Bob’s most recent chemo treatment knocked his chin to the dirt. He has been nauseous, extremely tired, suffered severe headaches, joint aches and generally feels poorly. He was sent home from his most recent appointment with the oncologist saying he should gain some strength before more treatments. His next treatment is planned for after Thanksgiving.
He literally lives in the flannel pajama pants I’ve made.
As local temperatures continue to drop and the house gets cooler, I decided to purchase some fleece and make warmer PJ pants for Bob. Along with his weakness, he has felt more chilled and no matter how high we set the central heat, he remains cold. Fabric Mart came to the rescue by offering a very generous sale on fleece. Perfect timing!
The dark gray pair are made with polar fleece with a short pile on one side and a knit backside. They are incredibly soft and comfy. Today, I finished a pair of heather tan/gray Sherpa fleece pants with a longer pile. They are a little heavier but still very soft. He loves them both and they’ll come in handy with our temperatures dropping below freezing tonight and tomorrow. He especially likes that I use 2″ wide waistband elastic for added comfort.
I didn’t have quite enough of the darker olive fabric so I made the sleeves with pale green cotton thermal knit fabric.
The cloth is so lightweight, it’s impossible to create a flat hem so I made ‘lettuce edges’ where hems would normally go. It’s a solution I’ve used often when sewing light cotton knits. These tops will be worn often around the house during our cooler weather.
The Bright Hopes pattern was found online when I searched for a simple quilt to make for a pregnant distant relative. When I began cutting the fabric, the baby’s gender was unknown so I chose to go with a gender neutral color scheme. Since then, we’ve discovered a boy is expected. Thankfully, the quilt is not overly pink!
The center of each block is the palest mottled off white with scrappy strips all around. The individual blocks finished at 5½” square and were machine pieced on my Singer 66 treadle (circa 1925). Fortunately, I have a stash of 2½” strips so piecing was as easy as it gets. The narrow dark green border is a little less than an inch and the outer pale green border is less than 3″. The corners are mitered.
The light green backing from my fabric stash was not quite wide enough to do the job so I added a pieced stacked bricks strip down the middle. This adds enough interest to make the quilt reversible. The label is hand embroidered.
I chose to quilt the blocks with a square-in-a-square design using YLI variegated pastel thread. The pale green border is quilted using a meandering vine with stylized leaves and tulips. The vine and leaves were quilted using dark green YLI thread and the tulips were done in dark red YLI thread. The thread color is very subtle done in small stitches.
I bound the quilt with a narrow green batik binding. I love the narrow bindings I’ve used recently as they give a quilt a clean finish without the appearance of an additional border.
The finished quilt measures 42½” x 48½”.
We finally got past the residual rainfall from Hurricane Patricia. We were more fortunate than many by receiving a little less than 5″ during the weekend. We needed it! I felt so bad that Jacob’s trip to and from Grapeland was under rainy skies and over wet roads. It certainly makes a 6 hour drive seem much, much longer. Thankfully, his trip was without incident.
During the rainy weather, I made more pajama pants. The teal/blue are for Jacob, who was thrilled to receive them. During emergency weather conditions (ice, snow), he may spend the night on a cot at work. Until now (because he doesn’t own pajamas), he had planned to sleep in his clothes (for the sake of modesty). Now, he can sleep in a tshirt and these pants and feel completely clothed while comfortable. He loves them!
The dark red/purple pair of pants are for Bob. Since making 2 other pair for him, he has worn them daily so another pair will be handy especially since I already have the pattern, flannel and elastic. They whip up so easily!
I’m hoping my sewing mood lasts. I am in serious need for warm, casual tops. I have lots of cotton knit fabric needing to be used and cooler weather is coming. Wish I enjoyed sewing for myself more than I do.
The quilting on the Bright Hopes baby quilt is finished. I embroidered a label and made the binding last night. All that’s left to do is sew them on and launder. I’ll be looking for another quilting project soon. Hoping to feel like finishing something I’ve already started but we shall see. It’s so easy to get distracted by something new and exciting.
Began making pajama pants for Bob. Upon closer inspection of the pattern I already have (vintage Simplicity 4889), it is sized XL-XXXL. According to the pattern envelope, XL is WAY too big for Bob but since it’s the only suitable pattern in the stash, I decided to grade it down substantially and make it anyway. Thankfully, they’re pajamas so fit is not a big issue.
The stash fabric is beige, brown and dark teal flannel. I narrowed the full length of the pants by 4″ and shortened them by 2″. The waist required elastic and a drawstring but after discussion with Bob, I learned he hates drawstring pants. I decided to put 1″ elastic not only in the elastic channel, but also in the drawstring channel. He LOVES the double elastic and says they are wonderfully comfortable.
Even after altering the pattern, the pajama pants still turned out really baggy but he says they are extremely comfortable and he wears them very often. I call them ‘clown pants’ but he insists they are perfect. Yeah, perfect clown pants!
