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!