Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Annual ASG Christmas Dinner

Here is the small wallet I made for the ASG neighborhood group Christmas gift exchange. I've never made anything like this before. I had trouble only because I usually peruse the guide sheet and take off. This project made me s-l-o-w down, read every word and not get ahead of myself. It was quick and fairly easy. I loved the fabric choices.

I made my own bias binding using the Clover Bias Tape Maker. I used the 3/4" tape maker and it worked really well. It gave just enough extra room to wrap the multiple layers of the wallet.

I have been busy knitting and sewing other Christmas gifts and hope to post some pictures soon. I decided it would be o.k. to post the DGK items since they don't read my blog. So I'll take photos and get them up in the next day or so.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Visit to a Quilt Store

I need to make a small handmade item for a gift exchange in a couple of weeks. At the Sewing & Quilting Expo in Schaumburg IL last week I came across a wallet pattern to sew from quilting cotton. It seemed perfect. So today I visited The Quilted Fox in search of some great fabric. This was a delightful store with 4,000 bolts of fabric. Marsha helped me pick some great fabric. She was very warm and friendly. We chatted a bit; I told her my one and only quilting story (see previous post) and she laughed. I told her that I was strictly a garment sewer and a knitter. She revealed that she used to do both those things also. Now she quilts obsessively. She showed me the quilt you make in their Learn to Piece class and how you learn to machine quilt in another class. I ended up telling her I would definitely give the classes some thought. But even if I decide against taking the classes, I will definitely visit this store again anytime I need great cotton fabric.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I was so bored at work today that I left 2-1/2 hours early (I work from home) and headed up to the sewing studio. I am usually a very neat and tidy seamstress but things have gotten out of hand while I have been traveling so much the last month or so. But I pretty much have things all tidied up tonight.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You Can Start Every Monday…

so says Dr. Rosenfeld. Of course, he's talking about making healthy choices in your life, but hey, if it works for health, why not for blogging.

I just returned from the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Schaumburg IL. I worked for my friend Londa @ Londa's Creative Sewing. We had a wonderful time! I love spending time not only with my friend, but all the people you meet and befriend at shows like this. The added bonus for this trip was I stayed with my daughter and son-in-law and four absolutely awesome grandchildren! I was very happy to share when my favorite youngest granddaughter preferred curling up on Londa's lap rather than mine. Londa doesn't have a granddaughter (just a very handsome grandson) so she reveled in all the little girl love.

I found the most awesome brand new vendor at the Expo, Textile Lifestyle. This is a brand new, family-owned business focusing on gift items for all kinds of fiber artists. They have coffee mugs, mouse pads, note pads, note cards, magnets--all kinds of cool gift items to give, or, better yet, buy for yourself! The thing that makes these items so great is the images they use. They are beautiful full color, professionally photographed images from different fiber artist venues, knitting, yarn, sewing, quilting, etc. Take a look. You will fall in love with these items just like I did. I picked up the mouse pad, note cards and a magnet at the show. And I just placed an order for some other things at their website.

I haven't been slacking during the past month. I have been busy knitting and sewing Christmas gifts. Unfortunately I can't reveal them here since some of the gift recipients read this blog. (Thank you, dear children!) I have almost all the gifts completed so I can get back to knitting and sewing for me! (You know, one of my very favorite songs is by Toby Keith, "I Wanna Talk About Me".)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Houston Quilt Festival

I leave today to travel to Houston for the Quilt Festival. I'll be working with my friend Londa at her booth, #650. If you are there, drop by and see us!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What I Did on my Labor Day Weekend Vacation Part 1 or, The Incredible Shrinking UFOs

After having a very productive sew-a-thon over the Labor Day Weekend I spent most of the remaining week in Migraineville. Even though I was down & out with the worst migraine I have had in probably a year, I sewed some during the less painful moments. Here are 2 more completed UFOs.

