Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy To Sew!

Last weekend DD#2 had to go shopping to buy an outfit for her Field Hockey banquet. It's at a somewhat fancy restaurant at a major tourist attraction in our area. She spent 1 1/2 hours (long sigh) trying on around 15 dresses/top and finally settled on a black duro-style halter top with a banded hem. It was about $30 and made out of a thin black lycra knit.

Get home. She didn't like the banded hem and asked me to take it off! I did that last night. Found out the front "skirt" portion of the top is actually two pieces of fabric. It has a slit right down the middle. That's fine for an 18-year old, but not a 14-year old. So I butted the fabric edges together and zigzaged with a matching thread. Looks fine.

Can't find a skirt. My mom gave me a long, velvet tube skirt about 3 or 4 years ago. She tried it on--snug at the hips for her. Too long anyway and it has a sparkly applique on the front of the skirt near the bottom hem. So I cut the skirt to an above-the-knee length and cut the applique in strips. I asked her if she would like me unstitch the side seams and add the sparkly applique sections going down both side seams, kind of like a tuxedo effect. She liked that idea and it will give her extra hip room. Today she'll try on the top with skirt so I can figure out the exact hemline for her.

After all this, I'm happy to sew. She is hard to please and has a hard to fit/flatter figure. I have one daughter who has a perfect, lean model hourglass figure and another who has a fuller, athletic rectangular figure with a short waist and long legs. The latter is VERY hard to fit at times. Did I mention she doesn't like anything itchy or tight? That complicates things even more. If she would have given me ample time, I would have made a dress just for her.

I'll have to post the revamped outfit later today when I can take pics.

On to my projects...Susan asked:

"Ooops...I forgot to ask you something. What are you using on top of your fleece when you embroider your design"

Susan, I don't know yet ;) . I do have some toppers for embroidery in my stabilizer section and will read my book for what I will use. Last time I embroidered on fleece was over a year ago and I think I used the water-soluble stabilizer. Will let you know when I get to that point. I have to finish my fleece quilt for the softball Chinese Auction basket. I'm about halfway done at this point and will be embroidering on this quilt so actually, I'll be embroidering on fleece even before the Christmas-gift scarves. I really have to get my thoughts together on this.

Today I will go back and check my to-do list from a week or two ago. The totes, purple top, and rice warmers are done. The quilt is being worked on, but I still must get going with the interlining for my coat. I bought the Vogue Patterns magazine at the grocery store last month because it specifically talked about coats, interlinings, linings, and appropriate interfacings. Sure wish I would have Thinsulate for this coat, but I'm just using some flannel as the interlining. Perhaps I'll have time to pull the black flannel out of my stash today and give it a good pressing (at least it got washed!). But it IS Halloween and the kids have been disappointed that the Fall decorations are still not up yet. It's not very motivating when the house is a mess and my sewing projects are everywhere you look.

So much to do, so little time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Finished Top and Other Things

Today I finished the wrap top for Simplicity 4074. Hmmm...a few things about this top. The fabric...it sucks! Rarely do I use that word, but I hate the purple polyester matte jersey from Joann's purchased about 2 years ago. It doesn't hold a press, don't know why I bought it (it's not a particularly attractive color on me as it is too dark), and it just doesn't feel that nice. Kind of a flimsy feel. I like my knits to feel "substantial" for lack of a better word. It's flimsy enough to show wrinkles where there might not be in another type of knit fabric.


Here's the finished front which still needs another pressing. I'm kind of at a why-bother stage with that because it won't hold a press.



Here's a pic of the back. It doesn't look too bad on my dress form but...


...when it's on me I get the dreaded "X" draglines that look like this on a muslin suit I made a while back shown here:


I know why this happens. A CB seam doesn't work for me at all. My spine is fairly straight. My curves are my chicken bone shoulder blades going into my small curvy back. I would do just fine without a CB seam BUT WITH princess seams. Or a CB seam AND princess seams. Just not a CB seam alone. The more I curve a CB seam to the small of my back, the more pronounced the X draglines become. I see a bit of this on my purple top. So when I make this again (will likely be a dress), I will create princess seams for the back and possibly eliminate the CB seam.


Another thing about this top. I did my usual alterations and used a 10 (neck/shoulders) morphing to a 14 from upper bust down. Surprise, surprise! This dress runs large IMO. I had a lot of excess fabric from the front princess seam at the upper bust area to my full bust and had to take the princess seams in 3/4" on both sides. This has never happened to me before! I will even need to remove some fabric from the front armhole area on the bodice too. There's just way too much--another first for me. Even the model in the solid color dress appears to have a little too much. The model in the print fabric doesn't seam to have it but she's not standing straight. The arm is up which is pulling the fabric up and back. At least I'm getting the same wrinkles as she is on the dress front though. No more, no less.


