I finished the jacket this morning. I’m very happy with it! The back fits nicely. The dropped shoulders are smooth. There’s a dart in the front shoulder area that works very well – I didn’t close it with a seam; instead, I butted the two sides together and use a decorative stitch to hold the dart closed – you can’t see it – however it flattens the front shoulder area and shapes toward the bust in a lovely way. I added 6″ to the length of the front and back pattern pieces – that was a good decision. I knew the sleeves would end up short (the pattern says “bracelet” length – I could always add a cuff to lengthen the sleeve but I’m leaving it as it is, for now.
I didn’t think I’d like the neck, but I’ve been wearing the jacket all afternoon and it’s comfortable buttoned. As an outdoor jacket it calls for a silk scarf. I’ll try that the next time I put it on.
There are a couple of interesting seams – the back was constructed from two pieces with a centre back seam. The shoulder seam drops quite a bit toward the front. The sleeves are made from two pieces – the seam aligns with the dropped shoulder seam. Were I to make this jacket again, I’d attach the front sleeve to the front arm opening, the back sleeve to the back arm opening and sew the shoulder and sleeve seam as a single seam. I made those details stand out by pressing the seam allowance open, and stitching 1/4″ away from the seam itself on each side.That makes the seams lay flat, takes the bulk from them.
The facings all work well, too. I bound the neck seam with a Hong Kong finish using the same batik I used for the facings. I created a front facing, sleeve facings, and a bottom edge facing – all 1 1/2″ finished width.
I started with five buttons/buttonholes but when I put the jacket on I thought it could use one more so I added the sixth. The front falls straighter with it added.
The patch pockets are unobtrusive but handy for carrying keys (or anything else that’s relatively small). They are also finished with a batik facing at the top.
For a “muslin,” this garment definitely turned out very well. Oh, and this is close to the real colour of the boiled wool.
I happened across some beautiful actual wool boiled-wool at Fabricville about ten days ago. Just couldn’t resist it and bought enough to make a second jacket – heavier than the purple jacket I just finished.
I had bought and downloaded a pattern from an Australian company, Mary Ann printed it on an industrial printer. I traced it and laid the pattern pieces on the fabric but I wasn’t sure about the loose fit of the jacket.
I knew the purple boiled wool jacket turned out particularly well so I was tempted to reuse that pattern and get on with the project but I was also still flirting with the possible Verona Jacket from Tessuti. I superimposed the purple jacket pattern on the Tessuti one and they were close – close enough to take a risk and try the pattern. There were differences – the back came over the shoulder to become part of the front neckline. It has a definite drop shoulder and a shorter sleeve. It is also a short/cropped jacket. I wanted it much longer.
In the end I cut out the Verona jacket and crossed my fingers – this, after all, is a “muslin” – I’ve not done a test run – so I’m hoping whatever adjustments need to be made, can be made as I put the jacket together. The pattern does not have facings, I’m adding them. The pattern uses overlapped edges to create the seams which look unfinished. I decided to sew the seams, steam press them flat (using the clapper to flatten them) and then edge stitch the seam allowance 1/4″ from the seam itself. I decided to bind the collar/neck seam with a batik and to use the same batik for facings – front, sleeve edges and jacket bottom. I also added raw edge patch pockets on the front where the Verona jacket had none. What kind of jacket doesn’t have pockets? Needs pockets.
I’ve been working all afternoon at the project. I’ve got the fronts, backs, sleeves all constructed – the sleeves are now pinned in. Tomorrow I’ll sew them and top stitch them, and stitch and top stitch the underarm/side seams. Then finish the sleeves and jacket bottom with batik facings.
It’s the buttons that are now the big decision:
I had originally thought to use just three buttons but I have a hunch the front isn’t going to fall as straight as I want it to so I think I may want five buttons instead. I’d bought four of the flower buttons (second from the bottom) – not enough if I’m going to use five. I had two choices – buy another two buttons like the four I have, or to pick up two more different buttons and make all five buttons different. So I went through my button collection found two more the same size (7/8″), one left over from the purple jacket, and another in my button collection. Still needed two more buttons. It’s closing in on 4:30 – Fabricville closes at 5! I made a mad dash – got there in 15 minutes, picked out two more buttons. Here they are laid out on the jacket.
I think I like having five different buttons! I think that’s what I’ll use to finish the garment tomorrow!
BTW the pinkish/purplish colour of the jacket is just wrong. The boiled wool is a real deep wine/magenta colour! My camera insisted on using “night” settings and no amount of editing got me anywhere close to the actual jacket colour. That is going to have to wait for daylight tomorrow.
Here’s a link to a stunning Meiko Mintz A-line jacket. The price is US $$. Add 25% to that to convert to Canadian funds. But it is a gorgeous jacket. Love the balance between the inside and outside fabrics (her jackets are reversible – one aren’t). Wouldn’t it be lovely to wear.
