At my friend Maria's wedding in August 2008. I'm wearing S3833.
I'm really sorry to write this post to tell you all, my sweet sewing friends and blog readers, that my dear mom Judy Burkhardt suddenly passed away in the early evening of Saturday, April 5, 2014.
It was a shock and surprise to us all, though looking back the signs were there starting in the fall of 2012.
June 13, 1964.
It is really hard to believe she is gone. She was 69. If she had lived 10 more weeks, my parents would have reached 50 years of marriage. They were high school sweethearts who had dated for 5 years before that. And they still liked and loved each other!!
My parents at 15 and 16 years of age.
Dad and I co-wrote her obituary and her eulogy. I might post the eulogy on my blog, or I might not. Not sure yet. The funeral was amazing, if a funeral can be such a thing. We had the funeral in her hometown of Florence, NJ and had the funeral director, who went to high school with my parents and who my mom actually liked, read the eulogy Dad and I wrote. We estimated mom gave away over a thousand bouquets in her lifetime. We did not ask for donations because we wanted the flowers to come back to her. The amount of "floral support" was outstanding--it was like a wall of flowers. My uncle sent an amazing bouquet that the funeral home put in my mom's hands. It was gorgeous. Dad had the idea to bring the cat apron I made her for Christmas, and we draped it on her arm and over the side of the casket. We dressed her in one of her typical outfits--white turtleneck, turquoise button down shirt, cream sweater, unbuttoned, with a cat pin. She was always wearing cat or heart pins.
Mom's first car: 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, in turquoise
The support of all her communities was outstanding--Dad's family including my 98 year old great aunt Iris; Mom's high school classmates (she organized a monthly luncheon and loved chatting with them); her Wall neighbors; Dad's coworkers who all knew her from the summer picnics and Christmas parties she helped organize (and my dad's been retired for almost 13 years now!); my former and current coworkers who all knew her from the mini-pumpkins she decorated and gave to them, but most of whom she never met; my third grade teacher who we kept in touch with--she gave flowers to him on his birthday every year; my friend from the gym representing the evening rampers; my childhood best friend and her whole family--she always thought of my mom as her second mom and mom thought of her as a second daughter; even a college friend who is a professor trying to get tenure and has a family of her own but took the train from MA because "that's the impression your mother made on me."
4 generations: my great-grandmother Mema, my mom, me at almost 2 months of age and my grandmom in 1975.
Mom loved the internet and email. She was the number one fan of my blog. She must have been constantly checking to see if I wrote a new post; sometimes she'd email and comment on what I had made when I had just pressed the post button a few minutes before. She always emailed me her comments; she never left one on my blog itself. She was also fond of reading the blogs on my blog roll, in particular Sidewalk Shoes for the kitty cat pictures on Saturdays (Pam, we *both* loved your story of how Coco came to be in your life because it was so much like our Cali cat), and Marisa at New Dress a Day (she often would tell me to check out something interesting or a scandalously low bust line on Marisa's blog). She also really enjoyed I can has cheezburger for the LOL Cats.
My mom's favorite picture of her and dad, taken in Myrtle Beach in the late 80's/early 90's.
Mom read all the comments you, my readers, left on my blog and sometimes she would email me about your comments, or she'd say "your sewing friends are going to love all this detail" when I'd write an overly long and picture heavy post.
She was so sad, like I was, when GwenSews passed away; she couldn't believe it either and she cried like I did. She said she felt like she knew Gwen, as did I, even though we never met Gwen--but Gwen had commented on almost every post I had written since Gwen found my blog at the end of Jan 2012 and mom read every one!
Before going back to Bryn Mawr for my senior year, 1997
I wore my favorite dress, Vogue 1351, to mom's funeral. I wasn't sure about wearing it with the red belt but Dad said I should wear what I'd like and dress like me. The red belt is me.
Me and mom on Mother's Day 1977. Mom is 32 and I'm 18 months.
As for my dad and myself, we are doing ok. I have always had a great relationship with my dad but we are spending more time together and learning more about each other. The obituary, eulogy, and funeral came together better because we worked on it together. We are grieving but are functional. At work, the software upgrade happened on April 12, the day after mom's funeral. My kind and amazing boss said we could move it but I felt like we were so close to go-live we should just do it. My coworkers were a huge help and I am grateful to them. I am still working on this other huge software project that goes live July 1. I'm looking at that project like my college degree: I've been setting aside things I want to do in order to work on the project and just get it done. I had been keeping a list of things I'd like to do after go-live that I haven't been able to do personally. I had gotten myself onto a schedule that let me go to the gym after work, work 6 days a week, keep the house clean, and do sewing on Sundays before Mom's death. I think the sewing is going to slide for now but I'd like to pick it up again after go-live. I really want to get back into making dresses. I have somehow gotten mired in fit and I just want sewing to be fun again. Time is so precious, life is so short to spend it on struggling over fit (besides many other things).
Thank you Mom. I love you. I miss you. I can't believe you're gone.
I bought this pattern in the summer of 2011, but sewing it up meant I would have to learn how to use my serger first (see the overlocked edges above) and find some sweater knit.
Finally, 2.5 years later, the time came to make a muslin. I made the straight 12. I think it fits pretty well. The only thing I'm unsure about is the length.
My usual work photographer was not available for pictures so this is a different work photographer who insisted we use his windows phone.
Here is the walking away shot, to show how it flutters. I feel like I'm a caped superhero when I wear this.
This is to show you the impressive wingspan
And here are some pix my regular work photog took before I serged the raw edges
I was pretty afraid of serging the raw edges.