Thankfully this is just a muslin top in crummy polyester. It's just "okay".


Here's some good news. I received my Wazoodle order of blue and grey microfleece. This fabric will become monogrammed scarves for my daughters' friends for Christmas presents. Last year it was monogrammed pillowcases, this year the scarves.



The fleece feels so good today! The upper tier of the Poconos received up to 18" of snow! We received nothing. Just wet flakes with no accumulation. Days like this make me want to pull out my Green Pepper pullover pattern and whip up some cozy fleece tops.


Okay, I'm being bumped from the computer now. Anyway, I have to fix a RTW top for DD#2 for a Field Hockey banquet on Sunday.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Picture Window Quilt


Today I completed the picture squares for my "Picture Window Quilt". Don't know what else to call it so that is how I labeled it. Those squares were the most time-consuming element of the project so now it should be smooth sailing. Here are the completed pics on the right:


Tomorrow I will cut the red and white quilt squares and work on stitching everything together.

Also working on a purple wrap top. It's a Simplicity Wrap dress pattern, but I only have enough fabric for the top. I have to go to a Field Hockey banquet with my daughter this Sunday and am thinking about wearing the purple top with my black leather mini skirt. I cut out the pattern pieces, marked them, and pinned the tucks and any other seams that could be pinned before actual sewing. I hope my preliminary tissue fitting works out fine. This is the altered pattern that was held by a magnet on the side of my fridge for months waiting to be pulled off and whipped up.

I was supposed to get my sewing lesson paperwork done, but didn't do any of it! Will work on that tomorrow as well.

The baseball team mom that got hit by the baseball should be fine! That is good news. No brain injury, but she is having plastic surgery tomorrow for the broken facial bones. Lots of pain and swelling, but no severe, nor life-threatening head trauma .

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unfortunate Events

I had a baseball game to go to for my sons tonight. 8:00 p.m under the lights in a neighboring town. I don't like to drive late on Friday and Saturday nights as I'm always thinking about drunk drivers, especially since a prominent local person was killed in a head-on collision last week very close to where we live. We don't know if the other driver was "impaired", however, he does have history of reckless driving and public drunkenness.

So I'm thinking of these things, get to the game and everything is fine. Until a foul ball goes up over the fence, over the net above it, into the stands, and slams right into the eye/temple area of a mom on our team. She was bending over to protect her child from the ball. She took one of the worse hits you can imagine and had to be taken away in an ambulance. She appeared to be having a seizure while laying on the bench and was in terrible, terrible pain. She passed out briefly, the came to, but was bleeding from her nose. She wasn't hit in the nose so this is very troubling.

During moments like this, it always seem like the ambulance takes forever. They took her by stretcher to the ambulance, and about 15 minutes later we were told she was going into shock as she was being taken to the hospital. Her kids were terribly distraught, and it seemed like her dad was just trying to be calm to hold things together for the kids.

Please pray for this lady. She is a very nice person, and this was a terrible thing that happened. It's is the type of hit that moms always worry will happen to their kids and it happened to her, in front of her family.

Beginning a New Endeavor

One of the things I'm currently working on is developing my projects for my first module of Beginning Sewing. Today I will try to visit Ursula at her store to go over my projects. I have the projects done from the first module and have the first project of the second module almost finished. Ursula has a setup in her store with tables and is perfect for sewing classes. I'm really excited to be starting this endeavor.

This weekend and into next week I will work on my lesson plans and paperwork for the class. I hope to have this as a go by mid-November or the first week in December. Saturday's forecast is rain, so I might get home early from the softball tournament to work on this.

Have a good weekend and Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Project Update

The rice warmers are done. The canvas totes are a almost done. Here is one finished canvas tote showing the backside. The front has the organization name with a softball right in the center. The canvas tote has a zippered top, and the tote bag/instructions are from the Volume 10, Sew Simple magazine. Guess that's the Fall issue.


The tote just needs a good pressing right now. The two other totes are almost done. I stitched the photo on last night to both. Originally, I ironed the photo transfer right to the tote but the photo quality on the cavas fabric was poor. It produced a much better pic on the white cotton flannel, so I turned under the edges and topstitched it over the originally tote photo. The two other totes I worked on yesterday are the same--flannel photo transfer stitched to the canvas back.

Here's the preliminary work on the softball memory quilt for the Chinese Auction. I created all the photo transfers yesterday and transferred them to the cotton flannel. What a chore! It reminds me of block fusing which I loathe. The photo transfers have to be ironed on a piece of wood, not an ironing board with a soft surface. The luan board that's been in my hall for a homeowner's project (found out it cannot be used for it :( ...) now has new life as a pressing aid for photo transfers. Today I will finish the totes and begin cutting my quilt squares. This should be interesting. I'm SO not a quilter, but like all things warm. The project will be done from instructions right off the top of my head! Isn't that scary!! However, I've been mulling over this project and think my plans are solid.

