Back in the saddle

IMHO, there is no reason to sew or refashion if you are not happy with your size (apologies to Carissa). The few things made for our Easter trip to St. John were the exception, but I chose things that could be easily altered down once I got a grip on this condition of mine which has plagued me in assorted ways for a year and a half-ish. I thought it was under control in March. It took another four months.

I shan’t bother you with the boring details, but suffice to say you CAN suffer from two distinctly different problems at the same time which can be diagnosed by a handful of experts as one problem and with that sorted I am on the way to 12 again. I’ve tackled a few simple refashions recently like today’s post over on Refashion Co-op, but I also had a pile of mending which kept putting me off spending much time in the studio. I’d see the stack on the long table every time I passed the door and think ‘ugh’. Actually, I think that might be a reason for putting the 2014 blog on hold — I just couldn’t be comfortable in my studio full of projects that don’t/didn’t fit (literally and figuratively) my life the fist half of this year.

Anyhow, the pile is smaller, thank Deity of your choice, so this weekend I take on these two from-scratch projects from March:



(top Simplicity 1698 and wrap Simplicity 1961: after years of other patterns I somehow have returned to the patterns with which I learned to sew) in order to make them less baggy. There’s loose fitting and there’s baggy. You know what I mean. I washed these after the April trip then stuffed them in a refashion basket as I quite hated the look of myself in the pictures where I wore this combo with a hi lo skirt made of the feather fabric I bought in Paris. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I was thinking along the lines of a complete harvesting of the fabric. This lovely lightweight knit is going to be perfect for Istanbul next weekend so I’m glad this coming weekend is a ‘double golf widow’ sort of situation — matches each day for my Better Half, plus there’s some sort of soccer tournament on the television which will keep him occupied.

Brain fog. I blame the brain fog of one of my conditions for not letting me see how chunky I’d become. I also blame Himself. Your husband needs to be taught/have the confidence to tell you that you are tipping over to a weight that is not your own. Doesn’t matter if he thinks it will make you upset. Tell him it is his job to upset you and you will be mad if he DOESN’T.

So, to recap:

Eat less.

Move more.

Do not accept your medical matters as given: keep searching until it is right.

(And buy a Nutribullet — or something like it. Seriously. It really made these last couple months bearable).


Blast from the past

Note to self: check to see that an adequate picture has been taken before taking the scissors to todays re-f. Sorry for the blur.


I needed a little break from the tiny, neat hems needed for Little Sis’s wrap skirt


so decided to refashion this lycra/spandex-y dress from my keepsake box of clothes. It is too young for me now — and a bit too tight through the hips!

It was one of the last things I bought before moving overseas to marry Himself. It was when I was closer to a USA 10 than 12. It was never worn for long.


I’ve been told by The Nephew ‘we wear bathing suits all day in St. John!’ so I decided to acquire another top or two for the modest swim skirt I wear when such things are required. Last time I was in swimwear was Hawai’i 2009. I swam a lot during our second year in Hong Kong as our serviced flat had access to the hotel pools next door. We aren’t beach holiday people for the most part so even though I saw a few things I liked last time I was out shopping, I thought a look through the to-be-refashioned boxes and the fabric tubs might be in order.


It was merely a matter of taking ten inches off the bottom and hemming it with my double needle.



Three-part mantra

Eat Less.

Move More.

Stop taking medication that piles on the pounds despite adhering most religiously to the first two parts.

Refashioning and making from scratch  have not been on the top of my priority list for about six months. A bit of a struggle with some neuropathic woes has been (I think) b***h-slapped into submission with Drug Five: One through Three simply did nothing for the pain in my extremities and Four made me fat.

The IWOM does not mince words. It. Made. Me. Fat.

And the IWOM doesn’t do fat.

I am a tall, strong girl. My 3/4 Irish and 1/4 Slovak ancestry gives me certain characteristics with which I work — and always will. In the past seven weeks I have dropped a size and a half by doing relatively little in addition to the switch from Drug Four to Drug Five.

Stand up to your doctors. Change them if you need to. DO NOT sit back and let them decide for you.

We now return you to this much-neglected refashion blog.

I picked up this maxi-dress at one of my new favorite shops in the January sales: East. It was too big post-weight loss and too long to start with but the style is just what I wanted for a week in St. John AVI next month. It was one of those ‘can’t-get-the-fabric-for-that-price’ moments we’ve all had.

And I loved that blue.


Well, the top was too low cut too. I chopped off ten inches


(as a loop).


