Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Sewing Part 2

I had a very productive day. 

Here is the bread cloth for The Coach. It took me a lot longer to finish it than I had figured. I had calculated around an hour or maybe an hour and a half would be all that was needed to do the outlining and the message. Three and a half hours later I took the last stitch. I hope she likes it. 

Here is The Coach's birthday present. I have knitted things for both The Chef and The Son but never anything for The Coach so I told her to pick something and I would make it for her. So on one hand she knows I'm making it for her. She doesn't know it's finished and I'm giving it to her for her birthday. 

And, here is the final project for today. A kimono dress for The Princess. The Coach had asked me about making a dress in this Asian style for The Princess. I used a ModKid pattern, Kyoko. It was surprisingly easy. The one thing I was disappointed in was the amount of fabric the pattern called for to make the bias tape. The pattern said to buy 1 yd. So I did. And I cut it all into bias 2" wide bias strips. And now I have so much leftover. I'll have to find some project where I can use it. 

I finished all three projects I had designated for today's marathon sewing session. And, I got in my 4 mile run! Good day today!

Weekend Sewing Part 1

The Love is out camping with his buddies this weekend and I am so psyched about being able to sew & create all weekend. Here is what I accomplished last night.
Austin Pajama Pants
I started these 2 pair of pajama pants for the youngest grandson, Austin, last month. Sometimes the simplest of projects get put off because I think, "Oh they are so simple. I'll whip them up later." And later never gets here. Since we will be visiting Austin and the rest of his family for Thanksgiving, I finished these to take with us. 

Riley knit top 
2+2 Skirt from Oliver + S 
Next up is this cute little purple top for The Princess. Again, I started it last month and just kept putting off the finishing details, like weaving in all the serged ends. This top goes with the skirt I made her in September. The Princess likes "bling" to adorn her clothing but I'm not really a "bling" person so I used lots of buttons on the top. Hopefully, she'll like it. 

Two projects slated for completion this morning, both are for The Coach.
  •  Finish cross stitching the Thanksgiving bread cloth which is part of last year's birthday gift. I only have a little outlining to do. 
  • sew in the lining of the purse I knit The Coach for this year's birthday. I will give it to her over Thanksgiving weekend because her birthday is in early December. 
But first I'm off for a morning run!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wool Pumpkins

At the recent Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Kansas City MO I saw some really cute fabric pumpkins in a booth called Sew Cherished. The owner of Sew Cherished, Dawn, hand dyes wool and sells it along with other needlework and quilting items. I walked away without purchasing anything, but those pumpkins just planted themselves in my head and would not go away. As you can tell, I ended up buying the wool to make these 3 pumpkins as well as the pattern & kit to make this beautiful hand embroidered pumpkin. I won't even attempt to work on the embroidered pumpkin until after the holidays are all over. It will be my embroidery project for 2011. 
Stuffed pumpkins made from hand-dyed wool
Embroidered pumpkin pattern
Here is the link to Sew Cherished and Crab-Apple Hill. Both are interesting websites. 

Umm, Can You Say Messy?

This is how my sewing studio looked Saturday morning. There was stuff piled everywhere. The pictures don't show the projects piled on the floor and the clothes to be ironed piled on the ironing board. Ugh! It was awful. I have a hard time sewing & creating when my environment is chaotic. So I took some time to clean up—only a little as it turned out. Then I got distracted and decided to finish up a couple of projects. (This is what happens when my sewing studio is a mess. I find it difficult to focus on one thing at a time.) 

By Sunday evening the cutting table was better. The sewing machine area was much better, although not completely clear. I did however, make these cute wool pumpkins. And I finished up a purple knit top for The Princess and made 2 pairs of pajama pants for The Youngest Grandson. 
Wool Pumpkins (see next post for details)

The Love will be camping with his buddies this weekend and I will be spending most of those 3 days in the sewing studio. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Apron and Napkins, Totally Unrelated

This apron was supposed to have been finished for my ASG Annual Meeting & Tea last Sunday. My neighborhood group was hosting the event. Alas, it didn't quite make it. But I did finish it last night.  The pattern is the Vintage Style Apron from and the  fabric is from the now-closing The Quilt Shoppe.(I will miss this shop. I don't quilt, but they have wonderful fabric and their level of service cannot be surpassed!) The fabric is from the Caffeine Cafe collection. The front of the apron is Coffee Cup Toss and the accent fabric is Coffee Beans Dark Blue. The apron is lined with Coffee Beans Tan. The lining makes the apron reversible. 
 The apron is unique because of the way the ties attach to the apron body. The tie ends are inserted through buttonholes on the apron and tied in a knot. The neck and side ties are both handled this way. Here's a close up. I really like how it turned out and probably will make some more aprons like this when I find great coordinating fabric. 

