Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Class samples II

I've been so busy sewing that I (almost) forgot that I did have some more pictures to share.  These are all from Pamela's Patterns.  Nothing too terribly exciting, but these classes are quite popular.  People are absolutely amazed at how easy it is to get these to fit well, and how quickly they come together once the fit is all sorted out.
Magic Pencil Skirt & Perfect T-shirt
My usual "brown palette".  (I love brown!)  The skirt is a heavy knit of dubious lineage.  I liked the colour.  There's lots more left, probably for leggings and we'll see what else.  I actually fitted this skirt properly.  The previous one I made straight out of the package - no fitting, just to get it into the store by the deadline for samples.  I do like the way it fits, now that I've taken the time, though I had to cut down the xsmall by quite a lot.  When it comes home, I think that I'll add a lining to it.  Wearing slips is all fine and dandy, but I find that skirts just look better on with a lining.  The t-shirt was actually cut last year during a sample-sewing marathon.  It's a polyester knit.  Chocolate brown.  I'm not quite sure whether I like this type of fabric.  I certainly can't wear it in the summer when it's hot and humid.  In winter - it's not really warm.  Guess that leaves autumn and spring - and that would make it a "transitional fabric"?  On the plus side - it's very easy to care for.  As for how it wears - we shall see.
And then we needed a pop of colour to this grouping...
Cool Cardigan
I finally dared to use this orange fabric.  I noticed that there are others putting oranges into their wardrobes.  This is mine, though it's true colour doesn't quite show here, and I'm calling it toasted apricot.  It actually joined the fabric cupboard years ago.  I must have liked it well enough in the store to bring it home.  Unfortunately, the family dubbed this "pumpkin", and for some reason that just put me off this piece for years.  Now there is no-one to criticize my colour selections anymore (dogs are colour blind, right?), and I decided to be rather daring.  This is a sweater knit with the nasty tendency to run, which necessitated rather careful handling, serging of all raw edges, etc, etc.  Once made up, though it's extremely easy care.  (I know, because I bought two other colours of the same fabric which have long been in wardrobe circulation.)
Just wanted to respond to some of your comments and questions...  (I really have to figure out a "system" for doing this!!)
All the samples will be hanging at the sewing shop from now until the end of June.  At that point they will either join my wardrobe, or wait until an appropriate occasion comes up to be gifted to someone.
Where samples are hung is not up to me.  Quilts get priority and wall space, because a lot of them are large.  My stuff (small by comparison) usually gets hung around off shelves, etc - wherever there is space.
Thank-you for the suggestion of increasing the s.a. on the neckline of the pj top.  I have contemplated that - unfortunately, beginner sewers (and for most this is only the second item that they are sewing!) are so overwhelmed with all that they have to learn and remember - redrawing lines on their patterns would really drive them over the edge.
At this point I have 8 of 11 pieces done.  The most nerve-wracking is lying on the cutting table, calling my name. I'll certainly tell you all about it - later.  For now - back to sewing, and I do hope that the sun peeks out soon, so that I can take some pictures.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Class samples I

How many pieces did I say that I had to make by end of January?  I thought 8.  Well, it's 11!  One of those is a board of samples of seam finishes.  The sewing will be easy, but I also have to figure out the lesson as I'm doing the samples.  Me and my brilliant ideas!
It's very nerve-wracking, sewing samples for classes.  They get hung up in the store.  People look at them, scrutinize them, turn things inside out, examine seams ... and comment.  Very nerve-wracking to have one's sewing under a microscope like that.   Oh well - if people don't see samples, they won't sign up for classes.  Guess there's no way out of this.
I started with the easiest pieces.  First off - the pyjama pattern that I know so well, but have never sewn personally.  That's for Sewing Fundamentals I (bottoms) and II (top).  Somehow it turned out that someone else has made all the previous samples.  My turn.  These will be a present for a certain someone, down the road, so that's not my initial on the pocket - and not my size.
Please excuse scruffy baseboards!  Painting project supposed to start fairly soon.
Kwik Sew 3553.  They're actually a very pretty shade of mauve.  (Not taking pictures in the snow to get outside light!)  My goodness, but cotton flannel makes a lot of dust and fluff!  Now I really do know why those beginner sewers have so many problems at certain points!  1/4 inch seam allowances do not leave much room for error.  This fabric (and pretty well everyone brings in flannel) stretches on cut edges.  The collar was not all that simple to get in with no tucks in wrong places.  The simple solution would be to have them stay stitch around the neck edge, but with so little seam allowance there's really no place to put it.  If anyone has any brilliant ideas on this dilemma - let me know.  Oh, right - you can't see the initial on the pocket.  Ta-da!
That required a quick trip to the store for some quality time with the Babylock Ellissimo.  It's fun to be able to add little bits of embroidery from time to time, but at I do wonder how much I would actually use this function, should I have this capability at home.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Presents IV

