Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Corset Down, Bodice to Go -And a Ben Update

The corset is finished so now to start the bodice to Jen's bustle dress.
I added the bones seamed the top and bottom and added lace decoration.

And before we left for Pacific Grove, I decided to start the bodice.
Of course, I had to clean up again to get enough workspace!

 After tracing the pattern for Jen's bodice, I cut the pieces out, both the fabric and the interlining.

And the interlining was basted to the fabric for stability.

Then the pieces were all sewn together and I started on the boning.  And this is where I am starting today.

I should use spiral boning for the curved side backs, but I don't have any so will probably be ordering boning today.

I have a possible surprise project coming up, working out the detail and research, then will let you know!


Allergy testing last week showed Ben has absolutely NO allergies to anything they tested for.  All our kids were tested when they were little and never have I seen a back with NO red splotches after testing before Ben's.  Well, one more thing off the list!

Yesterday he was to be getting his "watch" for doing the home sleep studies.

Thursday, off to meet with Dr. F to go over all that has been done so far.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Taking a tiny break!

We are on a 2-day jaunt to Pacific Grove again!  Just love it!  Different this time from last time, but we are into Fall.  It is a bit foggy, but the waves are a bit larger too.  Very dramatic.

The timing was great because my wrist needs a rest.  Over did the hand sewing through lots of fabric and my wrist feels it.  Should be better by the time we get home this evening.

In the meantime, I may have another project to start soon......

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Busy Day and a BEN UPDATE

Today was a busy today but I got lots of things done.

 It started off by actually RAINING at about 4 am!!  It was raining pretty lightly but it was real rain!  Our cat didn't know what to do about that strange sounds of raindrops.  She just stood in the hall and stared at the window rather cautious.  It has been a long time since she has heard or seen rain.  The last time was more like mist.  I must say, it put everyone in a good mood this morning.  We got all of about .35"!  Hope it helped the fires up north.

This evening I put in the hem for Jen's Blue Bustle skirt.

Oh, I do have a ..

So far Cathy has been to 18 doctor appointments this month!  Ben is taking it with grace though.  This time it was the Neurologist that he saw back in 2009 and 2010.  At that time PANDAS/PANS was so newly "discovered" that she heard of it but didn't know that much about it.  She couldn't really give a diagnosis because it "wasn't in the book".  Now she seems quite versed in it.

In comparison between copious notes when she saw Ben last and now, she was shocked how much worse it is now.  She says she is sure it is PANDAS, something we've know for these many years.  She will be writing a letter to his Stanford Study doctor saying how much she recommends the IVIG treatments for him.  She will be helping in any way she can to have the insurance pay for the treatment...($17,000 without insurance).  She really thinks these treatments will help Ben.  I hope so!

Then, tomorrow, Ben goes in for allergy tests.

Cathy was able to get a kit for checking if he has a strep infection.  It will come in handy this winter.  Timmy comes down with lots of nose type things in the winter, too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fitting Day! Are you ready?

Working outward!

French Drawers!

French Drawers - Button needs to be added to waistline

Chemise is next. It is completely finished.  Jen is planning on using this for a nightgown.

Next layer is the corset.  I needed to know where the top and bottom seams should be.

Corset - bones added and top and bottom seams.

On top of the corset is the corset cover.

The corset cover is completed.

 Now the bustle petticoat goes on.

Bustle petticoat - button at waistline needs to be added

Now, the skirt...

Skirt - Hem and button added at waistline

Overskirt goes on next.

Overskirt - Needs button at the waistline.

Now we are getting to the nitty-gritty.  The Bodice.  I made the mock-up of the bodice with scrap material from my stash and may use it as the lining.  I didn't have enough for the sleeves out of the same material so the light blue may look strange...but it is just a mock-up.

 The bodice fit perfectly!  So now to make the real one.  I may take the sleeves in just a tiny.

Bodice - Cut out and sew up, get buttons, boning and figure out how to match the pattern, if possible, for the vest.

And the hat, we forgot to take pictures with the hat.

Hat - decorate, add insides.