Placemats: I need to invest in carbon dating for most of my UFOs and these placemats were no exception. The scrap of fabric was dated 1987 along the selvage. As I finish all these projects I sometimes shake my head and wonder (again), “What was I thinking?” There are 3 placemats in this project. What’s up with that? And, the colors do not now, nor did they ever, go with my kitchen colors. Hmmm.

One thing about I like about working on these UFO projects is the freedom to try out something new. If it doesn’t work out, it isn’t a very big deal. So for these placemats I used decorative thread to machine quilt a lot of the designs. What’s the big deal you ask? I am very late to the game with decorative thread. For some reason I have been unable to wrap my head around the fact that decorative threads can be used by anyone, not just embroidery machine operators. (I know. Sometimes that blonde hair really gets in my way!) So I picked up 3 different decorative threads to use on this project—just to see how they performed and looked.

The blue was Sulky 40 wt., red was Gutterman Topstitching thread 40 wt., and the tan was Coats & Clark 40 wt. rayon. I honestly don’t know very much about decorative threads. All 3 of these threads worked well in my Bernina. I did adjust the tension and used a topstitching needle. But they all worked well and look good.

I'm planning a separate post about the Pilgram couple.

Long Time No Post

I had a couple of rough weeks. I spent most of Labor Day Weekend and the next several days with a severe, debilitating migraine. Then I was behind at work and had to play catch up. I have several updates to post from that time period. But here is what I did this past week end.

This is KwikSew 3617 view A. (My photographer has not been very cooperative. My apologies for the photo.) The fabric is from my stash. It is a very soft, beautiful cotton knit, almost silky. It is too warm to wear a long-sleeve T, but this is going to be fabulous when it gets a little cooler.
The pattern went together easily. KwikSew has great directions. And yes, I will be making this again. It is basic enough that I could have it in several colors. I'll be checking the stash for other appropriate fabrics.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Just Love Surprises!

I recently received a post card with a couple of coupons from Jo-Ann's. It was kinda clever. It had a picture of bolts of fabric on it. The copy said something like "Soon Wal-Mart won't carry fabric. But we do-It's in our name". I quit shopping at Jo-Ann's a couple of years ago because the store was always messy, dirty, unorganized and the employees were surly. I am blessed to have a decent Hancock's nearby and a couple of really nice LFSs. As I mentioned earlier, I visited Jo-Ann's as a last ditch effort to look for trim for my Chanel-style jacket. I returned to the store today to purchase the trim and was pleasantly surprised by the employees' helpfulness and the general state of the store.

This store has been cleaned up and completely reset. It is neat and tidy and well organized. The fabrics are typical chain store quality, but they had a nice inventory--and it wasn't all fleece. The fashion fabrics were on one side of the store, quilting fabrics along the back wall. Needlework (knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, etc.) items were grouped together in multiple aisles. Other crafts were grouped together in a similar fashion. Unlike several years ago, there was plenty of stock even with the items that were on sale.

When I stepped up to the cutting table to have my trim measured and cut, I was a little short of what I need. The clerk volunteered that the trim I selected was carried in most stores. She suggested that I check other stores in the metro area, or if I could wait, they would receive more of this trim in a couple of weeks. Oh my goodness! Was this a Jo-Ann's employee actually being helpful?

At the check out counter I separated my goodies into 2 piles so I could use 2 different coupons. Again, the clerk here was helpful. She politely asked why I was splitting my purchase. When I explained the coupons she told me I could use both coupons on the same purchase--the register would figure out the discounts. Wow! Polite & helpful! I can't count how many times in the past I was told I couldn't combine multiple coupons on the same receipt; each coupon had to be a separate purchase.

I have criticized Jo-Ann's in the past for being a sub-par fabric & craft store. They seem to have found their footing and are looking good--at least in my neighborhood store. I hope every other Jo-Ann's shopper has the same pleasant experience I did.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Color Me Confident--Not!

