Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award, I forgot something, woops

I just want to say that Carolyn really said it best in her post about blog awards. All of us who blog are Kreativ and deserving.
Now having said that, I need to give a shout out to Barbara for her insightful posts on sewing and life. Her blog is sewing on the edge. Barbara expresses my own feelings very accurately, especially on parenthood. In addition, I plan to copy her shamelessly by sewing 5 pairs of pants asap.
It would appear that I have worked myself out of a job with my own DD. But, paradoxically, and naturally, I am thrilled that is the case. Here is her blog, The Adventures of Daphne Duke. I think she is a pretty Kreativ Blogger, too.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award :)

We bloggers like to pat each other on the back & remind each other how much we enjoy being part of this community. Thank you Nancy, who writes sew west, for nominating me!

The rules require that I nominate 7 more bloggers and leave comments on their blogs to let them know. Here are but a few of the great blogs I read:

TerriK - high-end, high quality fashion like what you find at Neiman Marcus or Saks.

weekend designer - amazing pattern-making, right before your very eyes!

wall street by day - beautiful and stylish sewing by a beautiful and stylish woman

sew-classic - the queen of vintage sewing machine rescue.

allisonc sewing gallery - exquisite garments, sewn to perfection

Lindsey T - a returning sewist who has dusted off her skills in record time & sewing like a wiz!

Summerset - if you like special things, this is the blog

OK, now I am off to leave comments on more blogs!

Friday, January 23, 2009

TGIF! I did a little sewing this week ...

I've had a good sewing week. I was able to sit down and sew for a couple hours almost every evening. BWOF shirt is coming along- I sewed the collar & collar stand and got it onto the bodice. I used the walking foot on the Janome 6600 which did a very nice job of travelling over the little hills and valleys along the stitching line without sucking the fabric down into the feed dogs. It is quite a but clunkier than the Pfaff IDT, but it works! I hear the presser foot needs to be kept level when sewing over thicker seams so I ordered a Jean-a-ma-jig when I recently stocked up on other supplies.
I also sewed the cuff slits, so this will be finished soon (yay- I need new clothes!!)
And I finished the pants that have sat on hold since November 1. I used a wonderful brushed cotton from Michael's Fabrics and it was just a little bulky to use it for facings. That stripe is a shirting fabric. And, oh joy, the zipper is faulty!! When I wore the pants yesterday, I fought the natural pull of gravity all day long - the zipper couldn't lock itself and stay up. So I have already picked it out, so I can install a new one.

And Happy Anniversary to DH & me! Four years of Great Adventure!! That outfit comes from my Timmel SWAP last year. We went our for dinner to the Morton's in Bethesda. We have a nice little tradition of having dinner at Mortons down on Connecticut Ave, but the inauguration had this town all messed up so we stayed out of DC. I am craving a downtown date, though. I wonder what it is- maybe winter is just dark and dreary & it makes me crave some art. I need a museum trip!
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to choose colors?

This comes from a great blog called Wear Palettes - isn't it cute?! I mean, I would not wear this outfit, way too young for me, but it inspires me.
I have always loved red and blue, but the green is new for me.
Lo and behold, Michelle Obama likes it too! Her inaugural outfit blew me away.
Yay for green~!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Time for a story; my sewing backstory

LindseyT had a great post about her sewing backstory and encouraged us all to post ours.

Here is my sewing story:

As a child, I had the most clever mother on the block because she could sew anything- clothes, draperies, slipcovers, etc. I used to amuse myself by playing with the scraps from her projects; making doll blankets, stuffed toys and doll clothes. If I messed up, I could take it to her and she would remove the disaster part & replace it with well-craftedness. I was in awe of her ability to fix my sewing catastrophes.

When I was a Girl Scout, we got badges for all sorts of things and I have vivid memories of making a pleated skirt with zipper and a waistband - all hand sewn. I finished mine quickly - my sewing mojo was on fire! We wore these skirts when we went to the roller rink to go roller skating. I loved me some roller skating! I was truly amazed that I had sewn my own pleated skirt.

In Junior High School we had Home Economics and oh, how I loved every aspect of that. I would have loved shop, too if they had taught it to girls. On the first day of class, we were supposed to write down what skills we hoped to learn and the teacher read them. My goal was to learn set-in sleeves. We did not get that far! The class was mostly a review of what I already knew, but hey, it was fun. Too bad I did not get involved in 4H, I am sure I would have loved it.

High school- I sewed peasant blouses, halter tops and my most challenging project was a C.P.O. jacket made from a Burberry sort of plaid. I still relied on my mom, though for important things like my junior prom dress.

College- I got ambitious during my college years and sewed a lot. I can remember setting a goal to sew a garment a day while on spring break. I just dug in and sewed hard. My most memorable project was a tuxedo. Thank goodness for Vogue patterns and their fantastic instructions. I was a musician and needed lots of plain black clothes for gigs. Heaven forbid I should wear the same thing as the other girls. The jacket was fully tailored, high hip length and the pants were very slim cut. I bought a mens tux shirt to wear with it- I was pretty burnt out after all that tailoring!

Post college- At age 25, I decided I wanted to live a "normal" life and work during the day and get a paycheck so I went back to college at night to earn an accounting degree. I worked as a bank teller during the day. (I really loved that job!) There was no time to sew and when I started working as a CPA, I wanted to wear tailored suits and I enjoyed having a paycheck to buy them. My sewing machine was used for alterations only. I must say, I enjoyed taking apart well-made garments to see how they were constructed. sigh. Back then, everything was too big in the waist so I had to take in the waist. Yep, those were the days all right.

