Monday, September 28, 2015

American Sewing Expo 2015 recap

In the Haberman booth at the expo. I'm wearing a yet-to-be-blogged dress....

This was my sixth year attending the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI so I feel like a conference veteran.  I could write a whole novel about this weekend, but I will try to spare you (and me) and just give the highlights.

The high level summary is that the very best part of the weekend was when Anne and I visited Lynn at You Sew Girl Headquarters and descended on her closet like locusts, the second best part was taking Jennifer Stern's professional jeans construction class so that I could re-learn how to make the fly front zipper, and the third best part is something I will share with you in a week or so; I won't reveal it just now....

  • Flew to Detroit from the Trenton-Mercer Airport, a small regional airport I had never flown from before.  Yelp reviews revealed that this is a place you either love or hate and I am firmly on the side of deep love.  
  • Drove to Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak.   
  • Met up with Anne of Sewing to Soothe My Soul and had dinner

  • Had breakfast and lunch with Kristine of Just Keep Sewing and Anne
  • chatted with Kathy from McCalls, Deborah from Simplicity, and Rhonda from Schmetz needles.
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  • Simplicity Fashion Show--that's the Mimi G coat--in denim!  
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  • Jennifer Stern's Jean Construction class, where you make a sample with front pockets and a fly front zipper--Jennifer is a fabulous instructor:  enthusiastic, upbeat, entertaining, wants everyone to leave happy and to not feel stressed during the class.  Yes, I took her class in 2012 but I have not put a fly front zipper in since 2013 and wanted a refresher.  She also streamlined her fly-front zipper instructions.    Thank you Jennifer for a great class!!
  • Dinner with Lynn and Anne

  • shopping at the Soutache (ribbon and buttons--love her button display!!) and Haberman's booths
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  • Simplicity Fashion Show again--this model looks great in everything!  This is a denim shirt dress.
  • Picked up my free pattern for wearing a garment made from a Simplicity or New Look pattern--thanks Simplicity!!!
  • Completed the scavenger hunt and got a pack of 3 Schmetz needles and a Grabbit magnet--thank you Schmetz!  I was going to buy another Grabbit and now I don't have to!!
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  • The big visit to You Sew Girl HQ
  • Anne and I raided her closet like a swarm of locusts and we tried on almost everything! Lynn has the neatest closet I've ever seen (in both senses of the word: interesting and tidy). Lynn also remembers pattern numbers quite easily so she rattled them off for us. Now I have several more patterns I'm interested in!  (I'm trying on one of her denim jackets above)
  • Her linoleum floor was excited to see us!  It's the floor from her pix!
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  • Lynn explaining the cataloging system for her amazing fabric stash; I don't know why she's embarrassed!  You can see some of the Rubbermaid bins in this photo which hold her fabric stash. 
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    A card for each piece of fabric, with a swatch, then bound by a ring by type
    The mirror where she takes her selfies!
    Her sewing machine
    Selfies in her sewing room
  • Impromptu teaching 
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  • I showed Lynn and Anne how  to box out a bag, how to install zipper pockets in bags (I use this tutorial with one tweak), and also how to install piping  (I use this tutorial) and have it overlap on a side seam. 
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    Posing with this cute bag Anne gave both of us.  It looks like a sewing machine from all sides!  Thanks Anne!
  • Passion for Fashion show

  • Anne and Lynn did the scavenger hunt
  • shopping at Vogue Fabrics and Soutache (again)

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    Tried on this coat at the McCalls booth
    It has a very high twirl factor.
  • How to Read the Wrinkles (Jennifer's jean fitting class)
  • Then the third best thing of the weekend happened (to be blogged later)
  • Flew home

As a conference veteran I now know:
  • Foregoing the 3" heels and wearing cushy flats not only makes my feet happy (the expo floor is concrete) but also frees up space in my luggage!
  • Taking the day off from work after returning home is a great thing I can do for myself.
So thank you Lynn for letting us visit your house and thank you Anne for driving me all over yonder.  It was a great trip!