BTW, I've decided to keep the green flannel. I'm sure my DH could tell you that I desparately need a new nightie robe. And DD#2's pajama pants I made last month that turned out to be mine? She'll get new pajama pants from this material. It's so darn soft and that quality alone makes it a keeper.

On second thought, those quilt squares may have to wait another day. I'm being badgered by at least one child to make more rice warmers. He's frequently trying to abscond with mine. I have to make mini ones for coat and jacket pockets too. That's a good way to use up the smaller scraps.

I have to catch up on blog reading too. Kim has a slew of new reviews I haven'ted checked out yet, Cennetta has at least one new review and a few blog posts, and Robin has 13 (yeah, 13!!!) new blog posts I have to check out!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Annoying mail order surprises.

Yesterday I finished DS#2's jacket so he could wear it today. It has been getting pretty chilly so getting it done was a must.

Here it is on the couch just finished:



And here it is on the happy, but sleepy-looking boy. He did NOT want to pose for the picture this morning!


I thought the jacket looked much better with the elastic sleeve hems, but he wanted NOTHING to do with them. I know better--if he doesn't like it, he will not wear it. Ever. Last May I seam-ripped the embroidery off the jeans I made for him over a year ago because he fought me tooth and nail on it. He didn't want any embroidery anywhere on his jeans, and he did not wear them all year. Now he's happy to wear them since I "fixed" them. And he's only 9! DD#2 is picky like that too. Heaven forbid if her clothes are too tight, are a little itchy, etc. This is my little guy that has to have every label cut off his shirts. I'm learning to respect his clothing wishes. He kept pushing down the collar too--doesn't want it sticking up near his chin.


Back to the post topic...today I received my fleece order from fabric.com. I am making the photo memory quilt for the softball fundraiser Chinese Auction basket and received some nice red, black, and white fleece which will be very suitable for this project. Here are the fleeces:




HOWEVER, I also purchased 5.5 yards of "curly-sided" fleece which I thought would be okay for 2 jackets and a pair of pants. It is not. It's not as stiff as a regular 200-weight Malden Mills fleece, it's thinner, and has much more drape than a MM fleece would have. It would actually make a good top, or a neck gator though as it is VERY soft on the inside. I'm mulling over what to do with it. Send it back? Or keep it. This was supposed to be fleece for DS#2's jacket and DD#2's softball pitching pants for winter in the cold garage. Decisions, decisions! It is absolutely not what I expected and was not a good surprise. It does have potential, though, for other projects, and I love the color.

Now it's time for me to get of my comfy chair and do some housework. I'll think about this dilemna while doing it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rice Warmers Finished--Kind of...

Last night, DH was working at the concession stand at the high school football game and took the girls. The boys and I had a cozy night in waiting for them to get home. While waiting, I made my rice bag warmers. I wanted to use this in my project lineup for my Intro to Sewing class, but changed my mind. IMO, it's better to wait until the second 3-week module of the series to introduce interfacings. The third 3-week module will include centered zips. The rice warmer cover included interfacing and a centered zip. I will keep it as a "Challenge Project" for those who already have some sewing experience, but the rank beginner will complete an easier rice warmer bag cover.

Here are my completed bags (the cotton fabric depicts surfers on the big, blue ocean waves, that's for warm thoughts with a warm bag for cold nights :) ):


As soon as I finished the two bags (one will be in a Chinese Auction basket with directions for use, of course--ya never know if people will want to wash the inner rice bag :O . ), I heated one up right away and my youngest wouldn't let go of it. DD#2 came home and told me I'd have to make one for each of them or they'd all be fighting over it on cold, winter nights. So more are in the works to keep at home. Monogrammed, of course, so I know which child did not put theirs away.

Anyway, yesterday I searched the Internet for an easier rice warmer project and found this wonderful link:

http://www.diamondthreadworks.com/microwave_heating_bags.htm

It includes detailed info for better fillers (corn feed), photos to create an easy rice warmer cover, and cute example pics. Although the rice warmer cover in the photos is serged, I'll adapt it for a conventional machine. IMO, this project will be perfect for my project lineup.

Currently, my goals, objectives, and sewing concepts are set for the first 3-week series. It is actually 4 weeks, with the 4th week being more of a Stitch and Bitch, troubleshooting, makeup class--whatever one would call it. My 3 projects planned are a pillowcase, rice bag warmer, and receiving blanket. Those projects will emphasize straight and zigzag seams, seam allowances, seam finishing, pivoting, clipping corners, intro to reading a pattern, among other concepts. My concern is that some of the students will have no need for something like a receiving blanket, however in that case I would encourage them to donate it to a worthwhile organization or someone in need. I will emphasize early on that one has to learn how to crawl before they begin to run.