Cindy's post at Mid-Life Meandering about the book Color Me Confident (CMC) captured my interest. You would think that with the many books I have read about wardrobe color and style it would be second nature to me and everything in my closet would be exactly right for me. It's not. In fact, I've been feeling unhappy about my appearance recently. So I splurged & purchased the book. It is very similar to Color Me Beautiful's Looking Your Best. (CMB) Which I found reassuring. In CMB I am a Cool Summer and in CMC I am Light & Cool. Both palettes are basically the same. I never felt quite comfortable with CMB's body type. I am a Curved Pear which comes close, but not exactly. I like CMC's body shape of Full Hourglass much better. It describes my body pretty good.

CMB classifies me as a Classic style which I always thought was correct (if only I actually worked in an office as opposed to at home.) But here is where I was really taken aback. According to CMC's style quiz I am definitely a Natural with only a little Classic tendency. I'm shocked. When I reviewed the list of "Famous Naturals" I really don’t (at least I didn't) think I dressed like Julia Roberts, Steffi Graf, Vanessa Redgrave or Kate Winslet. My impression of these women is that they dress very casually, often in jeans and t-shirts--not sloppy but very laid back. Oh gee! That describes how I've been dressing lately. It was like a slap in the face.
There isn't anything wrong with being a Natural. It's just not the image I want to project. I love beautiful, tailored clothing. Nothing makes my heart go pitter-patter more than a wool blazer. I love how beautifully tailored wool slacks lift my spirits and make me feel beautiful. When I looked at the style characteristics of the Classic style in CMC-it was much more in line with my goals. Timeless & elegant, smart & understated. This is how I want to look.
I've gone through some major personal changes over the last few years, all for the better. But somewhere along the way I lost my style. I believe I used to be much more of Classic style dresser. I'm sure of it. (But I think I'll ask my daughters for their opinion.) But no matter. I know where I want to go now and I will be reworking/sewing my wardrobe in that direction.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

National Sewing Month!

It's National Sewing Month! Come on, everyone. Let's sew!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Look Inside My Lull

There was a lull in sewing last week for a couple of reasons, the heat and poor sleep. I am at that peri-menopausal point where I have a really difficult time sleeping. I'm usually hot which is a problem because DH's heart medicine makes him cold. This combination usually finds me asleep on the couch in the cool bar basement or in the guest bed with the overhead fan on high. Plus, even if I'm comfortable temperature-wise, sometimes I can't get to sleep or I can't stay asleep or I wake up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep. The result is that I'm tired, sluggish and unmotivated to do much.

Add to the sleep issue hot & humid temperatures and I lost several days of sewing. We've had such great unseasonably cool weather that last couple of weeks that I was caught off guard when we had 2 days around 90 degrees with typical August humidity. Thinking I would just make it through was a mistake. Although my office was o.k. (It is in the basement.) my sewing studio was miserable. The weekend brought yard and house work.

But all was not lost. Wednesday I spent most of the day with my youngest daughter, Chef M. (Technically she's not a chef but she's working on it!) We met for coffee then hit the last day of the YMCA book fair. Books were $10 for any size box you could carry. Chef M. found some cookbooks along with some sci-fi novels for her SO. I found these items. The Stitch by Stitch book has a variety of knit, crochet, & sewing projects. I purchased it for the knitted lace baby blanket project. There is an interesting needlepoint/cross stitch Santa in the Holidays in Cross Stitch book. And the tailoring book is from Palmer/Pletsch, always a good resource.

Chef M and I hit the local Goodwill store also. In addition to be a talented cook, she also has the knack of finding great buys at thrift shops. I have lost count of the number of times I have commented and her clothes and her reply is she got it at Goodwill. I'm looking for a man's brown cardigan I can use in the needle felting project from the current issue of Sew Stylish. No luck that day, but I'll keep checking back.

