Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Little Shopping: Chadwick's Heirlooms

On a recent trip to Richmond, I had the opportunity to visit a couple of fabric stores.  Unfortunately, one of them seemed to keep casual hours so I didn't get to shop.  Oh well.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed my excursion to Chadwick's Heirlooms!  They are on the west side of Richmond in a large building that's sharing space with an antique store.  They carry a huge supply of fabrics, patterns, laces, and everything heirloom sewing--plus a great selection of quilting cotton.  However, they also had some other things like twills and beautiful floral cotton lawns like Liberty prints and others.  Those florals were a huge temptation, but since I didn't have anything in particular in mind for them I didn't buy any.

I did buy a navy twill (shorts/pants), a bunch of Imperial batiste in white (just to have on hand), 2 patterns (Trisha by Maja's Heirlooms and the Pinwheel Tunic & Slip Dress by Oliver + S), and a pincushion.  Not much to say about anything but the pincushion.  It's not like I needed another one, but this one is a wrist one and it fits!  Its armband is leather and very soft.  My wrists are pretty small so finding something comfortable and that fits can be challenging.  It's my first one ever for my wrist, and I think I will really like it!

Pincushion by Considine Creations
I think Chadwick's has such an extensive selection of fabrics, that even if you are not an heirloom sewer you will find something to love!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sweet Zips

In my last post I mentioned alternating something easy with something hard.  After making the lavender outfit for dd, I decided to make some small zippered bags that the ASG youth will be sewing later this year.  It helps me as the organizer to see how difficult/easy a project will be.  The store, Creative Quilting Connection, where the youth meet have kits made up with all the supplies needed including instructions and 1 zipper (you have to buy 2 more because the kits will make 3 of the bags).

I made 2 Sweet Zips.  You can find a link here and another here with downloadable instructions.  It is an easy sewing project, and the pattern is meticulous about making sure the insides are all finished.

They are super cute and super small!  I think this will be a good way to get over fear of zipper insertions for the kids, too.

Here are mine:

Aren't they tiny?




I still have 2 more of each kind to make.  The fabric is already quilted and ready to go, but I needed to buy more zippers.

Here is an inside view:

Makes them look mangled!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

McCall 5615 and Simplicity 8550

Lately, I've been sewing more.  A lot more.  Combining an easy sew followed by something more time consuming makes me feel like a lot has been accomplished.  

Anyway, this is a more involved sew for youngest dd.  This fabric was selected by and purchased for her older sister to get an outfit which never happened.  I had bought some lavender raw silk and a printed quilting cotton intending to make Simplicity 8550 princess seam top and cropped pants. The raw silk was a bargain price because there was a fade mark down the middle of the 1 yard piece.  I think I had planned to use the cotton for the pants and the silk for the top.



Youngest dd liked a different top pattern--McCall 5615 View A--so we went with that instead.  Still did the Simplicity pants though because they were much narrower.  The ones from McCall were quite roomy looking.

Because of the change in patterns, I opted to combine the cotton with the silk in the top.  I used the printed cotton for the straps and the gathered mid-section and the raw silk for the rest of the top.  The pants are made using the quilting cotton:

She does like posing!   And it's really hard to see the fabrics on all of my pics:(



I liked the detail here.


Loves to accessorize...

I really disliked the floppiness of the gathered mid-section of the top.  There was nothing to secure it so it would always look nicely gathered after washing and during wearing.  In a fit of inspiration, I decided to sew beads randomly on it to hold those gathers in place.
Can you see the glittering seed beads?  This is more like the real color.


The beads add some interest and detail.  While I'm not sure it was worth all the extra work after catching dd stuffing it through the regular wash and dry cycle, it will make a nice spring and summer outfit--if it survives!

I have some other fabrics to make another outfit just like this one, and already have it started.  The straps on both have given me fits!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

T-Shirts

This is my last catch up post from last year.  Happily, some of the items I made this year, so I guess that makes me current!  Yes!

In the fall of 2013, Sarah Veblen was here teaching a knits and t-shirt class.  We spent a large portion of time discussing knits, sewing techniques, playing with samples--really a great exploration of knits.  The rest of the class we worked on muslins.  Sarah helped each of us fit our muslins that we'd brought to class, and then transfer those changes to our patterns.  Rather a lot of work, but well worth it.  

After making a couple of them, I realized that I wear a lot of knits so I should make more.  Lots more so that I can become more proficient (speed!).  Knits have the potential to be rather challenging because each one is so very different--experience helps a lot with that.

Here is my delightful muslin in an inexpensive knit from Joann's:




Really there is no need to delve into the nitty gritty--this has orange Sharpie marker all over it, and one sleeve!  Something out of an horror movie, yes?  The biggest changes to my initial pattern were the bust dart, adding a center back seam, and adjusting the sleeve.  My initial attempt was constructed using Pamela's Patterns The Perfect T-Shirt.  I really do like her patterns!

