Tuesday, April 29, 2008
So now I'm going to relax and tend to the homefront. I have much paperwork and housework to do and my house is a mess. I need to take a few days off from doing any sewing and just concentrate on that. It's not that I don't want to sew, it's just that I've put everything else on the backburner and I have to get those things done...uh, *now*! No more putting them off.
Which leads me to another question. Does anyone ever NOT lose their sewing mojo? I know people talk about getting back into their sewing groove. I don't think that has ever happened to me. I always want to sew. It's like a 24/7 kind of thing for me. Many years ago during summer vacation when I was in high school, I'd disappear into the basement and sit at my sewing machine for hours on end until I had to go to my part-time job. It used to irritate me that I'd have to stop sewing and go to work.
For several years I only did sporadic sewing because the kids were so little and took up all my time. Then they grew, started school, and there was more time to sew. I've never had to find my sewing mojo because it was always there, at times repressed just because of life issues. So I'm going to take a few days off, get some housework done, and think about future projects. Three I've already thought of. I want to make denim purses--one for each softball team that DD#2 is on with the appropriate logo, and one for Varsity tennis for DD#1. I'd make one for track but we only have two home meets per season. Then maybe one for baseball because of the boys. I have the embroidery designs for all three sports. Maybe I'll even get some requests and sell a few along the way.
More ideas and projects to be though over the next several days. Eventually I'll sew up that winter coat that is already cut out and has been sitting on my couch for 6 weeks.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I have used the ribbonwork techniques in her book on my muslin bag, assorted clutch purses, and my red leather purse for the Handbag Contest (all unreviewed as of yet but I'm working on that :) ).
Here's the Picture-based Ribbon Leaf Tutorial:
I will be showing you how to create two leaves in two different ribbon widths—1 ½” ribbon (wired), and 1” ribbon (unwired) to make the leaves shown below. The length of the ribbon used for the leaves is determined by RW (ribbon width). Kling uses no complicated math to measure ribbon for flowers and leaves. Everything is measured in RW. The leaves I’m making are between 7-12 RW’s. I measured the 1 ½” ribbon at 8RW (12”), and the 1” ribbon was measured at 8 RW (8”).
In the picture below, the bottom one has also been flipped up.
Thread a needle with a double strand of thread and knot the end. You will need to begin stitching the leaf on the right side (the side that has the fold—remember when you had to take the ribbon and fold it in half lengthwise? That’s the fold I’m talking about.) Stitch the corner as shown in the picture. I like to stitch three times at this point to lock my thread so it doesn’t pull out.
Begin handstitching (a basting stitch with approximately a ¼” stitch length) two-thirds up the diagonal side, then backstitch at that two-thirds point as shown in the picture below.
After backstitching, complete the stitching on that side and across the top as shown in the following picture. You can take out the pin after your stitching on the first side is complete.
Finish stitching down the third side but do NOT knot the thread. See the completed stitching in the picture below:
Leave about a 4” thread tail and cut off the remaining thread.
To create the look of a leaf, (I’m starting on the lower leaf/ribbon first), start pulling the two threads to create gathering as shown below:
Keep pulling, a little more, little more, and…your leaf should look like the one shown in the photo below:
I hope you liked this picture tutorial.
If you are interested in ribbon work, consider buying Candace Kling’s, The Artful Ribbon. Creating flowers and other types of ribbon art are just as easy and can be used for embellishing hats, purses, clothes, barrettes, etc. Here is a link to my review for this book. It appears, however, to be out-of-print, but you can pick up a used book at a great price.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
So sorry...no pics at this point. I've been taking them but have been too busy to post. I'm just grabbing a little chunk of time to do this post. Yesterday I actually started my review for the handbag but need to do two book reviews as addendums to the handbag review. I want to do my leaf tutorial for the book review to highlight how easy the directions are from that book. IMO, it's a must-have for the person who loves embellishment.