For the next pair, I found a vintage pajama pattern (Simplicity 9956) online in Bob’s actual size and ordered it. In this particular pattern, Bob wears a size Large and according to the line drawing on the pattern front, the pants appear slimmer. Thankfully, the seller sent the pattern right away so after I made myself a pair of denim shorts, I was able to cut the new PJ pattern from teal, black and purple plaid flannel from the stash. For modesty sake, I eliminated the fly and elasticized the drawstring waist. I shortened the crotch and leg length by 1″ each. This pattern had no pocket so I decided to add two positioned on the upper leg, much like cargo pants. The pockets will be handy when he is in the hospital and wants to leave his room. They offer a secure place for his wallet and glasses.
Because of a minimum of alterations, these pants whipped up fast. Bob has tried them on and absolutely loves them. I know both pair will receive lots of wear now that our weather has cooled.
There is more flannel in the stash so I feel certain more pj pants are in my sewing future.
For a few days, our weather cooled causing me to think of warm casual wear and sleepwear. With hub’s new health situation, he needs hospital wear too. We dug through my patterns and deep into the fabric stash and found everything required to make him some new duds.
I chose a vintage robe pattern (Simplicity 8275) because I liked the featured hood. With Bob’s newly buzzed and balding head (gee thanks chemo!), I want to ensure he stays warm, especially in our old, drafty house. The fabric is some sort of polyester fuzzy-textured stuff (maybe moleskin) that is lightweight while warm. He absolutely loves it and when asked to try it on, he wouldn’t take it off. It fits perfectly with no alterations to the pattern! (Note: Contrary to appearance in the photo, the bottom hem is actually straight.)
Now that he has a new robe, today I’ll start cutting and stitching pajama pants from plaid flannel we found in the stash. He’s excited with the prospect and I hope to have 2 pair finished before his next overnight trip to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The cooler weather has also inspired me to cook soups and oven meals. Before son Jacob’s visit last weekend, I baked a huge batch of reduced-sugar peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies. This week, I’ve also made cheesy potato/ham soup, pulled pork and my mother’s recipe of onion-flavored chicken and rice. I have to be more conscious of Bob’s reduced eating (not to mention requiring soft foods) so I either cook much less or less often. Thankfully, we don’t mind eating leftovers.
Quilting on ‘Bright Hopes’ baby quilt has slowly continued. The main body is done and I’m now working on the border. I expect it to be finished soon. The appearance is pleasing.
Yesterday I began to feel sorry for myself and the situation where we have found ourselves.
Hubster was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer and will receive his 3rd chemo treatment later this week. His hair is falling out and he has chemo-fog brain. After this round of treatments, his bladder will be removed and he’ll probably receive still more treatments. No fun, especially for him.
As I was making him a new robe yesterday and thinking about our future and the irony of making pj’s and robes for a guy that has never worn them, I heard a drip, drip, drip. Knowing this is never a good sound to hear inside, I traced it to the big utility closet in my sewing room. When I opened the double doors and stepped in, I discovered 2″ of water on the floor. OH NO! This closet holds the AC and heating unit along with the water heater. Because the closet is so big, I also use it for storing my quilt fabric/supplies and portable vintage sewing machines. YIKES!
Here is why my cup is still half full:
I instantly got to work to discover the machines were sitting in a raised spot and are dry and safe. All the fabric, supplies and unfinished quilts are in Rubbermaid-type bins on shelves so all remained dry. The only thing damaged by water was an old, worn out mini-ironing board that should have been tossed years ago. Our biggest loss was an afternoon moving fabric and sewing machines to make it easier to access the water heater. The old unit was about 15 years old so not a loss; it was due to be replaced.
While moving fabric, I couldn’t help but realize I have enough to last a lifetime and beautiful, pristine old sewing machines I enjoy using. I also took advantage of the opportunity to scrub the floor, making the area fresh-smelling and clean again.
We’re so fortunate to have this big, (DRY!!) home with plenty of space for doing what we love.
I hate this restless, unsatisfied feeling of not knowing what I WANT to do while not wanting to do what NEEDS to be done. I truly NEED to do some heavy house cleaning (floor scrubbing, window washing, etc.) and DIY home improvements (mostly painting) but none of it appeals to me.
I know I want to play with fabric and I’m finding pleasure using my old treadle machine to piece quilt tops but I’m not satisfied with anything I’ve recently assembled. Oh well, I guess the world needs more dog quilts.
The first ho-hum sew project is the String Pyramids. I love making the triangular blocks on Frankentreadle and I even enjoy hand-stitching them together into rows, then adding the rows together. I am simply not enthused with the design. It’s now large enough (48″ x 36″) for a dog bed cover or dog quilt but I’ve put it aside until my attitude changes and I make it larger or I finish it for the dogs.
