Monday, October 19, 2015

Bamboo Juersey - an actual step to my thoughts of Living Fabric

If you've been here before you might know that I sometimes sew for money. Lately, I have been working with a local designer who works in bamboo jersey for her dresses. I have always liked the feel and breathability of this fabric.

When you are sewing high end dresses any flaw in the dye or fabric means a piece can't be used. I lucked out recently in that 2 scarves or pashminas (they were quite large) I was making were bolt ends and had imperfections. I brought the dye imperfections to the designer's attention and I was able to adopt them as "scrap".

I finished the scarves the way I would for the designer and then handed them off to another friend of mine who painted them up with stencils for me and one as a gift for a friend.




My friend has since moved to the UK so if I luck out into any more large pieces I will have to paint them myself.

Soon I will post what I'm doing with the rest of my bamboo jersey scraps.


Friday, June 26, 2015

WTF Friday - apparently, I'm doing it wrong

I've been sewing a lot lately, which has included a few shopping trips for re-supply. There has been paying sewing work in the last little while too.

With that I went to buy some new thread at one of my favourite sewing shops in town. I've always liked buying my thread there because they carry a great selection of colours and shades of high quality, high volume thread. Strangely, I have no idea the brand name.

Anyway, I wandered into the store and one of the sales ladies quite helpfully offered assistance. I mentioned I was just in for a new colour of thread and went straight to the large spools.
"That's Serger thread" She told me.
Of course it is, I picked up 4 spools because it is for an overlock sewing project. However, it's never occurred to me before that there is a difference. I use large spools of thread for almost all of my sewing, in all of my sewing machines. Black and white especially make sense to have in large volume.

I only buy small amounts of thread for single projects. If I have a particular shade or print of fabric I will pick up a coordinating small spool of thread and then if I have seams to overlock I will use that thread at my needle(s) and a neutral for my loopers.



My next question was about heavier cotton threads that I want to experiment with in my standard sewing machine. She steered me away from them telling me they will mess with my tensions. I always thought I was supposed "mess" with my tensions to match my thread and fabric choices. I dunno, I guess I've been doing it wrong.

Do you sew? Can you think of a reason not to use your large spools of "serger" thread in your standard machine?

Friday, June 19, 2015

WTF Friday - my scissors, (GASP)

If you know anyone who sews, you have probably had a surprising response from them when you picked up a pair of scissors in their house.
"NOT THOSE SCISSORS! Those are my sewing scissors!"

If I were more organized I would most likely keep my sewing scissors in a drawer, but I am always working on a project here or there so my fancy scissors are always out. This means my friends are very careful to ask if they can use any scissors they find before they cut for crafting or opening packaging. I have definitely yelled at a few folk just before they've made a cut in something I didn't approve.

At the moment, my sewing scissors are not fancy at all. They are an old bargain pair, because my Fiskars have just fallen apart.

My WTF moment was my complete shock when my scissors fell apart. I was only cutting quilting cotton at the time. If I had been attempting to cut denim it would have been understandable. I should mention, these scissors have been in heavy use since 2013. I sew canvas and fleece and sometimes even fun fur. These scissors have worked hard, but to give up on quilting cotton, I'm not sure I respect them as much as I used to.


Fiskars have a great lifetime guarantee so if I'm patient, I will get a new pair. I may also upgrade and have my replacement Fiskars for back-up. There has been a lot of sewing going on at my house these days. I could use a treat.

Friday, June 5, 2015

WTF Friday - Another sewing machine to lust after

Recently, a friend asked me about darning denim, trying to save from sending his spendy designer jeans off to another part of the country for specialty services. I haven't had a chance to practice with my darning foot yet to see if my quilting machine is up to the challenge. However, thanks to RAWR denim I am currently lusting after a vintage machine, according to the internet I'm not the only one.

design and style, vintage baby

I did find this excellent tutorial about hand darning denim, it all seems so interesting I think I'm gonna try it. Currently when folks bring me blown out jeans, I sew a reinforcement patch in behind the tear. It tends to show a little, but since these are usually crotch seams I kinda hope no one is looking too close.



I already own 6 sewing machines while living in a one bedroom apartment, so I think I will just have to continue to lust after the vintage Singer and let other folks own it. I am gonna try my machine with some fancy threads though. I think a $15 investment in heavy cotton is coming up.

Friday, May 29, 2015

WTF Friday - really? A hard to find sewing tutorial?

One of my favourite things about the internet is that information is so easy to find. Except today. Today I was having trouble with one of my 5 sewing machines.
My Elna home coverstitch machine can use up to 3 needles side by side, but I usually only use 2. Trying to turn a couple corners on a pointed hem detail that is about a 70 degrees, I realized I've only really used this machine for a year. I was having trouble with bunching fabric and stitch overlaps. I decided to seek help on the internet and got nothing back.
 In the end I went old school and dug out a couple sewing books. From there it was scrap material and a whole lot of practice. Just like the old days.