I spent a lot of time this past week searching for the trim for my Chanel-style jacket I'm working on. Here is my fabric. The variegated cross yarn can be pulled out easily. So I tried braiding it, weaving it, crocheting it and knitting an I-cord. Nope. Didn't look right. So I purchased lots of samples of trims from a LFS. They were too wide, too narrow, too plain, too intricate. I tried black, white & black & white. I considered grosgrain ribbon, petersham, (I was amazed that the manager of the LFS did not know the difference between petersham and grosgrain ribbon. How sad.) satin ribbon, silk bias ribbon. I spent hours looking at trims on the Internet. Nothing really seemed right.
Then yesterday as really a last ditch effort I stopped in at Jo-Ann's and bought about 6 or 8 more samples of trim. Lo and behold, one of them looks really good, and I am trying out adding the variegated yarn from the fabric. I should have a sample by the middle of the week. I'm so excited!

Just need to make buttonholes and sew on the buttons of my Bells shirt and it will be finished. I hope to do that this evening.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Disappearing UFO's

Here are 2 completed UFO's.
The one on the left was driving me crazy about the buttons. Hence, the time in the button box yesterday.

The Home Sweet Home is cross stitched on paper. The stitching has been completed for years. I was trying to figure out the "best" framing for it. I found this frame recently and decided to "just do it". The frame has a history. It hung above the couch (along with 4 others) in my childhood home. The frames held pictures of me and my four brothers. I'm not sure how I ended up with 3 of the frames, where the other frame is, nor where the pictures went, but it brings back good memories.

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

I spent time yesterday studying my button box. I was looking for some buttons for my current UFO project and became captivated by the variety of buttons I possess. I could easily become a pat rack. I fight the urge to save every little scrap of fabric no matter how small. I have spools of half used thread dating back to my high school days. (I don't use it in my sewing machine, but I do baste with it.) So it's no surprise I have buttons 30+ years old. I also received my DMIL's button tin when she died. Most of my buttons are singles. I save every "extra" button from clothes I purchase. But yesterday I discovered a lot of matching buttons.
  • Most of the matches were in 3's or 4's.
  • Most of the matches were large buttons, 1" or more in diameter.
  • Several of the matches had lots of buttons, 10 or more.

I found 3 really large buttons, 2" dia., with squirrels on them. (These were in my DMIL's collection. Hmm, I wonder what she put those on?) And several groups from her tin had sparkly stones on them. I am really curious about these since DMIL was very much a down-to-earth, utilitarian kind of person.

Pictured here are 2 groups of buttons that really caught my attention. The first is the pink group. There are 50 of these little pink buttons. I would love to hear their story. I can't imagine any garment needing 50 buttons. Why so many? Did she use the same button on multiple garments? And the color is out of character for DMIL. Neither her (nor DSIL's) coloring was good with this shade of pink. But I feel there must be a story here.

The 2nd picture is a sampling of all the white buttons I identified that were made from some kind of heavy "glass" or "stone" material. All the buttons (even the dirty ones) have a distinctive sheen. It reminds me a little of mother of pearl. But I don't think that is what the material is. I love the square button and really wish there was more than just this one. Also, the group strung together is especially nice. My immediate thought was a coat. I am also considering some kind of blouse or shirt using an assortment of similar, mismatched buttons. I've seen this done a couple of times and it was very striking. I hope I can pull it off.

I had a wonderful time yesterday with my button box. The buttons called up old memories and provided inspiration for several garments. What's in your button box?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S, Progress

I've been really tired this week but I have spent time every evening on my projects.

Here's a picture of my Sewing Workshop Bells shirt. This is that fabulous silk/bamboo fabric. The color is really chambray, not purple-ish. It's a great color that will fit in my wardrobe with no problem. I have all 3 front bands on the body of the shirt. Yes, that's right. I said 3 front bands. There is a "floating" band on left side in addition to the regular front band. It is attached for about 4" at the top, then "floats" freely. It will have buttonholes so it can buttoned "in many interesting" ways, according to the pattern. The fit is still bothering me. It is better now that I have the front bands on. But I still don't think I would call this a semi-fitted garment. It's pretty fitted around the arms and bust. All in all, I really like this garment. Did I mention the fabric is fabulous?

