I didn't mention it in the last post I wrote, but over Memorial Day weekend, disaster struck.
A little backstory: we purchased the house we did partially because of the 1970s wood paneling in the basement. My husband grew up with similar stuff and it was a comfortable nostalgia for him. Well, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend said husband stayed up late watching TV in his favorite recliner and slept all night downstairs. We had had an unusual amount of rain in the area and I heard of a few basements flooding around town. But ours had always been dry. HAD. UNTIL NOW.
I woke up the hubs later in the morning by yelling down the stairs. What I got back from him were even more yelps! Standing water nearly everywhere! It took a couple days and ripping up quite a bit of carpet to discover the problem. Prior to us owning the house termite abatement had happened in the basement. This involves drilling holes through the foundation, putting insecticide in, and filling in the holes later. Except our basement had been carpeted before the holes could be plugged.
That's right. The entire perimeter of our basement was perforated, and due to the extreme rain amounts the water table had actually risen. We plugged the holes when the water went back down, but in the mean time all the carpet had to go. One hole had a shop vac on it for 3 days before it stopped burbling water.
It took a while for us to gather ourselves and re-carpet, but I took the opportunity to redecorate my tiny sewing/storage/craft/guest room.
Here is a before, with a wide angle lens:
Since it was just somewhat painted and repaired concrete we'd need an underlayment. The floor isn't super level, so I wasn't going with vinyl flooring. Carpet it would be.
Thanks to a past time of watching home improvement shows I'd heard about this relatively new product designed for basement floors that needed a bit of airflow. It was within budget, barely. But, it was fairly easy to install, and should our floors leak again we might not need to replace the carpet.
Our basement actually felt more insulated and secure with the new subfloor. If it's weren't for the color and plasticky sound when you walked on it, I would have been tempted to stop here.
Next stop on my remodel list: paint. I don't mind painted paneling at all, but as this was a "raw" surface, I went with a primer. Killz instantly came to my mind, but the helpful hardware store gal said Zinsser was better for covering paneling in her experience. It was nice stuff!
It lightened up the room SO MUCH. I used to think my one overhead light was just too dim and it would eventually need replaced, but it was just wall color this whole time!
I was also really pleased with the feel of the room now that I painted the bulkhead at the door white as well. I left most of the corner and edge trim the original color. This trim is plastic, and the paint would not have stuck very well anyway.
The last piece of the remodel journey is carpet! The hubs and I were deep in a long term "discussion" about color for the main part of the basement, but he said I could do what I wanted in my sewing room. Since budget was a definite concern I did my online shopping thoroughly.
At Home Depot (the place with the friendliest shipping policies for us) I found a carpet square product that seemed too good to be true. Apparently large corporations over buy when redecorating several locations or large buildings, and this carpet can't be returned for resale to the manufacturer. Home Depot buys it up at discount, mixes up the colors and styles, and sells squares of the same dimensions in a box. It's professional grade, brand name, but not matching. And all at $0.94 per square foot. I followed advice and over purchased by 30% and was not sorry. I seemed to get more warm tones than cool tones, so here is my crazy quilt of a floor THAT I LOVE.
In all of the basement clean-out we also got rid of a mattress that was easily 20 years old. It was a queen size and took up most of the floor space in the room.
I researched options and came across a tri-fold memory foam mattress on Amazon that was rated fairly well. Combined with a collapsible frame and a topper for those side sleepers to sink into my new fold out bed was just over $300. It's covered with a quilt when not in use. It's not the best couch to sit and sew on as the memory foam sinks weirdly when it's folded up, but it's a very nice bed. Hubs uses it when one or both of us is snoring. ;)
It's the holy grail of every person who makes and (tries to) fit garments to their own measurements - a pattern pre-generated to your own shape. So, when I stumbled upon the Bootstrap Fashions website, I knew I had to give it a try. That, and the pattern prices were very reasonable.
I decided on two blouse designs to give it a try; a sleeveless yoke-front blouse, and a sleeveless blouse with asymmetrical ruffle.
When you set up an account with Bootstrap fashions, you can take your body measurements, and save them to apply to any pattern you are buying. In addition, you can choose to apply some common fit adjustments like fuller bust or longer legs. If you're feeling really confident about your ability to take specific measurements for fit, you can choose a "Pro-fit" option that will allow you to manipulate the less common fitting-points of a pattern, like armhole height and bust width. You can also choose to include seam allowance for an extra 50 cents.
Bootstrap fashions includes pretty detailed step-by-step construction steps, but no pictures. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend this to a beginning sewer. For example, this blouse has a button-closure front, and so the instructions (and pattern) includes a button stand. If you've never made a shirt with this kind of button closure, it can be difficult to understand from words alone.
Ta Da! All done! I didn't know really what to expect, but I think it turned out really nicely. I didn't have to worry about the bust or waist length - which are usually a nightmare to fit on my shape, especially on a button front blouse.
The only problem I had with the fit of this blouse is in the shoulder/armseye. I chose the wider-shoulder fit option, and it turns out I really didn't need to. If I make this pattern again, I will shorten the length of the shoulder, and make the armseye a little bigger.
And, spoiler, this was the main fit issue on the other pattern I tried. For this shirt, I used a soft denim chambray with a palm-tree print and beautiful drape:
And the shirt all done! Like I mentioned above - I still want to go back and adjust the fit of the arms/shoulders, but the fit everywhere else was pretty good. The shirt is a little movement-restrictive along the upper bust, where the yoke seam is, but I think that's down to style, not sizing.
After these two shirts - I've not been scared off from trying more! I plan to make adjustments in how I take (and enter) measurements.
What is really really tempting is that Bootstrap Fashions has a custom dress-dummy pattern generator, specifically for plus size ladies. I'm sure it will take more than one go (on my part), but the thought of having a custom dummy for my other costume and apparel projects...mouthwatering!
The box art may not show it completely, but this dollhouse really had an '80s vibe to it. Right before this time my sister and I discovered City Pop music. I was hooked. I listened to it constantly while putting this dollhouse together, and my brain half formed a sitcom that took place in this condo. City Pop playlists exist all over YouTube, so while viewing the finished pictures, here's a suggestion for listening.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!