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Sewing During the Pandemic

What does one sew during a pandemic?

I was in the middle of sewing the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans in early March, was feeling a bit unwell, took my temperature, and it was 101.  No, this isn’t a story about a bout with coronavirus (that I know of) , but sickness and the unsettling changes of sheltering in place led to a month’s lag in working on my jeans.

I got sidetracked by researching mask patterns, sewing several of two different styles, and was ready when my grocery store had a sign “No entry without a face covering”.

I applaud and admire those in the sewing community who have sewn hundreds of masks for donation to first responders.

I also sewed two different “isolation headbands”, the fun challenge offered by Sew Over 50 on Instagram as a remedy to cope with uncoiffed hair.

But I did finish the jeans. I almost titled this post “pandemic jeans”.  They’re  not a complete disaster, but I lost interest in making them, and a few fit issues mean I expect I won’t be wearing them much if at all.

I chose to sew View B, the high waisted option with skinny legs, and a pocket stay. I shortened the legs pattern in two places taking out 6 or 7 inches.

I narrowed the legs.  I did a flat seat adjustment.  I deepened the pocket bags.

The fly installation went well. The thing that looks strange on a lot of jeans patterns I see is the fly area is too long!  Mine looks this way at 7 inches.

I used the same gold top stitching thread as I used on my denim shorts.

When I basted the front and back together I discovered a big problem: my back outseams were 2 and a half inches longer than the front.  I still haven’t figured out where I went wrong, but I cut down the yoke, and matched them up.

When I tried them on I was disappointed.  They are not only lumpy, but the rise is about 1 and 1/2 inch too low.  When I wore them once to walk the dog, I kept pulling them up.  My anatomy dictates where I like my pants to hit on me to fit well and be comfortable.  Odd that they’re supposed to be high waisted, and weren’t high enough on short me.

A close up of the “drag lines” indicating a problem with the fit.  Ugh!

On a positive note, they are well sewn.  The legs don’t twist, the top stitching is good,  the waistband is good, and the belt loops and hardware look good.  I’ve become a slow, but reasonably competent seamstress.

I find the photos I took in the course of my daily life, while staying home, going to the doctor, and going on walks in the neighborhood more interesting than the photos about my pants, don’t you?

On to happier days (hopefully) and happier sewing!

Instagram and Summer Wrap-up

After reading the same few sewing blogs, I set out to broaden my horizons and discover other sewing bloggers and viewpoints.  Time for me to learn something new!

I read Saturday Night Stitch/Hila’s post about Instagram and decided to give it a try.  There’s lots going on in the sewing community on Instagram: #memademay, #sewphotohop, #sewcialists. Popular posts get hundreds of likes!  It’s a fantastic place if you like to look up makes of a pattern like I do:  there are 7,000 posts for #gingerjeans (a Closet Case pattern) and 4,000 posts for#monetadress (from Colette Patterns).

I like figuring things out but I was really thrown for a loop when I tried to set up my account.  I couldn’t even upload a profile picture from my computer.  It’s an app meant to be used on a smartphone.  I take some photos with my phone but not ones of me wearing my makes.

Google:  How do I post photos to Instagram from a desktop computer?  I learned that there is third party software available to install, and then I found out about Instapic, an app I could install on my Windows 8.1 computer.  Done!

I was able to upload my first post with a few hashtags added:


Looking around Instagram, I noticed many of the popular patterns this summer are shirtdresses, wide legged cropped pants, and tops with a boxy silhouette.  Linen is the fabric of choice, especially white or neutral shades of linen.

Which silhouette do you like to wear?  I usually wear a fitted style, and have even added my own contour darts to patterns.  I’d like to think I could have that effortless, minimalist, chic look wearing the boxy style like Ute.  In the past,  I’ve avoided that style thinking I’d look like a blob, but I’m willing to experiment.

I’m enjoying browsing, but I haven’t posted much.  I’m still thinking about what kinds of photos I want to post.  Maybe more of what I’m working on and what patterns or fabric I’ve bought.  Maybe some of the nature pics I like taking when I’m out walking.  Like these:


I was also inspired by Naomi Sews post on pattern storage, and her beautifully organized and color coded “popper wallets”.  In American-speak they are poly envelopes with snap closures.  I’m using more pdf patterns, and I’d been putting them in kitchen plastic baggies and then stuffing them in various places.  My order was delivered just before 8 pm, and I spent the next hour happily filling and organizing several of my new envelopes.

The envelope is transparent enough for me to see that I labeled the pattern wrong.

While writing and editing this post, the season officially changed from summer to fall, but I’m going to be stubborn and leave summer in the present tense.


A Walk in Springtime

Springtime is my favorite time of year to take my daily walks in the neighborhood.  I always have my phone in my pocket and often take photos.  Come along with me.

The florals are in bloom.   The hardy bougainvillea and California poppies grace many yards.

The jacaranda trees are especially beautiful while in bloom in May.

jacaranda sun (800x544)

jacaranda 16(800x480)

While one jacaranda in bloom is beautiful, a row of them lining a street is spectacular.  They leave a colorful carpet on the sidewalk and street.  Some say these trees are too messy, but I think they’re glorious.  In all fairness I must admit I don’t have one to clean up after.

jacaranda carpet (800x480)

With all this springtime floral inspiration, I have also turned to my stash to do some sewing with florals.

We’ve all seen lost cat signs, but I was very surprised when I saw a lost drone sign for the first time.  I hope the “skiddish” cat was found.

