12 May 2017

New Garden bed.

I decided to make this bed in response to the gopher raid of 2016.

The gophers ate EVERYTHING I planted except a few turnips, and my onions and garlic. And my strawberries. I did get a few tomatoes from my crop, but not enough to can everything I wanted.

So, I'm fighting back this year. I decided to put hardware cloth under a raised bed of bricks. There are exactly 114 bricks in this bed and next time I think I will use wood. But, I love the look of this since it's right out in the open area.

My chickens loved helping me flatten it out and look for bugs as the same time. You can see my soil quality isn't that good so a raised bed takes care of that problem as well. Although I have not had gophers in this exact spot...I don't put it past them to find my goodies after they are planted.

I used 3 of these sections of wire since I couldn't find any length of it anywhere in my area. The bed ended up being just a bit wider than 4 feet and about 13 feet long. I have pretty long arms and I will be able to reach in from either side to plant, weed, till, or harvest. 
You can also see my new cold frame in the back left of these photos. I'm excited to get moving on this in 2017!

Here is the bed almost finished. I think I had to pick up the last of the blocks, I put some old straw in the bottom to help hold in moisture and provide a bit of composting action too. 

I have been going to my neighbor's farm and picking up compost from his barn. (He gives it away, I'm not stealing it.) 

As soon as it is all filled I am going to plant a few things in there for spring. I may end up having to lay a piece of wire across the bed to keep deer from eating all my greens, but we will see. 

What are you planning to garden for 2017??

08 May 2017

My Easter Dress/New look 6224 review

This year I decided to make my Easter dress at home, since I haven't been able to find things that fit me too well in styles that I like at the stores. What's going on with fashion right now? I don't want to wear spandex or hi/low blouses/tunics. I feel like I (and people like me.) aren't being represented in the stores right now.  Off my soapbox now.

I LOVE linen so I went to the store and looked at the linen fabric. They only had a few options that were not solid colors. I saw this floral print that was mostly red and I bought a bit more than I needed so I could make something else with the "scraps" later.  Since red is a central color in my capsule wardrobe I thought this would fit right in with my Spring capsule. 

I enjoyed making this dress and I enjoy wearing it too. It is perfect for these warm spring days. 
I used New look 6224 for this dress. 

I made the muslin and after checking fit I cut out the fabric. Here it is on my cutting table. I was doing some organizing too. You can see a photo of my parents and the current quilt I'm working on as well under the dress. 
Sewed the whole thing on my featherweight 1947!

I chose New look 6224, view C, which is the blue one on the pattern envelope. I thought it would be an easy simple dress to make since I only gave myself 2 weeks to get it completed. I read the pattern instructions, happily cut out the pattern on view C, and started making a muslin. Once I got to step 5 (adding the neck band) I was stumped. I sewed it on and unstitched it no less than 20 times. I got so frustrated that I threw it down for a day and watched netflix. (Yeah it happens to all of us I'm afraid!)

Finally I tried (in desperation) to sew the facings on upside down. SERIOUSLY!?! UGH, the person who wrote this pattern should be fired. It makes absolutely NO sense. They call it a facing, but it's not sewn on like a facing at all. It's a neck band and they should simply call it that from the get go. It might make it a bit easier and not associate it with a facing in my mind.

I actually wrote on my pattern directions, something I NEVER do btw, to sew the facings upside down. Because that's the only thing that works when sewing this dress.

Now in cutting out my main fabric I realize that I would really like to have some pattern weights and a huge cutting table. But, I do not have room for a huge cutting table. Guess, I will just keep using the floor. But, a lady can dream, right?

Pattern Description: 
Close fitting bodice on dress with 3 different sleeve variations and 3 different neckline variations. Full skirt portion is cut on the bias.

Pattern Sizing:
10 - 22. I sewed a size 22.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Instructions were very easy to follow, other than said neck facing.   

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the gathers instead of bust darts, they are easier to adjust for a larger bust.I normally have to do a FBA on commercial patterns.  I love the skirt part and the larger neck line gives it an interesting look. The sleeves are cute too. Since I live in MN I need something that I can layer if it gets cooler. I love the flutter sleeves, but it just isn't practical for me. 

Fabric Used:

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made a muslin to test fit and struggled with the neck. Every review or blog post I've read about this pattern either glosses over the neck part or they made the view with the smaller neck. 

I ended up raising the front V one inch because it was way too low for me and my modesty. (as suggested by another blogger)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes - it's a comfortable dress with a nice, flowing, feminine touch to it. Although, I doubt I will actually sew another one. 

Conclusion: I really like wearing this dress and it is so comfortable. I actually made it with the zipper, but with the ease in the dress I don't feel like I need it. So, I'm going to be taking it out soon. 

another blogger's dress.  She actually was the only one that I could find that did the same view. Most people do view 'C' (flutter sleeves and narrow neckline)

I did french seams on the edges because linen has a tendency to fray and I want this dress to last a long time since I love it so much!

Here is how I did the french seams. They are such an easy way to enclose seams. It's probably my favorite way to enclose seams. And since linen is one of my favorite fabrics this makes sense.

First, since the seam allowences were 3/8" I sewed a 1/4" seam with the wrong sides together.
Then I ironed it down. I flipped the fabric to right sides together and ironed the other side open. I then sewed the right sides together at a 1/4" seam. Which I know is actually 1/2" seam total, but it was easier for me to do.
Step 1
Step 3

Step 2

A few finished pictures of the dress. The linen does make the dress a bit less structured, but I like it.
I know the black belt looks odd, but I was wearing black shoes too. For whatever reason my DH did not get that in the photo.

I love this picture of us. 

If sewing is not your thing then think about 'forget the frock' instead. (for 2018 or anytime you are culturally expected to buy a new dress.) 

"Ditch the suit. Hang up the fancy dress and the desire to impress.
This Easter, you'll buy a t-shirt from a charity. Any charity.

You'll wear your t-shirt Easter Sunday.
You'll tell everyone about the charity you're supporting.

That charity you bought the shirt from?
They'll feed an orphan.
Educate a child.
Drill a clean water well.
Rescue a slave from human trafficking.
Employ a widow or single mother.
Provide medical care for the sick.
Share the good news of Christ."