I drew out my explanation and when I got up this morning I realized that you would want to kill me if the above picture was all I gave you so I decided to take the pieces apart and hopefully make it a little easier to understand.
Now for the under layer of our 1/2 circle skirt. The waistline will be exactly the same as the first layer. The length line established off the vertical line of the angle will be about 2" longer than the length you used for the top layer. And the length line established off the horizontal line will also be about 2" longer than the length you used for the top layer. You can see from the above picture that the top line is at an angle. Angle your line up about 3".
For the left side of the under layer, the red lines are angled about 3" down and out from the green line. Remember, your waistline always remains the same so no change is being made to how the pieces will fit. We are just establishing style lines.
So hopefully this drawing will now make more sense. The green and red lines represent the two sides of the under skirt and the blue and black lines represent the two sides of the over skirt.
This is how the two pieces will look when cut and laid one on top of the other.
 Here the two pattern pieces are laid out separately. Cut 1 of each.
The side panel of the skirt is only one layer and is a 1/4 circle. I chose to do this so that this layer would hang without the same fullness as the 1/2 circle pieces. Once again, this piece does not go entirely around the body so we will use the same math that we used above. For our example, 3/4 of our waist measurement was 24". For the 1/4 circular skirt we multiple this measurement by 2/3. 24 x 2/3 = 16. Measure down from the apex of the angle 16" to form the waistline. From this line measure down the desired length of your skirt. The red lines in the above picture represent the rounded edges of your skirt piece. To find your grainline, once you've cut out the pattern piece (make sure to add seem allowance if you plan to finish the edges and you will want a seam allowance at the waist line. My skirt is made in a two way stretch cotton and spandex knit. I like the curly edges.) fold the pattern piece in half and this will be your grain line. If you want the rounded edges to be the same on both sides, you can true up the edges while the pattern piece is folded. The beauty of the skirt is the fact that the edges are all so different, so truing up the edges of this piece is not exactly necessary.
As for sewing the skirt together, the grainlines also mark where the side of your skirt should be. Just make sure that when you sew the 3 pieces together that the 1/2 circular skirts wrap over the 1/4 circular skirt. Just look at the pictures of my skirt and you will understand.      
The final pattern of the 1/4 circular skirt. Good luck if you decide to give it a try and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I will do my best to help.
Remember the John Koch glove class that I told you about here? The day I did that post I told you that I looked like something my dog would drag home. I really did!!, probably worse. But I did promise to show you the top I made that goes with the gloves, so here it is. It's tye dye but it reminds me of clouds. 

I'll tell you more about this top later next week.
Wishing you a lovely weekend filled with whatever makes you happy!

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