I stopped by Chelsea Lane to visit my friend Joan. Parked in the cul-de-sac and as I started up the path there it was – the last Stella Doro Daylily peeking out from the fallen leaves. They bloom profusely, and although we haven’t had any actual frosty nights, they stopped blooming locally around the middle to end of September. What a nice surprise to find this lone bloom standing bravely against the autumn background.
I spent a bit of time editing the image, cropped it, tried intensifying the background colour. And then I happened to produce this:
What a difference setting the bloom against a black background with just wisps of green/yellow foliage. A rather dramatic rendering.
Finished these socks a couple of days ago. I bought the yarn at WoolWorks in Mahone Bay – Heidi Wulfraat dyes her own sock wool. It’s a superwash, and like all variegated yarns like this it produces a kind of repetitive generalized pattern that I find rather boring to knit but I liked the colours in the skein so I bought one.
Now these socks are finished. Someone will enjoy receiving them.
I had approximately 1/2m of boiled wool fabric left over from my original jacket (made in 2018), not enough to do much with so I went online to see what I could find to go with it. Mood Fabrics in NYC had what looked very close to that original boiled wool so I purchased 1 1/2 yards, and guess what? The fabric content was the same and the colour almost an exact match.
In the end I didn’t need to use any of the original fabric – I had enough to make the jacket. The challenge was what kind of jacket to make. I’d sent the original to Mission Mart – I didn’t like the way the neckline/collar fit (although I was happy with the rest of the jacket). I didn’t want to reuse the Marcie Tilton pattern. I’d bought another boiled wool pattern, this one with a collar, but I was afraid the jacket was too loose fitting for this light weight boiled wool so I decided to reuse the pattern I’d used for the Kantha jackets, but to substitute the collar from the Verona Jacket pattern.
This is the finished jacket – I finished the bottom and sleeve edges with a batik facing to give the edges some stability. I’d used boiled wool backed with a mid-weight fusible interfacing for the front facings. I made single welt pockets, creating the pocket with a fabric piece sewn behind rather than a pocket bag because the jacket is unlined.
I left the collar with the raw-edge because it doesn’t get wear.
The jacket looks a bit wrinkled because I’ve been wearing it all day! It’s warm and cozy – just what I was hoping it would be. (And the two front edges are the same length, yeah!)
An amazing cloud colour – bringing out the colour in the buildings below. Caught the moment quite by chance. A few minutes later the clouds were dark, all orange had disappeared. I haven’t edited the image except to crop it a wee bit. I thought about cropping it further to remove the cars and power lines as much as possible but found I wanted to keep the green foreground for contrast to emphasize the wonderful orange of the sky.
Two hours to prepare the pans (lining with parchement), mix the dry and wet ingredients, add dry to the fruit and mix well, add wet to the whole thing and mix again using a very strong long handled spoon/spatula/whatever you have including hands! I put my lobster pot in one of my kitchen sinks so I can reach inside it easily. I kept licking, then washing, my right hand as I mixed the fruit and batter.
I have 9 two pound loaf pans and 5 small pans now in a 325° oven and it already smells divine!
The small loaves will cook in about an hour/hour and a half; the larger loaves will likely take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. I’ve set the time on my watch and will keep checking the oven to make sure all is well there.
Because the cakes are all packed in tightly, it takes longer for them to bake – the great thing is this concoction is very forgiving and because I want it baked but moist, slightly underbaking them isn’t a bad thing. I’ll take the cakes from the oven when a wood skewer comes out clean.
I’ll add a photo when I’ve taken the cakes from the oven and put them on racks to cool. It’s a wonderful site. One Christmas thing checked off my list.
I started this jacket when I thought jacket #2 was a flop and hadn’t yet worn it. I bought this silk patchwork kantha bedspread on Amazon intending to toss the second one and make another from the bedspread.
This time I kept the back straight (taking out the fullness I’d put into Jacket #2). I did leave some fullness in the front – turns out to have been good decisions.
I worked from the more “blue” end of the bedspread using the fabric as efficiently as possible – two fronts, one back, two sleeves, two cuffs, a collar, and two pocket backings (on the inside behind the pocket welts). I still have enough fabric leftover to make a second jacket!
I used very soft leftover kid leather pieces to construct the welts for the pockets. I also used leather on the inside of the collar. I debated about making leather welt buttonholes but I wanted vertical buttonholes so decided, instead, to machine stitch them. The “pocket” is formed by binding and stitching a rectangular piece behind the welt opening.
You can’t see the seams but every seam has been bound using a dark blue batik fabric. I used that fabric for the front facings. I also used a rather heavy weight interfacing on the front edge just slightly narrower than the facing so it doesn’t show but it gives a firm body to the front edge.
I’m happy with the colour arrangement both on the front and back.
The construction of the bedspread is much better than the Marcie Tilton kantha fabric I used in Jacket #2. The piecing is straight, the quilt stitching is closer and for the most part straight (although there were spots where the stitching was a bit odd but I was able to avoid them). The cotton backing fabric shrank somewhat with washing giving a puffy texture to the silk top but that has pressed out to a large extent.