I forgot to get a picture of my final project before it left the house, but may write a couple tutorials myself in the next year or two. Until then, practice, practice, practice.

Do you like trying new techniques? I definitely thought about changing the detail to a normal straight line but I'm glad I stuck with the practicing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Give away day winner!

I'm a little outside Sew Mama Sew's guidelines for shipping my prize, but its in the mail now and that's what counts.



Thank you everyone for visiting my blog during Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day. It was nice to see my stats improve over the weekend.

Congratulations to Despina Veneti from France who will have a new tea cozy from me.

I have the next giveaway day marked in my calendar and am already thinking of what I might make.

When I run future contests I think I will investigate contest widgets where a machine on the interwebs can pick a random comment. I'm still small enough that we wrote names on paper and pulled from a hat.

Thank you to everyone who commented its nice to read about you too.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sew productive lately

This isn't so much a real post. It's me bragging. I have finished a number of projects that have been hanging around. Also, a few projects that were recent inspirations.

I've been cataloging my fabric stash because I have fabric taking over my house. This means I have found a number of things that are already cut out and a few things I didn't even remember I had.

So here is my finished list.

Postal themed scarf that I think I will sell as furoshiki (eco gift wrap)

2 pairs of pajama pants that tie at the waist (one pair is already an elastic waist now)

New pennant of the sailing club. It turned out so well I may need to make more.


New International pennant #5 since I'm good at flags apparently.

This year's version of obnoxious sailing leggings

2 small velcro pouches

Also several alterations for profit, 2 dresses and several scarves.

I'm hoping this is the start of a new sewing habit, but I'm pretty sure these things happen in cycles.

Do you have any projects that have been hanging around too long?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

WTF Friday - it's all in the details

It's Saturday in my world, but this was still a WTF Friday moment.

Most anyone who sews will tell you, double check your details. When you are sewing many layers together, take that extra moment to double check you have everything in correctly.

I recently was making a few toiletry bags using a tutorial from SoChick (you have to have a login to craftsy for the freebie, but it's worth it). One of the steps in the tutorial even reminds you to check that you have your tab in correctly before you sew it in. Well when I was turning the bag the right side out at the end.

This is what I'd done.


The other side was fine though, so only one bit of stitch ripping required.


Looks like I need to spend some time with my camera settings, but you get the idea.

Friday, May 8, 2015

WTF Friday - the 70's seemed to think you really had skills

This starts with pictures.

This is a magazine from the 70's that featured a basket weave sleeve. They recommend velvet jersey to obtain the same look as theirs.

My WTF is that these magazines just assumed you know what you're up to for making a sleeve. There are detailed instructions for making the basket woven jersey, but they think you know the sleeve shape and sewing directions for long-sleeved shirt.

I read a few craft magazines and even the ones aimed for intermediate to advanced sewers/crafters don't just offer a diagram of a new technique and leave it at that.
There is an article accompanying the diagram tutorial, but it doesn't discuss how much extra yardage you need for this look.

Ah, 70's style, it's probably coming back in fashion soon isn't it?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day May 2015

I'm super excited to participate in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day this year.

Welcome new visitors, I've looked at my stats, you are all new visitors.

Today's post is all business, my contest is open to everyone, I will ship internationally. One random selected comment will be the proud new owner of a Monster Tea Cosy. See my post "something slightly different" for more information on this whimsical guy. He is pretty small, made for a 2-4 cup tea pot.



I post about crafts, I sew, knit, crochet, chain maille and bake. What is your favourite craft to do?

If you don't want to wait to win one I have one for sale on my Etsy site already.

This contest is open to everyone, please be sure to leave your email in the comments below so I can contact you.

Winner will be selected at 5:00 pm (PDT) Sunday May 10, 2015.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Something only slightly different - Monster Tea Cosies

I have been a little busy the last little while, but I found some time to search out an old pattern book.
The book is Beehive Toys and Novelties, it may actually be a Canadian magazine. I couldn't find the copyright details but it only cost 50 cents to the original owner.

With these older patterns I was able to create something I've been thinking about for a while. Wouldn't it be great if your Tea Cozy was a warm little monster, and your teapot's spout was their nose? In the book I'm using there are 3 more styles of tea cozy for me to try and monster up.

Yup, I've been knitting up some traditional tea cozies and then adding felt eyes and mouths to make them Tea Monsters. I'm gonna see if the world wants to buy them here.



So far my Facebook friends seem to like them and one has been gifted away to a happy home already.

Did I ever mention my monster pocket tissue holders? I kind of love monsters.

