Thursday, January 04, 2018

Where'd December Go?

My last blog post was November 15. Little did I know how my life was going to change!! In September, I got a Jury Duty Selection notice. I was to appear in the court on Nov 7 (my middle child's birthday). This totally stressed me out. I would need to miss my lunch supervisor job.   And I would need to pay for parking. So, that would essentially mean losing $24 a day. I was missing my job for the cruise, so to miss it again a month later, stressful. For the kids too. The supply supervisor was not very competent. Well, she could walk around, but that's all she did. The uncertainty of jury duty was also stressful. It could be one day, the whole week, several Monday's in a row, or an extended period of time. I was trying to find a job--what new employer wants to hire someone in that situation?

The week before the cruise, I saw two job postings in the newspaper for day cares. They were looking for ECE assistants, which after a bit of Googling, I saw that I could do.   I thought on it for a day and submitted my resume. Both centres wanted an interview--that week. I hadn't done a job interview in about 15 years. So on top of getting ready for the cruise (ie--sewing clothes, getting a hair cut ,dyeing my hair, waxing, LOL) I now had two job interviews! They seemed to go well and immediately upon my return from the cruise I had offers from both centres. It wasn't feeling right though. One was quite a distance and wanted a supply assistant and in January, and after school worker--which I couldn't do with Megan's after school activities. They also wanted a written commitment of at least six months. The other centre was similar, but much closer.  Even though I had  been really keen and excited, I had to let my intuition guide me.

While on the cruise, I found out my Dad started chemo and spent the (Canadian) Thanksgiving in ICU due to infections. Then later in October/early Nov my mom got tripped up by their dog and broke her wrist. The jury duty was still looming, and some people advised me to apply for a delay. The notice said simply to call the courthouse. Others had told me they submitted a letter. I wrote up a letter and called the number, I think it was the Thursday before I was supposed to attend. The court worker said to email her a letter and she'd present it to the judge. She got back to me quickly and thankfully they delayed my duty until July.  I finally felt like I could breathe again. A huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was looking forward to getting ready for my girls' birthdays and Christmas. That didn't last long1

 On November 13, I got an email with the subject heading "Are you interested in a secondary supply teaching interview with DDSB?".

I nearly fell off my seat.

I had finally put in my application just before school ended near the end of June. I knew they were doing interviews at that time and feared I had missed out. The VP mentioned in the early fall that they were doing more interviews. Back before the cruise, the kindie teacher I lunch supervise for showed me the letter of reference she wrote for the daycares and I nearly cried.  Finally knowing they valued and appreciated me was part of my decision to not take either of those jobs. I'd rather have 1 guaranteed hour a day where I'm known and valued, than random hours somewhere new.  Now I was facing the potential of leaving again. I knew I had the support of the staff though. My interview was Friday Nov 24.

I was nervous but had prepared as well as I could, considering I hadn't been a supply teacher for 17 years!  I had heard that I could be waiting a year for the interview, so I was just thrilled (at first) for the interview. I had also heard of candidates waiting weeks to find out the result. On the Tuesday after, while signing in at work, I got a call. She said I hadn't been successful for the daily supply list, but they wanted to offer me an emergency supply teacher position. She'd sent an email that day with details.

Wowszer! I didn't tell anyone at school yet. Went home, opened my emails, and there was one from HR saying I wasn't successful and I could apply again in A YEAR. Ugh. Then an hour later another one came about the emergency supply position. My sign up session would be that Friday, Dec 1. On Thursday, the ECE in the kindie room made a comment that I was theirs and to never leave them again. Uh oh, I said. I have some bad news. They were a little sad but happy for me too. I didn't know where I'd be placed but I thought maybe I could still keep doing lunch supervision--just have them call in the supply lunch supervisor on the days I got called.

I went to the sign up session on Friday and put on my form that I'd like to be at the school I'm already at. I knew they had an emergency supply teacher though, so I wasn't optimistic. I was just hoping for a school in the area!

Monday afternoon, I got an email telling me I got my school!! I had gone from parent and volunteer to part time staff (though sadly the lunch supervisors don't really get seen as staff), to an actual teacher at the school! This could be a hard adjustment, especially for the littler kids that knew me as "Miss Tracy".  I was all excited to tell everyone at the school the next day at lunch. Then I got a call in the morning asking if I could come in for the afternoon! I didn't have any of my old resources together yet! My kindie teachers didn't even know. What would I wear?! Especially since I was going to supervise kindies at lunch first.