Here is a wearable t-shirt.  It's my first attempt at one after class.  I scooped out the neckline and modified it to be a sweetheart neckline.  Threads magazine had a recent article on adjusting a neckline--most fortuitous!  I used the same cheap knit fabric from Joann's.  Unfortunately, this fabric is not holding up well at all.  I use a hand wash cycle on my front loading washer, and hang to dry.  The fabric has pilled rather substantially.  


I had some trouble with the heart portion of the neckline sticking out a bit, but it isn't nearly as bad when worn.


This pic isn't great, but I figured if I had a sweetheart neckline, then the sleeve really ought to have one as well since I made them 3/4 length.  Used a rather deep facing on this which has worked fine.


I liked my first one, so I rapidly made a second one.  I changed the sweetheart neckline so it wasn't quite as curved, and made long sleeves with a plain hem.  This fabric is a cotton/lycra from a store about an hour from me.  I love this fabric!!!  It's held up quite well to regular wear, and is quite soft.


Bad photography!  Or photographer:(  And looks wrinkled...

And, I have yet another one in the works!  I've gotten interrupted by finishing that dreadful travel set, and by heading up our sewing guild's new youth neighborhood group.  Not bad things!

Here is what the youth will be sewing later this year in response to our guild's denim challenge:


Jeans cut off and attached to gathered fabric to make a skirt.

I have really enjoyed playing around with the necklines on the knit tops.  It's a lot of fun to do, and makes each one look a bit different from the last one.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Garment Bag, Tote & Lingerie Bag 2013 & 2014

After being inspired by Mary Ray's presentation and workshop, it was obviously time for me to begin a project.  While it wasn't a skirt per Mary's class, it was nice to work on a stash item.  So I started on a pattern and pre-quilted fabric that I'd bought at the 2010 ASG conference.  Let me just say that this pattern was not great--I found the instructions rather confusing.  I started on it last year, got as far as zipper installation on the garment bag and stopped.  Since I don't have grand things to say about the pattern, I think I will skip posting information about it.

I modified the handles significantly.  I cut them in half and installed at each end instead of having them placed in the middle.  Hopefully, this will allow less garment wrinkling.


Inside view.


Tote bag, lingerie bag--both need buttons!  Top right is a snappy bag which wasn't part of the pattern set, but something I learned to make through my local sewing guild.  I can drive people up the wall rather quickly snapping my bag--fun!

All in all, the set turned out nicely and I think I will enjoy using it--if I ever get to travel!


Friday, April 25, 2014

The Perfect Tank Top

At the 2013 American Sewing Guild conference, I took Pamela Leggett's Perfect Tank Top class.  Great class--nearly finished the tank.  Great pattern, too.  Unfortunately, I shortened my straps a bit too much so the darts aren't positioned properly but that's easily fixed in subsequent versions.

Another thing that I did that I should not have done was used one of those Frixion pens for drawing on where the topstitching needed to be--I think it would look very poor if it wasn't exact since it must arc and curve upwards at the front straps.  The idea of marking the stitching line was appropriate, but my choice of tools was not.  I did not test it first since I'd used it before without a problem.  What I found here was that on a darker fabric, it left a shadow almost like a white line after I ironed it.

Due to both mistakes, I think I will just consider this a muslin!  Too much work to redo the straps AND figure out how to cover up those markings.

I really like the front v-neck.  Sorry for the poor picture!



Add caption

I have a current version of this tank that is almost ready to go.  It's one of those optimal sewing moments when you use virtually every last scrap of your fabric!  Isn't that always a terrific feeling?



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mary Ray Skirt Class 2013

In June last year, our guild hosted Mary Ray as our evening program speaker, and as a teacher for a day long skirt class.  DD the youngest and I attended both events--super wonderful!  While I haven't achieved a skirt using Mary's technique, dd has!  I helped her a bit, since she'd never done French seams, hand basting (which she declared she loved!), waistbands or elastic.  
Basting.

Styled with t-shirt.
I am playing catch up here so I can document and see what we've made. Apologies for tardiness and out of season!  I also hate, hate, hate the whole photo thing--taking them, editing, storage...pretty much all of it.  I hated it before the world of digital, too!  In all fairness, we/I didn't sew that much last year either so there wasn't much to post:(

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sew Ready: A Review

In our quest for sewing education, I had dd the youngest watch the craftsy.com class, Sew Ready:  Machine Basics.  I figured that while she isn't a novice, she isn't overly experienced either, so she would get something out of it.  Besides, the class is free, and there are only 5 mini-episodes (it's really pushing it to call it 5 since the first one is a hi how are you and here's how to use Craftsy).

DD said that while she didn't learn a lot, she did learn about cleaning her sewing machine. (Oops, must've missed that one in our sewing education here!)  Additionally, she loved episode 3 on feet.  Because the instructor had both vintage and modern feet, dd became interested in the vintage ones.  I am fortunate enough to have my grandmother's sewing machine, so we opened the drawers and explored its feet.  We agreed that there were quite a lot of them, they're very interesting, and fun to look over, but we weren't ready to transfer over to using the ol' Singer!  One day maybe?