I figured I could cut what I needed for a modesty panel to insert into the V neck and make an infinity scarf from the rest.




taking away the weight in ten inches of hem made that V a lot less deep (it doesn’t much look it on Dorothea, but trust me on this). A hook and eye will be just fine. If I do want some more cover,


I can do that quite easily. All I need now is a narrow hem on the mid-calf skirt and I’m on to the Paris fabric.

No self control, me

I haven’t even used all the fabric from my 2011 Paris trip!



Black cotton with white embroidered floral design, cotton with a lovely feather print, black and white dots on stripes in a poly cotton blend and a medium weight two way stretch knit (hard to tell from this pix but it a lovely plum background with robin’s egg blue pattern). Three metres each (the knit is 60 inches wide, the cottons 45 inches).




my Little Sis (a non-sewer, but don’t hold that against her ’cause I don’t!) fell in love with a lovely shear fabric that will be perfect for a sarong or wrap skirt of some sort. All five pieces came home with me yesterday after our time in Paris sans husbands and son/nephew: she had a conference to attend and came early — I flew over and we met up Sunday at CDG for three days of eating, drinking and shopping. We both seriously considered staying until her/Himself’s money ran out.

Really. I’m not kidding.

Now I need to scan my wrap and sarong patterns to send so she can make her selection. Luckily we are about the same size at present so if I make it to fit me we should be good. Luckily I’m in a from-scratch mode at present. I’ll be delivering it to her when we meet up in St. John come April.


The White Stuff

Inspired by a no-longer available sweater from White Stuff, I took a thick long sleeve T and a previously refashioned T of the same size and brand


and got to cutting.  Five inches from the sleeves of the grey, along with three inches off the bottom


then ten inches from the bottom of the black top and two and a half inches from the sleeves.


A few adjustments had to be made to the sleeves and lower edge of the grey T



so the parts would all fit together, then the bits cut from the sleeves of the grey needed turning into pockets


and that was that.


A cold cold wash is going to do it no end of good, so once there’s enough darks, that’s what I’ll do. After some rather mundane mending, I took half a pair of PJ bottoms and cranked out an infinity scarf.


Don’t know why I even bothered to make those pyjamas. Himself and I have never felt the need to utilise them except for when we travel or have guests.

Sorry. That was probably TMI. I get that way when I am all sad about Himself being away for the night!

On the list

I’ve always fancied this project. Between a white long sleeve Gap top that had to be worn with something over it anyway due to it being so thin



and a recent donation to the cause by Himself I had everything I needed.


What I am NOT sure of



is how I want to do my stitching. Machine seems the more sturdy way



but the rustic look has something going for it. Perhaps a double row of stitching?

But not today, or not until later at best. Mushroom spawn to plant — or throw on the compost mix waiting in four window boxes in the bottom of the greenhouse — and packing to do.

Gettin’ there


So I took half the width of the skirt and basted it to the top in this overlap fashion. 


I’ll let Dorothea wear it for me until it settles down. It makes ME look a little ‘hippy’ (as in accentuates my Irish-Slovak hips) and of course I’d been of the mindset that it would be more ‘hi-low’ so it certainly isn’t done yet. I have a half a skirt that can become part of the top/dress so that must be taken into account. Once I try it on with some jeans/pants/skirts I should have a better sense of how to proceed.

In the meantime, garden duties call before tomorrow’s expected rain.

In the meantime….

Dorothea is not standing for any more of my garden/decorating/getting ready for a romantic getaway with Himself excuses. She also wants to know what possessed me to buy this last fall


when I was shopping with Her Who Bore Me.  Mom knows I look good in dark teal ’cause she does and I WAS wearing a somewhat similar top whilst we were out. Oh well. She had a card to that store, a token/coupon and I had cash I could hand her to use both. I explained both to Dorothea and she seemed somewhat satisfied with the answer, but also reminded me that I haven’t had it long enough to be sentimental.

(I think I’ve worn it twice, but I am in enough trouble for putting sewing and refashioning so low on my list these days so did not offer that information to my much neglected double).


The lower half and the lang  bell cuffs had to go: and quick.


I cut the seams of all three off-cuts, which left me with


four bits. I cut up the center right through the cowl neck of the much shortened sweater


and look! Those two larger bits fit just perfect along the new neck and front edges!


Well, perfect once I


hemmed the edges that used to be the seams. A couple rows of zig zag on the other unfinished edges neatened it all up to Dorothea’s and my satisfaction. The cuffs will make nice fingerless mitts


but that has to wait while I get back to sorting out the garden before we head away.


Sorry. Dorothea would like for me to clarify. I meant ‘get back to the Laura Ashley dress makeover’.


Gosh but she is a hard taskmaster. I’ve even had to promise to wear this to the Dolphins/Pats game….

