Finished Women’s 5K

It was a nice day to be outside and I had fun mostly walking the Women’s 5K on Saturday.

I’ve participated in this 5K many times over the years, but this is the first year my sister has joined me. My sister ran most of it, leaving me to bring up the rear, but next year, I hope to be in good enough shape to run it.

Last year, the 5k was held around Chastain Park, but this year, it was held around Grant Park. The Grant Park course was much easier than the Chastain Park course – not so many hills.

The race is put on by the Atlanta Track Club and at the end every woman is given a medal, a really nice Mizuno tee shirt and a long stemmed rose. I love all of the positive energy I feel when I am standing with all my sister runners & walkers. It’s really a great way to start off a Saturday morning.

Reflections on a lovely evening

The Douglas County Chamber Singers Christmas concert was last night and as I reflect on the evening, I feel so many emotions. I have sung with this group for 16 years (I missed the very first concert). I am honored to be a part of the Singers and have learned so much about choral singing from our conductor Vickie Orme.

I am humbled by and appreciative of the people who turn up to listen to our concerts. I am thankful to the musical composers and song masters who have created the beautiful songs we sing. I am thankful to the United Methodist Church of Douglasville for allowing us to sing this beautiful music in their beautiful sanctuary with it’s gorgeous stained glass windows, graceful wooden arches and its wonderful organ.

I am especially thankful to Vickie Orme, our conductor, to Deanne Ohman, our pianist, and to all of the singers in the Chamber Singers for their loyalty, their commitment, their flexibility, and their love of music.

Together we lift our voices in celebration, love, and devotion to each other, to the world around us, to our fellow humans, and to the God that we love.

Happy, blessed and safe holidays to all during this last month of the year.

My VW Cabrio gets a Makeover

Here’s some new car news for my friends who are interested….

I’ve been driving my 1996 VW Cabrio for 21 years.  It turned over 200,000 miles on the speedometer about a month or so ago.

I looked around at new cars a few months ago and didn’t see anything that excited me.  So I took my car to my mechanic and asked him to look it over carefully.  He performed some routine maintenance on it, replaced some things, and told me the car’s engine and transmission were in great shape.  So I decided to keep driving it!

I left it at a body shop for Part 1 of a two part makeover a few weeks ago and got it back this week.  Part 2 of it’s makeover happens on August 1.

Dents & Scrapes are gone!
Some new paint….
Now ready for Phase 2 of it’s makeover!
The morning I dropped it off for Phase 1 of its makeover

Click here for an update.

My Newly Re-sewn and Newly Sewn Top

Vogue 2074 is a close fitting, wrap or mock wrap top (in three lengths) that includes above elbow or long sleeves with stitched hems. The pattern also includes straight or A-line skirts in three lengths (mid-knee, below mid-knee, above ankle) with a contoured waistline and a back zipper.

I sewed two versions of the top.

IMG_20160321_160648018 IMG_20160321_160914851
Vogue 2074
Vogue 2074
Cream Top Teal Top
Fabric Used Polyester Double Knit Rayon (70%) / Poly (28%) / Spandex (2%) blend
Version Sewed Version E (wrap top) Version I
(mock wrap top)

IMG_20160321_160648018Cream top: I originally sewed version E in a cream polyester double knit about 15 years ago. The wrap top includes ties that are sewn at each side seam. The ties are tied together at the left side. The longest tie is sewn at the left side seam and is threaded through a hole on the right seam and then wrapped around the back on the outside of the top to meet up with the right tie at the left side.

When I originally sewed this top, I included shoulder pads with it. I didn’t sew the pads onto the top, instead I added snaps on the pads and along the shoulder seam lines so I could easily remove the pads when I laundered the top.

The top I originally cut and sewed was too large, so I needed to take it in before I could wear it again. I never liked the way the wrap ties worked or looked, and I didn’t like the way I had to feed the tie through the small hole on the right side seam. I also didn’t like how the tie looked when it was wrapped around my back. The top was way too fiddly to suit me. I only remember wearing it two or three times. The top had been hanging in the back of my closet for years.

Alterations
I ripped out the side seams, removed the ties and sewed the side seams back up to form a mock wrap top. When I sewed the seams, I took the seams in by about an inch on each side. I also permanently retired the shoulder pads – I have broad shoulders and never needed them in the first place.

After I made these alterations, I was much happier with the top

Sewn 15 years ago After My Alterations
wrap blouse IMG_20160321_160648018

I was so happy with my new old top that I decided to make another one in teal.

IMG_20160321_160914851Teal top: This time I sewed the mock wrap version (version I). This version is a few inches shorter than the wrap version. Since I preferred the wrap version length, I cut out Version E, but modified the side seams to match the seams in the mock wrap version pattern pieces (the side seams flare out a bit more). I also didn’t include a collar and cut out the smaller size.

Wrap tops are stylish and classic – they don’t go out of style – and I think they flatter small busted women like me. I especially like well designed mock wraps because they look like wrap tops without all the fussiness.

A New Black Suit

Butterick 5235cI recently sewed this lovely ensemble which consists of a jacket and a matching top and skirt.  This was my most ambitious sewing project todate.  I have always flirted with the idea of sewing a lined suit, had even bought a pattern and fabric long ago to sew one, but kept getting intimidated at the thought of it.