Then, Jen had to learn how to sit properly. Which she did very well.  No plopping in THAT dress!
You have to think before you sit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ready for fitting!

Tomorrow, Jen is coming down for her fitting of her bustle bodice.

I added sleeves to the mock-up so I am all ready.  Looks kind of funny with light blue sleeves, huh.  But it is just the mock-up.

Hat - almost finished!

I worked quite a bit on the hat yesterday and it is almost finished.  Two more things to do: finish the inside, and decorate.

Yesterday, I attached the top...

Inside the top
to the top of the brim.  You can see my basting stitches for my guide of where the top is to be attached.
Bottom side of the brim

After the top was attached to the brim, the edge was trimmed with bias tape.

Now to finish the inside!

Almost forgot to add how it looks from the top!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Project - Hat!

I've started a new project since Jen won't be down for fitting until Wed.  I decided to make a hat for her outfit.

I am using an old pattern but doing my own tweeking.

I cut out two layers of buckram for the top and the crown and 4 layers for the brim.  Then each layer was glued together by just using a damp cloth and hot iron and steaming them together.

Then I sewed the wire on the edges needed.

Then the top and the crown pieces were cut out of flannel and 2 pieces of flannel were cut for the brim (for the top and bottom.  The felt softens the hat before you add the fashion fabric so hard edges of the buckram won't show as much.  The flannel is basted to the top and then crown and the top and crown are sewn together.

Fashion fabric is cut for the top, crown and 2 for the brim.  These have to be larger than the buckram pieces.  The fabric is added to the top by basting about 1/4 inch around the crown.  The fabric is trimmed so there aren't any wrinkles.  The crown fabric is added turning under the top edge and taking tiny stitches.  The bottom edge of the crown is turned under and basted .

Fabric added to the top.
The bottom edge of the crown is turned under and basted .

Next the brim is covered with the flannel.  I started with the top side and I added a shallow curve to the edge by cutting the edge in about 1 inch and overlapping the edges into a wedge and stitching them.  I basted around the wire line where the crown will attach to the brim and marked the cutting line where the center will be cut later.

 Then the bottom was covered, basting the edge and where the crown will be attached.

And the fabric was added to the brim, the bottom first by basting the line where the crown will be attached, thus marking it.

Then the top fabric was added, basted at the edge through all layers.

The edge was trimmed.

And grosgrain ribbon added to the outside edge.

By this time my fingers are getting a little sore from all the hand sewing through buckram so I am taking a break.

The next step is to add the crown/top to the brim and sew them together.  This is the hardest part since it is through thick buckram so I have the plier ready!  And thimble.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Woman is like a Tea Bag.........

A woman is like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is until she's in hot water.
            A quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

When I was about to go into Jr. High, I remember thinking Eleanor Roosevelt was the ugliest woman I ever saw.  Even at the time I didn't like myself for thinking such a thing about a person, but I really thought about it and felt it was true.

At that time Eleanor Roosevelt had a radio show on what I think now is KGO (SF).  I remember listening to it in the summer afternoons.  She had such a different, strange voice.  It was like we were on her sun porch with her and she would talk about all sorts of things.  I was rather taken with her before I knew it.  And, my first impression of her looks faded as she became an acquaintance and friend.

As time went on, I went my way and somewhere along the line her show left the air.  Every so often she would be in the news and somehow she became more and more actually beautiful to me.  Later, she was our ambassador to the United Nations and I became so proud of her.  What a great role model for women!

We have been TIVOing the Roosevelt series this week on TV.  And, I am getting to the tail end of Hillary Clinton's book "Hard Choices" so when Hillary quoted Eleanor it especially hit me.

We are a day or so behind on the series because we have been so busy this week.  The program covers Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, and of course Eleanor also, especially her I would imagine one FDR passed away (which is as far as we have gotten).  My impression of Teddy was really changed.  I really didn't know that much about him  (I have Doris Kearns Goodwin's "The Bully Pulpit" on my kindle but haven't started it yet).  He seems to be so much more complicated than I always thought.  His need to prove himself so often,  kind of puts me off from even wanting to read about him.....but I will even if I have to struggle through it.