This may make me sound like a hard ass, but if they don't want to learn basic, fundamental sewing concepts, I don't want them as students. Go elsewhere. I'm doing this for their enjoyment and my own enjoyment. In as little as three months they could be sewing garments if they are dedicated, hard workers. Therefore, no bitching allowed. Don't like my lesson plan structure? Don't let the door smack your backside on the way out.

Currently, I'm gathering my thoughts and ideas for the second 3-week series and the sewing concepts that need to be covered and appropriate projects to achieve the goals and objectives. I'm so anal about that with my teaching background.

Now I have to go work on my photo paper transfers for the fleece memory quilt I'm making for the Chinese Auction basket. Last night, DD#2 was listening to me tell her about it. Her response? "That's SO cool!" Let's hope it is and my brainiac plans don't turn into a sewing disaster. It's not like that has never happened before LOL ;) .

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Book Order Arrived!

I forgot to mention yesterday that my three sewing books I ordered arrived in the mail yesterday. In August I went to Border's books and was going to purchase two books but held off. Glad I did! They were about $8-$10 less at Amazon. I thought they seemed a little expensive at the store.

The books I purchased were:

Sew What Skirts found in this link: http://www.amazon.com/Sew-What-Skirts-Fabulous-Fabrics/dp/1580176259/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224241511&sr=8-1

Sew Everything Workshop found in this link:
http://www.amazon.com/Sew-Everything-Workshop-Diana-Rupp/dp/0761139737/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224241511&sr=8-2

Sew U: Built By Wendy found here: http://www.amazon.com/Sew-Built-Wendy-Making-Wardrobe/dp/0821257404/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224241511&sr=8-3

I like all three, but am planning on using the Sew Everything Workshop book as the textbook for my sewing students. If they find they like sewing, I would highly recommend the other two, along with something like the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing and More Fabric Savvy. The Sew Everything Workshop book is very well written, has some patterns enclosed, and is really a great deal for the information in the book.

I bought the Sew What Skirts book because I've been looking for a wrap skirt pattern, just like the first one I made from a Simplicity Jiffy pattern back in 1980. Never found it on the Internet, but the wrap skirt in there is very much like that first project.

Two more books are coming in the mail. One is the Thread-A-Bowls book, the other...I can't remember LOL. It IS one I wanted though.

More later...I'm halfway through my catch-up on blog reading.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Held up.

Here's the good news...In a few minutes, I'm going to iron and cut out the fabric for a rice bag warmer. It will be made out of a white cotton fabric to hold the rice along with the cover. My projects are coming along nicely.

However, for some of them, I'm being held up by zippers of all things. A zipper for DS#2's fleece jacket below and my canvas totes. The totes are being made from the directions in the Fall issue of Sew Simple. I'm thinking of using that project for the sewing class I'll be teaching and want to test out the directions and mull over where to put the project in the Intro project lineup. It is really turning out to be a cute tote. I embroidered the front with the name of DD#2's new travel softball team and will use the iron-on photo transfer paper to put the team pic (with their second-place trophy from their first tournament together which was last weekend BTW) on the back. I'm making the bags assembly style up to a point, but finishing my muslin bag first. The sample embroidery on mine is not as good as the other two--had to work out the kinks with the tension and needle used. My sample had two spots of loopy threads so I glued them down with FabricTac and hot-fixed a few clear crystals strategically placed so it looks better. Tomorrow I will pick up the photo transfer paper--first time using this so I hope it turns out okay. If you have any tips, I'd appreciate hearing them. I'll post pics of the bags soon.

I took a pic of DS#2's jacket last night. Here it is:



It is made from McCall's 4234 which also includes two types of casual pants, two styles of tops, and hat along with the jacket. I've made Kwik Sew pattern jackets for my kids but like this McCall's pattern so much better. For starters, I like the 5/8" seam allowances when working with fleece. Fleece likes to curl under my presser foot. Another type of foot would probably work better, but I'm a lazy sewer so the standard foot with 5/8" works mighty fine for me. I like the style, the directions, and the sewing instruction methods. My only issue is the pattern mentions fusible interfacing. I never use a fusible with fleece and always use a sew-in. That's really minor though, but it could throw off an inexperienced beginner. The pattern appears to be an OOP, and that's really a shame. It's a great, versatile kids pattern that I picked up on a $1/pattern sale.

