Pavlina: Life is Not For the Living

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The dress is done!

January 5th, 2010 by Pavlina

Rather, it was completed a few weeks ago, but I just got around to updated the blog. You’ll recall, the Simplicity 2828, pink dress for the wee one.


There she is, hamming it up for the picture.


and a view of the back.

I was able to get everything lined up pretty good. I tried to pay close attentions to the growth aspect, and I stitched my side seams in the same direction. I still has about a 1mm mismatch for the zipper install, luckily the sash hides it very well. I can never get the sides to line up perfectly on my zippers when i have a join (ie a yoke and skirt panel, bodice and skirt, etc) the join never lines up, but the top of the garment does? WTF? What am I doing wrong? I am getting better though. *sigh*

Anyway, I made a few changes to the pattern, but it came out quite well. I’ll post a review of it over at PatternReview.

What else have I been sewing? Well, I tried (and failed) to make myself a skirt for Christmas. I did finish it a few days later and I’ll put up a few pics of that. I also (almost) completed a corduroy pencil skirt. I just need to tack down the waistband. You’ll see what I mean when I post the pics of that one, but I need to really think about the fabric and the pattern design. That’s all I’ll say for now. I also completed my shirt muslin, but I’ve been calling it a toile because I like the way it sounds :) . I made the necessary adjustments taking careful consideration to what I learned in my class at the Sewing expo, and I think I will actually have a lovely top for once that will actually be fitted and shall not slip around! I went ahead and transferred the adjustments to the pattern and got that all cut out over the weekend.

So my January project list is:

Complete blouse – Simplicity 2501
Complete Martin’s fleece hoodie – Burda 9822
Complete Emma’s pink velour – New Look 6770
Complete Emma’s diamond dress – New Look 6846
Start Emma’s grey flower dress – Simplicity 2483
Resume costume work – Truly Victorian TV101 (bustle), TV110 (corset), TV362 (overskirt), Butterick 5232 (jacket), Simplicity 2556 (vest), LM100 (Chemise)
Measure/prepare the patterns for the saffron silk ensemble New Look 6799 and Advance 2878

Hmmmm,,,,,not so much me sewing in there as I would like. Martin is already demanding a fleece robe the cheeky monkey!

Also, the costume. it has been sorely neglected, but I practiced my sketching with some help last night and I think I came up with a fairly good portrayal of what I want to do. The sketch, I think, does not look too bad for a second effort. I even came up with a name, The Odyssey.

OdysseyI have not made much progress yet on The Odyssey, I am afraid. I really need my foundations before I can even fit the rest of it. My corset is still far from completion. I need to trim the bottom (or is it the top?), bind one edge (top or bottom), insert the boning, try it on again, then adjust boning/length if necessary, finish the binding AND then I will be done! the I need to complete the chemise, which has been cutout and that’s it. Then I need to make the bustle petticoat. Then the overskirt. Then the vest. Then the jacket. Then the only imagined pleated underskirt. Then I have to find the perfect tights/stockings, jewelry, accessories. I wanted a walking stick, a monocle, a leather pouch…ai yai yai I have a lot to do! When is Balticon 44 again? Good grief.

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A Moment of weakness

December 15th, 2009 by Pavlina

Vintage patterns!

I can’t resist! I just can’t. I was over at A Dress a Day and she is posting about a couple of pattern sales. The first that caught my eye was a new site for me, Out of the Ashes and they have some lovely patterns there and GREAT prices. They have a sale that ends tomorrow, 20% off! Go to the Dress a Day link for info. I love me some vintage, as I was saying and picked up these beauties…

Simplicity 4106 “Sassy side fastened pencil skirt”
Simplicity 4106
A girl/woman can never have too many pencil skirts.

McCall’s 2948 “Delightful dress with bias skirt”
MaCalls 2948
I have noticed that lately I have been looking at more 70′s patterns, and this lovely just reached right out and grabbed me! I love view C with the patterned fabric and the tie, but high necks just don’t look good on me so I like instead view B, with a contrast band or maybe the tie, shorter skirt (as I am short). Funky!

Simplicity 5091 “Flutter Sleeved Blouse 1981″
Simplicity 5091
Now this is a lovely top! I have a few sheer fabrics so I will be making this next spring with maybe a white mini skirt (maybe denim) and I think this will be perfect. Pair it with a simple cami top and I’m off! Awesome.

