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.  

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 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!

Long Time

After more than a year without posting, it's hard to know how to begin!  I wrote 2 posts, and saved them as drafts but somehow life got in the way of actually posting them.  Additionally, I didn't sew ONE SINGLE THING from August of last year until about June of this year (unless you count a trio of humbug bags as a Christmas gift?).  To make things even worse, I didn't even read any sewing blogs, and I love reading everyone's accounts of their sewing adventures!  Now, blogger has changed some stuff, and I guess I'll have to figure it out--or not.

One thing that I like a lot about blogging is being able to go back and look at what I've sewn.  And when I made it.  So let's see if I can't get this restarted at least for those purposes!

As a brief summary and reminder to self, since my last post I made:  a bra, matching swimsuits for the girls, garment bag/tote/lingerie bag (still in progress...), a tank top, lots of t-shirt mock ups, and a real t-shirt that works!  Plus I have taken two classes with Sarah Veblen, one last year working on muslins for a skirt and a princess seam blouse and one this year working on t-shirts.  I also attended the American Sewing Guild's annual conference in August this year.  Not too bad considering I didn't really sew anything for such a long time!

I think my new smartphone will help with keeping up with posting and photos (although I confess I HATE working with pictures--saving, cropping, getting nice clear ones, etc).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Simplicity 2516 or The Flatlock Seam Skirt

Our sewing guild's Fashion Designers neighborhood group met at our local Bernina dealer for a demo on exposed zippers.  That was neat, but I really loved this skirt that was made using a flatlock seam.  So, using Simplicity 2516 which I made last year, I attempted to make my own. 

This is my first try--the only modification is changing the waist from a zipper to elastic.  I adjusted mine a bit much so the skirt is a little on the big side...but I still love it!  This fabric has been moldering in my stash for years so I figured I didn't have anything to lose (and I still have quite a bit left). 

The hardest part when serging a flatlock seam is to remember to pin your fabric WRONG sides together...

I tested and tested on my serger prior to serging the real fabric.  I guess there's such a thing as over testing, since I had a real problem with my second skirt seam.  Oops.  It all turned out fine though.  Whew.


Skirt all serged and ready to hem.

Ta Da!  Doesn't it flair nicely along the hem?

Close up shot of the flatlock seam--I used a flatlock 3 thread with YLI brand Pearl Rayon Crown thread in the lower looper.  It's a bit heavy perhaps for this lightweight cotton skirt, but I also think that the flatlock stitch is supposed to stand out on a project like this.

Hem:  I serged an overlock 3 thread making this one of the easiest and quickest skirts ever.

See the cat?  Annoying critter (I knew my kids would like that comment!!!)

I have plans to serge one more skirt in a linen/cotton blend fabric that I got from Les Fabriques this year.  Since I didn't line this skirt and don't plan to line the next one, I'm going to serge a slip using cotton batiste and the 3 thread overlock in regular serger thread to wear with them.  Easy summer sewing and wearing!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Scarf Project: Les Fabriques

I told you that I've been going monthly to Charlottesville with a group from our area to participate in their Club meetings.  April's project was stenciling on silk using PaintStiks.  Our instructor had a different way of approaching the paint and stencil that left the fabric feeling soft and natural and unpainted which I loved.  Rather than directly applying the paintstik to the fabric, you draw a line or several using the PaintStik ONTO your plastic stencil.  Then, using one of those stiff stencil brushes you brush or move the paint from the stencil onto the fabric.  I hope that makes sense...I didn't take any pictures of that process and since I don't own any PaintStiks it's not likely to be photographed.

The color didn't come through well on this.  Sorry.  Anyway, we stenciled on the narrow, lighter piece of fabric.  Mine is silk shantung.  I bought the darker piece to make the scarf.  Here, I was testing beads (stealing beads without permission) from my dear daughter's stash for her birthday present--the scarf!  teehee

The finished scarf all folded up and with its real color showing up.  Isn't it pretty??

The finished scarf all stretched out.  Isn't it pretty???

Detail of the beads on the little doodads I put on the ends.  Talk about tedious handwork--what was I thinking?  But, isn't it pretty????!

Obviously, I loved this project!  I am surprised that  more of our guild members don't go to Charlottesville to participate in Club meetings.  It's $10, plus $5 for supplies.  I spent a bit more on this project because I needed to buy the dark lavendar silk shantung to make this scarf.  However, I could've made something else, but I'm glad I didn't!  BTW, dd loved her scarf!!!

At April's ASG meeting, I won the name tag drawing and got this:

I really look forward to trying it!  New sewing gadgets are always fun :)  Don't I have the best ASG chapter???

Saturday, June 2, 2012

McCall 6469 and a Cork Question

About my corking-the-wall post, Anonymous asked, "I wonder, does this improve the acoustics in the room ?? I am planning doing the same in order to have good acoustic... anyone knows that ? Thanks."

Thanks very much for the question and I hope you'll be able to find my answer to you since I didn't have an email address to reply directly.  Anyway, I don't really know if the corks on the wall have improved the acoustics in my sewing room.  For starters, I don't think we have enough area completed.  The walls we've been doing are in the basement and the ceiling there is lower so the acoustics are already pretty good (i.e. we don't get echoes like you would in a large, empty room).  I hope that helps...

