Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 year in review

I love reading your "year in review" posts....now here's mine!
Vogue 1351 DONE!
My dress of the year: Vogue 1351. Wore this a LOT!  Thanks to SunnyGal for pointing this pattern out to me...

Here's my eclectic tally for this calendar year:
  • 7 zipper pouches
  • 1 pair of UW
  • 4 tops
  • 1 skirt
  • 2 tank tops
  • 1 pj shirt
  • 4 dresses
  • 3 hats 
  • 4 bags
  • 3 aprons
  • 1 pair of pants.

New skillz:
  • learned how to blind hem on my sewing machine (2012 goal, completed!)
  • learned how to use my narrow hem foot on a curve
  • learned how to make double welt pockets (they are really not as scary as they used to be)
  • learned how to make an interior zipper pocket on a bag (hint: it's very similar to a double welt pocket!)
  • got faster and less scared of threading my serger
  • I started muslining a lot more.
This was the year of the meetup!  Thanks for meeting up and buying fabric with me!
  • April:  PR weekend in SF
  • May:  Mushywear in HNL, Elizabeth in SD, ATP in NYC
  • June:  velosewer in NYC
  • August: MPB Day, where I met Mary
  • Sept:  American Sewing Expo
  • Nov:  PR Day in NYC; Rachel and Jeanette in LA; Elizabeth in SD
  • I'm really sorry I never got to meet GwenSews, but I still think of her often and miss her!
New tools/classes/other
  • learned how to use my new Brother PR sewing machine (Christmas gift 2012)
  • teflon presser foot and, thanks to shams, the teflon zipper foot
  • Elna Press Alize
  • thanks to Girls in the Garden, I learned about Peltex and worked with it!
  • I got my pix out of the bathroom and into the back yard, thanks to PR member marec.
  • Took the PR classes "Understanding Knit Fabrics" and "More Knits" and "Altering Pants" and did all the homework for them!
  • Bought more Craftsy classes and LOVED "Sew Better, Sew Faster".
Goals for the new year:
  • stay healthy and survive my work project
  • figure out my StyleArc size
  • get back to fun sewing
  • stop being such a perfectionist with my sewing?
  • fix the thurlows, again
  • sew a jean jacket
  • sew another pair of jeans
  • finally make that Jalie fleece
  • conquer (or at least lessen and/or live with) Renfrew armpit wrinkles and sew up a few in sweater knits.
  • attend PR weekend in Austin
  • remake some of my favorite dresses from the past
  • redesign my blog
  • figure out how to better interact / respond to comments.  

Some favorites:
Another black vinyl tote bag, this time with lining from Gwen Couture
Interior zipper pocket
my new vinyl bag
Is this my favorite bag of the year?
New Look  view E: cat bag done!
Or is this my favorite bag of the year?
Frequenly worn items
S9776: second tank
Love this tank at the gym, must make more. (I actually added a band of stretch lace later (from LA) to "hem" it).
I wear this pj top all the time
McCall's Aloha birthday pjs

As mentioned, this is my favorite dress of the year.  Also love my freestyle embroidery.
Vogue 1351 DONE!
I wear this spotted top all the time too!
me in the double knits section
And of course i love McCalls 6256, my favorite zipper pouch pattern, in 2 sizes!
McCalls 6256 view C, small and large and laminated!

I'm too tired for misses.  Bwah ha ha!

Thank you for reading, commenting, cheering me on and answering my questions!    I feel like I know you even though I've never met most of you!

Wishing you a year full of fantastic stitches!  See you in 2014!  Be well!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pressing Matters: The Elna Press

You know how they say, if you write out what you want it's x number of times more likely to come true?

I wrote about wanting an Elna Press in this post, and my dreams have come true.
Elna press Alize
The ElnaPress Alize.

My parents read my blog post and then hopped over to ebay where they snagged this one for Christmas.

I saw the Elna Press in action in Janet Pray's "Sew Better, Sew Faster" Craftsy class and was AMAZED.  You might even say I was impressed (ha ha ha ha ha).  Plus velosewer, who is the fastest seamstress I know, owns one, so it has to be one of the secrets of her speediness.

Elna press Alize
I tried it out yesterday when I made another NYC subway zipper pouch.  Here I'm ironing  pressing on the interfacing:
Elna Press Alize
Perfectly pressed!
another zipper pouch!
It makes ironing  pressing on the interfacing a breeze because it takes all of 10 seconds to fuse the interfacing to the fabric!!! And it times it for you and beeps to let you know when it's ready.

So it's speedy + times it for you + really fuses the interfacing to the fabric. Yay!  I wish the surface was a bit larger, but I think this will speed up part of the sewing process.