So I just wanted to share my latest vintage pattern find.

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12 days of cookies, blah humbug!

December 14th, 2009 by Pavlina

Used to be, I would look forward to the Food Network’s 12 days of cookies. Now, well, now they are all just awful, boring cookies. I refer you to One year and two days ago when I felt a similar outrage. I guess the fun is over, the check has been written and now we are propagating crap cookies to the masses. Curse you, Food Network!!!

    The 12 days of (crappy) cookies

  1. Gingerbread Cookies for the Holidays : Verdict? OK. s’allright, kind of a variation on a Gingerbread cookie. If you don’t already have a decent recipe, this one is probably worth a try. Personally, I use the one from King Arthur flour, but that’s just me.
  2. Dried Cherry and Almond Cookies with Vanilla Icing : Verdict? Maybe. My family is not so great on the fruit and nut combo so this is not for us. I checked over the recipe and it does look okay, and the cookies do look pretty.
  3. The Neelys’ Butter Cookies : Verdict? OK. s’allright, yet another sugar cookie recipe. I’m sure they are fine, the most important things with sugar cookies if more technique than recipe. Make sure the oven is at the right temp, don’t use hot cookie pans, make sure the dough is chilled, try not to re-roll the cookie dough more than three times, etc. I already have a sugar cookie recipe so I won’t be trying this one.
  4. Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookies : Verdict? FAIL. Food Network, stop trying to pass off non-Linzer variations as Linzer! Linzer MUST have hazlenuts and raspberry. Period. Accept no substitutes. Call these Nutella cookies instead.
  5. Cinnamon-Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies : Verdict? Nope. If I wanted spiced hot chocolate I would go make some. Come on, this is the HOLIDAYS! Spiced hot cocoa is a dime a dozen, why do I need to make these cookies to fill a gap that is already filled?!? They even loook…strange…a waste of yummy Dulce de Leche if you ask me (and I think you just did).cinnamom cookies
  6. Citrus Trio Butter Dipping Cookies : Verdict? OK. s’allright I guess. Actually they do look quite nice…Trio cookies. I couldn’t figure out the trio part until I read the recipe, then discovered one is meant to add the zest from a lime, lemon and orange. Phew! I’m sure these are good and yummy, but I don’t think they are “special” enough for Holiday cookie season.
  7. Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Bars : Verdict? Yummy! These look quite tasty, I love bars of this type. Unfortunately no-one else in my family does so it usually means I end up throwing half a pan out and I no longer makes bars :( . Tell me how they were.
  8. Johnny’s Impossible Tawdry Mexican Wedding Cookies : Verdict? Strange. Really, I just don’t understand these. Why are they tawdry? They do have rather unconventional ingredients, like tapioca starch and maple syrup. Well, okay, Whatever. Wow, this is the third recipe this year that falls into the “if you already have a tried and true recipe no need to change but if you really need one, here it is”. Ditto. What she said.
  9. Orange Currant Polenta Cookies : Verdict? Neutral. I read this recipe and it just does not speak to me, I have no interest to see what a orange, currant and polenta cookie would taste like. They don’t look terrible interesting…orange cookiesActually they look a bit like chocolate chip cookies.
  10. Sunny’s Crunchy Peanut Butter S’more Bites Verdict? *Yawn* No interest. No thanks.
  11. Classic Shortbread Cookies in 4 Ingredients with added 1 ingredient Variations : Verdict? Ok. S’allright, I guess. Maybe they should rename this 12 days of familiar cookies, or 12 days of easy and fun cookies, or 12 days of old standby cookies. For the fourth time we have a standard shortbread recipe, the “classic twist” is they have added 1 ingredient variations to get a whole new taste experience! actually the chai sounds quite yummy. This could be added to the possible list, but my holiday baking card is full and this just isn’t unique enough for me.
  12. White Peppermint Snowballs : Verdict? FAIL! I suppose it just can’t be 12 days of cookies without the addition of a recipe that revolves around store-bought cookie dough. Oh you didn’t know? I am a full on baking snob and I can’t remember the last time I bought refrigerated dough. Yuk. Yuk. Yuk. Please don’t tell me that not everyone has the time to make homemade cookie dough and etc. Listen, if you don’t have the time to get off your butt and prioritize then just go to the bakery, but you’ll probably just go to the bakery section of the grocery store (cuz’ you ain’t got the time, yo!) and buy some cookies. They will be nicer than these. Sugar cookies with crushed candy canes. At least the list finished off with a bang, or a fizzle.