Be well!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Foxy: Mollie Makes Issue 32 Felty Fox Brooches

Two foxes.
Over my week off at the end of August/early September, I took a crafternoon to stitch up the felty fox brooches that came with Mollie Makes Issue 32. (I buy the old issues off eBay).
The kit came with felt, thread, a really terrible needle (I used one from my stash instead) and two pins.  The templates were in the magazine itself.

First I cut out the pieces.  I was wondering how to get the points on the white felt to be super pointy and exact and then it came to me :  thread snips!  They are absolutely perfect for that kind of job.  Highly recommend!
The pin is sewn on the back of one piece of pink felt first. Then the pink felt is hand stitched across the top.  In the pic above, the white felt is just inserted.

Now the pink felt is sewn to the white felt.
Nose is satin-stitched on.
One eye is stitched on...
Now both eyes are stitched!  It was hard to get them to look somewhat evenly positioned.
Now on to the orange fox.  This time I sewed a tiny magnet (scavenged from a magnet I didn't want) inside the back of the fox.  It is not visible from the outside, but it is strong, and happily clinging to my refrigerator!.
Satin stitched the nose on.
Two foxes!!  I actually bought the kit again so that I can make these again and have one set at work and one set at home.  (I didn't trust finding orange and pink felt in such bright happy colors locally.) But I have yet to stitch up the ones for work.
Mollie Makes had a great response to my tweet about having dinner a bit later to stitch the orange fox too!
I actually made another kit the day after, which you can see in the upper left corner of the pic above.  I'll write about it in another post. But this is what my sewing table looked like after two days of craftiness.  A bit different than my usual sewing table.   (And yes, I will do a virtual tour of my sewing room sometime this fall!)

Have you done any hand stitching like this?  I have not done anything like that in a long time, and certainly never hand stitched it like that.  It was fun!

Be well!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Three Visits to Vacuuming the Lawn Headquarters

I was lucky enough to have three fellow sewists stop by Vacuuming the Lawn HQ this summer (which I'd like to document before it's officially the end of the summer....)

Tomasa in her self-drafted top; me in a Jalie shrug and M5669.

First up was Tomasa from Sew Much Fashion back in May (ok, not quite summer, but warm enough.)

On our way back from lunch in Princeton, we stopped at a new independent fabric shop called More Than a Notion.   This shop opened last November on Rt 27 in Kingston, NJ.    I commute on that road every single day.  Sometimes it's stop and go day as I'm crawling by a strip mall, I saw the "fabric" sign and thought I was hallucinating...but it's reality!  The shop is gigantic and has a variety of fashion fabrics.  Going to this shop is a convenient alternative for when I can't get to the Garment District in NYC (honestly where I live, the closest fabric stores--til now--were Joann's in Lawrenceville (30 min away) and Joann's in Colonia (45min)).  The store also sells notions like thread, bias tape, and buttons.  The owner was very friendly and remembered me when I returned a few weeks later!

I was amazed that Tomasa was excited to see the duck in my living room.  I hardly ever take pix in my living room so I had no idea the duck was such a feature!  :)

  with Lynn
Lynn in her self-stitched top; me in a Simplicity dress I sewed in 2007.  

My favorite tiger statue in Princeton.  

In early May, Lynn from You Sew Girl! stopped by as part of her week-long trip to NYC.    I was totally blown away by the fact that Lynn said she had been waiting to see this pillow.  (There is a better picture of it in this post.)  I made that pillow in 2009, so she has been reading my blog a long, long time!

Lynn also throws pottery and made this soap dispenser for me in my favorite color, teal.  Thank you L!  No one has ever made pottery for me before.  (I really think she should have a pottery blog called "You Throw Girl!"; Don't you agree?)

with Anne
Anne and me at the Woodrow Wilson School 
Later that week Anne from Sewing to Soothe My Soul visited during her NYC trip.  My favorite part of her visit was her hemming her shirt just in time for MPB Day in my sewing room while I stitched sashiko.
Anne brought me these McCall's notebook with vintage pattern covers for my Craftsy class and sewing conference note taking!
Inside of the notebooks
Thank you Anne!  She also gave me some fabric from Kashi which I am planning on sewing up this fall....