It does not have a light, the sleeve board, or the "vap o jet" (it's a dry press, so I use a spray bottle to spritz) but it is still pretty awesome.

Here I'm ironing pressing some corduroy. I know, I know, crushing the nap. But this is for pillows. And I suspect those who disapprove of my dodgy sewing techniques long ago stopped reading this blog.
Elna press Alize
This is the pillow I'm working on.
Fabric pressed.
Interfaced pressed (you can see the interfacing on the bottom left piece)
Fabric raw edges serged.
My inspiration leaves....
pillow I'm working on

And my zipper pouch:
another zipper pouch!
the zipper
another zipper pouch!
The inside
another zipper pouch!
If you own the Elna Press, do you have a stand for it? If yes, which one? I'm thinking of either buying a pressing stand or buying another tall Ikea table for it. It will live where the pile of fabric used to be against the wall.

Be well!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What I sewed mom for Christmas

Thanks for all your comments on my Christmas post. I love that cat fabric too!  Hope you all had a great holiday!

So I did a little last-minute Christmas sewing for my mom: two aprons and a zipper pouch.

Here are the supplies:
zipper pouch I made for my mom

Turquoise upholstery fabric: from stash.  I love this fabric as it has great texture and color and weight.
Heart lining fabric: remnant from Joann's, rediscovered during the stash clean out.
Interfacing: medium weight iron-on from Fashion Sewing Supply
9" zipper: SIL Thread in NYC
Iron on heart patches: Pacific Trimming.  As soon as I saw those heart patches I knew they were destined to be on a zipper pouch.
Pattern: McCall's 6256, which I made a few times this year.

I started cutting out this pouch at 8pm on Monday night and had it finished ~2 hours later.   I impressed myself as I am such a slow sewist and the first time I made it (with laminated fabric, in the larger size) took about 7 hours.  I loved all the little notes I wrote to myself in the pattern instructions, in particular the one about sewing on the fabric tabs to the zipper:  "Remember, you can't sew over a metal zipper".  Bwah ha ha!

zipper pouch I made for my mom
I love the interior.  It's like a heart explosion.  Mom loves hearts and turquoise, so this was a great match.
zipper pouch I made for my mom
Zipper tab
zipper pouch I made for my mom
The back
zipper pouch I made for my mom
The view from the top
zipper pouch I made for my mom

Makin' the tabs. Wonder tape is definitely my friend when making zipper tabs.
zipper pouch I made for my mom
I think it's totes adorbs.

I originally wanted the two hearts to overlap so I did a test sample (I had purchased a few of those heart iron-on patches) but you could see the heart in the background through the heart in the foreground so I just put them side by side.

Here are the aprons.  Mom likes her aprons to be a big rectangle with two ties.  It's a very simple thing to sew.

aprons for my mom
This particular piece of cat fabric (left) was the original 3/4 yd piece I bought in Hawaii that was intended for this very apron!  The one on the right is fabric from the City Quilter, bought in either May or June, in their clearance section.

Here is how mom wears her aprons:
Christmas cat apron for my mom
  apron for my mom
I *love* this particular cat on the Christmas apron:

cue the squee!
A cat wearing Santa slippers! Love it!
Mom wore both aprons on Christmas Day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so I think they were a hit.

I realize in my last post, the pix all had my apron with the ties tied in front (which is how I like to wear them) but here is one with the ties tied in the back to show maximum streamlined cat cuteness.

my cat apron

So, what have I learned from making 3 aprons and 1 zipper pouch in 2 days?  It is really, really nice to be able to sew tried and true items and not worry about fit!

In my next post, I will write about what I got for Christmas from my parents (spoiler alert: it's an Elna Press!)

Be well!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From My Stash to Yours, Merry Christmas

McCalls cat apron
From my stash to yours, Merry Christmas!

Thanks everyone for your comments on my last post.  Two great things happened:  I found a fellow sewist to trade fabric (Andrea of Needle Nose Apparel--she makes dog collars and dog pajamas for greyhounds!) AND the donation service came and took away 12 bags of clothes and fabric. 

And a third great thing happened:  I am now off for a week--my first week off at Christmas since 1998--and it is pretty fabulous!

I bought myself two things for Christmas:
Christmas presents to myself

I had been wanting a sewing machine necklace for a while now.  Elizabeth had one and I coveted it.  I bought mine on etsy from this seller.  I used the $50 gift card from the McCall's focus group (plus a little bit of my cash) to buy it.  I promise to write about the focus group soon.

I saw the labels on Lladybird's blog a while back, but they were out of stock at the time.  Now they are back at the Sublime Stitching shop.  I got them 25% off with a holiday sale.

