Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Housekeeping

I really need to smarten things up here. I finally have some ideas as to how I wish to organize my blog, and I have some examples of blog design that I like. Now I need help!! (And I am will to pay cash money for it).

Sometimes I sneak around and read my DD's blog (always an iffy proposition because do I really want to know how much fun she is having? Ummm ... I prefer to operate from the Mom Platform; Honey, what Great Grades you got! Cute Outfit, honey! I love your new haircut! Congratulations on snagging the job you wanted, and Way to Go on Being Brave enough to go to Korea by Yourself! I love You! ... Yes, I feel better in that mode!!!)
But, what I am saying is that some of her friends clearly have the skills to help me, but how do I ask without getting busted that I read their blogs, too?? what to do, what to do....

Not to mention, why aren't my recent reviews from getting refreshed on my little banner over there?
Well, if anyone has ideas to help me find the find person to update my blog, just lemme know.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Having Fun with Blog Awards!

Sigrid passed along these nice awards, so I will play!

1. Select 6/10 bloggers to whom you would like to give this award. I used to be the only person I knew who sewed hard (except my mom). Now, I get to stay in touch with lots of wonderful people who sew hard!

Here are just a few (I regularly read many more than this!) of my favorite go-to sewing blogs:
Ann aka Gorgeous Things- Ann is an accomplished entrepreneur with a gorgeous coloratura soprano voice and she sews with a great sexy style. Her online fabric store is stocked with lots of fabrics you won’t find at your local JoAnn’s.

Vicki aka HongKongShopper- Vicki is a very well-dressed accountant with high achieving kids. She is a fellow warrior out slaying the dragons in the Real World and I admire her a lot.

Carolyn aka Diary of a Sewing Fanatic- reading Carolyn is a habit you just can’t break! Her writing draws me in and keeps me coming back for more. Carolyn speaks her mind and constantly inspires me.

Renee aka Miss Celie’s Pants- Renee is a fascinating person, too. I don’t know where she finds the time to hold down a glamorous job in government, moderator par excellance over at patternreview and be the wonderful writer who shares her life with us, which includes lots of exotic travel. Plus, she is right here in the same city I’m in. Cool!

Summerset aka Pins and Needles- I think I love Summerset’s kids as if they are in my own extended family! They are already showing signs of their mom’s creative gifts. Summerset creates award-winning garments and quilts and she whips up entire wardrobes for herself and her entire family.

Belinda aka sew-4-fun. I go to Belinda’s blog to remind myself of how to stay in style without adopting any silly looks. She has a knack for achieving a flattering fit with the current styles, without going over the top. I always like the what she chooses for herself and she is very generous with her extensive knowledge.

Karen is a really generous woman with gorgeous children to model her marvelous smocking, embroidery, knitting and sewing creations. She sent me magazines from Oz that continue to entertain me.

Ruth -As soon as I met Ruth online, I vowed that DH & I should make a trip to Gran Canaria and visit her Dive Centre, just to meet her. What a delightful person who just gave birth to a genius baby. She & hubby are no longer owners of the Dive Centre, which is just as well. I don’t think I could have talked my husband into scuba diving anyway!! J

Sigrid works in IT, like I do now, and it is such fun to share our frustrations and our satisfactions with such a job. I get to work from home too, now and then. As do all of these women, Sigrid sews exquisite creations for herself and her family. She is another encyclopedia of sewing excellence. Sigrid is the one who passed these awards to me. Thank you Sigrid!

2. Put the award - prize on your blog and indicate who gave it to you by identifying her/his blog (done).
3. Paste these rules on your blog (done).
4. Write 6 of your most important values and 6 negative points you condemn.
Values: Honesty, Fairness, Gratitude, Optimism, Generosity, Responsibility.
Negatives: Hypocrisy, Dishonesty, Cowardice, Apathy, Fear, Hostility

5. Inform the recipients by leaving a comment on their blog (OK, will do!)

The first time I received a blog award, (the Rockin' Girl Blogger) I was SO excited!! I know that my favorite blogs have already received these awards multiple times, so I am just adding to the applause. Thanks ladies for your place in the blogosphere!
And thanks for all the great blogrolls you maintain. I love to surf through and find new blogs all the time, too.
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jeans are coming along ...

