Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sew much to do, and sew little time

Since Easter, I've had a great time sewing!  I've gone sewing mad really!  I've made shirts, a skirt, a dress, pj's, and several pieces for my shop.

To add to my excitement has been the use of my mom's sewing machine.  It's a Brother Innovis 1250d!  This thing ROCKS!!!  First off it is super quiet.  My little Janome sounds like a freight train, and bounces too and fro... while this machine sits quietly working away not complaining, just sewing!  So far I think I used nearly all the feet it came with, I've played with decorative stitches (on my jammies and shirt), and embroidered with it!  I'm simply blown away by this machine!

Brother... if you are out there reading this... I have to return the machine to its rightful owner soon... if you send me one of your lovely sewing/embroidery machines (I have a special place in my heart for the 2800d, just sayin), I will use it and only it!  I will blog regularly of its awesomeness, and mention it when describing my items at my store!  Oh yes, I would be a loyal Brother seamstress! (hey a mom, in a single income household who loves to sew, and could really use a new awesome machine, can try!)

I am so pleased with how the dress came out.  This was my first full scale dress attempt with the help of Betsy!  There were several times I was sure that I would just junk it, but it turned out so nicely that I wore it as my Easter dress!

The wrap skirt was definitely a bit of a challenge for some reason.  So many pieces that were different but not by much.  There were many breaks to stop and rip out seams, re-read, pull the pattern pieces back out... pull my hair out a little... and try again.  All in all it came out nicely, and again I was able to wear it to Mass the following Sunday!  So it was a success.

Then came the weekend of wonder!  Oh yes, it was awesome... a Thursday through Saturday of nothing but sewing!  Husband and boys went camping and I stayed back... picked up the new machine... and set to work.  Wow, I ate when I wanted, left stuff (sewing stuff) out for as long as I wanted, and mostly just didn't have a care in the world except for sewing.  I managed to finish two tops!  I know, I could have done more (maybe) but I was working with Betsy, trying to make sure I was getting the right fit.  Oh, well, then there was the staring.  I did a lot of staring.  Staring at the books, at the patterns, and fabric.  I didn't need to make quick decision, so I did a lot of thinking before each step so that I didn't have to do a lot of redo's.  That, and I decided to play with some decorative stitches to help break up the all over patter for the first (sleeveless) tunic top I made.  Originally the band (just under the bust) was supposed to be a contrasting fabric.  Well, I was working with material I already had (not stuff I bought specifically for this pattern)... and what I thought would work, turned out to not look right.  So I went with stitching to spice things up a little.

Tunic top 1 done, I moved on to the second one.  I really loved this fabric when I saw it... and just had to get it.  At the time I didn't have a pattern in mind, but I knew I wanted to use it on a shirt.  First I want to saw that while I like V-necks... I greatly dislike sewing V-necks!  Good  heavens that gave me fits!  Overall, though, the pattern was easy to follow and the project was a success.  I actually have not worn this one, though.  After trying it on, I realized that the sleeves are too low (shoulder section is too wide for my small frame).  So I do need to detach the sleeves and reattach them a little higher.

And that ended my sewing weekend.  Thankfully though I've managed to find a few hours here and there to work on a few pieces.  I really wanted new tops, especially before we head off to the beach!  Enter in this little gem!  Normally those colors would not sell me... but when I saw it, I don't know, I just had to get it.  I've worn it a couple of times now, and I just love this top!  I am definitely going to be making more of these.  The only change I would make is to take a little volume out of the sleeves.  They can get a little wing-ish if you iron them out flat.

And last but not least, in the clothing department, is the jammy shirt I made.  I was given some free knit, so that's what I used.  Maybe not my favorite color, but free is always cool!  I decided to try my hand at embroidery.  It was fun!  I also drifted really far from the pattern... honestly I should be making my own patterns at this point.  It seems the more I sew, the more I decide to make changes to the patterns I'm following!  I think I am going to read through this!

So that's what I've been up to!  To see the new items I created for my store... you should head over there!  Maybe pick something up for yourself... or Mother's Day, it's just around the corner!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh dear... it's a bit long!

I was recently asked by a friend to share my list blogs that keep up with regarding sewing/crafting.  Well first let me say that I've not shared this list in its entirety before because I really didn't want anyone to know how pervasive my addiction has become... Ummm... prepare yourself!  Oh, and I don't read them EVERYDAY, and rarely on the weekends.  It's mostly if I have some down time while the boys are working on the school assignments (heck it took me three days just to finish getting this list all linked up)... and they are in my Reader so I only look at the ones with new posts!  Um, and not everyone of them do I actually think I can actually use the info, some I just like to gawk at the lovely pictures.  Oh, and I don't read every post, if it doesn't interest me or they are just advertising then I skip it!  I am really good at rationalizing!  It's a gift :-).