Here is the counted cross stitch UFO I'm finishing up. I had trouble finding the right color buttons. Who knew it was such a big deal finding light and dark wood tone buttons. I just need to sew on the buttons and then frame it and it will be finished. Yeah! I like the pillow finishing shown, but darn it--I already have the frame and I don't want to waste it. (Obviously, being well organized I purchased the frame at the time I purchased the cloth and pattern. That'll teach me!)

And finally, I decided on my fabric for my Go Chanel or Go Home sew-along. I had almost decided to go with a purple/black/grey fabric I purchased at Vogue Fabrics some time back. I had the 2 yds the pattern calls for, but I just couldn't get comfortable with my choice. I checked around the online shops for possible trim and buttons and nothing really jumped out at me as looking great with the fabric. So I pulled out my swatches this morning and decided to go with this fabric. It is a wool boucle. I bought it at the Puyallup Sewing show from Peggy Sagers at Silhouette Patterns. I have about 3-1/2 yds. I can cut those 2" wide seam allowances and not worry. Also, if something happens and I need to recut a piece, I will have the fabric to do that. I feel really good about my choice. I'm excited about finding trim and buttons. I just wasn't excited with my first almost-choice of fabric. Now I need to go post about my progress with the jacket on the Go Chanel blog.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

I'm home from my business trip and no more house guests so I spent time this weekend sewing and working on another UFO. Progress was made on each front.

On the sewing front, I started a Sewing Workshop shirt, Bells, from the Bells & Whistles pattern. I am using this very awesome silk/bamboo fabric (Did I mention how luxurious, indulgent and just plain awesome this fabric is?) from my friend Londa. I do not believe I have ever worked with a fabric so beautiful. The hand is soft, it sews like a dream, presses even better, feels wonderful on. I'm very impressed with this fabric. I should finish this shirt this week and I'll post picture then.

I guess I haven't used Sewing Workshop patterns before. I am disappointed that there aren't any finished garment measurements. I measured the flat pattern and figured I would be o.k. cutting my normal size. But--it's going to be what I would call "fitted", not "semi-fitted" as the pattern description states. Other than that, I am pleased with the pattern so far. (I'm about half way finished.) Linda Lee writes great directions, and gives great tips for a professional finish. I have 2 of her books, Mastering Miters and Sewing Edges and Corners. Both are great references.

On the UFO front, nothing completed this weekend--but I'm close! I am finishing up another cross stitch project. The stitching is done on linen over 2 threads. I was having such a hard time counting the threads that I broke down today and bought one of those hang-around-your-neck-lighted-magnifying glasses. Wow! That really helped these old eyes of mine. I hope to finish this project in the next day or so and I'll post a picture.

On the Go Chanel or Go Home front, I took my pattern and fabric swatches with me last week to mull over. I'm still a little undecided about the fabric. I have it narrowed down to 2 possibilities. I bought muslin for my test garment so while I work on that I can continue stewing over the fabric selection.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On The Road Again

No sewing this past week. DD and her 4 children surprised me with a visit. It was a fabulous time. I love spending time with my daughter, and my grandchildren are such a source of pleasure. Although worn out and in need of extra sleep today, I thoroughly enjoy having all of them around!

And, unfortunately, I will be traveling on business again this week. So no sewing until next weekend.

I did manage to complete another UFO. I finished cross stitching a bread cloth. It took maybe an hour to finish up the outlining. I am surprised at how many of my UFO's can be completed with just a little investment of time. I wonder why I didn't finish these items way back when. The good thing is I get a real sense of accomplishment when I do finish another project.

And speaking of projects, I have joined the Go Chanel or Go Home sew along. I'm really excited to be sewing a Chanel-style jacket. I've never tackled anything like this. Check all the excitement over there.

I won't be duplicating my Chanel posts. I'll have other projects (aka UFO's) to write about here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


An unplanned, unexpected, emergency business trip interrupted my sewing last week. But I was able to spend most of this weekend in my studio working on the UFO list.