Last year my two nieces asked for evening handbags (via their mother - my sister) for Christmas.   Well, one thing and another and the handbags didn't get made at that time.  This year I still had that guilt thing hanging over my head, so I got an earlier start.  Originally I had planned on making 6 bags.  Half a dozen in assorted colours seemed like a doable thing.  By mid-December I questioned the sanity of making 6 bags, and decided to stop at 4.
This one was a "let's see what we can do with bitty strips of silk" sort of project.  The design was copied from a Nancy Zieman book.  (Don't ask which one.)  I did have to make the tassel, because that was faster than trying to locate one of a suitable colour.
This one was started ages ago from a Kwik Sew free download.  I omitted the gusset that came with the pattern, and taking lazy way out, I simply satin stitched all around the edges - twice.  Sure beats having to turns things inside out and right side out and all that sort of thing.
Now here's where things started getting out of control.  I started routing through boxes of trims and beads and things and getting "ideas".  The design is, I suppose, my own.  I quilted the silk (on the cranky machine, and that was no fun).  Bits and pieces were strewn about all surfaces of the sewing room.  The only thing used out of all that mess was the small piece of braid (which, of course, just "happened to be the right length", and little pearl beads in some of the loops of the braid.  Not that you can really see the pearls, but they're there.  Lastly, the most labour intensive of the lot...
Why I decided to sew long lines of crystal beads (yup, they go right around the other side to the top) when time was getting rather short, I will never know.  Next year, someone please remind me, that presents started after the beginning of December need to be quick and not requiring hours of handsewing and embroidery.  So that's the lot for now.  Hopefully the two girls will not require the same colour handbag for the same event, and will peacefully share them.  May-be I will continue this gift project later.  Churning out evening bags for presents for two young ladies is a lot easier than racking my brain for other presents.  Perhaps I could start on not-so-neutral colours now.
My sewing room has not yet recovered from the whirlwind of gift-making.  Given that we celebrate Christmas on January 7 (by the Julian calendar), the last push to get things ready comes after the New Year, which really puts me out of whack.  I'm used to it - been doing this all my life, but somehow it does take a while to get back into the normal stream of things.
Next up - (once I screw my head back in place) I have samples to make for my next lot of classes.  Deadline is the end of January, and if I'm not mistaken that's some 7 or 8 pieces.  Ouch!  In the meantime, I will ponder whether I really want to look back at what I managed to do in 2011, or whether I should just plunge into the list for 2012.  One thing for sure - I'm never out of ideas of what to sew!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Presents III

This is second to last post on presents, I promise.
While packing presents to send off to the other end of the country, I think that it would really be so much easier to just buy gift cards that could be stuffed into an envelope.  Nevertheless, I still feel the need to add in something "made by Mom".
Taya's present was a fairly easy choice.  The fabric  was purchased a number of years ago - her choice - a fairly heavy polyester charmeuse.  I wouldn't wear it (not my colour).  Style choice could only be something that doesn't require finicky fitting.
Hmm.  A little out of focus!  And the colour is actually a much darker, brighter fuchsia pink.  I was trying photographing on the cutting table, because the light there is bright.
I trolled around looking for skirt ideas.  Seems that there were a few double layer skirts.  Elastic waist - it will fit no matter what.  No pattern, really - I actually laid two patterns one on top of the other and drew lines.  An obi-type belt to hide the elastic waist and a loop scarf (that's not what they're really called!) to finish off the outfit.  I know that she has a number of black t-shirts and/or sweaters that can be worn with this.  The only finicky part of this skirt was cutting to match the plaids.  Oh, right and making sure that those plaids lined up when sewing up the side seams.  Both layers were finished with a rolled hem on the serger.

And what do you do with a piece of soft silk that 's in a neony yellow/green?  It's a very interesting colour - just definitely NOT for my skin tone.  On the right person, it could have been a lovely blouse...  However, I decided to use it for something that would not be seen when worn - boxer shorts for my son.
And that's a cream cotton pair peaking out from underneath.  These are definitely a TNT pattern.  Several patterns were used (years ago) to trace out "the perfect boxers".  No side seams, so they're really quick to put together.  For some reason store-bought just isn't acceptable, so I guess I'll keep churning these out for years to come.  Just how many years is a mother "responsible" for supplying these necessities of life?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year to everyone!
We will be interrupting the regularly scheduled programming (presents) to bring you...
Look what followed me home!
"My" new baby
Older cranky sister
She was traded in at the sewing shop - looks like she was never used.  One slight problem - only one foot came in with the machine.  No zipper foot.  No buttonhole foot.  There must be a solution to the problem.  On Friday night Joyce (the store owner) suggested that I should take her home for the week-end to try her out.  She has also sent a fax to her parts guy to see if feet can be obtained.  Well, try her out I did, ignoring a lot of other things that I should have been doing (including sleep).  I'll be keeping my other machine, which has fancy stitches, but also many quirks that oftentimes drive me absolutely crazy.  For a long time now I have been dreaming of a machine that would just stitch without complaining, giving me perfect stitches.  I just wasn't in a position to be "seriously" shopping for another machine.  Well, this just happened, and sometimes when things "just happen" you know that they were meant to be.  I'm ecstatic.  To-day the shop is still closed.  Tomorrow I will pop over there and hand over my "piece of plastic" to make the machine officially mine.
And what was I sewing to the exclusion (well, not quite that bad) of everything else?  Let's see, 2 pair of flannel pj pants that went together like a dream.  A scarf.  A little quilted pocket for stashing my glasses in my purse.  And ... 

a little dress (free download from Oliver + S) for a tiny little girl for whom I've been wanting to sew something for.  (That's the leftover flannel from one pair of pants.)

Look at the perfect stitches!  No problems with tension on purchased bias binding!  No more procrastinating with projects that I knew there would be problems with because of the machine!  Yes, I did try to target all the major "problem areas" with these quick projects.  And now may-be it's time to settle down and get back to "normal" (whatever that is around here).  I'll continue with posts about presents (just because I've already taken the pictures) and when I figure out what's coming next on the sewing front - I'll let you in on it.
If the acquisition of a new sewing machine that thrills me is any indicator - 2012 will be a wonderful year!