When I attended the Original Sewing & Quilt Show in KCMO a couple of weeks ago I found this fall-themed fabric in one of the booths. Since I love using cloth napkins I cut the fabric into 18" squares and serged the edges, actually a rolled hem edge. I used bright orange wooly nylon in the loopers and a variegated brown thread in the needle. It looks really great. 

I made 6 napkins and have decided I will give 4 to The Chef. She & her SO will be celebrating their first Thanksgiving in the house they bought this year. Maybe these napkins will add to the festivities. 

Giving and Receiving

I was touched by this blog post over at today. It is especially timely during this holiday season. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Love This Scarf!

Northhampton Kerchief
Isn't this a beautiful scarf? I fell head over heals in love when I first saw it in the KnitPicks catalog back in September. The colors shown here are not good for me, but the design is divine. I saved my pennies and last week, with the help of a 40% off coupon, I purchased the book, New England Knits,  then ran directly to my LYS, Hearthstone Knits,  to buy some yarn. I came home with a lovely, dark blue, dark red, grey heather combo. I have been knitting obsessively every since. 

The scarf is actually a square and you start knitting in the middle with only 12 stitches. You increase every other row. You quickly have lots of stitches on the needles. At this stage it is a very easy piece to knit. It is literally all knit stitches with yo's (yarn overs) for the increases. I pick it up and knit on it every chance I get and I'm almost finished with the grey center area. I leave on a business trip today and will have lots & lots of knitting time while traveling. Woo hoo!

My knitting has lacked excitement this year but this project has me jazzed! I can hardly wait to finish it. Did I mention I love this scarf? 

Monday, November 1, 2010


Have you discovered this great sewing site? Sew-Whats-New. I don't hang out at Nor do I ever stop in at Stitcher's Guild. In fact, I don't really spend a lot of time visiting sewing sites. But I do like Sew-Whats-New. And I was blessed today to have my profile featured. I got to add the nifty little badge you see in the side bar. Pretty cool, huh? 

Thia Tee--My New TNT

La Fred Thia Tee I made view B with a round neckline.
Thia Tee (actually it's lavender)

Description: Thia tee is a high-hip length, semi-fitted shirt designed for stretch knits. The fit is achieved through vertical and horizontal bust darts. The pattern features two necklines: a round, semi-boat neck or a square neck. Sleeve options include a short cap sleeve, three-quarter length or long sleeve.
Sizing: XS – XXL. I made a large.
Fabric used:  High quality single knit from the stash. I believe it came from Fashion Sewing Group maybe 6 or 7 years ago. The picture captured it as blue, but it is actually a beautiful medium lavender. 
Instructions: Easy and there are great sewing tips included.
Changes:  None; I made it straight from the pattern to check for fit.
Likes/Dislikes:  There isn’t anything to dislike about this pattern.
Conclusion:  I have long looked for a t-shirt pattern I could truly call a TNT (tried and true). I finally found it! I love the fit of this pattern. I love the styling. The darts help shape the top so it doesn’t just hang on me. Even the slightly dropped shoulders are o.k. I might try raising them just a tad. The neckline is simple so it will be easy to scoop it out; raise it a bit and add a turtleneck collar. Ooh-la-la. I’m loving it!

Textile Studio Capri Jacket

Textile Studio Capri Jacket Short Version
Capri Jacket

Description: This versatile jacket can be worn as a jacket over a sleeveless top or a blouse depending on fabric choice. It has two length options with a fitted shoulder, narrow inset sleeves and graceful side shaping. 
Sizing: XXS – XXL. I made a medium so it would be more fitted. I’m just not into very loose-fitting tops.
Fabric used:  Very soft, drapey knit, brown with blue flecks.
Instructions: Easy, easy, easy!
Changes:  None
Likes/Dislikes:  The fabric is so soft and drapey. I love that. But I think this jacket would be better with fabric that had a bit more body.
Conclusion:  I like the end result, but I don’t love it. I thought I would be able to wear it as a blouse, but I will need a cami under it.  I have some additional yardage of the fabric and I think I will try it in a more traditional knit top style. Also, the top button really isn't crooked. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Original Sewing & Quilting Expo-Kansas City MO

I just returned from working at the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in KCMO with my friend, Londa. I feel so privileged to be able to work in her booth. It is hard work, no doubt about it. But I really enjoy my time selling her beautiful Creative Sweatshirt Jacket patterns & DVDs along with other sewing items and I love talking to all the women (and men) who come in to look and buy. I also get to see new & exciting trends in the sewing & quilting cultures. 