What can I say? Lets tally the votes! We got 4 Ok, s’allrights, 2 FAILS, 1 maybe, 1 yawn, 1 neutral, 1 nope, 1 strange, 1 yummy. That’s a bit discombobulated. We’ll call it 4 Oks, 4 neutral, 2 Fails, 1 strange, and 1 yummy.

Overall, Pass.

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New sewing projects, Simplicity 2828

December 8th, 2009 by Pavlina

I have a few more projects to finish from November. Oh, is it December? Oops. I still have a skirt for me, a dress for Emma and a shirt muslin for me to finish…in November. Oh well. Luckily they are all winter appropriate.

Anyhoo, I got it into my head that I wanted to make the daughter a dress..for Christmas. So a bit of a fancy dress, but maybe not too fancy. I looked at the patterns and saw this Project Runway thing, anyway Simplicity 2828.
Simplicity 2828 pattern envelope image

I know what you are thinking, it’s kind of blah. Kind of boring. Well, I never trust the pretty pictures, those will get you into trouble, so true to form, I looked at the line drawing and pretty much liked what I saw.
Simplicity 2828 line drawings
I really liked these, there was the sleeveless component which Emma loves, a nice puffy skirt, a pretty sash. Lovely. and simple. I had the perfect fabric even. last fall, I found this lovely brown velvet with a beautiful border design on it. I had meant to make Emma a dress from it last year, and I would make a matching skirt, but it just never happened. Well, little miss opinionated didn’t like the brown, so I rooted through my stash and managed to find enough of a pink patterned poly fabric, and the leftover last piece of the horrible cotton Lycra (good riddance) that I used on her renaissance dress (I know, it’s coming) and the ivory faille I was going to use for the sash originally. She also liked the look of the ruffly sleeves (argh) and the bow on the front (whatever).

This is why I don’t sketch.
This was my sketch using all the help in the world. Looks awful. Emma was pretty skeptical, but she liked all the fabric so that was okay. So the bright yellow is meant to be the ivory faille. I was originally going to add lace around the neckline, but I found some pink trim(s) and will use that instead. Also, I wasn’t sure I was going to have enough of the pink patterned fabric for the bodice, but I did. A pretty bad sketch, all in all. I usually just have an idea in my head, then make up the project. Of course, that doesn’t help you to visualize my project does it? Well, I think this horrible sketch is pretty bad, and you are probably thinking, “what little girl would want that hot mess?” Indeed.

I did all the cutting out this past weekend. I started sewing it last night. Actually I did the stay stitching of the bodice and one ruffle baby hem. I only had 30 minutes!

Simplicity 2828 ruffle hem

Then just tonight, I flatlined the organza to the skirt panels…
Simplicity 2828, flatlining detail

I finished the other ruffle hem, gathered them and sewed them to the bodice…

Simplicity 2828, ruffle pinning

Simplicity 2828, ruffle detail

You can see here the faille is really a nice color, not bright yellow! So that’s s far as I have gotten. of course, I made some design changes to the pattern. :) I decided not to pleat the skirt panels, but wanted to gather them. I just didn’t like the look of those crisp pleats, I figured with the soft pinks and ivory a soft, gathered line would look better. It’s in my sketch!

Since I honly had a scant yard of the faille, I was only able to cut out the sash body and the two ruffles. I decided to purchase some wide, ivory satin ribbon and I also picked up some nice hem tape.


You can see the ribbon is a prefect match for the faille. I probably won’t show much more construction. I’ll add a snap or two of the zipper. I’ll be putting an invisible zipper in, and I’ll have to add it to two gathered sections, so it should be fun. I’ll post those, but I hope to have this done this weekend. I decided to go ahead and make the brown velvet skirt. It is an OOP Vogue pattern. More on that later.

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I just couldn’t stay away

December 2nd, 2009 by Pavlina

I tried, I really did. My twitter feed just couldn’t deal with my need to say inane things. I found myself limited by the 140 character limit. It was hard to get the entire thought out. So I’m back. For now. I won’t promise anything like timely updates. That was just stressing me out, and not at all in line with the laid back attitude of this blog. I would generate posts then would hate them because they were crap, but I felt I had to publish man! I had to get the word out!

So, what have I been up to?