Black is really difficult to photograph, isn't it? I assembled the back of the pants and the pockets on the front. It only took a couple of hours. Now I need to sew the zipper, the inseam and bast the side seams. DD will try them on for a final fit, and FINISHED.
She accepted the job in Korea and leaves in mid October. WOW.
More to come!
I have completed the draperies (there are 38 yards of fabric hanging on that wall now!!).
I sewed my left ring finger last night. Yes, I sewed right through my finger and broke a needle. Fortunately, no part of the needle was left in my finger. Sheesh.
And lovely Sigrid passed along blog awards, thank you Sigrid! I'll post more soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Do you bite off more than you can chew?

I sure do. Often!
I cannot remember why I felt so positive that I could sew a grand pair of jeans, but I did. Almost a year ago, I promised my daughter I would sew her some jeans and I even went out and bought nice black denim. I pre-washed it on hot water 3 times (little tip from Debbie Cook, I believe). Back to that in another paragraph or so.

Fast forward to now- she gave me a pair of jeans that she likes and asked me to turn the bell-bottoms into straight legs. We did this once before and she liked the results well enough to do it again. It involves ripping out the entire inseam and re-sewing the seams. You can see the results below-
The seam looks normal above the knee because I sewed along the original seam line, but you can definitely tell where the flare has been removed. I guess it's OK if you love those jeans (she does).
Then, I made a pattern from these jeans (oh my! fairly brave as I have never done this before)
My process was to locate the grainline, fold and pin the jeans. I folded the paper, too, to keep my concept in front of me. The idea was to copy the seamlines from the fabric to the paper, using the folded line as my reference point. So, in the picture above, I traced the inseam first, then flipped it over and traced the side seam. I had to shift my brain down into my hands to feel may way as to where to mark. When it is hard to see what I am doing, I think in terms of shifting my perception to my hands to feel my way through.

After an hour or so, I had all of my pattern pieces. Ready to cut. Okayee!
Maybe tomorrow!
A few more comments about this process-
A nice big workspace is a necessity. When I was making the draperies, it was so very painful not to have enought workspace.

The lines on the cutting board will help keep things aligned. And if I had pressed these pants first, it would have been helpful.

The pants will be built one section at a time; backside right, backside left, then join the two backsides together.
On the front, I will sew the pockets, then attach them to the fronts, then, finally sew the zipper in.
Sew front to back and attach waistband and beltloops.

Simple enough, right? Yeah well-> I have procrastinated as long as I can get away with. She wants her jeans and who am I to say no?

Won't it be fun to sew for myself again?!! YES.
Just a couple more weeks of duty sewing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fabric Haul! wooooo hooooo

Hi folks- if you live in Baltimore, you know that we had torrential rain and we lost power. But, like a US mailman, I did not let that stand in my way. I went to Jane's house and we sat in the dark and chatted about sewing. Not surprisingly, we were the only ones there!
So, you know, just to be polite and all, I did eat some cookies and lemon bars. lol
And I spent my entire budget on a wonderful pile of fabrics. Mostly I got basics- black, navy blue, etc. But I also got a gorgeous green silk jersey and -what do you call that fabric on the left? boucle? Jane made a Chanel-type jacket from it and I expect I will do the same. I was giddy with success.

This piece is a brocade sort of print in black and tan, made of rayon. It is a Home Dec. fabric that Jane didn't care for once she got it home, but it is perfect for my daybed /cutting table.
I went wild (the minute hubby leaves, I just start moving and changing things- he says the place looks different every single time he sees it LOL) I put the box spring and mattress directly on the floor to get a more comfortable height for seating. Next I will pick up a piece of foam cushion and make a cover using very thick piping. I think it will be cute. It is just to look cute- not to sleep on, bu fine for sitting.
Kinda like these:

OK, well I am heading back in garment sewing very soon - dear daughter is about 98% sure she is going to Korea in a month or so. I am really proud of her and support her 100000% (choking back a sob here) . Korea is so far away. And she will be there so long.

OK, ignore those feelings....LOL> she needs a wardrobe for work. SO I will be sewing stuff for her. That will be a wonderful way to spend lots of quality time with her before she goes.

Honestly, this is feeling just as hard as when she went to college. When will this end, I say?! I keep thinking I can tell her to just come home and let me pack her lunch for school and we'll talk about it tonight at dinner. But those days are now my happy memories.

And yes, you will eventually see posts with pictures of me, visiting her in Korea. Maybe after the PR weekend in Paris? She also discussed wanting to visit Australia someday, so.... maybe I can visit there too? One can hope!!