I don't claim to be on the cutting edge of what's hot but here are some things I have noticed as I attend these expos. 

Quilting—Yes, women are still quilting but there seems to be a definite trend away from traditional large quilts made for beds or wall hanging. I see the patchwork principle (seaming small pieces of fabric together to create an object) being applied in different ways. Decorative pillows, place mats, and other small items were every where. 

There were also several booths teaching ink jet printing on cloth. There were machines for laminating fabric and machines for cutting all manner of shapes. I guess the biggest application would be applique. 

Embroidery-There are still booths selling embroidery designs but the number is shrinking. 

Garment sewing-Dare I say I see a trend back to garment sewing? There are lots of small pattern designers showing up at these expos. 

I don't work with Londa again till March. It will be interesting to see what 2011 brings. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My First Garment

Wow! A month since I posted anything here. I knew I lost some momentum, and was out of town for a few days, and have been sick for over a week, but my, my. Where does the time go? 

This time of year reminds me of the first garment I ever made for myself. I started sewing as a little tyke. I remember making "diapers" for my baby dolls before I was in kindergarten. But I didn't make anything I could actually wear until 6th grade. I was 11 years old. It was a blue and black houndstooth check wool skirt. Back in the 60's it was called a dirndl skirt. It was 2 straight pieces of fabric sewed into a tube with elastic at the top. I think I put pockets in it, but I could be wrong about that. 

I loved that skirt! The fabric was awesome. I loved the colors. I wore it for a long time. I remember letting the hem down so I could wear it more. I have no idea whatever happened to it. But I sure did love it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ASG Neighborhood Meeting 09/14/10

I had a great time at our ASG neighborhood meeting Tuesday night. After almost a year I am beginning to feel like I belong here. (Good thing since I am co-leader.) My co-leader surprised me by announcing that she will not continue next year. (No comment how much we talk, my co-leader & me. It's one of my pet peeves.) Laura has been a co-leader for 10+ years. No one volunteered but there are still a few months left in the year for someone to step up. 

We spent most of the meeting ironing out all the details for the Chapter Annual Meeting & Tea. Our group is in charge of hosting it in November. I feel like the whole planning process has been a scene from The Three Stooges. I thought all the major decisions had been made, but apparently not so. Tuesday night we discussed things I thought were decided months ago. Grrrr. Drives me crazy. I really dislike doing things at the last minute and that is what is going to happen here. I can read the writing on the wall. 

I really didn't mean to turn this into a rant, but as long as I'm venting—it also drives me crazy how some women just talk irregardless of who else is talking and what is being discussed. There are a couple women in our neighborhood who do this. I am going to find some way to nicely tackle this issue. It is so rude!

OK. Enough ranting. I really did have a great time. There was sharing and laughing and camaraderie. I know Dr. Ron would be happy to see me attending and participating in this group. I took my Loes Hinse jacket for show-and-tell. I wonder about timing Riley's kimono dress so I can take it in next month. Hmmm. Have to think about that. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Loes Hinse Experience

Loes Hinse Bolero Jacket   I made View A.
Loes Hinse Bolero Jacket
Description: Softly fitted, v-neck front jacket with insert collar piece. Two length styles included. Two closure options.
Sizing: XXS-XXL  I went down one size because I like my jackets to fit rather than be oversized. 
Fabric used:  Soft, drapey woven fabric from Textile Studios. (Stash fabric) It is berry and navy. 
Instructions: Ridiculously simple. I believe the tips that Loes includes as part of the construction really make the difference between a home-made look and a designer jacket.
Changes:  I added and 1-1/2" in length because the measurements on the pattern envelope would have made the jacket about waist length. I measured one of my very favorite jackets and added the extra length. I should have also measured the actual pattern pieces. The extra length wasn't necessary and I will remove it when I make this jacket again. 

Likes/Dislikes:  Very easy, goes together quick. Despite this quick &easy construction the jacket looks very classy—not the typical "2 Hour" garment.
Conclusion: I really like this jacket. The fabric is divine. It is so soft, but still holds the shape of the jacket. The fit is good. I think this style would look great in a jacquard fabric.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend Sewing

I had a very productive sewing weekend even with the ASG Fashion Show on Sunday. 

