Friday, July 26, 2013

Vogue 7281, Serging on Air and Summer Reading

It's been humid and wet here in the Baltimore area....which is my excuse for not working on my fitted jacket or sheath patterns from Sarah Veblen's sewing retreat and instead putting my slow-moving sewing energy into less fitted garments.  Here's the result of Sarah's pattern tweaking on an old, OOP Vogue pattern, Vogue 7281.

Vogue 7281
It's a bright eyelet fabric from FabricMart that made the trip back and forth to our Florida condo.  Yes, it came back north with me when we sold our place in the spring and I finally decided to use it or lose it.  Lightweight and perfect for the warm summer weather we've been having.  As a matter of fact, there has been so much rain this spring and summer that our flower beds and flowering shrubs have never looked better in our 28 years here.  
This dolman sleeve design is not the most flattering but I am quite happy with the result.  There are dolman sleeve wrinkles in the back but Sarah and I agreed that they are not overly distracting and are appropriate to the design.

I did use a cool Louise Cutting technique when finishing the inside side seams.  Serging on Air: After sewing the side seams, clip the curved area under the arm almost all the way to the seam allowance.  Then serge the seam allowance together, holding the seam "straight" and "air serging" over those clipped areas.  The seam is clipped and the tension released so there are no pulls on the body of the garment but the seams are neatly finished on the inside so there's no fraying and no need for lining or other seam finishing.  You can see the little open areas in the photo below:

Side seam clipped then serged "over air"

Smooth exterior side seam with no "pulls"
The heat and humidity have slowed down my sewing output but upped my reading over the last two months.  Since my blog is a reading record as well as a sewing log, here are some of the latest reads:
June's book club selection
Steven Greenblatt won the Pulitzer for non-fiction in 2012 for this engaging book.  His tale of the search for lost Greek manuscripts was very detailed and I can understand why the person recommended reading it for our book group.  I wasn't totally convinced that this one unearthed poem, "On the nature of Things" by Lucretius was responsible for the Renaissance and secular thought afterward.  I was glad I read it....and read about its controversies...but not being a Renaissance scholar myself I would hesitate to recommend it unreservedly. 

Since I had to use up plenty of brain cells for that previous reading selection, I gave myself a real "summer beach book" as a reward.  Maeve Binchy books remind me of a grown-up version of early romance novels that I devoured like junk food while baby-sitting in my teen years.  My mother was rather contemptuous of the reading habits of one of our neighbors but I loved settling in for a junk book binge of Emilie Loring novels while I was there.  Maeve Binchy books are more modern but have the same enjoyable outcomes after overcoming adversity and sadness.  Her Irish characters and beautiful west coast setting in this one were reminders of our great trip to Ireland 12 years ago.  This was her last novel and a quick, easy, thoroughly enjoyable read.

I spent my childhood growing up in the suburbs of norther New Jersey and Palisades Park was part of our yearly summer fun.  My mother was all for adventure and I loved the trips with my younger brother and my dad.  I'm not sure it was OSHA approved but I recall riding the Wild Mouse with my mother holding tightly to my tall, skinny self, most likely screaming all the way. As you can tell, I was already primed to enjoy this delightful novel.  Alan Brennert frames his novel around a family whose lives and fortunes are intertwined with the park over four decades.  Description:

Growing up in the 1930s, there is no more magical place than Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey—especially for seven-year-old Antoinette, who horrifies her mother by insisting on the unladylike nickname Toni, and her brother, Jack. Toni helps her parents, Eddie and Adele Stopka, at the stand where they sell homemade French fries amid the roar of the Cyclone roller coaster. There is also the lure of the world’s biggest salt-water pool, complete with divers whose astonishing stunts inspire Toni, despite her mother's insistence that girls can't be high divers.
But a family of dreamers doesn't always share the same dreams, and then the world intrudes: There's the Great Depression, and Pearl Harbor, which hits home in ways that will split the family apart; and perils like fire and race riots in the park. Both Eddie and Jack face the dangers of war, while Adele has ambitions of her own—and Toni is determined to take on a very different kind of danger in impossible feats as a high diver. Yet they are all drawn back to each other—and to Palisades Park—until the park closes forever in 1971.

I enjoyed reading this so much that I've added his first highly praised book, "Moloka'i" to my reading list.

This next read was my choice for the book group to read.  I had it sitting on my book list for quite a while so thought I'd suggest it.  Well, it was definitely not the intellectual challenge of "The Swerve," and there were definitely elements that reeked of romance novel but it was an interesting and seemingly well-researched novel based upon a little known fact of American history.  

From Kirkus Reviews

Long, brisk, charming first novel about an 1875 treaty between Ulysses S. Grant and Little Wolf, chief of the Cheyenne nation, by the sports reporter and author of the memoir A Hunter's Road (1992). Little Wolf comes to Washington and suggests to President Grant that peace between the Whites and Cheyenne could be established if the Cheyenne were given white women as wives, and that the tribe would agree to raise the children from such unions. The thought of miscegenation naturally enough astounds Grant, but he sees a certain wisdom in trading 1,000 white women for 1,000 horses, and he secretly approves the Brides For Indians treaty. He recruits women from jails, penitentiaries, debtors' prisons, and mental institutionsoffering full pardons or unconditional release. May Dodd, born to wealth in Chicago in 1850, had left home in her teens and become the mistress of her father's grain-elevator foreman. Her outraged father had her kidnaped, imprisoning her in a monstrous lunatic asylum. When Grant's offer arrives, she leaps at it and soon finds herself traveling west with hundreds of white and black would-be brides. All are indentured to the Cheyenne for two years, must produce children, and then will have the option of leaving. May, who keeps the journal we read, marries Little Wolf and lives in a crowded tipi with his two other wives, their children, and an old crone who enforces the rules. Reading about life among the Cheyenne is spellbinding, especially when the women show up the braves at arm-wrestling, foot-racing, bow-shooting, and gambling. Liquor raises its evil head, as it will, and reduces the braves to savagery. But the women recover, go out on the winter kill with their husbands, and accompany them to a trading post where they drive hard bargains and stop the usual cheating of the braves. Eventually, when the cavalry attacks the Cheyenne, mistakenly thinking they're Crazy Horse's Sioux, May is killed. An impressive historical, terse, convincing, and affecting

Last selection is one that a friend was reading for her book group.  I wanted to love it but only tepidly liked it.  It's a Gatsby era psychological "thriller" but I found it annoyingly long and drawn out.  I did finish it but sort of wondered why I did by the ending.  Of course, I've had the same response when I've finished sewing some new fashion garment as well.  Oh well, they can't all be winners.
Here's hoping your sewing (and reading choices) are producing more winners than duds.


  1. Your jacket looks great! So springy and fresh!! It's perfect with those white pants.

    I have often serged over a clipped seam, spread apart, but have never heard it called Serging on Air! Clever name.

    1. Thank you so much. It's definitely a bright outfit fit for sunny days.

  2. Thank you very much for the book recommendations, and reviews. I also will finish a book and think "meh". Your version of V7281 is so cute! I've made it twice, and finally retired the pattern. It took a LOT of alterations when I first made it.

    1. Isn't it funny that a simple two pattern piece project can take more time to fit. But it's why we sew and why we learn patience while sewing.

  3. What a lovely jacket - it looks so fresh and cool, which is what you need at the moment.

    1. Thank you, cool as a cucumber is what I needed in early July.


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