Friday, April 10, 2015

WTF Friday - ummmm I'm glad English is my first language Simplicity

Lately I've been sewing up some projects for/with a friend of mine. See 2nd of 2 frocks.



I was working on a Simplicity pattern that he found at the thrift store and I'm not sure why I was reading the entire pattern directions. I do follow sewing directions but I really skim the important parts these days. Sometimes I even change up the order if I see an easier way. 

Anyway, a photo is required here.




Saturday, April 4, 2015

2nd of 2 Frocks, vintage sewing pattern - thrift shop find Folkwear #108 Black Forest Smock



A friend of mine is a fantastic designer and creator of knit, felt and fashion. He found a vintage pattern at the thrift store and brought it to me to see if I wanted to sew it. He cooks fantastic food when I'm crafting so I played with fun fabric and got fed delicious food.

The pictures I'm showing use silk screened designs by my friend on silk curtain panels. In order to be efficient on cutting the fabric, I turned the back into 2 pieces instead of cut on the fold. I managed to find a really nice coordinating broadcloth for this piece. It turned out that it was the first piece of fabric I've purchased in 2015!




With the dainty silk I chose not to put the pockets in. Although I could use the practice based on how my pockets worked out on the first on.

I forgot to take a picture of the first one I made. My friend has added sequin appliques since I made it and it looks very good.

I now have another pattern and fabric from my friend and I think there will be candy while I sew this time.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday - My first sewing machine


I was cruising our local classified website today and saw a sewing machine for sale that looked an awful lot like the one I crew up using. I can't really say it was my machine, because it was really my Mom's. She was nice and shared it with us kids though. When I went looking for an image of the actual machine I found the pic above that is from the cover of an owner's manual. Our machine could have been from 1941. I do love the old machines for their power and indestructibility.

My first sewing project was a Hallowe'en costume (black witches dress and cape). Mom gave me the best sewing advice I have ever received and continue to pass it on to new sewers; "no matter how strange it seems, follow the pattern directions to the letter and it usually turns out OK"

In today's sewing world with Craftsy.com video lessons you can pay for and youtube tutorials galore for free, you can usually have a stranger demonstrate a new process like putting a sleeve in a garment, but back in the day (1991 ish) the internet was still a baby.

What was your first sewing project?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I still call it insanity, but I may visit more regularly...do you see my block of the month button?

So my pile of donated fabric has now become a quilted quilt tote. I followed the directions included in my donation. I have spent most of this project wondering why my mysterious benefactor didn't buy pre-quilted fabric for this endeavor. Also, why did they measure everything just a little bit shorter than the directions said?

The donation is mysterious, because when I told my crafty friend I was working on this project from a bag of fabric I got from her, she had no idea what I was talking about. Our best guess is this was donated to her and she just passed it on without even knowing what was in there.

I have not included the photocopied directions because I cannot give credit to the designer. It is obviously from a book, pages 130-134, no headers on the pages.

For this project I made my longest piece of bias binding yet (6 m) although it didn't have to be that long.

I was reminded why I have a pencil sharpener in my sewing supplies, one of my chalk pencils is almost done. I think I've had it for 2 years. I apparently don't draw as many lines when fashioning clothing.

Oh and I'm pretty sure I've used the equivalent of 1 km of thread for a small item. Although it might just feel that way.

Pictures to prove I really did it.
Machine quilted, by me

Quilt inside is a beautiful gift from my crazy relatives

All done
I actually could have finished this in 3 days. I had the time, but instead of sewing my fabulous bias tape on, I went to a crochet project for a few days instead. Facing my issues with finishing a project, I am quite proud of myself that this is done.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Diving into insanity - this weeks project is a quilted bag (a gift)

It's been a running joke with my group of crafty friends that quilting is a level of insanity that equals crazy. Most crafters run a little to the eccentric, but somehow I have come to believe quilting is the road to insanity.

You folk don't know that much about me, but I struggle to finish large projects and as far as I can tell there are no small quilting projects. Also, I only iron because making clothing turns out terrible without good pressing skills. Quilting relies heavily on ironing.

Anyway, here we are in early 2015. I've been working on cataloging my stash and clearing out a few things. I was reminded that I received gift from a friend who was clearing out their craft space. I now have the plans for a quilted bag and all the pieces cut out, but not quilted.
I have a fancy Pfaff sewing machine that will enjoy this project. It's all computerized and was designed with quilters in mind, now I get to find out if it really is better than my old 16 basic machine. Maybe quilting is less crazy when you have the fancy tools.

There are some family members who may read this and take exception to my belief they are insane. I say think about it for a moment and ask your friends. I'm right. I love you, but I'm right.

So I know the basics, the printed plans don't seem too difficult....I'll let you know how it goes. This one starts with the iron I think.