I finished the casual skirt I was working on. Oops! I forgot to take a picture. It is KwikSew 3098. I made view A but shortened it and used snaps in place of the buttons. It turned out pretty cute. A great hanging-out-at-home kinda skirt. The fabric is a Ralph Lauren cotton stretch twill, khaki colored background with very small purple, lavender and yellow flowers. I bought the fabric at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston IL back in 2001 for around $6.00 for 3 yds. 

I also made a Loes Hinse jacket, The Bolero Jacket. I just need to finish hemming both the jacket and sleeves and it will be finished. Pictures and a more complete review to follow.

And then, there is this 2-piece dress. I made this back in July. It was a "project" from Peggy Sagers at Silhouette Patterns. I bought the Cowl Neck Top and Yoga Skirt patterns and 2 yards of this surface embroidered slinky fabric for $29.95, I think. It's o.k. It's a lot of print for me and the color is not my favorite, but I like the patterns. They were ridiculously easy to sew. I can't believe they cost $15 each. I don't like the sizing model Peggy uses. There are no body measurements, only finished garment measurements. I find that makes it hard to figure out a size. The finished garment measurement of this really stretchy slinky knit is different from a woven silk cut on the bias. And she also has 2 size groups—one for "regular" sizes (1-4) and then what I guess are "plus" sizes. They are numbered 5W-8W. It seemed to me there was an overlap in the sizes. Oh well. The outfit turned out o.k. It's an easy fitting, casual garment I can throw on and feel good in. 
Why Do I Always Look Like I'm "Biting my tongue" ? 

Fashion Show

Our ASG Chapter had a luncheon and fashion show of member garments yesterday. The Chapter does this about every other year. I have never attended in the past. This year not only did I attend but I modeled not one, but two garments I made. The Threads circular vest and a creative  sweatshirt jacket. The afternoon was fun. I rode to the event with a couple of ladies in my neighborhood group. It is entertaining to listen to other women talk about their lives. Plus, I always come away with good feelings about my husband, my life, my kids…Listening to other people reminds me how good I have it! 

So back to the fashion show—There were lots of really interesting garments and other items. One thing I really like (and suggested we do in our neighborhood group) was the 1 yard Challenge. One neighborhood group picked a fabric and each member had 1 yard to create something. Several ladies made vests; there were several bags of various sizes; a set of placemats & napkins. I thought it was a very cool idea. 

Another neighborhood group did a mystery quilt challenge. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but each lady ended up with a quilt of the same design, but very different because they used their own fabrics. All looked really nice; some were outstanding!

I think the most intriguing garment was a jacket made from a shower curtain. A shower curtain? Yes. And it was beautiful! A lady found this beautiful embroidered shower curtain at the resale shop for $1.00 and cut it up to make a soft, feminine jacket. It was lovely.

The kids, of course, were all really cute. 

There must be a back story to one lady's entries. She entered her 2 wedding gowns. She had 2 ceremonies so she had 2 gowns. Don't get that. And the other puzzling thing was both gowns were short and beige, almost light brown. Another part of the story was that both gowns incorporated the same fabric. Fabric she bought extraordinarily cheap-one gown cost $20 and the other one $14. Yeah for her, I think. 

All in all, it was a fun afternoon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cheap Thrills

This is my latest favorite sewing tool. I got it from Londa's-Sewing
Collin's Point Turner

I loved the time I recently spent sewing with Londa. I learned so much from her. And, I also got to see which tools she used, why she used them, and how to use them. This point turner is a result of that experience. I've used a lot of different tools to help create perfect points and corners including the tips of scissors and chopsticks. But this little plastic point turner is the absolute best. And, at $2.85 it's a cheap thrill! The point has just the right amount of point to gently push out the corner but not put a hole in the fabric. It's a great shape to hold in your hand. I can even leave it in place and press the corner or point in place. I love it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sewing for the Grandkids

Here are the most recent projects for the youngest grandkids. 

The Princess's new PJ's
Pillowcases for DGS. He loves Hot Wheels!

I have another outfit for The Princess in the works. The skirt is the 2+2 skirt from Oliver + S and a knit t-shirt. I'm going to add a self-ruffle around the neck, similar to this.