Mid-life wake-up phase- In my mid thirties I became a divorced mom and I got so run-down I couldn't even remember what I used to enjoy. I went through a phase of soul-searching & self discovery and I read a book called The Artist's Way. I followed the exercises and it changed my life! I got back into music and sewing. I discovered my own creative identity and never looked back.

In the last few years I found the online sewing community and it is the best! Sewing is solitary and I love my time alone with my fabrics and ideas. Sharing my passion with others online just makes it even better.

Thanks LindseyT for a great idea!

Happy Sewing~

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I have become a multiple project juggler

Here is a progress update on one of the shirts I am sewing:
I sewed the bodice first to make sure my pattern adjustments worked and it fits, yay! This poject is the maiden voyage for my new Janome 6600. For the front pleats, I cut long strips and practiced the rolled edge stitches on the serger and the sewing machine. I finally settled on a combination of the two: first a narrow serged seam, then folded over for a straight stitch on the SM. I couldn't get the results I wanted using the rolled hem foot on the SM.

Once I had the edges done, I went ahead and cut the pattern pieces from the edged strips:
This is the pattern ... from the December issue of Burda World of Fashion (#126 I think?) And I decided to make it with the French cuffs after all.

I have a pair of pants to finish, and I can't help it, I am sewing more curtains. I've got the decorating bug right now. And, I am incredibly drawn to quilting. I may have to try something using fabrics by Anna Maria Horner. I just love her quilts!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

shirts and shades

I made myself a pressing board. I used a pine table top (from IKEA) covered with a layer of cotton batting & topped off with a tight weave wool. I used a staple gun and it was fast. It just sits on top of my cutting table, and I was able to store away the ironing board & gained a little space back.
Also in view are the 2 BWOF shirts I am sewing. Since I can use white thread on both of them, I am sewing them simulataneously (and I hope it saves time!)

There is progress on the window shade, too.  Here is a pic showing the magnetic strip on the side which can be purchased at a hardware store and it can be cut to fit.

Another option is to paint the wall with magnetic paint.  Who knew that magnetic paint even exists?  It is a very dark gray, but it can be painted over with regular wall paint.  I read about it on a home improvement blog.

There are 3.5" magnetic strips hidden inside the casing of the blind. It works beautifully to create a nice seal. It can be painted lightly, which I plan to do. You could also use velcro instead of magnets. As soon as I have completed the hanging mechanism, I'll write up a through review /tutorial and post it to patternreview. I got lots of great advice on the discussion board to help me on this. A simple, though not necessarily easy, project.
And here is how the shade looks hanging close. It is cosy! It is rather plan, though and I may applique something on it (like maybe a tree branch with a bird on it? thinking on it...)
That's all my excitement right now.

Happy Sewing, my cyber sewing buddies.

Lots of excitement, oh yes...

We had family in town last weekend and yucked it up pretty good.
It is great to spend time with loved ones since our families are spread all over the country. DH and I both come from big families. This was a very social holiday season, and all except for missing Laura, it was GREAT!!
Since I am having trouble getting blogger to accept my photos in the order I load them, I'll post this and move on to a sewing post next.
Thanks for coming to see us Linda, Chuck, Josh and Steven!
Would you like to see Laura? I got a nice long phone call from her when she returned from Taipai. Watching her grow up and spread her wings is very exciting for me. She's my girl.
I hope you spent some quality time with family, friends, pets or your sewing machine-whatever floats your boat!
Happy New Year, all~~

Friday, January 2, 2009

The shade is ready to hang , but ...

The shade project has been fun! The only hard part was in the beginning when I had first joined the pieces and I was struggling to handle 90" x 120" of Warm Windows brand quilting. Ugh!
Once I got it cut down to size (78" x 78") it was much easier to maneuver and I just took it one step at a time. Each individual step is easy, ergo, fun.
Here is what it looked like when I trimmed the excess seam allowance. I used Steam-A-Seam to press down the remaining layer and it left a pretty inconspicuous seam.

The Warm Windows instructions tell you to use a spray adhesive to attach your choice of fabric to the batting. I decided to sew it. I did use a lightweight spary adhesive (like quilters use) and I pinned it. I did all that by crawling around on the floor. Oh - and the instructions also tell you to cut your fabric to be just an inch or so bigger than the finshed shade. I did not trust that instruction at all.
I left it several inches larger, then sewed the quilting channels (sew just like constructing a Chanel - style jacket. Start in the middle and work your way out, and sew all seams in the same direction).

Ordinarily you'd really want a walking foot to sew this many layers together. But in this case, 4 of the 5 layers were already stitched. I sewed with the 5th layer bottom down (ie against the lower feed dogs) and it came out just great. My industrial machine just flew through it, so that part was extra fun.
I guess that if there is such a thing as a sewing geek, than I am a sewing geek. whatever!

OK, here is the dumb part. You know how velcro has a male side and a female side? There is the hook side and the loop side? Well, duh, I only bought strips of the loop side.
Archie pointed that out to me.
So here I am all ready to HANG MY SHADE and I am blogging instead about how I need to find a more velcro tape locally, or... sigh... go back to G Street AGAIN to buy what I need. (This is just like a DIY home repair where you spend more time at the Home Depot than anywhere else.)

Here is the quilting fabric I chose. I have no quilting experience. It sure is NICE working with stable cotton. I get the attraction of quilting now.

OK, off I go.....