Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Map the Sewists

Really cool idea. I want to share with all of you! From this website:


Map the Sewintists goes live!
I had a brain wave yesterday morning while I was supposed to be herding kids out to the car for a road trip to Ontario:  how can sewing and crafty people find each other IRL and never miss another meetup?

I quickly slapped together that post, and thanks to Shannon for pointing me in the right direction, and to Gillian for being my first tester, we're ready to go live!

Here's how to participate:

Open this link to get to Map the Sewintists
Click on the red Edit button on the left
Click on the blue pin on the upper left of the map
Click on your location to drop the pin
A box will open that will allow you to add your name or blog URL in rich text
Save et voilà!

**********update from users:  it appears that you cannot pin if you are using a mobile device / tablet; also, you may need to use Firefox since other browsers may not work; finally, you must be signed into your google account.  If worse comes to worst and you can't pin after trying all this, just comment below with your location and info you want to include, and I'll pin you!

I would strongly advise people to only pin their general location or closest city, since we don`t want creepers peeping in our windows while we sew in our unders, do we?

Gillian and I have also added some fabric shopping locations around the world, so please share your collective wisdom!  I'm going to start spreading the word online.  If you like the idea, please reblog so that we can get the word out to everyone who feels isolated from the "cool kids" in NYC and London  ;)

Hopefully this will develop into a useful resource for all of us around the world.
Again, here's the website. Look how many of us there are already~

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Catching up. The excitement is building!

The work schedule is continuing at a dizzying pace, and we are looking forward to going on vacation next week, so I want to get as much work done as possible. Everyone thinks being self employed is wonderful, and at times it is, but what they don't think about is you don't get paid vacations. That means for vacation, you have to cover the missed income plus what you'll be spending or your finances wind up kind of upside down. To that end, I've been adding a few jobs into an already full schedule, which leaves little time for sewing or for me!

We're going to San Diego for my sister and brother-in-law's 50th Anniversary. I can't believe that they've been married so long! Although they got married quite young, it doesn't seem possible that we're all so old. We'll be staying at the beach in Oceanside, and for the first time in probably about 20 years, my children with spouses and grands, and my sister and brother-in-law, and all their 8 children with spouses, grands and great-grands will be within a few blocks along the beach in rented beach houses. I expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 of us! AMAZING!!! Unfortunately, my oldest granddaughter won't be there as she's not able to take additional time off work. She will be sorely missed. I expect a week long party. It should be fun, exciting, full of love, family and fun.

BUT... all that said, I've been trying to stick to my 15 minutes a day at least, and it is helping me progress my SWAP. The brown pants are complete and have been worn, and are into the rotation. The striped shirt turned out quite well if I do say so myself. Front and back stripes line up perfectly, which may not be apparent from the picture. The sleeves are cut on the straight grain, so they don't line up that well, but it is what it is. I'm quite pleased with the tee, it fits well, and is flattering.

I am excited about sewing right now, and have moved on to the next top, which is a rayon knit in a batik of browns. I love the fabric and think it will make a nice and more dressy looking top for work.

 I also have my second "muslin" of the Style Arc Franki top cut out and ready to go. The first was made of real muslin, and this is from a wild looking rayon knit I got on sale. It's not my usual style or colors (on line shopping sometimes elicits surprises LOL,) but I think will be fun for summer. The fabric feels wonderful and drapes fantastically. I'm hoping the alterations I made will make for a really nice fitting and flattering cowl neck top. I love the pattern, and I love cowls. Fitting me with them is more difficult! If I can make this one work, I have a luscious chocolate brown knit for it.

After working on the batik top last night, when I was getting a bit tired but not ready to go to sleep, I pulled out a Burda top and started tracing and doing my standard alterations on that one. It's Burda 2898, I'm pretty sure it's currently OOP. But I have loved this pattern since I bought it and never made it up yet. To me it's lovely and will look wonderful for a summer top of a light weight fabric. I bought a beautiful French Cotton Lawn from Marcy Tilton and that will go beautifully with my swap and be perfect for work for summer time.
The muslin for that will be coming up soon.

AND on top of that, I have the Butterick #5616 top also in the "next up" pile. It's undoubtedly out of print too. It is going to be a muslin of denim first, and will be useful for a light weight jacket.  I have a muslin fitted except the sleeves, and hope to trace them off tonight and get a sleeve done to see if it will fit my bodacious biceps. They measurements look okay, but I never know until it's put together and tried on. I'm hopeful that no further alterations  will be necessary on this one. Once the fit is correct, this one will be made in a beigey-tan stretch cotton and will be my bridging piece. And because I love, love, love, red, expect to see it in a red too. That will be my next core collection after the SWAP is completed.