I finished this little knitted purse. I knit the pieces 2 years ago. It just laid in a heap on a shelf in my sewing studio ever since. I thought it would be a snap to sew together. Wrong! Unexpectedly it took me about 4 hours to finish this. Admittedly, part of that time (about an hour) was spent adding a lining, but still it took another 3 hours to do all the finishing. I'm not entirely happy with it. It is soft and floppy. I wish I had added something on the bottom to at least make the bottom more sturdy, but I don't know the first thing about making purses and consequently, have none of those materials. I thought about just using cardboard, but decided not to. It could bend and get a crease; if the purse got wet on the bottom it would get mushy; the sharp edges might cut the yarn. I decided cardboard would not be a good choice. So now that the purse is finished I'm not sure what to do with it except MARK 1 MORE ITEM OFF THE UFO LIST! YEAH!
I give up on the machine hemstitching. I just don't get the how the wing needle works. I spent several more hours today trying all the different decorative stitches on my Bernina and trying several techniques from the book, Fine Machine Sewing. I wasn't able to come up with anything that I thought looked even remotely acceptable. Again, an unexpected turn of events. I decided to just turn a wide hem and topstitch. I think the table cover will be fine. I am disappointed that I am unable to bring my idea to fruition, but I believe reality is taking over this project.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Keeping My Nose to the Grindstone, er Needles

I've been hard at work trying to finish up all the UFO's in the sewing studio. I reviewed my list again and realized that it is actually about 50/50 clothes & craft projects. Over the last couple of evenings I completed these cute Halloween witches. And, I weaved in the ends on 2 pairs of socks I knitted in the last couple of months. Next up is re-making a pair of brown pants for DGD2. They match an outfit I made for her for Christmas. Unfortunately, the bleach fairy visited them. I have them cut out and ready to stitch up. Also, I'm continuing to practise the machine hem stitching for DD1's table cover.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekends Were Made For…

Yard Work—I've been making an concerted effort to work in my yard for several hours every weekend this summer. I'm not a real gardener kind of gal. Don't get me wrong, I want the yard to look really nice, but gardening and yard work is not on my Top 10 Things I Love To Do list. However, this spring I looked around and decided the yard really needed some TLC. So now I listen to podcasts on my iPod and spend time on Saturday morning or Sunday working around the yard. I've transplanted some plants to better locations. I reworked some edging around one bed. And I pull all the little weeds before they get big. All in all, I think the time spent is paying off. The yard is looking a little more loved.

Sewing—I find late July and early August to be sewing black holes—too late for summer clothes, a bit too early for fall & winter items. So I decided it would be a good time to work on UFO's. I went on a scavenger hunt around the studio and identified 18 UFO's. Only a couple are actually clothing items, thank goodness. Most are crafty things where the item is 90% complete and I just need to finish it up. For instance, I have some cute Halloween stuffed goblins about 50% complete. I just need to spend an hour or 2 and assemble them.

So in that vein, I completed 2 items that I actually will use in the sewing studio. One is a cover for my sewing machine. It matches the cover I made for my serger. The other item is a hanging fabric wall organizer. Right now I have these little metal basket things hanging on the back of the door to hold stuff. The problem is the baskets are just a bit too wide for that space so the door is only open part way or the baskets bang into the wall. This hanging wall organizer will be flatter so I can put an end to the little dents in the wall (which will have to be spackled next time I paint).

Knitting—On the knitted sock front--woo-hoo! I am working the ribbing at the top of the sock. Only 1" to go and I will be finished. I am so close that I took the plunge and began swatching for my next project. Details later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Needles and Needles

I am working on a couple of projects, one knitting and one sewing, one almost completed and one just getting started.

On my knitting needles I am about to finish my first pair of toe-up socks. First let me say I am not a "Knitter". Only in the past 3 or 4 years have I started knitting again and I knit my first pair of socks about 2 years ago. I just walked into my LYS and said to Hannah, "I want to knit socks. Fix me up." Wisely, she handed me Sensational Knitted Socks and sat me down to read. I walked out with the book, dpns, and yarn. I had little trouble, except they were way too big when I finished. So recently, I undid them, washed the yarn and picked a different pattern from the same book, a smaller size and started over.