Here's some really good news! My eye pressure check last month was 23 left eye, 26 right eye. Way too high for my comfort. (The specialist in the summer said I'm high risk but still no glaucoma. At least not yet.) So my optometrist checked it last month during my annual exam, then is doing repeat checks every month. Today it was 17 in both eyes! What gives with that? I told him I purposely skipped coffee. At my last appt. I had at least two cups before going. Who knows if that had any effect but I skipped my caffeine jolt this morning. It made my gym workout quite arduous however! Working out felt darn hard.

Now I'm off to the ironing board. And then hopefully check out bloglines. I'm SO behind in blog reading!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thank you and new projects.

Thank you everyone for your birthday and anniversary wishes!!! It was very much appreciated :) . Although I was still a little disappointed at not being able to go to PR Day in NYC, the softball tournament went well and DD#2's team came in second place. Not a bad finish for a new team and their first tournament together.

My new projects. DS#2's fall/spring fleece jacket is half finished. I cut it out yesterday and was able to get enough sewing done so he could try it on. I'll take a pic of it later today. Second project currently being worked on: three canvas totes for my daughter's softball team. Third project in the planning stages: A softball memory quilt from their first tournament. Fourth project: A rice bag warmer with zippered cover. Fifth project: A wrap top. Sixth project: The winter coat--cutting out the interlining. Seventh project: Finishing up some purses to sell. So there are lots of things cooking on a full stove :) .

Three of those projects (canvas tote, rice warmer bag, and softball memory quilt) are for a Chinese Auction basket coming up in November to raise money for the softball team. The tote and rice bag are also beginner projects for a sewing class I'm developing.

Hopefully in a day or two I'll have more pics of these projects in development. Right now, I'm off to order some fleece for the quilt.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my DH!



Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary :) ! It's been well over 23 years of exclusive kisses with this guy. And he is the most amazing kisser. I've always thought so. This picture was taken on the night he kissed me for the very first time. See that big smile on my face? Yeah, I knew he was the one. Less than a year later we sealed the deal with signed marriage license at the JP with a church wedding over a year later.

Does anyone know how important that first kiss is??? Let me tell you, I sure do. My senior year in high school, there was this really nice-looking guy that was hot for me. I initially gave him the brush off, but he was a persistent one. Two months later I finally accepted a date with him. On our fourth date, he went to kiss me and I was thinking, "Oh...I'm SO ready for this kiss!" And he planted one on me which was horrifying. His kissing technique was so horrible it was like a dog licking my face. No kidding! I was stunned for about 5 seconds at which point I pushed him away and said, "What are you DOING???" Poor guy. I hurt his feelings. I mumbled something about being sorry and telling him he couldn't kiss me like that. That hurt his feelings even more. Even after I told him to kiss me more softly, the guy just didn't get it. Ewww! There was a quick end to that relationship. It was the kiss of death which eliminated the possibility of any future dates.

Two years later, who comes along? This gorgeous, foxy guy who is a absolutely divine kisser! Yeah, it's the man above. The man who stole my heart and kisses forever. His kisses are amazing, and if you hear the song, "Kiss Me" by Six Pence None the Richer, think of me. That's my song to him today.

Happy Anniversary, Honey!!! In a few years, we'll be silver :) .

And, BTW, I did make that strapless dress. It's actually royal blue. It was a great dress to wear to my sorority date party which was our second date. Later that week, one of my friends who was in a fraternity was telling another girl we were sitting with in the student union about my dress. And he said, "She made it you know. And let me tell you, it wasn't a potato sack either!" Men sometimes aren't quite eloquent, but that was his way of saying he really liked it. The most important thing was that DH liked it though, which he really did. I still have the dress, and it's in storage. Another dress--too important to me to part with. I made this dress specifically for my date with DH. And our first kiss to boot. So , no, it's not going anywhere and will sit in storage "till death to us part".



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Project Runway: Does it help or hurt?

I forgot to mention today in my previous blog post about Project Runway. When I was at Ursula's fabric store, we were discussing sewing classes she has offered before. I guess she got some young things (teens/late teens/early 20 somethings) coming in wanting to take sewing lessons.

I don't recommend a newbie sewer with NO experience jumping in and making a pair of jeans. Nor create things from their own fashions sketched on paper. Yet this is exactly what happened to her. Bear in mind Ursula has a ton of experience in the industry, has a textile degree, worked in patternmaking, etc. She's a goldmine of knowledge. She has non-sewers coming in wanting to learn how to sew--first project being some dress they designed on paper (because they've been designing since age 5 or something like that) or jeans as their first project. Can you imagine??? Not just pants, but jeans as a first project. Uh, I don't think so. That's like expecting a baby that doesn't know how to crawl yet to run tomorrow.