I made myself an apron as a Christmas present to myself.  There was much fretting about placement of cats for maximum cuteness.  See the hot pink cats on the straps?  See how symmetrical they are?  See how the hot pink cat is in the middle?  Yes, yes, yes!

McCalls cat apron
McCalls cat apron
I learned how to get this curve to come out flat instead of puckery:
McCall's 7931 apron with Kobayashi  Quiet Cat fabric
 I have always had trouble with that curve which is a narrow, double turned, 5/8" seam. This time I serged the edge first, then turned it once and ironed it flat.

Kobayashi Quiet Cats McCalls 7931 apron:  curved beauty!

And then I turned it under again and ironed again.
Kobayashi Quiet Cats McCalls 7931 apron:  curved beauty!
And then I stitched from the right side.

Kobayashi Quiet Cats McCalls 7931 apron:  curved beauty!
Hurrah! No puckers!
Who knew the iron could be such a friend?
Kobayashi Quiet Cats McCalls 7931 apron:  curved beauty!
I did that for finishing the other edges as well.
Kobayashi Quiet Cats McCalls 7931 apron:  curved beauty!
The fabric is Kobayashi Quiet Cats in the pink/green colorway (it comes in three colorways).
I bought my first length of it in Hawaii in May with MushyWear and bought more on Maigo Cute.

Christmas Eve morning
The reflection of the chair in the window makes it look like there's still snow outside.  After an unusual weekend of temps in the upper 60's F, the snow is all gone.  Now it's 40-something.

So, Merry Christmas y'all.  Have a great holiday!!
Be well!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On the lookout/want to trade fabric???

Thanks for your comments on the Santa Hat and my big fabric purge.

The fabric from LA and SD arrived.
LA and SD fabric
It is mostly washed up now but it will not fit in the fabric closet. Hrm.  So it is folded and the little tables have fabric on them again.
LA fabric left; SD fabric right
LA is on the left; SD is on the right.

Here is everything I'm donating; the service comes on Friday morning and believe me, having all this stuff in my living room is incentive not to buy more fabric. (Kristy, I am holding strong and haven't put any fabric back, yet!)  This pic includes fabric and clothes and books that I'm donating on Friday morning.
waiting for the donation service!

Even after all that, there is still some fabric I am on the lookout for, specifically:

  • black stretch thin-wale corduroy that does not attract lint and does not wrinkle.
  • stretch corduroy and stretch velveteen in  happy colors like turquoise (impossible!)
  • black knit with tiny white or cream polka dots (more of a pin dot size, not polka dot size, not seizure inducing.)  (Have not seen this since Gail K's in Atlanta--not even Spandex House in NYC had this)
  • stretch lace with small prints that are not too big nor too floral nor depressing nor Italian widow
  • red non-stretch denim that is not heavy weight (this is impossible to find! red bull denim is easy to find but is much too heavy weight.  My only hope is you.  Or Kashi.  He used to have purple denim.  I know because I have some but it's not enough to make a jacket.  Maybe I should call him.)
  • white shirting fabric that is not see through and doesn't wrinkle and isn't heavy weight (impossible!)
  • Dark chocolate brown quality (not Joann's or Hancock's) fleece, enough to make a fleece jacket. I have some from way back when Lucy's Knits was around, and was targeting making a fleece from it, but it turns out it's a rather small piece.
Non fabric:
  • Peltex for bags (easy to find)
  • 7" or 9" zippers with neat zipper pulls (for interior pockets on bags--where can I find them?  The ones I've been using for my bags were 25cents from a bargain fabric store in SF and I am running out)
  • labels with different words on them.  Years ago at Joann's I bought a package of woven, fabric labels with words that were intended for scrapbooking and have used them in bags and on underwear, but cannot find these again.  I have looked at scrapbooking websites but the woven labels tend to be more on the juvenile/baby side.  Also I don't want 100 (or even 20) of the same word, just random words on little woven labels.
So I was wondering, if anyone in the US has any of the above in their stash and wants to trade for fabric in my giveaway pile?

Here's what I have that you might be interested in:

  • juvenile flannel
  • knit fabric with Bugs Bunny on it (small piece, enough for a tank top though)
  • rib knit in green and brown
  • seersucker
  • This 3 yard stretch cotton that was all the rage at PR weekend Chicago.  I was gaga over it too but the truth is it is just not a fabric that I would wear.
  • DSC03197

(the lighter green above is fine wale corduroy; the rest is rib knit)

So please let me know, if you want to trade or have sources for any of my wish list items. :)    If you want to trade, let me know by 7am EST this Friday morning, Dec 20, as the items will be put outside for donation then.

I cooked.
dinner 12/14/13
I baked.
Mmmm cookies!
It snowed.
Now with 250 solar lights!
But I did not sew.

Be well!