Since I didn't want to run out of yarn I thought I should do them toe-up. I hadn't done toe-up socks even though I hear them talked about on a lot of podcasts and had seen them in all the sock books I have purchased. I ended up using a toe-up sock pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks book. I had a terrible time with the cast-on and Tweeted about my problems. Heather Ordover from Craftlit came to my rescue with the Magic Cast On from I've been happily knitting since and am about finished. Yeah!

On the sewing side of the needle issue I am starting a table scarf for DD1. It is made from green duppoini silk. I had in my head I would do a decorative hemstitch. I bought the wing needle and sat down to work last night. Boy, did I find out there is a whole lot more to a decorative hemstitch. Right now I am doing my homework. Luckily I have the book, Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Laflin Ahles. She does a great job of explaining how to do hemstitching. I will be practicing a lot before tackling the actual table scarf. But I'm looking forward to learning this new skill.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mending and Meandering

I get a real sense of satisfaction when I look at a pile of completed mending. I don't like mending: sewing on missing buttons, repairing buttonholes, resewing seams, fixing a hole in a pair of slacks. These tasks just don't fill me with excitement. Is there anyone who really likes to mend?

However, there is one aspect of mending that I guess I actually do like. It's the ability to let my mind wander and think about all the fabric, patterns, and projects around me in my sewing studio. I can look at inspiration pictures I have cut out of magazines and plan a project. Or I can look at fabric scraps and think about a garment I already made. I can look at the patterns laying around and think about how cute DGD2 will look wearing garments made from those patterns. Mending time is an opportunity to just let my thoughts meander from one aspect of sewing to another, a time to dream and be inspired.

So while I didn't actually work on a garment project this weekend, I did spend a fair amount of time in the sewing studio. And as the weekend draws to a close, I feel "darn" good about what I accomplished.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just Resting Between Sets

A local gym is running some clever commercials right now. The set up is a question-and-answer period. In one of the commercials the "customer" asks, "I've not been working out for a while. How do I get started again?" The announcer replies, in this deep, booming voice, "Don't say you haven't been working out, say 'I'm just resting between sets.'" I love that line! It is so appropriate for many areas of my life right now.

I have done some sewing over the last few months. Here is DGD2's dress for her baptism and birthday celebration. It is a Bonnie Blue pattern. I added lace inserts in the skirt and to the angel flutter sleeves. It is made from white handkerchief linen and her initials are embroidered on the yoke. She was, of course, beautiful in her dress, white sandals, gold cross necklace and pearl bracelet. I painted her toenails hot pink to match her older sister. After the ceremony a good time was had by all at her princess birthday celebration.

DH & I met our DD1 and her family in the Smokey Mountains for vacation in late June. We all shared an awesome cabin on top of a mountain for 7 days. I made a couple of pair of shorts from KwikSew 3614. I made View A for both pairs of shorts. I really liked the way they turned out. One pair of was navy blue from some stash cotton. The other pair was a black/white cotton twill with just a touch of Lycra. The shorts went together easily and this pattern has the best fly instructions I've found. Very clear and concise.

I'm starting to think about fall. I need slacks mostly. So I'm checking both the pattern & fabric stash to come up with a plan.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is It Really So Cold I Need Two Jackets?

I usually wear 3 pieces of clothing, especially in winter, but even in warm weather. Since I work from home, I only need a business suit occasionally. So I am always looking for great, interesting casual jackets to wear over my slacks and tops. Here are 2 I finished recently.

This is a Creative Sweatshirt Jacket. My friend, Londa Rohlfing, started designing these beautiful sweatshirt jackets several years. I sometimes help out at her booth during sewing expos which is where this idea was born. I fell in love with the blue silk bias ribbon and designed the jacket around it. Because I failed to follow one of Londa's principles that you are buying fabric, not a sweatshirt, I didn't have enough "fabric" to create the jacket front I had originally envisioned. I was totally perplexed about how to proceed since I couldn't figure out the front. That was where the languishing began. After 1+ years of staring at the unfinished jacket hanging in my sewing room, it just all came together one day. Here is the finished jacket.