More later and happy sewing!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
My hot-fix crystals shipped so I'm waiting for those. The crystals will be the stamens on the flowers. Haven't heard anything about the beads, but plan B will be set in motion if they don't arrive in a few days. Didn't get to the lining the other day, but I will be sure to cut it out today. So many little errands that have to get done and my day is used up. Spring sports is absolutely killing my schedule right now. I should get started on my review for the Handbag Contest. I've been taking pictures as I progress and really shouldn't leave this to the last minute. Maybe this weekend I can get at least half of it done.
Will try to get some pics of the my progress up later on.
ETA--When I got back from the gym this morning, guess what was on my doorstep! The beads from FireMountain Gems :) . The one style is exactly like the ones that I bought for the original handle, but are smaller. These should work quite well. This makes me one happy camper.
Monday, April 21, 2008
So this morning I ordered some new black beads that are smaller. Sure hope they arrive in time. The handle can be whipped up in no time, and I can work on embellishing and the lining until the order arrives at my doorstep. Right now I'm going to set up my embroidery machine to work on the flowers.
ETA--if my handle beads don't arrive in time, I'm just going to take apart a necklace with some perfect-sized beads for the handle. I rarely wear this necklace, and maybe it will save the day :) .
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Thursday or Friday I cut the bag. Held my breath, too, because cutting into expensive material like leather makes me sweat. Then I cut some buckram because I thought the bag needed some extra stiffness. It didn't. Made it too stiff in fact. Good thing I stitched at 3/8" as a test because I had to seam rip to take out the buckram. Restitching at the 1/2" that the instructions recommends was no problem/no visible holes. Right now it's just the leather and batting as the instructions recommend. Yeah, another one of my brainiac ideas that went awry but is still okay in the end.
So, the bag at this point has been constructed. The handle has been made. I experimented making lace flowers with my embroidery machine the past several days and have picked out two possible flower combinations. Now to get going and finish up the bag. That's what I'm going to work on right now.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Here is a closeup of the ribbon flowers and leaves I made for it. Instead of using floral dept. stamens, I used (what else LOL!) my glitzy little HotFix crystals to add a little sparkle. If you ever have somewhere to go, thinking like one of your kids' sports practices if they're at the age, this is one of things that can help pass the time. Lo and behold, I can actually talk and make flowers and leaves at the same time. Again, I'll review the book on how to make things in the next week or two--that bag for the contest MUST get done.
The bag required two magnetic snaps. One of for the outside flap, one is for the inside lining. Below are pics of both. There is only one handle needed for this bag. That was one thing I really liked because it cuts down on the cost of the bag. The handle was leftover from a purse project two years ago. One of my purses was all finished. I put it on the floor near the corner of our bed so DH wouldn't step on it and he STILL stepped on it cracking the one handle. I had to replace both handles, but this one was leftover. I'm sure he'll tell me to thank him for it ;) .
Some bags require that extra "oomph" on the bottom. The directions had a great idea for that. Instead of using a Bag Bottom (or whatever they're called) or heavy cardboard, I bought plastic craft mesh at JoAnn's. It was a large piece and I cut it to the dimensions called for in the bag instructions, then pressed it into the bottom. Here's a pic of the mesh.
Last but not least, what is the size of this bag? I laid my measuring tape next to it and it's approximately 14 1/2" long from the top of the handle to bottom of the bag. The bag itself is about 9 1/2" for length and width at the widest part on both sides.
Overall, the assembly was very easy. It's always tricky trying to stitch near the handle, but it's do-able. The lining assembly was a "bagging the lining" technique similar to bagging a jacket. I left an opening in the bottom of the lining wide enough for the handle to go through, right sided everything out, then stitched the bottom of the lining very close to the folded edges. The instructions say to hand stitch, but who the heck is going to be looking at the stitching at the bottom of the inside of my bag? I'll include more details when I review it.