Although I was off to a great start, I knew of other EST who barely worked. I needn't have worried! That first week, I called for the first half day, and then three full days (I could only do a half day on the last day). The next two weeks saw me working 2 to 3 days each week. Mostly in the French Immersion classes, which was quite an interesting experience, as well as learning the new technologies in the classroom.

The week before Christmas break, Rob had taken off from work. He booked it before I started working. He'd never taken that week off before. He had wanted to spend the week together doing Christmas prep. He was left to do much of it himself. Suddenly, I had an income, but no time to go gift shipping. LOL.

So, that's what's been up the past month and a half.  I have been knitting--I did get a Christmas stocking order and I did do some sewing, as well as helping Lucy make Pajamas for her friend. I've been sewing a lot since Boxing Day-- I got a new rotary cutter and cutting mat and they've made working so much easier. Plus, I got this Bluetooth keyboard and Megan got a phone, so I got my iPad back and can now blog while watching TV. Though I can't access my photos until I get to the desktop. I don't have any photos to add to this post though LOL. I did wear that dark blue dress I made for the interview :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Lago Tank

A few days before we left for our cruise, I realized that I didn't have many tank tops to take. I had lots of dresses and planned to wear them most of the time, but sometimes you need a tank and shorts. I had t-shirts for the shorts, but not tanks! What was I thinking! I looked around the internet. There is a free one at and I really liked it, but I didn't think I had time to fuss with cutting extra pieces for the band and the colour blocking lace. The only lace yardage I had was bright salmon, and my colours for the trip were blue, white, and beige. I didn't have much time, or money, to go out shopping. I was also concerned because that one is more racerback and even though I have those bra clips, I didn't want to have to fuss. I kept looking around the internet and found the Lago Tank from Itch to Stitch. I  thought it looked like a great option. Good coverage, free, lots of possibilities with colour blocking.

Then I thought, I could do a simple lace panel up the back. The wide lace "trim" stuff. I opted not to for the first tank though. I used the same striped fabric as Hugh's shirt. I had the same issues. How to cut it when it's super stretchy!  I tried it on, and it was a shapeless sack. I had made the size 12, but shortened the upper straps and took some out in the body length. It looks like I shortened the body in two spots. Her patterns are drafted for someone 5'6". I'm 5'1". Much of that shortness is in my upper body. Since I shortened it above the armholes, I couldn't use the band measurements given. I tried measuring and doing math. Then I just sewed them on, pulling a "bit" of tension on the bands.

I know this picture is totally not styled, and is a bad selfie, but still.
I look like I have NO bust! But look at that stripe matching!! I took it in under the arm several times (was that before or after the band?). This fabric stretches, but I don't think it has good recovery.
 I did wear it on the cruise. This was the last sea day. So, obviously it wasn't my favourite!

The next one I made was white cotton-lycra (5%). I used this fabric  for a white t-shirt I was also taking. I bought some white stretch lace "trim" and did a simple panel up the back. I quite liked it! I played with  the idea of doing a bright colour, or even blue, but I'm glad I stuck with white.

 Hubby was having difficulties with being my photographer
 Yeah, that's a nice shot of one boob. Thanks hun.

For the third tank, I used a rayon maxi shirt from Wal-Mart, that I picked up at Value Village. I went with dark blue lace for it. This I wore in Aruba when we went walking around.
 Oh, I did wear the blue striped sack one other time. When we went on a "mini Jeep" excursion. Fun. But I got soooo sweaty. I don't think anything would have prevented that though.
 Here's a close up of the scalloped edge of the white lace trim. I top stitched the lace, but you really don't see the scallops. Lace yardage would have been fine.
 The blue section went pilly when I washed it. I also did a tiny, tiny hem, and it's totally flipped up now.  When we were disembarking, I saw a woman wearing a t-shirt in what looked like this fabric. I wonder if Wal-Mart sold matching t-shirts, or if she also refashioned a skirt!
I really liked the lace "colour blocking" on the back. It adds a nice touch without a lot of extra work. Just elevates it up a notch. I will definitely be making more of these tanks as that's an area of my wardrobe that has been neglected. Plus, I bought some white linen shorts for the trip, and "everything" goes with white! Except more white, of course.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Lovesick Bra

When I first heard of this pattern, I knew I had to make it. I wish I could even remember where I heard of it! You know how it goes on the interesting site leads to another.... I wasn't totally happy with the free lace one at So Sew Easy and didn't want to fuss with it to get it my size. The lace one I made Lucy--oh wait, I haven't blogged it yet! You can see it on instagram. I know it's going to take a couple tries to get the right size. And I really wanted something simple and cool for the cruise. I thought this bra would make a good bikini pattern, so that was my "muslin".