I had quite an experience in The Studio last night and this morning. I was getting ready to cut into 2 of the fabrics from yesterday's post. I could not find one of the patterns. I searched hi and low. I searched through all the piles. No luck. Did I refile it? I pulled out the pattern catalog. Nope, not there either. I looked through the piles again. Seriously serious it wasn't there. I searched through the pattern box. Couldn't find it. I felt like I was going crazy. I knew I had studied the pattern. But where the heck was it? I went to bed feeling frustrated. In the sewing studio this morning I searched again. Piles? No. Pattern catalog? No. Pattern box? No. So I gave up and moved on. And as I walked out of the Studio about 30 minutes later there it was! Taped to the mirrored closet door. You know, right where I would see it! Whew! I'm not crazy. I did pull it out and set it aside. I knew it. Boy did I feel better. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Remembering a Sad Time

Saturday evening I was in my sewing studio "puttzing" around, as my dear MIL would say. I had sewed all day and needed a break from actual sewing. But I still wanted to be in my studio so I was looking at patterns, moving stuff around, stash dreaming…you know, "puttzing" around. 

As I was rearranging a couple of the many piles I have in my studio I found 3 pieces of fabric I purchased from Textile Studios in January 2005. For some inexplicable reason these 3 pieces of fabric have never made it into the "official" stash. I knew I had the fabric. They were purchased for 3 specific garments, but I hadn't cut swatches to add to my stash file, nor had I included the yardage in my stash tally. (It would be +10 yards.) But here is what made me sad when I found this fabric.

I went through a very difficult period starting in the late 90's. I was falling apart emotionally from the inside out. For a long time I didn't realize what was happening. Looking back I see that one of the ways I tried to cope was by purchasing fabric. I was obsessive, stashing away hundreds & hundreds of yards of fabric. Truth be told, I wasn't stashing, I was hoarding. I sewed very little during this period. I just bought fabric and stashed it away in boxes I hid in closets & under beds and any place I could find where I hoped  The Love wouldn't notice. I racked up pretty high balances on several credit cards due to my hoarding. 

The best thing I can say about having all that fabric is this. During that time I would periodically go in my sewing studio, close and lock the door, literally wrap myself in several pieces of fabric and take a nap. I would feel safe locked away from the rest of the world wrapped in long lengths of beautiful fabric. For a time, the anxiety I felt inside would dissipate. A good thing now about all that fabric is that now that I am much healthier emotionally, I have a wonderful selection of fabrics to sew from.

Finding these 3 pieces of fabric reminded me of the dark period in my life; the pain I caused the people who loved me, especially The Love Of My Life. It reminded me of the years of therapy; the hard, painful work I did to climb out of the abyss I had sunk into. It also reminded me how much The Love stood by me and how grateful I am for his love, patience, understanding, empathy and friendship. 

I am ready to cut into these 3 pieces fabric now. Patterns are traced off, fabric is pre-shrunk and on the cutting table. My journey to an emotionally healthy adult continues daily. Sometimes I take small steps, sometimes I leap forward. Sewing these 3 garments will be like vaulting over a high fence. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ready for the Runway!

I just finished the 2nd garment for the upcoming fashion show hosted by ASG-St. Louis. I will be modeling these 2 garments.
(I am going to add a hook & eye
closure to the front of the circle vest. ) 
Hot Pink Sweatshirt Jacket

I am pretty pleased with how both garments turned out. 

The sweatshirt jacket is from the Genesis Too pattern from Londa's Creative Threads. Londa asked me to participate in filming her latest DVD, Creative Jacket Journey. I was thrilled to be asked and spent 3 wonderful, sewing-filled days in her studio. On the last day, she received a shipment of duppioni silk and I absolutely fell in love with the hot pink. The photo didn't capture the true color of the silk. It is a bright, hot pink, bordering on magenta. It is gorgeous! So I paired it with this interesting cotton batik print, added some bright blue silk duppioni for a  little contrast and "plopped" it all on a navy sweatshirt base. I am really happy with the results. Here is a picture of the back. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sewing for Riley & Me

I cut out a couple of garments this morning. Two for my DGD, RileyRoo and one for me. 

PJ's from a pink & purple flowered cotton with the Barbie logo on it are by the sewing machine as is a 2+2 Pleated Skirt from Oliver + S. The skirt fabric is a stretch cotton twill, khaki background with very small purple & yellow flowers. I cut a casual skirt for myself from the same fabric. With the Labor Day weekend almost here, I hope to finish these items by Monday. 