Ursula said these people had seen Project Runway and were influenced by the show. Ursula tried to tell them--It's a show! Real life is not like that. She knows. She's worked it and has been there. Done that stuff in NYC. The woman KNOWS! Real life experience does not equal what is seen on TV.

Ultimately, these girls were not interested in Ursula's sewing classes. It's no wonder why. They expect the moon, but they don't want to build the rocket ship to get there. If one has no idea how to sew a seam, how can they expect a first project to be a pair of jeans??? Or a fancy shmancy dress?

I found this conversation very interesting. Perplexing. Almost disturbing. I've never seen Project Runway. I'm low woman on the television viewing totem pole. We're usually watching ball games or in bed by 9 p.m. While Project Runway appears to be reigniting sewing interest, especially in young people, are young people's expectations unrealistic? Or is Ursula just seeing an anomaly, perhaps because of where we live or some other issue?

What do you think? Is Project Runway helping, hurting, or both? Like I said, I don't know because I've never seen the show.

BTW, thank you, Mary, for the cost info. The wheelbarrow design has over 40,000 stitches LOL. But your price range is about what I was thinking. I didn't realize about the EL designs being so stitch dense until you commented about it in a previous post. That was very helpful. My way about getting around that has been experimenting with enlarging the design by 10% right on my embroidery machine. Well, it has worked for these two anyway. I'm not that knowledgeable with embroidery but the confidence is building with these little projects.

Happenings on the Home Front

There are lots of little things going on.

First off, I finished the first batch of wall hangings. Amazingly it's still the right season! No pattern used, just embroidered the design on linen, cut some fabric strips, used the same fabric for the backing with batting. Created the loops, insert dowel rod, and voila! It's done. Well, just about. I'm going to buy some twine for them and then they'll be good to go.
Here they are:

I asked my friend Stacey to sell them for me with a cut. She's a lady that is in the wrong profession! She's been a bus driver for the past five years but her natural talent is sales. She can sell you the shirt off your own back--she's that good.

BTW, what would you charge? The wall hangings come in two sizes: approximately 10"X9" and 13"X11". I'm not sure so maybe some of you savvy, crafty cyber sewers who sell your creations can suggest the appropriate prices.

Today I went to see Ursula. She owns the fabric store right up the road (well, right up the road for us is about 4 or 5 miles. We're talking about the state of affairs in the fabric world and she asked if I would be interested teaching sewing classes at her store. Well yes! I would be interested. So I'm going over some plans and projects and will likely be picking Susan's brain for her ideas.

Also, Ursula was kind enough to give me two remnant pieces at no charge to alter my daughter's travel team softball shirt. One was just the right size, the other was too tight. The remnants are a beautiful match.

About the no charge. Please remember to support your local brick& mortar stores. I would have gladly paid for these small remnants, but that's how the local independents work. They are so giving of their time, talent, and treasures. Shopping at their stores helps keep them in business. I'm going back next week for this lovely Slinky print. Hopefully, offering sewing classes at her store will bring in more business in this tough economy. I think she's too busy with life and the managing the business to offer them herself.

More later...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Wedding Dress and Other Things

Last night DH said there was nothing on TV. Well, I disagreed. Once he went through about 10 shows (on 200+ satellite channels) and said, "The Notebook", well YES! There was something on that *I* wanted to watch. Just a couple of days ago I was thinking I would like to rent that movie again. A sucker for romance I guess. DH doesn't like the movie because of the ending, and said it leaves him depressed. But it's a love story! Just a simple sappy love story. One that makes me think of DH and reminiscing about the good 'ol days ;) . And it's fitting because we celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary this week. Has it been that long??? Seems like yesterday.


And also fitting that Lindsay was talking about wedding dresses and asked if anyone had made theirs. She asked about posting them so that is what I worked on today. Here is my wedding dress I made circa 1986.


My wedding dress was indeed a labor of love. A year to be exact. I spent two months looking through Bride and Modern Bride in 1985/86. Lots of very oppulent, Mermaid styles with tons of beading and sequins. Long, flowing veils with fancy headpieces. I wanted that. It was the '80's, you know. Excessive everything. Even the price. I couldn't afford an $8,000 gown on a poor college student's budget. DH was still in college, too, while I was making it. I didn't make the veil. It was loaned to me by my boss who made it for her daughter's wedding two years before. However, the headpiece is mine. I bought it at a fabric store, probably no longer in existence. $68 I think. I had to attach it to the veil.


The silhouette (sp?):


Who knows where I purchased my fabric, maybe SoFro in our local mall? The lace overlay on the bodice and sleeves...I really have no idea. That might have been SoFro too. Or maybe a long-gone independent. The beads and sequins were purchased from a long-defunct craft store in our area. I bought $200 worth of them for the gown. Each painstakingly handstitched one by one.