Right now I'm off to install my new printer to my new computer. I had to install the card reader before typing this post and tried to put off working with the printer as long as possible. Think I've done that :) .
Oh, I forgot to mention, it was a good day at the gym. Yesterday I discovered something that really bothered me and wonder if anyone else doesn't like this. I walked in, put my stuff in the locker, got on the treadmill and remembered that I left my John Mayer CD in the van. I use their CD player sometimes at the gym. It was pretty cold so I decided to just listen to the satellite feed music and not use my headphones. One lady, about 10 feet away, must have been watching something good on one of the many TV's with her headphones on. Anyway, she laughed, quite heartily. Heck I'm one for a good laugh too. But she kept going with it. Laughing loudly every minute like clockwork. Kind of like a sitcom laugh track and it drove me insane. Couldn't keep my workout focus. I'd rather listen to a cell phone conversation and some people do have those. Had to put my headphones back on and listen to something. Anything.
Oh well. If that's the least of my complaints then I must be doing just fine. Just never realized how annoying it could be. Add that one to my list of social etiquette rules at the gym--I will not laugh loudly and consistently with my headphones on thinking no one else hears me.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Also, I'm getting used to a flat-panel monitor again. I had one a few years ago until it died, then I used an old, giant one, now am back to the flat-panel. It is W I D E !!! Still trying to get used to it. And all pictures are looking wide too. At first I thought it was just my slide show, and I'm thinking, "Oh...how unflattering! Wide screen really stretches the body, uh, wide." But every picture is like that on every website. Maybe I'll have to play around with my resolution.
Now I'm going to unpack that printer. And it scans! Gosh, I've been waiting for a scanner for SO long since I'm sick of taking trips to the copy center in town. It will making family paperwork much easier. Yeah, life is good.
On my cape story a few days ago, the baseball mom asked me yesterday if I had priced it out. I told her yes, but it would likely be cost-prohibitive. At *least* $60 for Malden Mills fleece ('cuz it wouldn't be on sale), then double that figure for labor. $120 wasn't in her budget, and I didn't figure it was. She told me she'll go buy a blanket. Yes, that's the thing to do. I don't work cheap. Also, I'm really not in the mood to make garments/coats for anyone but myself and my family--backlogged as it is! Personally, I like Susan's (2BSewing's) response which was something like only doing sewing for family but teaching others how to sew. I'd much rather give sewing lessons than do sewing for others.
Speaking of sewing, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel! My daughters show very little interest in sewing. Okay...DD#1 NOTHING! DD#2 slightly. However, DD#2 signed up next year for Creative Sewing and it wasn't at my insistence. We went through all the 9th grade electives she could take and that's what she chose. Definitely not my idea for her because both my girls seem kind of negative about sewing at times. So I thought that was kind of cool.
DD#1 just bought a new I-Pod for herself. She told me yesterday that she wanted me to make her a cover for it. I told her to make one herself ;) ! And make some for her friends so she could sell them and make a little money on the side. No interest. (Sigh...) You'd think money would be a motivating factor but no, it isn't.
Anyway, my floral purse is almost done. I was working on attaching the rose, rosettes, and leaves this morning. Now I just have to make some tiny filler rosettes. It's funny how some hobbies seem to be so complementary. Several years ago I took the three Wilton cake decorating courses. My favorite kind of cakes to decorate are wedding cakes with beautiful floral arrangements. I would make all kinds of icing flowers too. My instructor taught us some basic floral arranging principals in cake decorating and that info is coming in handy for this purse. The only sewing left is attaching the lining to the bag and that should be a snap. I'm hoping to get a pic up by tomorrow.
Okay. Now I'm off to my "cruise".