It is always fun to spend some time with sewing friends, chatting and laughing about all things sewing, fabric, pattern, and blog related.

Thank you Tomasa, Lynn, and Anne for visiting!  It was fun!

Cosmos from PFF 2 weeks ago.

Have you had any sewing friends visit you and your fabric stash?   Would you be interested in a virtual tour of my sewing room?

Be well!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sewaholic Davie Dress 1503 view C: We have a winner!

Sewaholic Davie dress view C
Conversation with my photographer this morning:  "Let's find a spot without shadows or too much light"
Sewaholic Davie dress view C
"Ok, I want to do four sets of poses.  With the shrug and the belt..."

Sewaholic Davie dress view C
"Without the shrug but with the belt...."
Sewaholic Davie dress view C
Sewaholic Davie dress view C
"Ok, now without the belt"
Sewaholic Davie dress view C
"It's better with the belt, isn't it?"
Sewaholic Davie dress view C

"Ok, now I'm going to twirl"
Sewaholic Davie dress view C
(I made some ridiculous faces while twirling.  Thankfully she deleted those pix for me.  Then we took the twirling pix again)
Sewaholic Davie dress view C
Finishing the twirl

Thanks Ellen D for being my photographer this morning!
Saturday night: 
  • I traced view C, the sleeveless version.
  • Traced the 10 based on the finished pattern measurements, except for the length which I cut as a size 20.
  • Since I don't like keyholes, I traced the CF on the fold and eliminated the keyhole.  This means there is one less seam!  (There are princess seams front and back.)
  • Cut it out single layer
  • Basted it all together.
  • Tried it on, found wrinkles/drag lines
  • started clipping like a mad woman
Sunday, 10am to 5:30pm, maybe 75 minutes break total:


  • unbasted and carefully sewed the princess seam to eliminate pulling which is on full display in the photo above, watching Angela Wolf's video about sewing princess seams on craftsy many times in the process.
  • sewed from the armhole to just about the waist with wider SA to eliminate drag lines on the side front panels
  • sewed the CB in another 1/2" or so to try to get the back a closer fit.
  • sewed the shoulder seam an additional 3/4" to get the princess seam fullness to be where my bust fullness is.
  • spent time clipping, basting, unbasting, reclipping the SB to CB seam; gave up and decided I'd just wear it with a belt to provide the remaining shaping.
  • stabilized shoulder seam 
  • serged all seams.
  • bound the armholes (one of them twice)
  • bound the neckline
  • pressed throughout the process and again at the end.
Monday night:
  • serged the raw edge of the hem.
  • Pressed up 1" with my Elna Press
  • blind stitched the hem
  • pressed again.
I really really love how this dress turned out.  I was unsure on Saturday night into Sunday but now I love it.  I don't usually wear a skirt this full, but it felt fun and swishy.

Also this fabric is a dream--it's a really luscious ponte.  I bought it at Gwen Couture in May 2013 with Elizabeth from Sewn blog.  The store owner said it would never pill and so far it has not.  Even on regular ponte it usually starts pilling right away but so far so good.   Sadly Gwen no longer sells fabrics but I would buy this again in every color if I could.

I bound one of the armholes too tightly so there is a slight amt of puckering but not so bad.  Note to self: on pontes where the binding is turned under, I don't really need to stretch the binding much/at all.

I took a bunch of pix on my dressform this morning but my camera on my phone could not handle it.  Here are some of the better ones: 

Closeup of bust
Closeup of bound neckline


I sewed one of my new labels in but those pix all came out terrible.

What the neck binding looks like on the inside.
What the armhole binding looks like on the inside.

Yes, I used two methods for binding!

I definitely want to make this again in a few colors.  But I have another dress in mind first and then I'll get back to this pattern.  I kind of feel like trying it one size smaller and seeing if that helps with the overall shaping or not.  Hmmmm...

Be well!!