The pattern was a Butterick. It was heavily altered. My sister who can drape and do pattern design helped me redesign the gown to the pics in the magazines. It originally was a boatneck with not-so-big sleeves. I told my sister, "Low V-neck, big sleeves...They have to be REALLY big just like the magazine!" So we redesigned it together because at the time I didn't do anything besides lengthen/shorten. I made two muslins from some cheap pink taffeta-like fabric until the fit and design was right. The bridesmaids dresses were the original pattern design and were made by independent seamstresses, not me. I had no time.

Here are two of my bridesmaids in the original pattern design. My mom and dad got fancy in the tux and mermaid style too :) .

Each piece was cut and worked on independently. I remember working on the sleeves so many nights. I basted the partial lace overlay to the fabric sleeve, then worked on the sequins and beads. I tell you, it was so many hours of work. Every time I thought I had it right, it was time to add more. The bodice took FOREVER. Me and Mr. Right...doesn't he look thrilled while I'm working on the sleeve. (Get used to it buddy ;) .)


The bodice was a lace overlay with the fabric too. I'd try it it on, add more here, more there. The dress was not lined as per the pattern. It just had a facing which was fine by me. I couldn't use a cheapo zipper and used a very sturdy, kind of metal-looking on the inside one. The dress was ultimately somewhat heavy.


I didn't know about couture techniques back then. Whatever books I could get my hands on is what I used for info, along with asking my sister. She wasn't a whole lot of help other than the redesign in the summer time because she was away at college. So basically it was "Make it work any way I can."


The night before the wedding she helped me with one last issue--the button/loop for the train. I couldn't do that by myself and didn't trust anyone but her because she knows how things are supposed to hang and cascade just the right way. Here are two pics of the train up and "hooked".


These are the closeup pics of the piece of wearable art that I am most proud of, in the days when I was an absolutely fearless sewer. Yes, I took them out today to take the pics. I never had it preserved and now it's a lovely cream shade.
The front:

Closeup of front detail:

Closeup of the back and sleeve. I had a devil of a time putting on those big beads going down the lower half of the sleeve.

Here's those darn sleeve beads. Hmmm...notice a little v-neck gapping? These days, I would have caught that quickly. (Maybe I didn't want to back then ;) !)
Back closeup.
The two sorority date party gowns before the wedding dress were a big help in me working out the kinks of working with slippery, ornery fabric. Before I knew people were actually somewhat afraid to work with slippery fabric, and that maybe I should be a little afraid too.


I hate being afraid. It has been one of my resolutions to "feel the fear and do it anyways", a quote from a knowledgeable PR member. Something I never used to feel, but with the wealth of knowledge given to us via the Internet also comes fear that maybe we should be afraid. But...fear NOT! Pick up the scissors and just do it. Even if it's a wedding dress.

I always loved that dress, and I can't part with it. It's kind of like a who-I-am dress. When you make something that takes so much time, you can't just give it away, just my opinion. It's a "to death do us part" kind of thing. Maybe one of my grandchildren will want it as a keepsake some day.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pay It Forward.


In the blogging world of sewers, there are a few much loved, well-known, and very much deserving people who get much notoriety, praise, and accolades for their work. I highly admire and respect their work.

It was interesting to note recently, that one PR poster commented about the lack of comments with reviews at Patternreview lately, and the commenter partially/possibly attributed reviews with a lot of comments as the "celebrity effect". Personally, I think it's because of sewing blogs; however, there was some validity to her statement, but I do not view it as a negative, but rather a celebration of their work. It is nice to have celebrities IMO. I strive to aspire to their level of beautiful work without the pressure of a celebrity label.

I don't write reviews so I can sit back and bask in any comments I receive (making the hopeful assumption they'll be positive LOL, but ya never know ;) ). I mean, I hope I get nice comments, but I write reviews to help people, not for my own validation by any means. If no one comments, it doesn't bother me. My outlook is I write reviews for others, not for myself. It's why I joined PR as a member--because it was so helpful. Comments are VERY much appreciated simply because they make one feel good about their work.

My feelings are the lack of comments are likely attributed to the explosion of sewing blogs. The first thing I notice in a PR review are the reviewer's style and body type. I'm drawn to those things right off the bat. Cennetta's, Kim's, Susan's reviews caught my eye right from the get-go when they started posting. I discovered Lindsay's, Charity's, Dawn's, Linda's, and Paula's blogs via the website/blog thread at PR, checked out their work and really liked it. Ann sent very sympathetic PM's to me when I took a verbal lashing from another PR member several years ago. Although I have very thick skin, her kind words started me on becoming a devoted follower of her work. Some blogs I discover because the posters have left comments like Robin, Angie, Keely, Rhonda, Alexandra, Sigrid, Mary, and Mary .
Some wonderful sewers I've actually met in person at PR Weekend NYC like Connie and Karen. There are a few I'm forgetting to list here too. I apologize in advance--my brain doesn't think too well in its pre-coffee state while editing HTML (I've been working on this post for several days!) and I still haven't added them to my blogroll. Shame on me!