Then, it is on to some sewing for The Chef. She rescued some fabric I was selling in a yard sale and asked for 2 pairs of slacks and skirt. 

In addition, I'm knitting a purse for The Coach and I still have 3 bread cloths to cross-stitch for her also. 

For the first time in my life it seems that the more creative things on my "plate", the more creative ideas I have in my head. It's actually kind of cool because I never really think of myself as "creative". Yes, I can sew really well, I knit and cross stitch about average. But I have always had to have a pattern by my side. I always followed the directions to a letter. I just didn't seem to have an original thought. But lately, there have been a lot of "what if I did this?" and "hmm, I wonder how that would look?" percolating in my brain. It's kind of nice.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Busy Little Beaver

I worked hard all weekend and finished up one garment for the upcoming fashion sew for our ASG chapter. This is it. 

It is a circular vest from Threads #146. The fabric is from my friend, Londa. The fabric isn't double cloth. It is just woven to have 2 distinct sides. I bound the edges and the armholes with black French bias strips. The armholes are a bit tight and after the fashion sew I am going to remove the binding and make them bigger. 
Also, the fabric is a bit stiff and doesn't allow for the vest to look "closed". I am going to add a small black hook & eye so if I want to "close" it, I can. The Chef suggested using a great button for the closure. A great idea, but I don't want to draw that much attention to my mid-life midriff. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Productivity Overflows

I finished up a big alterations job this past weekend so I have time to sew for me now. Yeah! 

I finished this knit top. It's a Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern. I cut it 1 size smaller than my measurements called for. I did not want it to be really loose fitting. And I love the way it turned out. This stash fabric was purchased at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston IL 5 or 6 years ago. I think it actually was in the clearance pile. This is the first Marcy Tilton pattern I have used and she has some great designs. It was my first foray into spray adhesive in the sewing studio.  I was a little messy at first but quickly learned to cover everything close by. I still haven't figured out how to get the residue off my fingertips. I ended up using nail polish remover because soap just didn't do the job. 

I also finished this Creative Sweatshirt Jacket. It is based on the Refined pattern. The embellishment fabric is Thai cotton and Kimono silk. It turned out pretty well. I get better with each jacket I work on. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Really Have Been Sewing

In spite of the drought in blog posts I have been sewing. Here's a three items I have completed recently.

Amy Butler Frenchie Bag

I made this bag for DGD1 for Christmas 2009 and really like the style. On a recent trip to Dearborn MI I stopped in at quilt store and fell in love with the dogwood print. I would never "wear" the fabric so I decided to make me a Frenchie Bag. I've received a ton of compliments on it. 

Laptop Bag

Again, I fell in love with the sateen cotton print at a sewing show I worked at in Cincinnati.  I bought the fabric and then found a laptop bag pattern in the booth next to me. I had some trouble with the pattern directions not making sense, but the bag turned out o.k. Someone I know loves the bag and may receive it as a present come Christmas. 

Clothes for The Princess
My youngest DGD has earned the nickname Princess. I say it lovingly but some members of her immediate family are a little more sarcastic. Be that as it may, I love sewing for The Princess. Here's a summer dress I whipped up for her. 

She didn't really like the drawstring tie in the front so when I made her a short top with capri pants from the same pattern, I moved the tie(s) to the shoulders. I don't have a picture but it was made from a silky polyester fabric, very light pink background with rosebuds all over. Her mom (The Coach) told me when The Princess opened the package she immediately declared them pyjamas and wore them every night for the first week or so. I'm so happy she liked them. 

I have a couple of other garments which are deserving of their own post. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

ASG National Convention

I was lucky enough to attend the ASG national convention in Atlanta recently. I worked for my friend, Londa, in her booth so I wasn't able to take any classes but I did participate in the fashion show and I attended the "gala" Saturday night to honor Shirley Adams. 

I'm going to be brutally honest here. I was really disappointed overall. Maybe taking classes vs. being a vendor would change my mind, but for the cost of attending this convention…well, let's just say it's pretty pricey. 

The best part of the convention is that is held entirely in a hotel. (In this case, the Atlanta Hilton.) So the accommodations, both convention facilities and hotel rooms, were really nice. It also helped me personally that the snack bar in the lobby served Starbucks. Another good thing was the food, mostly. Friday's breakfast and lunch were not so good, but after that the food was great, especially the desserts. The Chef would have been pleased with the presentation of the desserts. 