I been chillin’

Me and the fairy

Did some sewin’

Got a new serger :)

Did some drivin’

A pretty view

Did some dance watchin’

Sugar plum Fairy

Playin’ some games

Reading some books

7th son - Descent

Watchin’ some TV

See you later.

Me and new hair

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Coming attractions

October 5th, 2009 by Pavlina

i haven’t been here in awhile. Sorry about that. As you know, my poor kitty came to the end of the road. This blog was just one thing I could not seem to work up the energy for. The energy for me to spend here is gone. More things take my time and energy from writing here. I’ll keep you all updated here, but I think for now we can all say goodbye to Life is Not For the Living. I’ll be sad to see it go.


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Samantha, April 1993 – September 8, 2009

September 13th, 2009 by Pavlina

May you find peace and comfort. May your food dish always be filled with tuna, may small mice and balls be plentiful, and always a warm bed nearby.

Samantha basket

I miss you terribly, dear Samantha.

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More updates than you can shake a stick at…

August 31st, 2009 by Pavlina

Oh-Boyo! I have been quite the busy person! Blog, can you forgive me? Sorry to have neglected you for so long but I have been the busy bee! When you Heroine last left you (that’s me) she was fixing a washing machine and putting all negative people in their places! Well, lately I have been CREATING!

What am I creating? If you talk to Jason, he will say “A mess in the office” which is true, in a way. I have been creating in the office! Sewing up a storm! Besides the “normal” sewing i do for myself, I have been making the kid’s costumes. The boy decided to be a knight, the girl decided to be a princess. A second benefit is we can also wear the costumes to the Maryland Renaissance Festival! Of course, I made the costumes as difficult as possible.

I wanted the boy to look as if he were really wearing chain mail, so I had to create chainmail from fabric. As much as I love the ladies from Pattern Review, they don’t know jack about costuming! I would have been better going to the forums at the Costumer’s Manifesto, I think. I did figure it out, and we have chainmail! I used muslin, taffeta and metallic netting!

Making "chainmail"

Those are the fabrics all on their own, but magic, I mean chain mail occurs when you assemble them just right!

"Chaninmail" sections

I have bits of Chainmail on my table! LOL! So the Boy’s costume is 75% done. I just have to grommet the tunic, finish the shoulder armor bits and figure out pants.

The Girl. Now you would think sewing a princess dress would be easy. This would probably be true if you didn’t have OCD costume Mama on the case! :) I found a perfectly decent pattern, then set about changing almost everything about it. I removed the princess seams, which meant I had to redo the entire bodice. I then separated the bodice from the gown, making a separate bodice and skirt. So then I had to make a waistband for the skirt, then I didn’t want to gather the skirt, so I cartridge pleated it (came out very lovely) then had to do precise measuring so the different colored front panel would match up just right….sigh.

Emma in dress with scepter

Emma bodice

Emma back

Now the Girl needs a slip to go under the entire thing as it looks a bit sad and non-puffy. I need more bleached muslin and some of the tulle I wisely bought during my last trip to JoAnns (It’s like I knew I would need a….PETTICOAT). Yes, the Girl will have a nice petticoat for the skirt and she really needs it as the skirt is quite heavy and I refuse to put my three year old into a corset which would hold the weight of the skirts, so I need that nice puffy petticoat that will have some sort of tie contraption to hold those skirts up! I did manage to finish the trim on the bodice, I still need to put the trim on the skirt, and I am going to maybe reconsider that, as it will be Hell on Earth to sew the trim since I have already gathered the wretched thing.

Speaking about gathers, rather pleats. Cartridge pleats. This was my very first cartridge pleated item I have ever made. It did not go as well as I want.

pleating detail

I don’t like how I can see all the stitches holding the pleated part of the skirt to the waistband. I am thinking about making a little “cap” for the waistband to cover the top of the stitches. Looking at it now, I KNOW for a fact I followed the directions for sewing the two together. The only thing I can think is that the broadcloth is too light maybe? I don’t know. I don’t like the way it looks. I also have to properly close the skirt. I just had it held together with a safety pin, and I don’t have it finished back there at all. I still need to knot all my gathering cords. I had originally intended to finishe the waistband with more grommets, but I am willing to just put the skirt aside until I finish the petticoat.

