Archive for July, 2011

Yard-Sale Wrap Skirt and Lessons Learned

July 20, 2011

The “Yard-Sale Wrap Skirt” pictured on the cover of Heather Ross’ book, Weekend Sewing, sold me on the book and the opening description, “…can be easily made in one afternoon” moved this project to the top of my summer sewing list (which I was now making in mid-July, a couple of years after the book was published). I was not deterred when a power failure put a hold on my afternoon sewing plans.

When the lights came back on 69.5 hours later, I was ready to go. And, being a confident seamstress, I did not take the time to read the size information; when I was slightly stumped by the waistband directions, I reached back into my sewing brain archive and just assembled/attached it the way I had in past garments. So … when I finished my skirt and went into the bathroom to put it on and model for my family – saying from behind closed doors, how easy this pattern was and “by golly I am not going to buy another clothing item this season, I will make whatever I need. In fact, I can tell I am going to love this skirt, I am going to make it in a big print next, maybe even tomorrow.” Then I put the skirt on and realized to my horror that the small/medium size did not fit!  Not even close – I needed a “large/extra-large”. Yes, I was that confident before I cut the skirt out that I did not even hold the pattern up to see if it would fit … heck, it’s got six panels, certainly they will all go around me and overlap at least a panel … I only weigh 5 pounds more than in high school, okay so the pounds aren’t in the same places, whatever … my stomach is a little less firm then it used to be, but, but, but, but … maybe I can make it work anyway.

So, I came out of the bathroom, a little less perky than when I went in, and said “what do you think?  Does it look too small when I walk?” My husband commented something to the effect of as long as it was very still outside and there was not a bit of wind it would be fine. Great.

I tried wrapping and tying the skirt in different places and in the end realized, I need to get off to the gym and start working those abs like I am auditioning for some action film in which I will be wearing midriff tops throughout. Or, make the “large/extra large” size. Or … this might be the best option, make the “small/medium” size but add 3 inches to each panel. There we go, then I can still say I made the “small/medium” size, kind of.

Enough about my shifting proportions (okay, I’ve said it, kind of). What I really should have done – in addition to reading the measurement information and fitting the pattern before I cut the fabric – is gone on the Internet and searched for comments from people who have all ready made this skirt. I would have seen a number of comments about the sizing and some other tips about making the skirt, even on Heather Ross’ blog. That is the beauty of the Internet and blogs, you can learn so much from the sewing experiences of others. So, my advice when making something from any pattern or book, take a minute and look online to see if there is anything you need to know before you sew – insights from other people who sew or corrections from the author.

By the way, I love the skirt and will either get into the one I made or make it again using the right measurements. Right now, I am going to do a few crunches, planks …

Thirty-Something Again for a Few Hours

July 18, 2011

Let me just start by saying I have not been to many concerts (okay, not counting High School Musical, probably one) in the last decade, so when my dear friend Diane called and invited me as her guest to see U2 in Chicago earlier this month, I was excited. Imagine, I thought, 24 hours without kids, a cat that likes to wake me up at 4 a.m., and other responsibilities that go along with being an adult – time to just catch up on each other’s lives and enjoy the music. Wonderful! To top it off, her tickets were in the Red Zone, which for U2 aficionados, means you can stand next to the rail and see the band members really close.

Flash forward to a few days later when I am at a neighbor’s backyard party listening to  one of the guys explain how he lost his wedding band in a mosh pit. Needless to say, my eyes were big, my heart racing, and my voice an octave higher. My neighbor assured me that this was not going to happen at a U2 concert.

The big day finally arrived and after some logistical close calls, I met up with Diane at the hotel, dropped my backpack off and we walked over to Soldier Field to eventually join 60,000+ U2 fans. Any lingering fears about a mosh pit soon evaporated – and a fellow concert goer soon clarified that the knifing story he was telling did not happen at a U2 concert – as concert goers shared stories about how many u2 concerts they had attended, what was their favorite, etc.

For a few hours, I was transported back to thirty-something. The music was great, the fans were excited, and the weather was perfect.

When the lights came up and we were walking back to the hotel, reality hit: It was 1 a.m., time to kick off my shoes and get to sleep!

Summer Reading – Passion, Purpose, and Art

July 4, 2011

My summer reading list . . .

Summer Reading List

Life, On the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. The title pretty much says it all and I could not put this book down – I loved reading about Achatz’s life, his passion for cooking, and the vision behind his restaurants.

I skimmed these books, but the library needed them back before I could actually read them, so I’m back on the wait list (sigh):

  • The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 by Molly Peacock
  • Paris Between the Wars 1919 – 1939: Art, Life & Culture by Gerard Derozoi and Vincent Bouvet