concert

I really don’t care for music concerts. Because, basically, I really don’t care for loud music. And I am no fan of large venues. Seeing a performer I like in a small venue can be really enjoyable, but the stadium experience is just not for me. J learned this very early in our relationship. He LOVES attending concerts; along with sporting events, they are his favourite form of entertainment. It was a major area where we did not mesh.

Before he got the Atlanta gig (btw: four weeks down, two to go) he bought tickets for himself and L to see Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker. Last night was the big night, and it fell to me to take her. (I tried bribing The Boy to do it, but he could not be persuaded.)

Do I like country music? I do not. Did I bitch and moan to my friends about having to battle rush hour traffic to get downtown on a school night for hours and hours of loud music that I don’t know, in a genre I do not appreciate? I did. I admit it.

But I went, and tried really hard not to be a wet blanket about it. Our seats were great. L had a blast, and thanked me profusely for taking her. I had to admit that this was basically pop, not ‘COUNTRY’ country, and not that different to a lot of the contemporary folk music on my Pandora station. I mean, it could have been heavy metal or hip hop (in other words, way worse).

So yes, I survived. Ear plugs helped. But I still don’t really like concerts.

norton simon

It’s been way too long since I visited the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. I took myself out there today to see Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California. It was excellent! After viewing the prints, I spent a peaceful hour in the gardens, where I had a bizarre but interesting conversation with a man about this and this. He didn’t want me to go, but I wiggled out of his virtual grasp.

The whole experience made me smile and inspired me to paint again. It’s been way too long for that, too.

meringue #2

I was pretty happy with my clever idea of ditching the facings and making a full lining for Meringue #2. I cut out the lining from teal dupioni silk, and was feeling mighty pleased with myself, humming away, and feeling sorry for the poor people who don’t have such great ideas.

But before I stitched the layers together (should I start at the waist, or at the scallops?) I thought I might just do a leetle bit more research.

People, there’s a reason why linings usually hang loosely, and do not merely duplicate the outer garment. Brighter minds than mine figured it out a long time ago. Scruffy Badger talks about how the two fabrics behave differently, and one will tend to bag and pool. Lisa G. solved this problem by topstitching the scallops. This only worked because she added a waistband, and I didn’t want to do that.

I also realized that my dupioni silk was not a suitable lining material; it would cling like crazy to my tights, if I were to wear them. So I decided that it was better to bail out now, and abandon my less-than-brilliant plan. I cut a new lining out of taffeta, as well as the requisite facings out of the main fabric, and proceeded using Sanne’s method.


You’ll notice in the pic above that the points of the scallops are still a bit puckered. I followed Sherilyn‘s advice and reduced my stitch length to 1.4mm. At the point, I backstitched and then made one horizontal stitch. I trimmed the scallops to about 3mm then slashed to the point with an exacto knife. But they’re still not perfect. Meh.

The other thing I see from the above photo is that the fit is kinda crap. I should have taken that 2″ back out of the waist. The skirt sits too low on my hips now, and the darts aren’t providing shaping in the right place.

I’m also fixated on the visible hem line. My dislike of this was the impetus to use a full lining.

So what have I ended up with? Two skirts that don’t fit very well and have features that bug me. While I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘fail’, I am ready to move on.

But hey, cute shoes, right?

march 20

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How do you dispel sadness?

One way I do it is to seek beauty. That always seems to take me out of my miserable mind, to a place where things need no explaining or justifying, where there is no pain.

Lucky we live in such a beautiful world. Today, the sky quietly put on a show at both ends of the day. It’s hard to be sad, when gazing at this.

Meringue reveal


I completed my Meringue skirt yesterday. It was not without its ‘issues’.

For starters, despite very careful cutting and sewing, the waist is too big. You know that 2″ I added to the waist at the muslin stage? Yeah, that’s how much too big it is. I’m guessing it’s because linen is less sturdy than the thickish bedsheet I used for the muslin, and it grew during the making process. Does that seem likely, experienced sewists? Because although I lost a pound last week, I don’t think that equates to 2″ off the waist. So anyway, the waist gapes. You don’t need a photo; you can imagine. As a result, I won’t be wearing anything tucked in, even though this style of skirt can look really nice with something tucked in.

Then there’s those pesky scallops, which are meant to be sewn to a point. I don’t understand how you can turn the scallop and get it to sit flat without puckering unless you snip right to the VERY TIP. But my linen is a loose-ish weave, and wants to fray like crazy, so I was sure I’d develop holes there. I tried using fray check, but it left a mark. So I re-sewed the scallop shape to have four straight stitches at the top of each, instead of a point. I think two or three would have worked just as well.

It looks a little bit like a shop awning now, don’t you think? Or would you have thought that yourself, if I hadn’t suggested it?

There’s something else I don’t like about this pattern: the visible hemline. OK, so I couldn’t take a photo that showed it clearly, but believe me, it’s visible. Just do a google image search for Meringue skirt and you’ll see plenty of examples. It makes me wonder why you need a waist facing, and a scallop facing, with a gap in the middle. Why not just make two skirts and sew them together, and ditch the facings? Wouldn’t that work? I’ve googled it and haven’t found anyone else who’s tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

So I’m going to try it. With a smaller waist. And a fun lining, that’ll flash a little when I sit or walk. Because I want to end up with a Meringue that I love, and this isn’t it.

march 18

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I enjoyed some live music today, at a beautiful venue in Topanga Canyon. John C. Reilly and Friends entertained us with country and traditional folk songs. I am not a country music fan, so after the fifth song with “lonesome” in the title, I was hoping they might rock out for a bit. But … they didn’t. Despite being a less-than-favourite music style, it was fun to be part of a Topanga audience, there to raise funds for the Theatricum Botanicum. I’m really liking my new community.

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I had planned a Meringue Reveal today, but I didn’t finish the hem till after dark, so tomorrow, perhaps.

march 17

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They spent a rainy day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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So did I.

march 16

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After two days home alone from school, she wanted some company tonight. It’s been a long while since a kid asked to sleep in my bed. I was glad to say “sure”.

march 15

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L requested matzo ball soup from the deli tonight. She declared that it hit the spot.

Meringue muslin

In preparation for the Colette Sew-Along* that my sister and I are planning, I made a muslin of the Meringue skirt. I started with size 12, shortened by 2″ so it would hit above the knee (apparently I have short thighs, because it would have ended up way below my knees). At first try, I didn’t like how high it was sitting, so I let each dart out by a half inch, adding 2″ to the waist, and letting it drop down a bit.


This meant, of course, that the size 12 waist facings were too small. But fortunately, the size 14 facings add up to being 2″ longer than the 12s, so I simply cut size 14 facings and all was well!


I suppose I could have just started with a size 14, but I am actually happy with the shallower darts. My waist is thick in relation to my hips, so the lesser decrease at the waist follows my contours better.

I’m really happy that I took the time to make a muslin. As soon as sister gets back from Fiji (lucky!) I’ll encourage her to do the same.

Now, which fabric should I use for the actual skirt? The dark grey linen? Or the mustard print?

*We plan to make all five garments from Sarai Mitnick’s book.

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