Sunday, June 13, 2010


STILL having huge issues with the collar. Every time I think I've figured it out, it doesn't work. Back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I'm about to start tacking the splits. AND .... I've begun the chainmaile! It's taking less time than I thought. And, today, Matt decided that he needed something to do while watching TV and asked if he could close some of the rings.

See, I start out with a bunch of machine-cut rings that are slightly open from the cutting process. Then I close the rings, so they look like this:

You may be wondering what the mime is doing there. Well, all that black junk is powder from the rings. When I have all the chains done, I'm going to wipe them all off with a damp cloth to remove as much of that powder as possible. But, so that our fingers don't get stained, we're wearing latex gloves.

Then I open 25 rings, like this:

Then I make chains that are 50 rings long (but not made of 50 rings, each chain is actually 75 rings.) I start out with attaching two rings to one ring, then putting on two more rings. Then I attach two of those rings to another open ring, then add two more. And voila - a chain!

Because these chains are so light, they really remind me of the chains of beer can tabs that my grandfather used to having lying around the farm in Michigan. There might still be some around somewhere, too. I'll have to look next time I'm up there.

Of course, the tough part is going to be putting them all together to make the shirt, but this is flying by much faster than the maile we made for Matt. Hmm, that might have to be my next post!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Well, I spent two days this week not accomplishing very much. I wanted to put the collar on the dress, but I couldn't figure out the directions. And let me just reiterate - I've been sewing a LONG time; I KNOW how to read sewing directions! It would say to attach the pieces at the shoulder and neck seams - but it didn't say on the pattern which seams they were. It was very difficult trying to muddle through it all. I wasted almost all of my olive green material, too. I finally figured it out, but after I had sewn the olive and the black together (see photo.) Also, I realized that I need to make the lower portion red, and only the collar itself green and black.

I also realized that I'll need to make the top of the collar higher, since hers comes up so high. I did have one accomplishment in the collar department, though. I found that this foam that I purchased for the baby books I made last Christmas is perfect for giving the collar shape. I could probably stuff it with something, but I think the foam will work better. The collar shown is one of my original collars that didn't work out.

I did manage to get the zipper in on only the second try - and the reason it even took two tries was because even though I tapered from a size 16 waist to a size 14 top, I still made the torso way too big. I think the zipper looks darn good!

Another thing that I finished was the sleeves. I think they're just about at the right length, but I can turn them up again if they're not. I did a fancy zigzag stitch to avoid the ugly straight stitch and also to avoid tacking, since this won't actually be seen.

And then, today, I made the splits. I was having a problem because I was doing a zigzag stitch - again, to avoid the same problems with the sleeves, since the material unravels so easily, but I don't want to have tons of folds. But, when I started sewing at the top and made my way down to the bottom of the fabric, it puckered, even though I didn't have pins in it. But, when I started sewing at the bottom of the dress and went up to the top of the split, it laid perfectly with zero pucker! I don't feel like ripping it out, and I'm not quite satisfied with the top of the splits and the natural fall of the fabric anyway, so I will turn them and tack them down. But that's maybe something for tomorrow.

More frustrations - spent 15 minutes tonight in the sewing room figuring out the stitch width/length for the zigzag stitches, and when I went back into the family room to get the dress, I picked it up and pee dripped onto my feet. Yes, the dogs both decided to mark this lovely dress as theirs. I have the dress soaking in cold water with Woolite. As I dropped it into the machine, I thought, "I really should have tested this out on a scrap first." But, I didn't want the pee to set in. I'll go pull it out and rinse it in a minute. I was so mad. I can't believe it - they've been so good for weeks, and they sneak down there and mark it while I'm upstairs. Bad dogs!

At least I haven't hemmed it yet, and most of what got peed on will be cut off. But still - it was SOAKED!

Another exciting thing - I got my rings in the mail! Five whole pounds, but I already think I might need more. I'm going to start putting together the chainmaile this week while we watch TV. I'm very excited about that!

So, once I put the collar on, all I'll have left is hemming and the dress with be finished! I was hoping to have it done this week, but it will probably take a few more days.

Okay, I'm off to make sure I haven't ruined my $100 velvet dress.