To make a world

Quite exciting game. Can’t see the losers ending the season with the coach or Q-back feeling secure about their jobs though. Both were 0-3 so somebody had to win, eh?

I like going to games where I don’t have to back my team but can rather clap and shout for whatever team makes a good play. We two Pats fans (me in my pink Sox cap, Himself in his number 12 jersey) sat amidst the two playing teams’ fans, some Amsterdam Admiral-jacketed lads, a Packer fan to my immediate left and (sigh) a Jets fan. Oh well. Takes all sorts.

While waiting in the line/queue for women’s security, two lovely Steeler fans commented on the size of the backpack of the Vikings fan in front of them. It clearly (pun intended) broke the new NFL rules on size and opacity. They politely asked her if she knew of the new NFL regulations (a slip with those very rules was included in your ticket pack, and any foreign players’ fan group who booked blocks of tickets would have had the same information) and she snapped back — English clearly not her first language — that she always carried a bag that size to games. These two gals, really only trying to be polite, showed her their tiny clutches and said those and the clear 12’’/6’’/12’’ approved bags bags (a woman in the next line, hearing this, held up her official bag) were all she could take in. This rude woman showed them her back.

To diffuse the tension, I informed the girls — and anyone carrying the proper bags within earshot — that I’d received a T-master email a week or so before the game with some very confusing info about the ‘Olympic’ rules being in place for bags plus the fact that the tickets and info sent out were in English and any foreigners who come to these games might not have the grasp of the language or bothered to read the slip or consult the NFL site for further clarification as needed.

After going through the turnstiles, everyone was ‘wanded’ and if you had a bag, you moved to the side to have it checked. Cursory glances were being made by the Wembley staff and the woman with the backpack simply walked by the bag check table. No security person made a move to stop her.

Since Himself was in a longer boy line, I watched as woman after woman — and man after man — was let through with decidedly out of bounds bags. Big messenger bags for some of the boys, along with plastic carrier bags of food and tins too.

I’d gone with giving Himself my wallet and half a blister pack of some tablets I am currently taking to put in the zip pockets of his golf kagool. Frankly, not having to look after a bag was kind of nice. I might very well keep to that plan for the next two NFL games we’ll see this season. (Or I’ll just spring for one of the regulation totes at the game end of this month. Himself has said he’s buying me a Vince top. I said only if it comes in pink. Poor guy).

What I WILL be doing later today is writing the NFL about Wembley’s casual disregard for the new rules. We aren’t going to the second of the International Series so I won’t be able to see if they crack down; however, we must consider a). the inherent British unwillingness to make a fuss over anything, b). language barriers and c). the fact there are a lot of part-time, filling space people who work these games and they probably were not informed of the NFL rules — or simply didn’t care to implement them (see  ‘a’).

Moving on.

Himself flew back up to work Monday morning dead early but I stayed to meet up with a very old friend and — a bit later in the day — a most delightful new one. I was in the market for knits for travel clothes and went with a very targeted list:


My pal of many years Mrs. J. took charge in her posh voice and asked as we entered each shop where knits and jerseys could be found — I think she wanted to make sure two ‘tourists’ were not taken advantage of! Mrs. N and I are serious International Women of Mystery (as we headed for our respective lines to get us back to where we needed to be we discussed how much we liked the very well laid out and sensible Tokyo underground) so that amused us both to no end. Mrs. N is a knitter but she outbought me on fabric by a country mile! Well, she also quilts and sews.

Like any of us do ONE thing.

(Separated at birth, we two: she brought a quilt over in her luggage for the people whose flat she and her husband borrowed so had plenty of room for fabric for the trip back. IWOMs are know for their practical packing abilities).

I bought at Universal, Fabric World and Toni but we also stopped in to Classic, A-One, Fabric House, Alanaka Textiles and A-Z. I’d go back to just about any one. We were greeted in some way at every shop, there were some kind of silly lines (‘looking costs nothing on Mondays’/‘four per metre, but 3.99 for you’ being my two favorite) and the prices were quite good compared to what one would pay in the city centre. Prices were rarely displayed, but asking costs you nothing.


I had three tops, a dress and a twin set on my list and got everything I wanted except for one of the top patterns. I’d hoped to find more print knits, but strips and spots prevailed and of the few prints Mrs. N. spotted for me at one of the last shops, none went with the fabric I bought or had in The Stash. ‘Course, with the craft room studio in its current messy state, there’s work in there to tackle before I can get back to sewing.

I’m usually in the old stomping grounds with Himself on the weekends but not all Goldhawk shops are open on a Saturday so I need to do further research on who opens when. Must make all (okay: most) of those before I buy more fabric.

Next trip won’t be nearly as fun without Mrs. J. and Mrs. N though….