Friday, April 11, 2008
I think that's why I'm focusing on purses this month. I can take a lot of work with me, especially embellishing items, and work on them at practices and games. Today I had lots of thoughts going through my head about my red alligator leather purse I'm making for the Patternreview contest. I went to my local ribbon and craft store and bought several rolls of ribbon and thread for embellishing purposes, including the black velvet ribbon on the right for my alligator purse. Check out my purchases today :) :
Also, a few days ago, I promised a pic of the red alligator leather. Here it is! It's really more luscious in person. The color is actually darker red, not the brighter red as it seems in the pic.It FEELS good. It SMELLS good. And I think it will look good, too, as a purse. I finished my two clutches that were laying around (just waiting for my handmade flowers) and now am about a third of the way through my muslin bag for the handbag contest. Here is a pic of the muslin in progress. The flowers and leaves aren't attached yet, and I need to futz with them and make some more small filler flowers, but you get the idea. My extra leaves I made at baseball practices are laying on the bag lining on the left.I've been working hard on the ribbon flowers and leaves--you wouldn't believe how easy they are to make if you've never done them before! I'm hoping next week to review the ribbon work book (it's excellent and was recommended to me by Kenneth King) and do a simple tutorial from it as a plug for it. It is truly a great book that opens a huge window of embellishment opportunities.
Tomorrow I'm planning on being offline. Maybe even a bit into Sunday. DH bought me a new computer! It is a very nice thing to have, although not a Babylock serger/coverstitch machine (sigh...BIG sigh...) Maybe next year ;) . A lot of things need to be transferred over to my new computer and that will take time. Before we do that, though, I need to catch up on blog reading while drinking morning coffee tomorrow.
And a thank you to Jackie for making my day on the Excellent Award. I truly feel that each an every blog on my blog roll, and then some, deserves an Excellent Award! I love 'em, and that's why they're there.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
After practice, I'm walking to the car with my two boys and one of the moms gets back out of her car, walks over to me and asks, "Where did you buy that cape? I want one just like it!" I smiled at her and told her I didn't buy it anywhere, and that I made it--I sew a lot of my own clothes. Well she looked at me in amazement and she told me several times she wanted me to make one for her. It was a sweet moment I tell you :) .
I'll price it out for her. People are funny that way because they think something is cheap/inexpensive if it's handmade. They don't understand it doesn't work that way. I told her my cape is reversible, including the hood, (the pattern wasn't designed that way though) and it's made from name-brand Polarfleece, not the cheap stuff you buy at Walmart. Don't know if she understood that either. She *will* understand when I price everything out because Malden Mills fleece is not cheap and the cape is long--to my knees although it's kind of like a handerchief hem, not even all the way around. Double the price of the total fabric and notions and that's my fee charged. I'm sure she'll changer her mind :) .
Later on I'll try to post pics of my very luscious red alligator leather and my handwork items for handbag embellishing. *Try* is the operative word. Today is a VERY busy day for me.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Today I worked on the lining for several handbags. I think I can get them all done by tomorrow except for embellishing. Anything artistic like embellishing takes me several days to get those creative juices flowing in my brain. During the artistic brain wave stage, I can work on my muslin bag for the contest. There is no way I'm going to cut into my leather skin until the muslin bag is done and "proofed", but I'm SO looking forward to having a red leather bag in a style that I can't find in any stores.
Also, thanks everyone for the outfit comments. When I saw several people mentioning the black pants, it was an "oh-no" moment LOL :) . You see, these RTW pants look fine from the front. But my rear view has the signature RTW style of a baggy, saggy butt. However, here's the solution. Just don't take of my wool, black pea coat when I'm at church! Yep, that'll do it. Until I can work with that HP Jenious Jeans pattern that will be arriving any day now. It sure would be nice to say adios to a poor rear view.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
So who was the inspiration behind my current Sunday outfit? I must say that I am a bit of a homebody and no one has ever been floored by my fashion sense (really it's lack thereof) so I look through my cyberwindow computer screen and find my fashion sense via others. Tearsa's beautiful print dress found at this link, http://www.thatssewlive.com/2008/02/suit-dress-wardrobe-lessons-learned.html (you'll have to scroll past her beautiful suit to see her beautiful dress), is to die for IMO. She wears that great funky print with those black boots and when I saw it, it was like whammo! Gotta make something kind of fitted like that in a great, bold print. Really gotta admire that woman's fashion sense! And she's one of those bloggers that links pattterns, current styles, and what she's making together so a fashion flunky like me can get my fashion act together. Her current red dress is a knockout, so you know I'm going to have to copy that look too :) . Forget the runways, I just check out her blog LOL! She must be the best dressed news anchor on TV too.