Patterns used:
Butterick  5235 (Jacket & Top)
McCalls 3341 (skirt)

Fabric: 
100% Polyester Crepe Suiting & Bemberg lining fabric

The Jacket

I really liked the way the jacket looked the first time I saw the pattern. It is a professional yet feminine jacket and I liked the retro look of it.

Since this was the first time I had lined a jacket I followed all the pattern instructions meticulously. The sewing instructions were very clear and, even though there was quite a lot of hand sewing, the jacket was easy to sew. Some of the hand sewing I’m referring to is due to my own caution, choosing to hand baste many of the seams before sewing the permanent seam. But the instructions also had me hand sewing the sleeve linings into the garment. I genuinely enjoyed all of the hand sewing that was required.

Butterick 5235 Butterick 5235b Butterick 5235g

The Skirt

McCalls 5235 is a simple a-line skirt. I lined and added a vent in the back center seam. When I tried it on, the skirt was too much of a bell shape so I tapered the side seams, starting about 9 inches up from the hem, down to the hem by about an inch on each side.

Black Interview skirt1

Black Interview skirt2

The Top

I didn’t originally plan to sew the matching top, but after I finished cutting out the jacket and skirt, I had about a yard of fabric left over which was just enough fabric to sew a matching top.  When I wear the skirt and top together, it gives the illusion of wearing a dress, and I can wear them with some of the other jackets I already own.

Butterick 5235 topButterick 5235f

I like the flexibility of having two separate pieces that I can mix and match to clothes I already own.

Breathing New Life into an Old Suit

Jones New York1I’ve had a Jones New York 100% worsted wool navy suit (jacket & skirt) hanging in my closet for at least 15 years. The last time I wore the suit was 8-1/2 years ago to my Mother-in-Law’s funeral. I liked the jacket, but never liked the skirt…..the skirt was a too long ankle length a-line skirt that had scooped pockets that popped open every time I moved, and it wasn’t lined so I found it to be quite itchy and uncomfortable to wear. The long a-line style was matronly and made me feel like a Christmas tree whenever I wore it.

I recently started a job search and needed a couple of professional looking interview suits. The suit jacket doesn’t have huge shoulder pads and has a fairly classic style so I think it will be fine to wear to interviews, but I needed to do something with that awful skirt. I thought about removing 8 or 10 inches from the bottom of it and hemming it to a shorter, more modern and attractive knee length, but that alone wouldn’t fix those annoying pockets or the itchiness. The skirt had been hanging in my sewing room for months and the more I looked at it, the more I knew I needed to do something a bit more radical than just shorten the hem……so I carefully removed the zipper and the hem, cut out all the seams and had enough fabric to cut out and sew an entirely new skirt. Recycling the fabric into a new skirt ensured a perfect match between my new skirt and the existing jacket.

M3341, Misses' A-Line Skirts In Five LengthsFor this project I used McCall’s 3341, which is a pattern for a-line skirts in five lengths with front and back darts, a back zipper closure, faced waistline, and a back slit (in the longer Versions A & B). I sewed the knee length version of the skirt (Version C). I chose McCall’s 3341 because it’s a classic skirt pattern that will never go out of style. I don’t care for elastic waistbands and prefer faced waistlines over waistbands because I think they are more comfortable to wear, are easier to sew and alter, and provide a better fit.

Continue reading Breathing New Life into an Old Suit

A Warm Hat for the Winter

I sewed a roll brim hat out of a colorful anti pill fleece.

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Pattern Green Pepper F873
Fabric Anti-Pill Fleece
Difficulty Easy & Fast Sew

I have a larger than average head (23″ circumference) and I usually have to wear men’s hats (which are rather plain) or settle for hats that are tight and give me headaches when I force them on my head or that roll up and eventually fall off my head.

I sewed the Large and it fits great! This is the first hat I’ve ever sewn and it’s great to finally have a hat that fits!

This is also the first time I’ve ever sewn a Green Pepper pattern and the pattern instructions are just great! Sewing the hat was really fast and easy. I sewed it during commercial breaks of The Big Bang Theory reruns (love that show)…I imagine in total, it took less than an hour to get the hat completed.

I am most definitely going to sew more of these hats. I think I’ll make a reversible hat next (this will make the hat a lot warmer since I will almost be sewing two hats out of fleece and then sewing them together.

I also sewed a reversible neck warmer (also known as a neck gaiter) out of the same fleece as my hat and an army green fleece.

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    Since the gaiter was just a rectangle of fabric, I didn’t use any pattern to construct it.
  • I cut out two pieces of fleece that measured 10″ x 24″ (again, my head is bigger than the average woman’s head).
  • Then I placed each piece together (right sides facing each other), and sewed the long sides together, leaving the shorter edges open to turn.
  • Finally I sewed the shorter side together, using the common”bagging” technique that is used in a several of the more complicated patterns I’ve sewn, leaving about 1-1/2″ open to turn and then slipstitching this opening closed after I turned the material to conceal the seam and reveal the right sides of the material.