 I used this fabric which was sold as swimsuit fabric but feels like cotton lycra. I loved the bikini I made for Lucy with it. I made the DD/E cup and the L(12) band. I scooped the back lower, but I didn't think about the fact I should make the straps longer. Usually straps are too long on me, but this time they were too short. It's not bad though--it just makes the back pull up where they attach, rather than a nice smooth line. I used the video tutorial from Ohhh LuLu! for the straps. I used swimsuit lining for the inside.
 The front centre seam does not lay flat and a small discussion on the George & Ginger FB group didn't really help to clear up whether it should or not. I kept oscillating between needing a larger cup, or needing it smaller at that seam. I didn't think either was right. I felt I clearly needed all the volume the cup gave, and maybe even more to wrap around the inside of the breast to meet at my breastbone. But I didn't know if that would fix it, or if it would still sit away from my chest.
I finally decided to curve that centre seam inwards towards the top of the cups, adding 1/4" to the bottom of the cups and almost 1/2" to the top edge between the centre and the strap part. I found on the first one, the angled part where you sew the strap too didn't really show well so I made this one straighter. But I realize now that the flat edge should be angled in the pattern so when you sew the dart, it angles it upwards. Hard to explain. I also went with a L(10) for the back piece and L(12) for the band. I reasoned that if the tops of the centre cups were higher, then my cleavage wouldn't show so much and it wouldn't matter that each breast isn't fully cupped and meeting at the centre.
 I was feeling particularly bloated this day! I also couldn't get the dart points to be flat! I was using wicking jersey from the diaper making days and bathing suit mesh/power mesh (or net?) inside. I saw that the fabric wrinkled on the sides,  so I reattached the band at the sides and took that bit off.
 I used wide stretch lace for the straps. I cut it narrow and folded over the inside edge with elastic. I only had swimsuit elastic which has a beige tint to it, so it kind of looks dirty. But overall I like it! It's super comfortable.
 Hubby had a lot of issues with being my photographer. He gets distracted easily.

He can't believe I was going to put this on my blog. Well, I told him I wouldn't put that picture on, but the others? Sure. Why not! Flat Lay pictures are nice for details and shape, but there's nothing like seeing a pattern on a REAL person. Keeping it real here folks.

 Trying out flat lay photos. I liked this shot but it's not getting many likes on Instagram.
 I wore the bikini top as a bra too. Fun! Though I suppose it just looked like a bikini top under my tank top, since we were on a cruise ship.
For some reason my husband likes to take angled pictures of me. Maybe it makes me look taller?

 You can see here how the back pulls up at the straps. I had drafted the back so it sloped down from the side seam to about 1/3 across and then straight to the centre (and mirrored). It seems okay though.  I wore it under my clothes when we did an off road four wheeling adventure.  We were told we were going to a beach without any amenities. We finally got there and it was several different resorts along this beach, with bathrooms and outdoor showers. It was an interesting excursion that went two hours longer than we were told!
I wore it on the trip home from the cruise. This happened during lunch at the Miami airport! It went through the shirt and onto the bra. Luckily I had another top in my carryon. Oh well. It was shockingly, the only time I did that on the entire trip! It was so comfy for travel! I want to make more! Maybe even in lace?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Blue Dress

I don't think I have any long sleeve dresses. Even a short sleeve seems to be in short supply in my closet. I don't always want to wear a cardi; sometimes I just want sleeves. When I've tried to layer sleeveless over a long sleeve shirt (or any shirt), it looks to me like I've layered a shirt underneath. Or I must be Mormon or Conservative Christian.

Simplicity 3835 has two dress versions with sleeves. But I wasn't sure about that wide neckband, especially if the fabric wasn't 100% super drapey. Bright pink choir robe, anyone?  There's no reason to not just finish the neck like the shirt--it uses the same pieces as the dress with the neckband. Which means the dress's neckband makes the neckline a bit higher. The sketch on the envelop shows all three views as having the same neck height, but that's just not the case in real life (click the label Simplicity 3835 on the right to see the other versions). I do not like high necklines. I need the contrast of skin and fabric to break up the mountain view.