The photo doesn't do a good job of showing the color of the original sweatshirt. It is a beautiful grape color. I used the batik fabric to create a yoke on the back and added the blue silk ribbon to create a finished edge at the bottom of the yoke.

This is the other jacket. It is made from a brown berber fleece purchased a JoAnn's several years ago. The original Butterick pattern doesn't call for the hood to be lined, but used some flowered silk remnants to line the inside of the hood. I don't know if I will ever actually put the hood on head, but the silk provides some nice interest against the plain brown jacket.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An Up-to-Date Friend

My good friend, Londa, is open for business on her updated website! (In web-speak she "skinned" her site. I learned that from DS who is the most handsome "geek" I've ever known!)

Go visit Londa's Sewing and check out her site filled with creativity and inspiration and everything you need to bring those two things to your sewing!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Immersed in Fabric

I finally finished!

I have been cataloging and reorganizing my fabric stash and cleaning up my sewing room. Whew! What a job!

I struggled motivating myself to sew after the holidays. I realized it was because my sewing room was really (for me anyway) a mess, with piles of fabric, patterns, magazines, fabric matched to patterns, books, and videos all around. I am, I think, a pretty neat & tidy seamstress. I operate on the philosophy of everything has a place and everything in its place. Where I fall down is in the planning stage. I look at my patterns, then match them to a fabric. Then repeat the exercise. So I end up with, as I said, piles of projects placed everything.

Recently I was looking for a particular fabric and for the life of me I couldn't locate it. Since this has happened more & more frequently of late, I decided to put away all the piles and re-catalog my entire stash. Part of the problem with the stash is that several years ago when my fabric buying was out of control, I did a pretty poor job of keeping track of what I purchased. So I had lots of fabric that wasn't on my stash list.

So I made up a Swatch Card on 5x8 index cards and began to catalog & swatch my entire stash. Mmmm, wow, had I underestimated my stash! At first I was overwhelmed by how much fabric there was. Then I felt guilty for having spent all that money in accumulating all that fabric. But as I made up a card for each different piece, I came to terms with my over abundance. It is what it is and you can't cry over spilt milk. So I started to enjoy all the fabric. I dreamed of what would be the perfect garment for a particular fabric. I realized I no longer need to accumulate and hang on to fabric for dear life. I realized the best way to deal with all this fabric is to create beautiful garments!

I was surprised there are only about 5 pieces that are in the "What was I thinking!" category. There are maybe 5-10 more pieces that are beautiful fabrics, but just not right for me. I need to find a way to sell these. But overwhelmingly I love every piece of fabric in my stash and now that I have my sewing room neat and tidy and all cleaned up, I can hardly wait to get back at the sewing machine!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Should've Been A Cowboy"

"Should've been a cowboy;
Should've learned to rope and ride.
Wearin' my six-shooter
Ridin' my pony on a cattle drive." (
Toby Keith)

Thanks to The Love of My Life I love western movies. My favorite movie channel is The Western Channel. (I also love old '40's & '50's movies, but that's for another time.) The Love of My Live grew up playing cowboys & indians while my brothers all played war games. So watching all the old westerns brings back happy, pleasant memories for The Love of My Life. While John Wayne can't be beat as an actor, my next favorite "cowboy" is Randolph Scott. There is just something about a Virginia man! I was thrilled that last Friday The Western Channel had a "6-Gun Salute" to Mr. Scott and played his movies all day. I was only able to watch a couple Friday evening, but they were fabulous!

So why am I talking about cowboy movies, you ask? Simply, too many westerns have kept me from sewing very much and blogging about my sewing. I finished my Christmas gifts and hope to post pictures of some of the clothes I made my Darling Youngest Grandchildren. But I also have managed to sew a couple of things for me (between the cowboy movies). I will get pictures and post those items also.