I thought it was interesting to hear what an elementary aged blooming sewist had to say about a class geared towards novices.  I guess we've done an okay job with instruction, minus the cleaning your machine part!  The class was free, the sessions were short, and it was a fun thing to watch while we ate lunch this summer!  I think we'll need to do some feet exploration soon!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Swimsuits from 2012

I thought I'd go ahead and post the last projects that I made last year so I have a reference to them.  Can't remember any construction details or adjustments, although I do remember that dd the eldest was very picky...imagine that.


The fit on the bottoms is much better than it appears!  






The little person swimsuit is Kwik Sew 2883 (oop), and the big person suit is McCall 3566 (oop).  I got the Kwik Sew pattern, and the totally wild, but much loved fabric at an ASG meeting.





Thursday, October 31, 2013

When I'm not sewing...

Again, I wrote this last year but never published it!  I thought I'd share it with you because it's been a LOT of fun, and a very interesting experience.

You know, I actually work really hard at sewing although you'd never realize it based on my blog posts.  As I busily lined up another American Sewing Guild program recently, I realized that I've never talked about hobnobbing with the famous in the sewing world.  I've gotten to do that this year (2012), largely due to LUCK.  The right call at the right time.  (yes, me!  I was really suffering on what to do for programs there for awhile so this was a HUGE blessing.  Rejection becomes very discouraging rather quickly.)

My local sewing guild has monthly meetings (except December) and has a program at EACH AND EVERY monthly meeting.  Guess who is in charge of lining up programs????  Yeah....

And, I'm well into my 3rd year of doing this (and agreed to a 4th and final year next year....which is now so I am almost DONE!!!).  I think I've done okay with it.  We are really blessed to have some *terrific* local talent.  But, you do feel guilty hitting people up within the guild.  After awhile you begin to feel that they see you coming, and that they want to go run and hide because they know that you are going to ask them to do a program presentation. 

We have several local quilt stores and a few far-flung general fabric stores, and I think all the store owners would like to go hide behind the counter when they see me coming....just in case I ask them to do a program.  I have tried to be thoughtful, and only ask our newsletter advertisers (aka the store owners) to do a program about every 2 years or so.  And that does seem like a lot--I really, really understand that by the end of the day they probably would much, much rather go home rather than go out to do a presentation.  It's a long day.  I appreciate that.  We suffer from the same things here at The Sewing Spot.  The flip side to this is that our guild is generally very supportive of our advertisers.  However, you can never really predict (and I'm too much of a lady to ask) how supportive (dollars!!!) the guild is.  I *think* that our store owners have benefited through sales either at their store and/or at our meetings because of the programs they've given.

See?  There's a trend here.  I am either the most loved member of our sewing guild (because of the GREAT programs I bring in) or the most feared (because I will ask YOU to do one!).  Really, I am laughing at myself here although it is true, I do believe!

So, the point is, you ask?  This year (2012!!!) has been an ultra busy year for me with sewing largely because of the sewing programs I've arranged this year.  We've had presentations about:


  • sewing blogs (I wonder where that idea came from???)
  • PaintStiks (compliments of one of our wonderful advertisers!)
  • Velomuffs (by one of our ASG members with the coolest business!)
  • Fabric Origami (a nifty accessory for home dec :)
  • The Lifecycle of a Custom Gown (the gown samples were a big WOW! and the topic super interesting--thanks to another ASG member)


See?  Don't we have some terrific local talents??!

Plus, this year (actually in 2012) I was so blessed to be hooked up with Rae Cumbie, Sarah Veblen, Mary Ray, Pamela Ptak, and Linda Stewart!!!!   If your brain needs a nudge, they've all been in Threads magazine, written books, published patterns and/or teach.  They also taught classes here via Artisan Sewing Classes.  I couldn't take them all, but did enjoy Sarah's class.  More on that in another post!  Time to play catch up on the blog...Anyway--

And next year Susan Khalje will be one of our program speakers! How cool is that?????  She was here earlier this year in April.  I didn't get to take her French jacket class, but did enjoy her one day handsewing class!

It has been so wonderful to have had talent from outside our area come here and speak to the guild.  I'm sure it's been a relief to our members and advertisers, too.  (Because I didn't have to ask many of them to give a program at a meeting this year....but NEXT year is a different story!)  Now you know where all my sewing time goes--lining up sewing speakers for our guild programs! hahaha  I wonder what excuse I'll have to offer in the future since my time is up serving as programs chair???


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

(Another) Bra

I made this last year (May 2012) and wrote the post then.  While I love making bras and undies, I definitely need to work out a solution to the pointy look...Any others with experience on this, please share!  


I have been sewing...just a little.  I completed a bra.  The only thing worth noting about this was the fabric was a cotton knit.  It changed construction a bit since you need to layer it with the power net fabric to make a stable band. 



And it matches my undies that I sewed two years ago...and that I saved to wear until the matching bra was done!  Slow!