Happy Sewing ALL!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The vintage Kenmore 158-905

See how pristine and clean it is? I think it is from the 60's. I was attracted to the mid-century modern-esque style of the cabinet. I am going for a craigslist, thrifty look in the condo (har har).
Today I looked under the machine to see if there was a foot pedal attached to the side of the machine. BeeBee suggested it & triggered my memory that the Singer 327 came that way, too.
But what I found was just a true lever - no pedal at all! I even unscrewed the back of the box, hoping to find a miracle and fearing I would have to ... do some electrical ... something-or-other.
Then I posted about it on the Yahoo Kenmore group and got a good answer that propelled me to contact a seller on eBay.
And that was the nice guy who explained to me that THERE iS a Plug. No you do not have to do anything to the wires.


I do have a manual for it now- I purchased that from Nice speedy service on that.

So I ordered the new foot pedal from him. And I am the high bidder right now on "HUGE LOT OF VINTAGE SEWING MACHINE ATTACHMENTS". Fortunately, I can compare the pictures in the manual to the pictures on eBay and that's how I know it will fit this machine.

This is lots of fun- everything is inexpensive and easy to find. I have a soft spot for Kenmores- that's what I sewed on for many, many years. They are wonderful heavy-duty workhorses.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm in the final stretch with these draperies... whew

The panel on the right is now hemmed and it's being trained. It is hanging in precisely folded pleats, with strips of fabric wrapped to keep the pleats together. This will help the curtain open and close neatly. All that's left is to hem the left panel and train it and I can finally call this project finished. It seems like it has been a lot of work- but that is really because I don't have to optimal setup for making draperies. I met Welmoed Sisson at the last Baltimore GTG (she teaches window treatments on patternreview) and she has 12 foot tables.

If you have the proper space and tools, it's not any harder than anything else. And I think you would just get used to handling large amounts of fabric. It is heavy & not the easiest to just sew a straight line.
As it turns out the fabric has a really lovely drape and I am happy with the outcome. I will be REALLY happy when cold winter rolls around and I have these heavy insulated draperies.

OK, so what's up with the sewing machine there, you say? Well, if a nice barely used Kenmore shows up on craigslist, just a few miles from me (for a great price) what am I supposed to do- just leave it there? LOL. I just had to get it and indulge my curiosity. It is a wonderful machine and perfect for Home Dec sewing. Instead of a pedal, it operates with a lever. I am not too suew how I like that, if I keep it, I will look into swapping that to a pedal. That seems easy, eh?

And I thoroughly enjoy my new sewing caddy. It houses all of my thread in a way that allows me to see the color easily. I can carry it to a window or a lamp to see how the color looks in different lights. Nice.

Next up, alterations for DD and a pair of jeans I promised almost a WHOLE year ago.

That's OK, by the time I get back to sewing for myself, I am REALLY going to enjoy it!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Get Together in Baltimore- Sat Sept 6 - noon-3pm

A member of patternreview posted an invitation to get together at her home. Here is a copy of her post:

Hello to my Baltimore area sewing friends.

I enjoyed our Michael's day so much and now want to make an offer to you. Next Saturday, September 6, I'm holding a mini-fabric sale at my house, just north of the city line and south end of Towson. I'm parting with many of my woolens, from wool crepes for skirts or pants to wool coatings and wool jerseys, from Fabric Mart, the Winchester VA Woolen Mill (now closed I believe) and Britex. I live in Florida half the year and although it hurts, I have to admit that I'm never going to sew these into maybe you will!! Anyting that I don't sell I'll be offering on PR and then maybe ebay. Also, if you want to bring fabric to sell, or give away (I'll have free stuff too to give away) please feel free to bring that along. It's from 12-3pm and I'll have drinks and cookies. Email or PM me and I'll send you my address, directions and phone number.
Sew grateful,Jane S

Jane sent me her address and I mapquested it to show you where we will get together:

Personally, I don't have much in my stash that I want to get rid of, but I may find a few things to bring. Jane doesn't blog, so I offered to put this notice up on mine.

Whether you are looking for goodies or not, I hope you will join us on Saturday. I had a great time at the last GTG.

If you read patternreview, have you seen the plans for a PARIS GTG?? Yes! I am saving my pennies. What a wonderful way to see Paris!