I’m very happy with the final result. Total working time – maybe 6 hours (spread over 2 days).
Now I’ve got to get going on the Christmas cakes! I’ve assembled all the ingredients, the butter has been sitting out over night, everything is ready to go. First, turn on the oven to 320°F, second get out my lobster pot and wipe it clean. Then weigh the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients in my largest bowl. Put them together, carefully spoon the batter into parchment lined loaf pans (just 3/4 full!) and let them bake for a couple of hours.
The photos don’t do it justice – the colours are more vibrant, the relationships among the elements on the quilt top are much clearer.
I finished with a hidden binding – I didn’t think the quilt front wanted another edge element. Besides, I didn’t have ay more “petunia” fabric and used the darker blue stonehenge to finish the edge on the back.
The quilting turned out well. I chose to quilt the blocks excluding the sashing – in part because I’d have been left with an unattached row of sashing either at the top or the bottom. It was simpler to just quilt the blocks themselves. I stitched-in-the-ditch along all sashing edges, then quilted the outer border with a modification of the block design to fit the border width.
That’s it for quilts at the moment. I’m now picking up the Kantha bedspread and making another jacket – this time, the back without any flare. I need buttons – will go looking for some this afternoon.
I had an interesting experience about five weeks ago. I needed to change the batteries in the three smoke detectors in my apartment. I change them yearly ( I keep a post-it on the wall in my storage space with the date I last changed them). I don’t want them waking me in the middle of the night screaming when the batteries die.
I had bought batteries. I got out my step ladder, positioned it under the first smoke detector. Climbed to the second step – I’m too short to reach the ceiling from there. I go one step higher – but now there’s not much to grab onto to prevent me from tipping the ladder or losing my balance. I get down, reposition the ladder closer to the doorway, which I can hold as I climb back to the third step to change the battery. I manage to rotate the detector, pull it down, find the battery door, open it, take out the old battery, then fight to put the new batter in. Takes me 5 minutes or so to change that battery. I move on to the second, then the third, both taking less time since by now I have figured things out.
As I descend from the third smoke detector I breathe a sigh of relief – job done. But I also recognize this is the LAST time I am going to do this job myself. I will have to find a younger able neighbour who will do this for me next year!
This was another of those “last time”s I seem to be encountering at this point in my life.
I’m 78. Still exercising three mornings a week at the neighbourhood rec centre. I’m reasonably fit, balance not bad, but after my mattress flipped me onto the floor breaking my wrist and compressing a vertebra two years ago, I catch myself, as I go to do something that could be a bit hazardous, and wonder whether this is the “last” time I do whatever it is, or in fact, was the last time I did it, THE “last” time.
I’ve been thinking about “last” times a lot lately. A year ago I bought an automatic transmission car although I’ve driven a standard stick shift my entire life. I miss shifting gears! But I realized most people don’t know how to drive a standard shift car and were I to be somewhere and find myself not feeling up to driving I’d be stuck unless one or other of the people I’m with can also drive my car. I bought the automatic. It was the sensible thing to do.
I see my world beginning to narrow. I’m probably not going to make that solo drive to Toronto although I love driving long distances on my own; I’ve done many solo long distance trips in my life; but probably not again. Over the past 15 years I’ve travelled to out of way places on my own to join a group interested in textiles without a second thought. The last two times I became ill – fortunately I didn’t require hospitalization, but I know my solo long-distance travelling days are over.
I think this past COVID year and a half has helped me accept how my life plays out from here – taking satisfaction in visiting with friends, enjoying the creative endeavours I undertake, pursuing the iPhone photography in greater depth, making more textile art. I have enjoyed these past 18 months even though there weren’t enough hours in the day to get done everything I wanted to accomplish. I’m getting better at picking up today what I didn’t manage to complete yesterday.
I have longevity in my genetic makeup (at least on my father’s side of the family), so I’m not expecting to wind down anytime soon. However, as Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal” reminds us, we all need to be thinking about “end of life” long before an actual end of life arrives.
In the past month I’ve had conversations with two younger friends, both have mothers with dementia, both the daughters with responsibility for making difficult end of life decisions for their parent. Both have had lengthy, searching journeys to get to the place where they are comfortable facing and accepting the near end of life for that parent. I’d suggested they watch Being Mortal on PBS – it has helped each of them take control of the difficult conversations they need to have with medical staff at this point.
I’ve begun keeping a record of my “very last time” moments – not with any sense of foreboding but as an essential aspect of my personal adventure. I’m not exactly slowing down, I’m still getting much accomplished every day, but once in a while I notice that I’ve probably done something I would have tackled without a thought for the “last” time.
I feel like Maggie Muggans – “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow”. Although those “last” times will continue to come along, I know new doors will open when others close. Besides, we ARE living in interesting times!