I cut some sample squares.
I bought this 4x4" square "ruler" after taking the PR class "understanding knit fabrics". Mainly I use it for cutting sample squares when I wash and dry fabric to determine shrinkage...but it has another use...when I serge the edge, is it getting longer or shorter???
Then I serged.
And it was terrible.
No matter what I was setting the differential feed (DF), it was gathered. Adjusting the DF was always my fix in the past, but not this time.
I gave up.
Then I googled.
And then I found the right setting.
First three: great if I wanted gathering!!
I had no idea that I had to release the needle tensions down, and the upper looper tension down too, but so it was. I experimented a bit more than above, but finally figured out that the last settings above are right.
I then serged on the lengthwise grain, expecting the settings to be different, but they weren't! This was single layer, which is exactly what serging the raw edges involved.
In the above photo, the top and right sides are serged. I cut the edge so the square is no longer 4x4. If you really want to check if the stitching is changing the length/width you need two samples: one where you only cut the length and one where you only cut the width.
So here's what it looks like on the garment. Wow, that black serger thread really blends into this blue and black fabric:
So I wanted to serge the inside too, which meant 2 layers.
I wrote down the settings in my notebook where I keep sewing notes for myself. The fabric was from the San Diego swap meet with Elizabeth last November.
and this is what it looked like inside on the sleeve cap
For the bottom of the sleeve I serged the raw edge and then blind hemmed it. The arms seem to be extra long and begging to be hemmed so that's what I did.
Wrong side of the sleeve.
What to do with the serger tails
I was also unsure of what to do with the serger tails on the single layer, around the edges. It turned out to be so easy...but maybe I'll talk about that in the next post.
I got this crazy idea that it would fun to make 10 hearts, one for each member of my mindfulness meditation group, and distribute them to the group at the med before Valentine's Day. After all, one of our teacher's most favorite sayings is, "What is the most loving thing you can do for yourself?" Which, the night before our weekly meeting Valentine's week, turned out to be giving myself a break and not staying up late to get them all done.
I just finished the 11th one this week. For the longest time I had 9 of them done (and I had given one away to my work photographer). So those 8 have been hanging on my wall in my sewing room.
Because I was going to make so many of them, I decided to cut a cardboard template. But using the heart as a template meant I couldn't center my heart for cutting out. I wound up using the leftover cardboard (with the heart cut out) as the template instead, instead of the cardboard heart itself!
This was my first one, where I cut it out straight on and used a thick ribbon.
Cutting it on the bias was MUCH cuter. As was using thinner ribbon.
It mostly disappears but not completely because the gingham was not printed on grain.
Then I realized, the lines need to match when right sides are together. But again, there were issues with the printing of the fabric.
I love this basket.
It amazes me how differently they all turned out.
Like real life, no two hearts are the same.
Each is unique.
Some of the lines line up better than others.
Soooo....what is the most loving thing you can do for yourself?
Ever since PR Weekend Chicago 2011, I have been wanting to make the Jalie 2682 polar fleece. PR Member "Kathy in NM" was wearing hers and I just *loved* it. The quarter zip looked difficult but she assured me it was easy.
In the meantime I felt very intrigued by zippers, which resulted in zipper pouches, interior zipper pockets in bags and even a briefcase-style bag with a chunky metal zipper.
Turns out Kathy was right---the front, upper portion of the bodice of the Jalie is lined and inserting the zipper is just like inserting one in a zipper pouch. It's basically a zipper sandwich. It is *super cleverly constructed* and generally fun to sew.
I made a muslin and a half and then the real deal. I consulted with Sunny Gal first who said I would probably need to lengthen the upper bodice half an inch to lower the armhole and give more room, and possibly widen the arms. She was right!
The chocolate brown fleece is from fabric.com and the zipper from SIL Thread. I used a 10" zipper; next time I'll use a 12".
This was size "V" for "Very Tight" and "Very much matches my bust measurement". This is way too tight in the upper arm/armpit area and in my biceps. I couldn't wait to take it off. I didn't hem it because it was just a muslin. Also the upper bodice ends at a strange place. Definitely needs to be lower.
At that moment I felt most of my fitting issues were in the upper bodice so I made a sample out of some hot pink fleece from Joann's remnant bin that I've had in stash forever, and a stash zipper that had tarnished in the middle somehow. I think this was a straight "X" for "Xtra space". But it wasn't enough.
The real deal
This is size X, but with a half inch added to the upper bodice and also fanning out the sides in the bust/armpit area to create more room. That meant the sleeve cap was longer, so I was able to add more width to the sleeve for the bicep.
So here was my snowy look from two Mondays ago. This was the only decent-ish front picture in the bunch so here you go:
My work photographer felt the prior version was much better looking/fitting but it is just too tight for me to wear. Maybe in a stretchier fabric I could get away with it. This fleece has 25% crosswise stretch.
The sleeve caps were really, really hard. I had *not* practiced my sleeve caps with fleece and I should have!! They were lumptastic because I am not used to handling such loft. Always always always make a sample first.
Finally I got my sleeve cap to look like this. Finally something smooth.
I blind hemmed that bad boy.
And because I'm all excited about the serging
Verdict: I don't know that I love it but I'm glad that I finally made it and in the appropriate season. Another item to cross off my 2014 goals list!!! It is now hanging in the magic closet with the muslin. I might try again with a performance-type fabric that is stretchier...we'll see!! There are just so many other things I want to sew and I am kind of itching to sew a dress again, and maybe (spoiler alert) another cardigan... I am only behind by two "completed garment" posts now.