Bear with me...there is a point to all of this...

There are many sewers/bloggers who deserve an incredible amount of recognition for their work. Ones that I feel deserve that "celebrity" status if they don't have it already, and are true sewing gems for their style, creativity, and sense of fashion. They are people that I would love to know in person, some of whom I've met, some of whom I hope to meet.

Back to the point...Cennetta nominated me for the Premio blog award. A person of her sewing stature, style, impeccable work, advanced fitting knowledge and incredible fashion sense. I feel truly honored to be nominated by her. She is such an inspiration as are all the blogs I subscribe to and a few I keep forgetting to subscribe to.

Has anyone not been nominated? I don't know. Therefore, I nominate:

Every blog I usually comment in. Not necessarily every day, but the ones I follow every day. You know who you are! You've been tagged if you haven't been so already. All the people listed above AND THEN SOME. The ones on my blog roll and the ones that need to be added.

That's sounds lame but it isn't. Really. Every blog in which I comment, I would like to meet these people in person if I haven't already. I gravitate toward certain blogs because the personality of the blogger shines through for all to see. They are so generous in sharing their creations, lives, fitting knowledge, tips, and techniques. It's most likely why I spend less time at PR nowadays, and more time with bloggers "in their homes".

They seem like people that possess the 6 qualities/values that I find most important which are:

Compassion
Having a good heart
Possess a positive attitude
Being true to one's word/honesty
Good ethics and morals
Even tempered personality

The negative points I condemn would be:

negativity
bad attitude/sour disposition
procrastination (of which I'm guilty of)
cut-throat disposition
combativeness
hotheadedness

These are the things that can ruin someone's day.

So, my fellow sewing bloggers, you all deserve what I call "Celebrity Status"! You are stars in my book that keep the spirit of sewing alive and well. You make it feel like there's a big wide world of sewing out there that I never felt before becoming a PR member and blogger.
Thank you Cennetta. Thank you Linda. I appreciate the nominations and will continue to pay it forward.

Keep sewing up a storm everyone!
--Kat

Friday, October 3, 2008

Feeling the Cranks.

I'm feeling a little cranky this morning. I haven't touched my machines in about a week! Today will likely be no different as I have to do some major food shopping this morning and go to my sons' baseball game tonight under the lights at 8 p.m. Tomorrow they have a 10 a.m. game so we're going to be tired tomorrow morning. And housecleaning never really gets done but I have to do a little of that.

Maybe if I can get a half hour, I can put together my wall hangings. It would be so great to actually finish something while it still is in season. I've been wanting to whip up a wrap top, the pattern is already altered hanging by a clip on the side of my fridge. Same one that has been there for months. My coat is still cut out on the couch, that one for months too. Those are very high priority garments. DS#2's jacket is also high priority--he desparately needs one. I'll pull out two kids' jacket patterns from my stash and we'll decide on the right one. There's a ton of Polarfleece in my stash so the fabric is there. It's just finding the time.

Did anyone see the fabric.com Deal of the Day yesterday? I saw this awesome babywale light blue and brown houndstooth fabric at 6 a.m. and by 6:45 p.m. when I was going to drool over it again it was GONE! I couldn't believe it. There was at least 50 yards of this stuff when I looked at 6. I really wanted that for a belted jacket/top. Brown's not my color but it had enough of the right shade of blue to work. Oh well--you snooze you lose. And it's probably just as well. I have some lovely wools that have been drycleaned in my front closet just hanging there for at least a year.

And my biggest bummer is not being able to go to PR Day in NYC on the 11th. That's my birthday of all days. And I would LOVE to go fabric shopping on my birthday but I have to go to a softball tournament on that day. I love going to the tournaments, but it's my freaking BIRTHDAY! And I can't go to the leather store, Metro Textiles, MJ Trims, oh...it hurts! It really hurts. But it is what it is and can't be changed.

Time to make the coffee.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Good Morning!


I walked out the door today as happy as could be! Can you tell? Maybe not--the picture is so small LOL. I'm working on a new business venture and had to dress the part today to go to a meeting. I had to look smart which meant putting on the brainy glasses and twisting my hair so I don't look like blonde fluff. It is nice to think about other things than sports schedules, school clothes, and household duties. It's nice to actually use my degrees in case my family forgot I had a brain. Oh, I forgot. I'm a dummy until I bring home some money ;) . I rarely talk about the venture 'cuz I don't want to jinx it. But it's moving along...