SO!  I have finally sewn something and completed it!  I started this project in January and it was literally work on one very small thing a day, with many days that I didn't have time or energy to work.  It was rather depressing.  Equally depressing, I finished this in April and have not had a chance to BLOG!

McCall 6469
I made View D, the top left corner pic.

My fabric--a polyester sheer with gold metallic from Joann's.  It's NOT as bright as this pic...

I guess most people post something about construction and I intended to but these pictures just leave a lot to be desired.  The fabric was really difficult to photograph (and work with...if I'm going to invest that much time and energy in a project, that fabric had best be SILK!!!).  I'll add a bit about the neckline elastic that creates the gathers in the front upper bodice.

The top went together pretty easily, but I didn't like the instructions for the elastic on either side of the neckline.  Rather than struggle through their finnicky method, I developed my own (also finnicky) method.  This would not have been nearly so difficult if I could've marked the fabric easily and well.  Between it being a very dark and a very busy print (and polyester), nothing I tried worked well in the marking department--various types of white/gray pencils, chalks, thread basting (the fabric kept moving...)

So, what I did was to stitch the elastic where it needed to go when I stitched the neckline seam.  I made sure to put a small safety pin at the other end of the elastic so I could work it through the casing later.  I had not stitched the two rows to form the casing at that point.  Next, I turned and pressed the entire upper bodice and stitched 1 row of the casing.  A little lumpy with the safety pin.

Then, I stitched the 2nd row of the casing and eased the elastic through, securing it in the armhole seam.  Nothing too exciting and I'm not sure that the pattern directions would not have been better...

Work on the casing beside the neckline.

The upper bodice with one side of the elastic all completed and the other side pinned and in progress...  And, this is the color of the fabric in real life, busy but not as bright as the other photos.

Wiggling the elastic through.  I don't know why, but when I went to buy elastic they didn't have any black.  This would've looked much better with black!

I raised the neckline by a good 1.5" and it still wasn't enough.  I need to shop for a cami to wear underneath it.  Additionally, the shoulder seam pulls forward quite a bit (is that why the model on the pattern has her shoulder positioned oddly?).  The front of the bodice needs to be longer to adjust this--wish I had been able to catch this sooner, but despite trying on during the process it was difficult to notice that it would be a problem.

No pictures on me because it just wasn't happenin'!

The back is longer than the front--should've taken a side view, too.  It's pretty neat.
And now that it's done, the weather is too warm for it!  Ha haha!  I'm not sure that I like it because of the sleeves and the volume of fabric.  I did want something different and floaty and this meets those requirements but...I'm still not sure it's "me".  That's okay, it was an interesting and engaging project and I know that I will wear it some when the weather cools down much later this year :)

More later--I have been sewing quite a bit, just not posting at all!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Win! Sew Chic Clara Bow Apron

I was never more pleased than when I won the Clara Bow Apron drawing last month by the blog, It's Sew Chic!  Unfortunately, I am very slow about posting about it.  That doesn't diminish my excitement, gratification or enthusiasm for winning though!  It's a super cute pattern, which I look forward to trying.  Fall seems like an ideal time to sew this one up--1 for me and 1 to donate to our Sewing Guild silent auction.

Here is the link to the pattern on the website:  There are some really cute variations shown there. 

I am sorry to be so slow in blogging about this--I feel like I should've posted something as soon as I received the pattern in the mail--Laura was super fast at shipping it to me.  My apologies to her!  And many thanks for the wonderful pattern.  I can't wait to try it out!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Corks and Couching

Ever since I posted about corking my sewing room walls, my dh has been diligently working on them!  (Perhaps I should post about honey do's more often?)  It takes a lot of time, effort and energy as well as assistance from the youngsters to get the placement worked out.  Anyway, here's the progress!  Gotta love it (and him!)!!

The corks go down to the top of the lowest shelf.  My thread rack has been taken down to work on the wall.

Here it is a couple of weeks ago.  The corks weren't even to the top of the upper shelf yet.  The thread rack is covered with paper to protect it.

Before this wall was begun!   Quite a difference.

And I have finished couching my silk dupionni from my class at Les Fabriques.  What will it (eventually) become?  It really needs some coordinating fabrics so I won't know until I find those :(  But I really love this little panel a lot.  I particularly loved using the vintage pearls on it.  As a side note, this little piece of fabric is now very heavy for its size!

Even the oldest dd commented that she thought it was lovely so it must be!

Finished!  Don't know what it will be...yet.

About half done.
And I've managed to accomplish my Friday and Saturday to do list:  skipped school, sewed some, planted, hiked (and had a snake adventure...), ate fabulous grilled pizza, and watched a movie.  Today, we've already been to early church, had delicious Panera pastries, took a nap (equally delicious in the late morning) and now a little blogging while the guys work on our dinner tonight--starting and ending with green--homemade guacamole for snack, Indonesian Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce, Thai-style Cucumber Relish, kimchee, rice, Crispy Asian Broccoli with black beans, and Key Lime Pie.

What did you do to enjoy this pretty weekend?  I'm off to the sewing room to work on that dratted top some more...