Deeper Into The Rabbit Hole~Meditative Sewing

July 15, 2019 0 Comments

Dear Diary~

Finished a top, a hack of the Alder Shirtdress, View B. Which is, I took the dress pattern and turned it into a top. I dropped the waist by another inch. Instead of gathering the back skirt, I turned it into a box pleat. I like that detail quite a bit. I’m going to sew up another one real quick once, but turn the one box pleat into two box pleats in the back, see if I don’t like that just as well. 

I #MeditativeSewing my way thru this one, too. Yup…liking that. No hassles, no stresses, no deadlines, just sew. Just cut out some fabric, pick the right color thread & buttons, let the force flow thru me, and put it together. I had several seams that I just did not like the looks of, so out they came and I sewed them again. Twice, I ran into gremlins and just put the top down and walked away. My choice…(my sewing room). This is the new way to sew from here on out. 

I think…this has to do with my skill level more than anything else. I will grok on that.

I just serged the inside seams. Enough of the by-hand-felled-seams. At least for now. Meh, I’ll get back into that at one time or another, but this time, I wanted to reconnect with Esmé, my Babylock Evolution. She’s in the shop right now, by the way. She was clanking and the cut was jagged. I’m sure all she needs is a new blade but it’s been a year now, and  a tune up is never a bad idea in any case. There is, however, a secondary story*, please see below.

Practiced the top-stitching with the #10 Edge Foot. How did I not know… Why did it take me… How long have I had…???? Now here, the top-stitching is fairly narrow and I do have that rod looking thingy that attaches to the back of the presser foot to extend the marker out. Imma try that next time to get a more decent looking top-stitching width. (Skill levels, amirite?)

Loving this fabric combination, let me just say. However, for the armsceye here, I happy-mistaked the self fabric for the binding instead of the blue. Didn’t even notice it until I started hand stitching binding into place. I looked at it and said “Hmmm. Ok. That’s fine.” and just went with it.

About the only thing wrong with this little blouse is the collar stand. Somehow or the other, it ended up being too big. Not so big that it couldn’t be a funky design detail but too big enough that I’m not crazy about it. I do not know how that happened. I had set this blouse aside for a couple of days because something or the other wasn’t coming together as nicely as I liked and it was messing with my chi, and then I had a day with several appointments so thinking I could while away the in-between times of said appointments with the hand stitching, I got up out of bed and went to attach the collar. At the time, I thought it was accident free and that it went together just wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, but it is a good 1/2” too tall. I’m going to wear it and see if I stop being upset about it. If I can’t stop worrying over it, I’ll just take the collar off  and do it again. Easy-Breezy-Lemon-Peasy.

Not even mistakes can throw me off my #MediativeSewing.

Hmmmm. Interesting.

Moving on.

I am going to get into the Haslam System of Dresscutting.

I could, and will do in future, an entire post on this, so stay tuned, Dear Diary. It’s vintage. It’s a 3-part system. You build the foundation pattern piece, your sloper, which I already have since I took that Moulage Class, and from there you build patterns. I spent 2 years drafting my own patterns and only went back to commercial patterns to learn new details and techniques so I’m more than comfortable with the drafting. And one of my new past times is to watch sewing YouTube vloggers draft costuming patterns from vintage tailoring books. Can’t get enough of them. I’m not interested in reconstructing a Medieval Court Gown or an Edwardian Walking Skirt, but I sure do like watching them do it! And to see the finished piece is pretty mind blowing. I am interested in vintage fashions from the 1940s and 50s. 

On one of the patterns, I saw the Refer to cover for Zig-Zag lines. But the EBook I downloaded did not include any info on what the zig-zag lines meant. I spent an entire evening trying to run that down. I gave up and started looking thru the 2nd EBook and it was there…the zig-zag lines are where you would add to the piece for more room. Start with the 4” and add up to 2”. Neat! 

I expect here is where I am going to learn and learn and learn. I fully expect to be propelled into Hella-Advanced Instructionals and will be doing myself a knowledge. So looking forward to it. So much. So much chomping at the bit here!!!! This is the first time in my sewing life that I will have 2 projects going at once. I’m doing the AlderShirtdressTurnedIntoABlouse 2.0 with box pleats in the back (AND an appropriately sized collar stand) and starting this with my sloper. 

I’m sure the sloper I already have will work but am prepared for there to be some crazy discrepancy that I don’t even know that I don’t know about yet and will have to start over from scratch with their system. I’m just girding my loins here, opening myself up to soak in some teachings. And mistakes are your very, very bestest BFFs when one is learning. Do it right? You don’t even know what it is you did to make it right. Do it wrong? You see EVERYTHING!!!

Not only is Esmé in the repair shop, Imogen, the B560 Bernina went in, too.