Love Affair with my Brother

Cabbage Corner
Craft Passion
Crochet Me Blog
Flamingo Toes
Future Girl Craft Blog
Hammer & Thread
Home Frosting
House on a Hill Road
Lark Crafts
Let Me Sew Love
Listen In
Little Birdie Secrets
AdornIt Blog
Not Quite June Cleaver
One Pretty Thing
Sew Dang Cute Crafts
Sew, Momma, Sew!
Sew4Home (love, love, love)
Stamps and Stitches
Stubbornly Crafty
The DIY Dish (lots of videos)
The Purl Bee
The Long Thread
Warehouse Fabrics
Ameroonie Designs
Creative Itch
FairyFace Designs (amazing)
Gwenny Penny
Little Big Girl Studio
Little Lovelies
Sew Many Ways
Sew Much Ado
Someday Crafts
The Crafty CPA
The Girl Creative
Amanda Murphy Designs (way above my level, but wonderful to look at)
Clean & Simple
I Heart My Glue Gun
Me Sew Crazy
Poppy Seed Fabric
Saving 4 Six
Sew Sweetness
Shape Moth (Way out of my league, but beautiful and inspiring quilt blocks)
Gingersnap Crafts

Okay... there it is... my link list from my google reader!

needle and thREAD

Elizabeth Foss has started a fun weekly party of sorts, needle and thREAD! I figured with the amount of sewing I've been doing that I would throw my hat in the ring and post on it!
needle and thREAD

This morning I began the fun, not, pattern cutting portion of this pattern. I'm making the pajama gown for myself. While the one pictured here does look cozy... I live in Texas and would die of heat stroke were I to wear something full length and long sleeved. So I'm adjusting the pattern to be knee length and short sleeved! The fabric chose was a freebie from a friend trying to clear her overwhelming stash. It is a nice light weight knit. Now, normally this is not a color I would choose for myself... but like I said, it was free and suits this purpose perfectly!

Next up the reading portion... this weekend I started this lovely little gem, which was a gift from a special friend! After years of recommending books for him, he's grown up and turned the tables! This is the first I'm reading of the devotions of St. Gertrude. They are lovely and in some ways similar to St. Therese (the Little Flower) with whom I have a special love for!

So there you have it friends.  My sewing and reading selections for this week.  Come back next week... and who knows what will be on the table :-)!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2 projects with the help of Betsy

Well, I've been a busy little sewing bee! With Betsy's help (and really inexpensive fabric I purchased a few weeks ago)... I set off making a dress. Little did I know that it would actually turn out well... or that I would like it so much that I would actually wear it... and wear it as my Easter dress!  It was a challenge, though.  When I purchased the material I really didn't pay attention to the material.  It was $1.50 a yard and I bought what was left on the bolt (which was about 3 yards).  It felt like cotton, and I really didn't notice that it had a bit of a sheen to it.  When I got it home and washed it (so that I could put it away and it would be ready whenever I decided to use it) I noticed that it was definitely not 100% cotton... it was a blend, and a super fray-ee blend!  Oh great!

Anyway last Friday, after all the morning chores had been completed I decided I wanted to sew... what to sew?  A dress... why not?!  I went through all my patterns (I have a handful of dresses I've picked up over the years, but nearly all of them I've never attempted)... so I found one that I thought would be flattering and modest at this point in my life, and started combing through my fabric for the design and enough yardage.  I finally decided on this fabric.  My thought was, hey if this sucks, then I really didn't lose any REAL money and hopefully would have learned something during the sewing process.  I pulled the fabric and interfacing and set to cutting.  I should interject here and say that I rather dislike the cutting stage.  Ughhhhhh, this part takes FOREVER!  Over the years I've come to understand why really nice clothes cost so much... LABOR!  So most of the cutting was done when I realized that you would be able to see through the material... NICE, not really that modest after all :-).  So I was going to need to line it (thankfully that was already part of the pattern for the bodice).  Sadly I had not been super careful on my pattern placement, and I really didn't have enough to line the ENTIRE dress.  Hmmmm, what to do.  So I again went through my fabric stash.  I had NO WHITE laying around ANYWHERE!  Crazy I tell you... but I apparently used it all during Christmas for those sewing projects.  Okay, feed the boys lunch, load everyone up into the car and head to the store... PLEASE LET THEM STILL HAVE THE FABRIC (for that price).  To my horror, it was put away and the clerk was unable to get to it... Plan B, buy a yard of white to finish this project!  Home again, home again... jiggiedy jig... oh how I was hoping to finish the dress that day.  Unfortunately a few errors on my part (read the entire package of directions before you begin so you don't make stupid mistakes, I only read one page... not the last half), so I had to make alterations to how I was going to finish the pattern due to my errors.  By the end of Friday I needed to attach the skirt to the bodice and install the zipper.