I have several more knit tops to do, and am optimistic that my SWAP may actually get completed this year in the appropriate time frame. AMAZING!

Hope you are all doing well on your sewing and having fun with it!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Thought clippings and some progress

I can't believe it's February 4 already. I had a busy January which is usually the only time of the year I get some down time. So who knows what this year will bring.

Last weekend was my birthday weekend, so my hubby and I, my daughter, and two Grands met up in Berkeley for a little fun. We got there early so had time to go to Stone Mountain and Daughter which is my all time favorite fabric store. I got several pieces that called to me, and you'll see many of them over the course of the next few months. Then we had lunch at a Brazilian place, never had Brazilian food before, but we'll be going back. It was yummy. Then over to Laci's textile museum. They are the most fascinating place, and I'd wanted to go for years and never got there before. The exhibit was exquisite hand made laces from as early as the 1600s. We got a history lesson along with the docent led tour. My husband wasn't too thrilled when I first talked to him about it, but loved it as much as we did. They even had one piece made of human hair in the 1500s I think!

My second pair of brown pants are complete except for the waistband hook and eye. They look good, and did require a bit of alterations. I'm not sure why, but my standard pattern draft had got off somewhere along the line. These are a charcoal and bittersweet chocolate pinstripe that I actually cut cross grain because I don't want stripes going around these hips! LOL Pictures will follow.

After taking Don McCunn's pants class multiple years and about 50 pounds ago, I have drafted all of my own pants patterns and at this point don't have any RTW pants in my closet. But I get lazy, and as you make multiple copies, the darts start to fall apart, as does the front markings for the fly. So instead of doing a new draft, I copy, and then recopy, and then change for whatever design feature I want, and so on and so forth. Well, after the brown wool fiasco, I bit the bullet and redrafted the pants pattern once again true to my current measurements, so I should be ready to go.

I'm going to do what I call instant gratification sewing for a week or so, and then back to pants. I have several tees in the works that will go along with my SWAP, and not look like plain tee shirts, but a little dressier and/or interesting. I love, love, love, stripes, but again, at this size, don't want stripes running around my body. I found this wonderful cotton/lycra knit at Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley, and couldn't pass it up. It's the stripes I love, good colors, and fits perfectly in with my SWAP.

I sure hope you guys like my ideaas much as I think I will. That's on the cutting board right now, but it is taking a while as I want the stripes matched perfectly.

As I've been driving, sewing, and my various other tasks, I've been thinking about all things sewing, and thought I'd share. If you know everything, then skip this part.

Pins, scissors, and pointy things. We all know to get our scissors sharpened because they do get dull, even if you're careful to only use them on fabric. A gentleman who used to come around showed me how to tell when you're due. If your fabric is kind of bunching up as you cut, it's time. Along those lines, I just had the most amazing thought pop up a few months ago. I am good about having my scissors sharpened, but was using a seam ripper that was probably 25 years old. They, too, need to be replaced. And what a difference it makes! :P}}

Pins... I have multiple types of pins. For me, ruining a fabric that I purchased and loved because I had a pin not sharp enough that pulled the threads is so frustrating! And it has happened rather frequently with knits before I started replacing all of my pins every 3 to 6 months, depending upon how much I use them. Having a run up the front or back of a beautiful knit fabric because your pin had a burr is nightmarish! I have separate pin cushions, and/or magnetic pin cushions for my various types. I use ball point for knits; round head pins for wovens, sometimes the flower head pins for wovens, as they have long, narrow shafts that work well on thick fabrics, and I have dedicated silk pins for fine fabrics. It just makes my life easier.

Thoughts on pockets... use twill tape along the pocket edge seam line, about 1/4" shorter than the seam, and stretch to fit as you're sewing. It will keep your pants pockets from gapping. Also, I use twill tape along the back crotch line seam. If you've ever had a back seam pop, you'll know much more security with that little piece of twill tape to reinforce your stitching!

When I'm making pants pockets, after stitching the underside to the outside, I pink the seams at different widths. Then press open on a Tailor's Board, and press together over a ham using lots of steam to get it nice and flat. Once you have it flat, do your topstitching, and again, press over the ham, using lots of steam and a clapper. Your pockets will look super professional.

Along those lines, I do use my ham more than any other tool in my sewing room except my machines. Whenever you are pressing a part of a garment that goes over curves, the ham is your best friend. I use it to press darts, pin my pocket bags together, be sure my waistbands are pinned well, and so many other areas where one side is being drawn in to a smaller side. Try it. You may find your garments coming together just a bit nicer!

Well, it's Monday morning, and my week needs to get moving. Hope yours is fantastic!