Vendors: I don't have an exact count, but there were only about 40-50 vendors at the expo portion. And, they weren't big national companies or people. In my opinion the 2 biggest people there were Louise Cutting and Linda Lee. Oh yes, Peggy Sagers was there also. Mostly it was mom-and-pop businesses, which is absolutely great. But I thought that the sewing machine companies would have big booths. Also, I thought the Big 4 pattern companies would be there. What a great place to promote your stuff. Hardly any fabric for sale. Louise Cutting and SewKeyse had fabric, along with some smaller local shops. 

Overall, the expo is much smaller than Puyallup. I've never been to the Novi show but I've heard that it is as big as Puyallup so this ASG would be smaller than it also. 

Evening activities: On Friday night was the big fashion show. It was fun. Some of the clothes were amazing. Amazing not so much from the technical construction side, but the beading, the hand weaving, the putting together of different fabrics--that was amazing. I modeled the Genesis Too jacket I made with Londa for her new DVD, Creative Jacket Journey. Londa modeled the Worthy jacket from the DVD. Somehow, the ladies lining us up for the show switched Londa and me in line and the commentator read the wrong description for my jacket. What do you do when you're on the runway, under the spotlight and the description doesn't match the article of clothing? Just keep smiling and walking and smiling. My only other complaint about the fashion show was the lady doing the commentary. It seemed to me that she hadn't even read the script. She stumbled through almost all the garment descriptions. I heard this complaint from some other fashion show participants as well. 

On Saturday night was the big "Gala" honoring Shirley Adams of The Sewing Connection. I hardly think "gala" describes the night. It was dinner and then Shirley talked about her company. (I found that interesting because had never heard her story.) There was a slide show but it wasn't accompanied with any talking or even any background music. Kinda weird. Then the night was over. That was it. I was expecting a big hoopla. 

The show was pretty good sales-wise for Londa. But if I was just a plain attendee, I would hope that the classes were fabulous. I have to admit that if I have the opportunity to attend this convention as an attendee, I will go. I think the caliber of teachers is pretty good and I would be very selective about the classes I signed up for, but I believe it is possible to get some great training there. 

I also want to put a plug in for Gail K Fabrics in Atlanta. Oh my gosh! A garment sewers heaven. The fabric is stacked floor to ceiling, literally! They had all price ranges from less than $10 to $100+ for bridal fabrics and great suit woolens. We spent about 2 hours there. Londa bought this absolutely fabulous red stretch velvet with a burnout design. It will be her New Year's Eve ballroom dancing gown. And she also bought this weird furry stuff to tickle her creative side. I was pretty restrained. I bought only 1 piece of tapestry-grey & pink-to make a jacket. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

On Hold

I put my creative sweatshirt jacket on hold for this week for a couple of reasons.  I had to do some charity sewing for my neighborhood ASG group. The other reason--I sewed the front band & collar on the wrong side. Now I have to rip out 2 very long rows of stitching. 

We visited a local assisted living/nursing home for our monthly ASG Neighborhood meeting. We took "almost finished" walker bags to distribute to the residents. I say "almost finished" because we left off the buttons and buttonholes and allowed the ladies to choose their buttons. A couple of the members had their sewing machines along and we did buttonholes and buttons right there. 

I don't really like visiting nursing homes. I'm much better with children than elderly people, but I had a good time. We had about 20 women (and 1 man) participate. One lady told us about how she would see a dress in a store and draw a picture for her mother and her mother would make her that dress. Pretty impressive! Another lady taught home ec at a high school. Another lady used to make rugs from Prairie Points. We even had a couple of questions about sewing machines and sergers. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Steady Progress on Jacket

I am making steady progress on my sweatshirt jacket. It's going a little slower than I would like, but I am making time each evening to work on it. The jacket I am working on is like this periwinkle jacket. I am using a brick colored Authentic Pigment Sweatshirt with 3 silk coordinated prints. I should be able to finish it up this weekend and then I'll post a picture. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Laundry Interference

I didn't get to sew much last night. That darn laundry and ironing was calling my name pretty loudly. I did do some creative designing with the fabric embellishments for my sweatshirt jacket so tonight I can make some significant headway on it. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Sewing Marathon

I made it a goal to sew, sew, sew this weekend and boy did I! 

I made a laptop computer case from the quilting fabric I purchased in Cincinnati. (More about that later.) Then I made the Biased About Jackets from Fashion in Harmony. And I am well on my way to creating another Creative Sweatshirt Jacket.