So here are some sneak previews. I'm hoping to get a review done a bit later today, but baseball practice time is fast approaching. Anyway, it's a reader's choice for Sunday's church outfit. Here are some different looks--the Plain Jane look, the Peplum type of look with a belt, and the dress look with a belt. Which way looks best? I don't know. All can work but I would appreciate a vote.
"The Plain Jane"
"The Peplum-style Look"
Here are some casual ways to wear it too. Here it is with some black, RTW pants I bought a couple of years ago fromTarget. I've never worn them anywear yet but thought they might look good with the top. I'd love to make a black blazer to wear over the top and pants too.
And here's a pic with jeans.
So, please help me decide how to wear it to church. I will abide by your vote :) !
Right now I'm going to work on a draft of my review that will have more details on the construction, fabric, patterns for my outfit, etc. Hopefully I can get it done today. Some good news--my Timtex and buckram arrived yesterday. For the next few week's, fashion sewing will be on hold so I can work on some purses and enter one in the Handbag Contest at Patternreview. I've never entered a contest before and shamefully have only voted in one. You know what my problem is? I can never decide. And as we develop cyber friendships with people it's makes deciding 10X harder. I wish contest items had no names or ID's attached to it. It would help me be objective and not so wishy washy about these things.
Happy sewing this weekend everyone!
Friday, April 4, 2008
So some quick things of note:
1. Thanks, Tamara! You made my day with the Excellent Award. If you have time, check out the Queen of Feet! She has so many great Friday tutorials on how to use all those various feet that are sitting unused in your sewing machine compartment.
2. Just about finished with my new Sunday outfit. Just have to peg the side seams a bit and topstitch that area on the skirt hem. Will take pics and do a review when I get the chance.
3. Bought the HP Jenious (sp?) Jeans pattern with that much talked about L-shape crotch curve. I want to give that one a try.
4. Bought some much-needed interfacing to work on my purses. Also decided to enter the Handbag Contest for April at Patternreview. Looks like I'll be using that luscious red alligator leather I purchased during PR Weekend. Mmmm!
5. Also bought some Palmer/Pletsch interfacing because my stock is running very low. I need some for my winter coat. That's the last project in my four-project cue of several weeks ago.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Yes, they are LONG! I'm standing on my toes in this pic--she's too busy to model them these days :( . The hem is temporary until I wash them one last time for any progressive shrinkage then I'll put in a permanent hem. She is quite adamant that they not be short since all her RTW ones shrink up and become floods. There's no worry about that with these!
And what's with plain colors as opposed to all those wonderful flannel prints out there??? She picked out light green flannel and pink flannel-backed satin and passed by some incredibly cute prints like the polka dots she had in her hands for a while.
A word of warning too. We went down to JoAnn's because the flannel was on sale. Of course, the flannel-backed satin was not on sale and I said to her, "Are you sure these are both on sale?" She replied they were and I got a nice little surprise at the register. At that point she was so excited about her pants that I couldn't say no. Teens simply don't pay attention to those sale signs because they're not footing the bill.
There are more details in my pattern review about this pajama pants endeavor, but suffice it to say it was gratifying sewing. When someone loves the end result, the time spent on the project was well worth. And truthfuly, this project hardly took any time at all. Next I'll use my serger for a super speedy pair. That is, after I spend at least a half hour changing the foot and serger threads LOL.