 I have had this blue crinkle forever. I don't know where I got it, so it must have been when the kids were little LOL. There is a LOT, though it's not particularly wide. I wanted to flare the dress out more than the pattern, but was a bit limited on the front.

I got all the pieces cut (grrr...shifty gauze) and got to work. And then found out I'm missing the second instruction page. The one with the instructions on the sleeve ties. Of course, because I've never done that before. I looked and looked at it. I inspected pictures on and blogs but I couldn't quite figure out the actual steps. I was just going to sew it right sides together, but I knew that was wrong because it would leave the seam allowance showing on the inside. Slide it on and top stitch?! I expanded my Google search, and found a tutorial that clicked with me. Suddenly it all made sense.

The ties weren't the most symmetrical because of poor cutting, but they're good enough. 
I added a pocket but you can see how it's sloped LOL. Why is it so hard? The dress does have a habit of sliding back on my shoulders, making the front a little short. I didn't do a FBA, just cut the larger size from the armholes down. I probably should do the FBA one of these times. 
 I'm not sure if I shortened the bodice. I don't think I did for the tops, but looking at this rearview, I think I should have. The darts add nice shaping, but I  think they're a little low.
 Side view isn't too bad, but I'll bet getting the dart a bit higher would make my tush look rounder

The girls said this dress would be good for supply teacher--it's a long wait just to get an interview. But I needed a long necklace. I had none, so I went shopping at Ardene's. They actually didn't have too much, but I liked this one.
 I wore it on the cruise. I think this was the second formal night but I don't remember off hand. There's some issue with the date stamp on my camera so I had to get all the photos organized. I had my phone and two different cameras going! We drank none of that wine beside us. It was just where the area sommelier kept her wine bucket.
 The photo above was with flash, which shows me better, but this one was without flash and shows the dining room better. It also shows "Kevin" at the table behind me. He was a hoot.
It was pretty easy to set up the camera self timer in the cabin, though it wasn't the most scenic location LOL.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Hello November

I just scrolled back to see what I needed to get caught up on....and wow. I didn't post at all in October!! First, I was super busy finishing up things for our big anniversary cruise (I posted lots on Instagram), and then we were gone for 12 days, and then it was full on Hallowe'en costume creation. But let's get this blog back up to date!! Lots of sewing posts ahead, one crochet post, maybe two knitting posts....

First up. Two sleeveless blouses. I found this flowy blue-ish fabric remnant and figured it was rayon. It was only 0.9m and marked to $12.83 though because of my Fabricland Premier card, I got 50% off, so with tax, it came to $7.25. I was looking for a fabric that would go with blue shorts, white shorts, blue pants and blue capris. An abstract/floral print was perfect. I washed it up and decided to test out  Simplicity 3506. It'd been in my collection for awhile. It's hard to see in the pictures, but there is a bit of yoke detail on the shirt. I traced out size 16 and decided to do a FBA for real, instead of my cheating of doing a larger size from the armhole down. It took awhile to figure it out, and I did way too much work in the end (I made a dart, rotated the dart and then took out the dart). In the tracing process, and transferring to the slippery rayon, the subtle shaping on the yoke pieces pretty much disappeared.

 Not sure what this was showing but I think it had to do with the yoke. Oh, actually, I think I sewed the yoke to the back with wrong sides together. Further adding to the issue with it losing it's shaping.

 I'm not going to the trouble of editing all these photos. It might be hard to see it, but I felt the neckline didn't come out too exact, being slippery rayon, so I opted to make a band and tie. I made the band pretty tiny though, by the time it got all folded and pressed. It does hide the bottom of the V though.
 I liked it, though I wasn't happy with how the gathers on the yoke drooped over towards the armhole. It created a fold of fabric over the outer bust. I figured it was my sloppy cutting and marking of the notches, so I tried to be super careful on the next one.
 I wore it on a sunset catamaran cruise in Aruba. OMG, that was the greatest excursion. Made so much fun by meeting the girl behind The Mutt Hutt. And her fiance. And the open bar. The shirt was nice and cool though in the extreme heat times it did stick to me a little. It didn't get worn as much as I thought it would because I just had too many clothes with me of course.
 I decided I needed a white shirt that wasn't a t-shirt and that this pattern would be fine. It's an eyelet cotton my MIL gave me when a friend of her's cleaned out her house. I tried to be super careful with the yokes, and moved the gathers right up to the neckline, but it still droops over the outer bust. I think if the V neck was taken in a bit, it would really help. If you draw a line straight down from the yoke, it just ends up on the outer portion of the bust. I'll keep looking to see if I have a full picture. Also, I did have some issue with my front and back pattern lengths not quite the same after the FBA. Must correct that before the next one.
This time I did the facings. It wasn't too bad. I need to tack them down at the shoulder seams though.