Some signs I don’t enjoy seeing are election signs.  California has its primary in June, and suddenly signs for mayor and city counsel appeared. There are no competing signs in my neighborhood; they are all for the same two candidates.

My dog has his own encounters when we walk.  I noticed soon after I got him that he is a “cat magnet”.  Cats will walk right up to him and go nose to nose.  The first time I was worried but now I’m used to it.  I wonder how the cats know which dog to approach.

Sparky BlkCat(800x480)

These incredibly tall palm trees were probably planted around the time the neighborhood began in the 1950’s, and I was used to seeing them on the corner. I’m glad I captured this picture, because they disappeared shortly after.  The sky and I miss them.


I love the long days. When the day starts to wind down, it’s time to look at the colors in the sky.



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What do you see when you walk in your part of the world?


Continuing on in 2016

Getting organized in the new year?  Me, too!

Desk Carousel for Sewing Supplies

I found this desk carousel at Target’s dollar spot for $3, and it is keeping my sewing work space much neater. And it twirls!

Fat Quarters to Go - Storage in zipper CD case

I have fat quarters to go! My fabric stash is growing, and my fat quarters needed some organization so I could see what I had.  This very inexpensive CD holder with zipper and straps lets me see them at a glance, and is portable to boot.  It’s about 22 inches long so a lot fits in there.

I was thinking about projects I want to finish this year. One, a crocheted afghan, was started back in 2012.  I asked myself why some projects languish, why others are completed, and what my motivation is for making things.

Continuing Projects to Finish in 2016

These are the factors I’m influenced by:

1)  Need or practical use.

Clothes fit into this category.  I have been especially motivated to make sleeveless woven tops, because I couldn’t find ones in the store that fit. In the future, I would like to try making pants, and other casual wear for home.

2)   Enjoyment and creativity.

Embroidery falls into this category, as well as quilting.  One thing I like about quilting is the fabric happiness from collecting and sewing with so many pretty and varied prints.

3) Furthering of skills or sense of accomplishment.

I like to learn how to execute, and even master new techniques.  In the future, I would like to complete some larger projects.

4) Variety.

I like following my enthusiasm  of the moment.  Sometimes I lose interest in a particular area of sewing or other needle art, but after taking a break I’m excited to get back to it.

5) Momentum.

This is involved with finishing a project.  I usually like to finish a project I’m working on.  When I set it aside, it’s hard for me to get back into it, or remember the details.  This is why I mainly do small projects.  I lost momentum on my crocheted afghan at about the halfway point, and I needed to figure out a strategy to finish it.

My first finished project of the year won’t be the afghan.  But I do have a strategy for working on it.  I realize that the reason I couldn’t garner any momentum was because of the nature of granny squares as opposed to a pattern like a ripple.  I couldn’t just pick it up and crochet another row, but had to start numerous squares from scratch.  The first round is hard for me; it’s small and hard to see where to put the hook.  So I decided to set aside time to concentrate and complete 10 first rounds at a time so I can later pick them up and work on them while relaxing at night.  I plan to crochet the granny squares until I’m finished or I run out of yarn.

How are your New Year plans going?




There’s a New Dog in Town

I took a few photos of my favorite dog related things I’ve encountered on my walks around the neighborhood.

Dogs Please Close the Gate signSomehow, I always read this “Dogs Please Close the Gate” sign as instructions to the dogs, and it makes me laugh.

Lola and Shades fence cutoutsWhich one is Lola and which one is Shades?  These St. Bernards are quite an amusing sight when their big heads make an appearance.

I’ve seen this “Who rescued who” sticker on a number of vehicles:

Who rescued who car stickerI was going to crop the photo, but noticed that the part of the license plate I captured fits my theme.

But my favorite thing to look at when I’m walking is this:

Sparky on Easter Walk

As you’ve undoubtedly guessed, this post is about my new dog, Sparky.

I wasn’t looking for a dog.  I was going to a new store in the strip mall across the street from the IHOP where I had lunch with my stepmom. I happened to see him in a pen with other rescue dogs outside of the Petco store two doors down.  My eyes were drawn to a cute little dog’s face with cheetah-like black markings, and I just kept looking at him until the lady asked me if I wanted to meet him.  I said yes, and I ended up taking him home that same day.

I forgot how much energy a younger dog has!  The paperwork I was given categorizes him as a pekingese mix a little over 1 year old.  I think he  looks like a long haired chihuahua or papillon mix, and I suspect by looking at his teeth that he is more likely 2 or 3 years old.  I asked the rescue lady for his history, and she told me that another rescue didn’t have room for him and asked if she could take him. So he has been bounced around from home to home several times.

Sparky is the most responsive dog I’ve ever had, in that to correct him I only have to make an “uh uh” sound, and he stops what he’s doing.  He plays with his toys, but never grabs and runs off with my stuff.  Pepper was part terrier, and was very strong willed – barking at neighbors, the mailman and the UPS truck, tearing lizards apart, and defying my authority, so I was ready for an “easy” dog.  This guy just wants to be a companion, and to be bonded to his person. He is the sweetest little creature, and I can’t believe anyone could let him go, because I sure couldn’t.

Autumn Scenes

Fall scenes from Southern California, both natural and man made:

Fall Welcome and Pepper



That’s a palm tree to the right of the “fall” tree with a few leaves turning color. October days are still warm (80 degrees today) and dry in Southern California, but the nights are cooler.  We are in the middle of a drought with mandatory water restrictions due to go into effect next month.

Happy Fall!