Saturday morning, at 6:00am, I was at it again... attached the two halves and installed the zipper... unfortunately there were a few issues with how I installed it... ughhhh, so after my afternoon at Cabbage Rose, I came home (all inspired) and was able to fix my zipper issues!  I slipped it on, and was in love!  Rarely do I put a dress on and it fits where it is supposed to fit!  Thanks to Betsy, I managed to make a dress that with the first full try on it fit perfectly (I did try it on at different stages, but you really don't know until that zipper is installed and functioning if it is just right).  It was the perfect Easter dress for me!  I wore it to Mass, and even later that day for the family gathering (which is rare for me, I usually change into something much more comfortable).

Alright, next up is the skirt.  Now I did these backwards as far as timelines go... the skirt happened 2 weeks ago, and was my first project with the help of Betsy.  Let me say, my experience with Betsy and this pattern taught me some valuable lessons which helped the dress go smoothly in regard to setting her up right for my fit... because this skirt was anything but smooth.  Good grief!  Thankfully my seam ripper is all ergonomic!  Honestly I'm not sure I've ever had to take something apart so many times.  The reason was that the panels were all just slightly different sizes, and each had one side that was straight, and one side with a slight curve... SLIGHT being the key word!  I would swear I matched up the right pieces only to realize two steps after that one panel was wrong or I reversed where they needed to be attached!  It was a struggle, but in the end I prevailed and have a really cute skirt.  I still need to make a few changes to make the fit just a little better... but she too was wearable and ready last Sunday for Mass.  Yeah!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I have a new friend

I would like you all to give a warm welcome to Betsy (I'm pretty sure I've settled on Betsy, but it might be Betty or Lucy... not sure). She arrived today! She's a wonderful birthday gift from my parents. My mom thought I had finally lost my marbles when I told her that I was going to attempt one of the do-it yourself dress forms because the one I really wanted (this one) was WAY TOO expensive! Honestly I wasn't dropping hints to her (no matter what my lovely husband says)... I was just making conversation, well, anyway... here she is!
Isn't she a beaut!  She is LOVELY!  She likes lovely fabric, long walks on the beach, and I think she might have a slight British accent due to spending time across the pond in her youth.  Oh how I look forward to all the projects that she will help me with!  Now, cough and stammer, I think I'm ready to really tackle the world of clothes for myself and alterations for myself.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Still workin', and thinking about my projects for the year

Although I haven't been posting, rest assured I've been sewing and pinning (maybe that has gotten a little out of hand, but hey I can pin from my phone app while laying in bed getting rest!).

I've mentioned it before, but I really want to put together my first quilt (full size).  At this point I have no idea when that will happen.  I've done some small scale quilting over the last year, and went to the quilt show in Houston (and was able to pick up tips and tricks) that lead me to believe that I have the skill to pull one off... but it's finding the materials I want to use (and the money to buy them), and the time and space to do it right... those are the challenges at the moment.

In conjunction with quilting (and other projects) I really want to try my hand at free motion quilting, applique work, and thread painting.  Thanks to It's Sew Easy, I'm convinced that I could enjoy it!  They really shouldn't make things look easy or say that ANYONE can do it! :-)  Where these techniques will show up, I have no idea just yet.  I just really want to give it a go!

I REALLY want a dress form.  I've made few pieces of clothing for myself over the years, and it turned out alright... but with the proper form they would turn out so much better.  Unfortunately they cost an arm and a leg (even though they have neither :-), so I'm thinking of giving one the homemade ones a try (naturally I saw it on Pinterest).  The way I figure it, if it works... GREAT!  If not, oh well, I'm only out a few bucks in supplies (and looking silly during the process)... So, I'm going to give it a whirl... and of course share my results with you!

My store, I would really like to expand what I'm selling.  The earbud cases have done well, and I've had some time to restock which is nice.  I recently sold out of the clutches, and I think I want to do more with those since I have several cases on there now.  I would really like to pick up a ruffler foot for my machine, and be able to add ruffled fabric.  At the moment, my attempts at hand ruffling look more like pleats... then I get frustrated and just keep the pleats and walk away :-).

Well, there you have it... where my crafting thoughts have been in the last few weeks!