Let’s talk about the petticoat! I don’t want to horrify you with my awful sketching, but I took the bodice pattern (notice I am calling it a petticoat and not a chemise!) and marked the waist, then I dropped the bust line an inch or so, then made that my bodice pattern. I am using tulle (definitely NOT period) to give the bottom some oompf, so it will be completely lined, then I will have a bunch of bleached muslin gather for the first tier, then the second tier will start at mid calf, and this is where the tulle will be, with more bleached muslin on top. Part of me is scared this will be too much, but then I look at the skirt and am comforted. It just looked so sad hanging there all alone. I would have been better of making a proper chemise, but then she would have need a farthingale for the volume! Since no-one will be peeking under her skirts, I decided to cheat a bit with the tulle. Sue me.


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The makeup wagon

August 26th, 2009 by Pavlina

It still going and I’m still on it! W00T!

I haven’t purchased anything on the banned list! Wooooo-hooooo! It belatedly occurs to me I should have done monthly updates…

What I have bought:

  1. lip balm
  2. mascara
  3. brow liner
  4. various skin care

That’s it! Lip balm, come on, everyone needs this! Mascara, well I needed some waterproof. Brow liner. Okay, this is where this gets tricky. When I first started the brow pencil I was using was maybe 1/3 of the way gone. I had another, but it was a regular pencil (that you need a sharpener for) and I didn’t like it as much as it doesn’t give the think line the other did. So I bought a new one. I threw the other one away. I can justify this by saying that why should I use crap that I hate anyway! I also plan to throw out all the old liquid foundation I haven’t used in a year! It must all be harboring a googol of bacteria! Yuck. In the trash you go. That leaves me with one. Plus I have my dry mineral powders. I reckon I’ll have to get more around Christmas time. I already mentioned that skin care is not makeup.

So there is my update. I have done quite well, and I have gotten all kinds of cool costume gear. Of course I have been all busy sewing and creating instead of posting here, but I have a nice, fat, picture laden post of the costume progress in the works, so stay tuned.

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Gender predjudice in…birth control?

August 12th, 2009 by Pavlina

So, I’ll admit it here and now. The factory is closed. I have two kids and I don’t want anymore. I love them into tiny little pieces, but I am done. Period.

Thing is, I want a more permanent form of birth control, get my meaning? A surgical form of birth control. These come in two flavors, male and female.

I go to this website. Under the female flavor it says:

Women who are looking for a permanent form of birth control may choose to have a tubal ligation, also known as getting your “tubes tied” or female sterilization….In some cases, a woman may choose to have a hysterectomy. This is when the entire uterus (and possibly the fallopian tubes, ovaries and/or cervix) is removed. Unlike a tubal ligation, a hysterectomy is not reversible….For women that are sure that they do not want any more children, or any children at all, having a tubal ligation can be a successful means of birth control. Although tubal ligation reversal surgery is available, all women should consider having their tubes tied as a permanent solution. Therefore, it is best to take your time and talk with your doctor as well as your partner so that you can be sure that this is the right decision for you.

All very good points. I was a bit apprehensive how casually this site dropped in The Hysterectomy. I mean, we are talking major, big time surgery here! Not just, “gee, I don’t want any more kids,” but more like “Gee, I seem to have a massive tumor or growth down there.” I didn’t think women got The Big H done for birth control. I’ll admit that it seems to have certain…perks. Major surgery? No thanks.

At any rate, I cruise over and look at the male flavor. You know, for giggles.

Aside from condoms, a vasectomy is pretty much the only other method of male birth control available. A vasectomy is a simple procedure that can be done in a doctor’s office and is a permanent way of preventing pregnancy. …Suits You?
A vasectomy is seen as a permanent form of birth control. It is generally recommended for men that are done having children or are absolutely certain that they do not want to have children….If you are not absolutely sure that you do not want children, would like to have biological children in the future, are being pressured to have a vasectomy, or have not taken into account life changes, such as remarriage and the death of a child, having a vasectomy may not be the best choice for you right now.

Now, I got to say, this is totally out of line. the female flavor gets a warning that is they want any or any more children not to get it done. Then the male flavor comes out with making sure they don’t want to have children, TWICE. Then say make sure you don’t want children, biological children, are being pressured (WTF?) or have not taken into account life changes???? Such as remarriage???? Why don’t we, as women, get the came warnings? I mean, doesn’t this go both ways? What if a woman gets remarried and wants to have “biological” children? What if one of her children dies in an unfortunate accident and she wants another? What if she is getting pressured for the procedure?

Why are all these riders only on the male page and not for the female?

Absolutely crazy.

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