Sunday morning when I walked into my sewing studio I realized I had lots of piles of stuff sitting around. Time to do a little picking up and reorganizing. I spent a couple hours Sunday and Monday on the task and the room looks much better--less chaotic. I feel better with all my projects in bags, lined up and ready to go. I'm not completely finished, however, there are still a couple piles of patterns to be filed and papers to be sorted through. But it is 99% better than before. 

I plan to finish my sweatshirt jacket in 2 more evenings of sewing. Then I need to make some walker bags for a nursing home my ASG Neighborhood group will be visiting on the 13th.  

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where Did My Sewing Mojo Go?

I have lost my sewing mojo again. I wrote about this some time back. Sometimes I just get in a funk and don't sew. I think this episode might be due to the inordinate amount of holiday sewing and knitting I did. But it's been almost a month and I need to get back on track.

I think I'll start this weekend. I need a new pair of "khaki" slacks. I have a pattern that I'm working on to make a TNT. It is Vogue 7881. I've made a muslin and also 1 pair. The muslin fit pretty good, but the first pair didn't work out so well. I used a bottom-weight fabric with stretch, way too much stretch. I just am not able to get them to be anything but too big. I finally decided it was the fabric choice. So I'll work this weekend with some other bottom-weight cotton fabric I have in my stash.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Year in ASG

I co-chaired my first ASG neighborhood group meeting Tuesday night. It was lots of fun.

Our neighborhood group will be hosting the Chapter Annual Meeting & Tea in November this year. We kicked around some ideas for table favors; several people volunteered to check out locations. We still need a theme. But it was good.

Our program was to share your favorite sewing book and/or DVD. I offered Sandra Betzina's Fabric Savvy and also Londa's Refined Embellishment DVD. One lady shared that her favorite book is Sewing 911. She said she found it more & more relevant in these economic times when you have to repair and restyle clothes more. I will check it out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

…And the Children Were Nestled All Snug in Their Beds…

I've closed the door on 2009. It's over, done, gone, in the past. I am looking forward to 2010.

I have done some soul searching the last few weeks. I'm not big on new year's resolutions. Rather, I try to look at me, my life, and decide what areas I would like to change or enhance. And this year I want to make better use of my time. At work, at home, and in my sewing world.
One thing I am doing to enhance my life is training to run a half-marathon in April. I actually started this journey in November. My oldest daughter, Jeni, is my trainer & coach. Jeni has run since high school and has competed in marathons, triathalons and numerous half-marathons. Check out my running blog.

I have accepted the position of co-leader for my neighborhood ASG group. I am pretty excited. I haven't been very active in the past, but attended several meetings last year. When they asked for volunteers to help out, I spoke up. I felt like it was a way to commit myself to the organization.

The other aspect of sewing that has been on my mind is how to do more of it. I read other seamstresses blogs and marvel at how they a) work outside the home; b) have a husband & kids; c) do volunteer work and still manage to sew 70+ garments a year. By comparison, I work from home (no commute time), have no kids at home, only The Love of My Life, and managed to sew maybe 10 things last year. What's my problem?

I have tried to master the "10 minutes every day" motto. But it just hasn't worked. Some days there are not 10 minutes for me to sew. I am out of town, I have customers to entertain in the evening, sometimes I just don't feel like sewing. So I've been trying to figure out how to do more of my most favorite hobbies.

Well, yesterday as I was shoveling 6" of snow off the driveway in sub-zero temperatures, I listened to the latest podcast from Grandma's Sewing Cabinet. (I know, I'm behind on my podcasts also.) But the topic was so right on for what I'd been mulling over. Dr. Julie had a conversation with Dr. Meggin McIntosh, a productivity specialist.

Dr. McIntosh used the visual of life as a tote bag. (Dr. McIntosh also sews so she was talking about all the beautiful tote bags we all sew. I could just see the most recent bag I made my granddaughter for Christmas.) Then she went on to explain that the most efficient use of your bag is not to just throw everything in the bottom. Rather, make lots of pockets for all the things you carry—your wallet, cell phone, photos, change, make-up, whatever it is. That way, when you need something you can find it quickly and efficiently. Life is like that, she said. You need to have "pockets" of time to do the things you need to do and want to do. In plain everyday language I think it is called "scheduling". Duh! How simple is that concept?

This conversation fit perfectly into my overall desire to make better use of my time in 2010. So I have started thinking in terms of "scheduling" my sewing time. Next week I have scheduled Monday evening and Thursday evening for sewing. I'll let you know how it goes.