My one of two existing photos of Imogen…taken during an reorganizing of the sewing room. The only other pic I have of her is an “After” pic and she’s covered in a hastily made muslin of a dust cover I wanted to make for her but never got around to so I still cover her with the wearable muslin.**


Again, it’s been a little over a year so she’s due for her annual check up. Something is going on with the tension (I think it’s dirty). I had 3 complaints on her but believe it may all be related. Of course, when I took her into the Bernina shop, I asked about the new 4 Series machines just because they’re new and I was curious, not that I wanted to buy one. But the gal jumped on that like satire parodies on Season 8 of Game of Thrones. She wants to sell me a 7 Series and no thank you! Nothing bad about her, this is her job after all. But first, those machines are monstrous sized. Too huge and I just don’t like them. Second, they’re for quilters, not so much for sewists. I pointed that out and the gal just dismissed me on it. Kinda pissed me off, actually. I told her I use the straight stitch, the zig-zag and the button hole, so pointing out the 5 million stitches and embroidery capabilities this thing has is not a selling point to me. Her response is “You will use them.” and then she continued on with how great a quilting machine this was. I repeated that I sew garments, I do not quilt. She finally got the point that I was not interested in a new $6000 quilting machine that I would need to buy an airplane hangar to house it in, so she pointed out a larger 5 Series quilting machine. My machine is a 5 Series, but designed more for a garment sewist, so what do I need to trade my B560 in for a 590 quilting machine for??? I mean, other than to separate me from $4500 of my cash? I need to call her today and tell her that I’m not interested in trading. I think she’s going to hold my machine off from the repair hoping I’ll trade it in. But I’m pretty bonded with Imogen– named her didn’t I? I know that machine and it’s a Bernina for the love of everything that is holy. Jeez…I hate to be sold. If I’m buying, that’s a different story…tell me EVERYTHING about this particular machine and I’ll go home and research it for a couple of years…yes, it takes me that long to buy a new machine. I do my freaking research. Because, buying a new machine is a big deal. $4000-$8000 sewing machines I do not buy on a whim. Who does???? However, at the end of the day, it’s this gal’s job to sell me whatever she can. It’s my responsibility to keep my money in my bank account.

*On the other hand…when Esmé went in to the shop, and I just cannot be without a serger, and the Babylock repair shop is 2 weeks behind, and it’s a dual serger/cover stitch machine and I’ve never, ever used the coverstitch feature because it is such a pain to switch the machine over and I need to learn how to cover stitch on it because I’m losing out on such a valuable resource AND I have been researching a secondary machine…(but which one? The cover stitch or the serger function?)…I finally settled on the Juki Virtuoso Pro MO-2000QVP, as yet unnamed. I have to use her and get to know her before I hang a personal name on her like Esmé or Imogen.

Why the serger? Because I think I can do without a cover stitch machine easier than I can my serger. Jet Air threading (thank God for Patent expirations!!) Juki is the big name in sergers. I had a Juki sewing machine that I passed onto my daughter and it was fantastic. Great machine, I was just lusting after my Bernina B560 with the 10 different needle positions AND I’ve been wanting this little machine for 3-4 years now. When RD was still in DC working and I was spending months with him and needed a serger there. Don’t know why I didn’t pull the trigger on it then. Long boring story. I have her now so all’s well!! Imma use her today and initiate her into the family! Excited!!

Was missing on Imogen, but I have my 1008 as a back up (LOVE that machine!!) as well as a Bernina 830 Record (LOVE that machine, too!!) so in solemn remembrance, I ripped the wearable muslin dust cover apart and started in on a real one. 

“Stay alive, Imogen! No matter what happens, you stay alive! I will find you!!” ~Ode to “The Last Mohican”

I will finish it when Imogen gets back home. I’m going to make it reversible and add a little skirt for my Sew Steady table. Aaaaannndd that’s another thing about a new $6000 Bernina. One needs new presser feet and I’ve already got quite an impressive set of presser feet for Imogen at a significant cost…for sewing garments, not quilts. I don’t want to start all over. The starter kit is $230!! And the Sew Steady table won’t fit a new machine. That thing is close to $200 or more. No. Not trading Imogen in. I’ll put that $4000-$6000 in notions and fabric and sewing books. Better use of my buckaroos.

In Other News~

New patio furniture for the 2019 season and beyond!

Pub Height. We had dinner in the garden last night! We did put the furniture under the hanging out of the sun. The Adirondacks were there just for photos. It was lovely having dinner out there! Doing it again soonest!

It’s music night. I’m passing my Kawaii keyboard onto my musical granddaughter and getting myself a new one that is more portable. This one is portable and I can carry it but just. It tilts towards the too heavy side for me. I’m not in my twenties anymore. Plus, I’m not crazy about the sound. It’s too…not crisp. To me it sounds like a sample of a sample of a sample. But I’m spoiled by playing my upright acoustic so that’s probably a lot to my frustration. 

I sat down at the piano and went thru some new songs yesterday so I would be a bit familiar but I’m not stressing it. I am not going to tie myself into knots learning these songs and not have fun with it. Will be doing #MeditativePlaying only. I am going to let this seep into every other area of my life and live stress free from now on. My autoimmune kicks into high gear when I get stressed out and it’s not worth it. Nothing is worth that.

The First Order of this House is Peace. 

I need that carved into wood to hang over my door.

Ok. That’s enough. I’ve resolved to post more frequently and not just when a sewing project is finished. There is a little more to my life than sewing. (Not much, but still!!!) I do have other things going on!! But enough for now!


Jyps 🦋 

P.S. I do have one thing today that I don’t know how to feel about. The check arrives that is my portion of my inheritance from my Dad. I should be over the moon. I should be excited and doing some online shopping. But I feel muted. I feel a distance between me and the money. We’re banking that money and going to use it to help the kids. Like if Raymond needs a bit of help with the down payment on a house. I’m not sad, but I’m not excited either. I’m just…

It doesn’t feel like “my” money. It’s not mine. I don’t know what that means. 

Jypsea Rose