I have read quite a bit on FDR, his times were so interesting and his forethought so in tune with his time and even now.  Though I always have a hard time with these men that are on such power trips that they hurt the women in their lives so much.  I'd just like to slap them along side their heads.  I wonder if when it is so common for women to be in such places of power, if they will have the same problems these men put themselves in.

Anyhow I always look forward to hearing the story of Eleanor Roosevelt.  She was hurt so much during her lifetime but kept going forward and became such a beautiful person in how she dealt with her life.  She is one of my heroes, can you tell?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rain results...

Sorry for venting last night, but I am sick of this drought.

We had some rather beautiful clouds.

But, this is as wet as the ground got... again.

Some places like Los Gatos got as much as a quarter of an inch.

Ben's MRI

I so hope all this stuff Ben is going through will find some answers for this ugly situation called PANDAS/PANS.  He has lost so much time of his childhood.  Look, he has a little mustache!

Update from Cathy:
We are finally home.  Ben did just fine.  Ben is part of the Stanford PANS clinic.  They wanted to take an MRI of his brain to check out the pituitary gland which was a bit squished looking last time and to check out his brain for any changes that might help with how to treat Ben.  Next:  the second part of the sleep study, a watch he will wear 24/7 for 1 week that will monitor his sleep/awake patterns.  Waiting for insurance to ok IVIG treatments.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I have been fighting even the thought of getting excited about the prospect of rain....what is that?
Everything has been so dry and all my plants are slowly but surely dying ....and this is supposed to be about my garden room, right?

It really is depressing but it is also important.  I hate to even think of thinking that this drought might go on past this winter.

Anyhow, this is the forecast for tomorrow...

Well, 40% is not going to do it.  Might get some mist on the car, just enough to make dust scape on it a little worse.

I used to get all excited when I would hear the forecasts for a BIG storm coming in (I do like big storms).  I have to quality that right now.  A big storm in the San Francisco Bay Area is NOT a big storm.  We have never experienced a BIG storm.  We are all such wimps here.  On our Slice Trip 2 a couple of years ago, we experienced a piece of a big storm, East Coast style.  Even that wasn't a really BIG storm but it gave us something to compare against.  Our BIG storms are like a Summer Squall of the REAL weather places!

The weather people were saying this was going to be a pretty good soaker a couple days ago.  And like always it is getting smaller and smaller as time goes on.  And, since the chance of rain is only 40%, we will be lucky if we get a sprinkle.  It has to be 60% at least for something to show up...(I am saying this with the hopes that the rain god will just have to prove me wrong!

So, anyhow, do a couple rain dances and pray a couple of prayers that we get some H2O manna from the sky!  Thank you.

Ready for Fitting Day!

  Jen can now come down for all the fittings of her new bustle outfit.

In order of dressing:

The chemise is finished and no fitting needed.

The corset -
Corset Front

The corset needs
1.  The upper and lower lengths determined
2.  The stays put in
3.  The upper and lower edges finished

The Corset Back
The Busk and Channels for the Stays to be Inserted

Corset Cover - Doesn't need a fitting.

The Corset Cover

Corset Cover Detail
Petticoat/ Bustle - the waist needs to be fitted to determine where the button should be.

Petticoat/Bustle front (not tied)
Petticoat/Bustle back (not tied)

Bustle Skirt -

1.  The waist button needs to be determined where it goes.
2.  The skirt length needs to be determined.
3 .  Hem needs to be put in.

Since Dolly is set for my height and Jen is taller there won't be as much to hem as the picture shows.

The Bodice -

Using the mockup, the whole general fit will have to be checked.  My dress form, Dolly, can only do so much, unfortunately!

The (blue) side pieces may have to be added to near it's center seams.
The neckline will have to be checked.
The vest (print) needs to be checked for the center seam.

The bottom length needs to be determined.

I will then be using this mock-up to cut out the "real" bodice.  I may use the mock-up as the lining if there are not too drastic changes.

At the appointment Monday, allergy testing was discussed.  Allergy testing will be done next week.
The MRI will be done tomorrow.  Bless all those working in this field to find help for all the children affected by PANDAS/PANS.