The most recent project is a baby quilt. The pattern is called ‘Bright Hopes’. Truthfully, I don’t dislike it but I’m not jazzed by it. I’m hoping with the addition of a border, it will be more appealing. I have a distant relative expecting her second child in Spring so I’ll complete it for her. It will be a totally unexpected gift and I hope the surprise is pleasing. Before borders, it measures 42″ x 36″. It’s another Frankentreadle top I plan to hand quilt.
It looks like this holiday weekend will be very quiet here on the hill. Hubster is feeling poorly from his first chemo treatment so I will most likely continue playing with fabric while he takes multiple naps. Yep, that will keep me WAY too busy to heavy clean or paint. Hope your weekend is grand!
It’s been 100°+ each day this month so it makes no sense to start a new quilt. It’s not that I NEED another quilt; it’s that I need to MAKE another quilt. I still have lots of fabric and loads of scraps I’ve
hoarded collected through the years so I should use it. Time to make a mess!
With it being too hot to do anything outside, I decided to get some exercise indoors by using my Frankentreadle (Singer/National) sewing machine. It has been patiently waiting to be used for over a year and it was due for a cleaning and oiling.
The pattern selected was seen on a quilt blog long ago. I thought it would be a great way to eliminate some of the scraps I’ve accumulated. I cut the paper foundations from discarded/used printer paper. It hurts me to throw away the gobs of paper that pass my desk each month. It is all perfectly good for foundations. I drew several 5″ equilateral triangles on one sheet, scanned it and printed a number of foundations. They were stacked one printed foundation atop 4 other sheets and cut with a metal ruler and snap-blade knife. In no time, many foundations were ready.
I have several boxes of various widths of fabric strips so it is easy to grab and chain stitch the triangle units. With my ironing table close at hand, I’m able to press the seams as I go to keep them flat. After several hours of treadling, I trim the units, remove the paper and they are ready to hand stitch into rows. I enjoy hand stitching as I relax with a movie or two after dinner.
I love using this old machine and the closeness I feel to my grandmother as I place my feet on the treadle peddle where her feet once were. The Singer machine head reminds me of my mother who made many clothes for me on one exactly like it. As a young child, I learned to sew on that machine before it was replaced in the mid 1950’s.
I saw this vintage pattern featured on a sewing blog site and liked it. I located the pattern (McCall’s 2379), purchased it and was excited when it arrived in uncut, pristine condition. I immediately reviewed the instructions and to my surprise, they were sadly lacking if one is attempting to make a quality garment.
I decided to make the shirt exactly as instructed, feeling a sewing pattern company would surely understand a sewist’s desire to make nice clothing. Boy, was I wrong!
I selected a handsome chambray and followed the pattern instructions explicitly. I found they led me down a slippery slope of stupidity and quality-eliminating shortcuts. I often tossed the unfinished shirt aside, opting to make something I could be proud to label as my creation. It frankly took me nearly 6 months sewing off and on to complete this monstrosity. What a waste of antique mother-of-pearl buttons!
I will present it to Jacob later this weekend when he arrives for a visit. He can wear it when he mows grass or changes the oil in his cars. It was a learning experience and I will NEVER make the pattern again…. unless Jacob loves it, at which time I’ll redesign the pattern and rewrite the instructions.
Update: Jacob has tried this shirt and though he likes the style, he dislikes the pocket bags and the front facing. He’s most accustomed to dress shirts with button plackets and collar stands where no facing is used. His sensitive skin prefers pockets applied to the outside of the shirt instead of to the inside. Fortunately, his father wears a similar size so his less sensitive skin will inherit this shirt. I’m making note to never make another ‘casual style’ shirt for Jacob.
With much self-prodding and refusal to accept my own excuses, I’ve finished Shirt #19. It’s blue/white seersucker with blue buttons, chevron pocket and contrasting collar back and stand. It has a sharks tail collar. Jacob is expected to visit this weekend so will try on this slightly altered pattern for fit. If this one suits him, I’ll make several more from seersucker fabric newly added to my stash. If it doesn’t fit, I’ll tweak the pattern again and make another.
Though the past two shirts haven’t fit perfectly to his liking, they are still very wearable and fit better than any off-the-rack shirt. He likes them and wears them so nothing lost.
We’ve received news this week of DH’s sister’s passing. She died last November but since she was estranged from her family, we only heard of the death when a family member found the obituary on the Net. It’s amazing how close, blood relatives can drift so far apart. I’m saddened by the news but not surprised as she chose to live without family contact.
It remains blinding hot here and I expect it to continue until at least mid-September. We’ve begun discussing the possibility of planting a cool-weather garden in a month or two but it’s hard to consider with temperatures reaching 105°F each day. We’re also not sure if DH’s health and side effects from treatments will allow him to operate our heavy tiller. We’ll just hope for the best and take what we get one day at a time.
Update: This shirt fits perfectly and with recently increased exercise, the past two shirts fit too.