stuff and things

01 July 2013

Summer Is Here! Of pedicures and summer pajamas ...

Summer is here, and by way of celebration, I've decided to post on Artelicious! Oh, I'm supposed to do that anyway, regularly? Um ... and paint my toenails! Can you help me pick the perfect, summer-shimmery color? Below, from left: A, B, C and D. To vote, head to the Comments field at the end of this post, or send me an email. Find my email address at the top of the blog, on the right.
Pedicures for Dummies, anyone?
Sorry for the dark photo. Had to show off some vintage Dummies swag! Here's a closeup:
It loves me, it loves me not ... Dearest Friend, which one is the Real Me?
You may ask, 'So Tina, what's the big deal about a pedicure'? Well, ten years have passed since I last painted my toes. I was never much good at maintaining my nails, but when I was teaching Ashtanga yoga, feggetabouttit! Dragging one's toes forward into Upward Dog 50-plus times per practice pretty much destroys that "fresh from the salon" look.

Well, what with having been plagued with some pretty excruciating hip and back problems due to osteoarthritis, and now with a fairly recent diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy (PN), yoga's out of the picture. I came to Ashtanga, an extremely vigorous practice, late in life, and as usual for me with most things, rode it hard. In the pix below, I'm 51 and going strong ... in hindsight, maybe a bit too strong.

Anyhoo, here's when yoga was in the picture, at lovely Tulum, in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula:
A monumental pose ... (argh, I know!)

 Hmm, these toes could sure use a pedicure!
"Look for the cloud's silver lining," the old song tells us. Well, ever the optimist, I am trying to find the good in all this. For example, because PN has made my toes, feet and ankles numb, I can now look for work as a Fire Walker. Think of all the pu-pus I can scarf at all the luaus and tiki parties I'll be working.
Eating all that fruit as part of my new career will put me right in the Zone!
At New Age gatherings, walking on hot coals seems to be growing in popularity. Test your Zen quotient, your inner strength, or merely your proximity to a burn center. I can be the Demo.

Of course I'm already planning some fab costumes.

But, back to my point: Now I can finally blend my two loves: bright colors and pretty toes. If you would, please take a moment to head to the comments field, below, to vote for, left to right, A, B, C or D. Remember the first picture in this post? Those are my (debatable) colors.
Can't wait for my pretty toes!

Summer Pajamas

Recently, my second pair of Nick and Nora for Target Rubber Ducky pajamas gave up the ghost. (I gave my third, and final pair to my friend D., a fellow rubber ducky enthusiast. I trust that she is forever grateful.)

Because I vowed to make all my clothes in 2013, this could only mean one thing: I would have to make my own pair of PJs. Below, the top, which needs something ...
Pajama top, looking for a hem.
I chose this pattern (Butterick 5571, see below) for its cute little gathers around the neck, and because it offered several versatile yet simple looking jammy options. After making it up, however, it seemed rather ... plain. It needed something. Taking a cue from the pattern envelope, below, I decided to add some lace -- even at the risk of looking too girly. Check out View B, extreme right.
B5571: I chose the lace-trimmed summery view B.
Pajama top: Action shot!
I already had some blue ribbon in my stash, and pictured my PJs adorned with the type of lace where a ribbon threads in and out. I found just the very lace at the fabric store, and learned that it's called "beading lace." Because the eyelet was So White, and we know we All want a thick white strip of trim around our hip to midriff area ...  I mixed up a light blue using my fabric paints. After tinting the lace in a shallow container with lots of water, I pressed it to set the paint. Perhaps I can get away with calling it Shabby Chic?

The Gory Details ...

If you consider making this pattern, here are the changes I made and the things to watch out for:
1. I made a forward shoulder adjustment. If you constantly pull at your hem or feel tight in your shoulders, have someone test this adjustment on you. I used the Palmer/Pletsch Fit for Real People book. I will probably make this adjustment on every top in my future. It feels so great to have something that really fits me. Oh, I guess that's why we sew.
2. I lengthened the hemline for the short sleeve view another three inches.
3. I used French seams. I use enclosed seams whenever possible, and because this is lightweight fabric, French seams fill the bill.
4. I tried "Mock French Seams" on the armscye seams. Now that I'm getting back into garment sewing, I'm determined to try out lots of techniques that are new to me. The mock French seam is recommended for curved seams, like you'd find when joining an armhole and a sleeve. Major hassle. Like so many things labeled "mock," this is simply not worth it. Step away from the Mock French Seam.
5. I painted eyelet "beading" lace, and added a little bow at the neckline.

Finally, Be Sure to ignore the pattern's instructions for turning up the hem only after you have stitched the lace onto the bottom. This was illogical and super time-consuming, but of course I followed the instructions, never suspecting a genuine pattern could publish something so absurd. Turning up the seam allowance and simply stitching a second time around the lace's seam line may be fine for a knit, but I see my PJs getting washed each week, hopefully for many years to come. I want an enclosed hem. I finally ended up pressing up the hem with my tiny crafting iron ...
Sorry for the blurry focal point: but hey, what a great finger!

Free-motion embroidery is a skill that has come in so handy, in so many situations.

... then free-motion stitching a wavy line on the outside, catching the turned up hem .. and looking, if I do say so myself, awfully Shabby Chic. ;)

I haven't had time to sew up my Pajama Bottoms yet, because we recently welcomed a New Member to the Family! Stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, Love and Be Loved.
Tina in San Diego