I eliminated the zipper in both tops.

I may or may not make this pattern again. Hard to say. I really need tops with sleeves now, so it won't be anytime soon. I also like the dress version.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


This is along the same theme as the last post. No, not red t-shirts on teen boys. Last Christmas I asked what my niece might like that's handcrafted. Her mom suggested a poncho, perhaps in black. Not too fancy, but not too casual.

Christmas  came, and I was so busy with custom orders and life I didn't get to it. I thought I would do it for her birthday in late May. Again, I was quite busy. I did some swatching though, but her birthday passed. We were all going to a cottage at the end of July, so I thought maybe it could be a little thank you gift for inviting us.

I got to swatching. I knew she wanted it lightweight, but warm. I had only my SK155 out. I could have turned the table around and got the Memomatic 327 out, but that seemed like too much work. I pulled some black "Peruvian Baby Lace Merino" (from back in the day they had a website and yarns to rival KnitPicks). One and two strands felt too fine. Three strands felt too thick. I explored punch lace, but only one card of the basic SK155 set works for punch thread (aka thread lace). Then I was at Michaels' for something else and found this black velvety chenille called Loops & Thread "Shellie". This would be perfect together. The chenille for the bulk and texture, and the Baby Lace for the warmth. I swatched some more.

Suddenly, my machine wasn't working right. WTF. Everything was set right.  I checked every last detail of the settings. It all looked right underneath the carriage too. It worked from left to right, but not right to left. Then the stitch selector jammed again and I knew I had to take it apart.

I couldn't see anything immediately, but then felt a thunk and it released, and I knew what had finally happened.

 The left lower J pusher has snapped off. It's what gave me so much trouble before. It controls the tuck setting, going right to left. It had gotten bent and I straightened it, but I knew metal fatigue would happen at some point.
Can you see it better when I hold the upper lever out of the way? I did find the tiny piece, but I doubt it could be welded back on. Oh well, I can still tuck left to right!

I decided on one strand Baby Lace and one strand Shellie. And, the one card that would work on the SK155. By now, I was really wishing I had just got the 327 out.

The actual knitting is pretty easy, though of course, I had those days where yarn got tangled, caught in brushes, broke unexpectedly, etc. But it got done, and I sewed it together. I made it as a long rectangle, then pulled one end around to the side perpendicular to the other end, and sewed it together. This creates a loop with a pointed section. So it can be worn many ways. I left the working in the ends and the crochet borders until we were at the cottage. I had to block it still. There was an iron at the cottage, and an ironing board. I didn't want to lug that down to my room, so I steamed it on my floor! It worked. I didn't get any good photos, but Megan is interested in photos, so I sent her and Nya off to get photos and I told her to get  some detailed shots too.

 She's wearing a shirt with planets on underneath. Creates an interesting effect.

I did a simple scallop around the edge, after two rows of HDC (I think), in just the Shellie.

Maybe it's something about the Mainwaring family that makes them make these faces when I take photos of them in my handmades?

Yarn In: 2242gr
Yarn Out:  125gr + 2916gr=3041gr
Balance: 799gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $57.30/271 days = $0.21 per day 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ask, and You Shall Receive

One day this August, my son says, randomly, "You could make me more shirts." OMG. Of course. Funny, I had just bought some more fabric. Two days later, I present to him this red w/ yellow stripes t shirt! And he says "I didn't mean, like, right now. Just, in general". LOL.

This is a very stretchy knit. It's heavy, but not really thick. It's called "Geneva Knit". Regular price was $12/m but it was 66% off. I got about 2.7m. Once again it's Melly Sews' free pattern for adult t-shirt. I did lower the front neck a smidge.

I swear he likes it. This is his excited face :)