“Whether or not God has kissed your brow, you still have to work. Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss.”

Twyla Tharp

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Liberty Shirt, Part I

I traced off the Liberty Shirt pattern this morning. I really like to trace off with swedish tracing paper. I know there are less expensive things out there (a lot of people use exam table paper that you can buy at medical supply stores) but I like the feel of swedish tracing paper. It's soft and drapes nicely. You can fold it to put back into an envelope or drape it over a hanger -- I just think it's more tactile than other things. I use a mechanical pencil and find the soft pencil on the fabric of the tracing paper is more soothing than using a crinkly or stiff paper.

As a very recent convert to rotary cutters, I still go back and forth between cutting with my rotary cutter and plain old scissors. And, I still prefer pins in many instances to magnets -- some habits die very slow deaths! Although I did convert a long time ago to fine, glass-head pins, I do need to buy some flat flower head pins so I can lay my ruler down flat when I'm tracing and cutting. When I bought my first cutting mat, I was told to buy the largest one I could afford and I can't emphasize enough what a good idea that is. I thought I had bought a large one, but it is a lot smaller than my cutting table, so I need to check all the time before I use my rotary cutter to make certain I am on the mat. One of these days, I'll replace it, but there are so many other choices to make with sewing dollars that one is never sure what to get next!

I'm using an orange/pink cross dye that I've made another top out of recently. I love the color and they'll be worn in different seasons -- I do want to find some really funky buttons.

And....low and behold.....I'm sewing this on my new Viking Designer SE! So excited! Lastly, for today, I was just on the Greenberg & Hammer website to look at some things and was so happy to see how much work they've done on their site -- very nice! As my son would say -- eye candy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crossroads

Ever have so many things you want to do that you don't know where to start? And, you feel like you really don't have a plan? That's where I am! I bought a new machine that I am soooo excited about but when it finally came in and I got it home, the computer screen did not work! I will call today to see what's up. It's a Viking Designer SE and I hope it's everything I expect.

I also bought two new Sewing Workshop patterns, one of them I hope to make this week -- the Liberty Shirt, and will post if it works out (or if it doesn't!) I also bought more cloth and am beginning to think I keep buying patterns and cloth to avoid actually sitting down to sew! Fear of failure?

We were in Montreal last week and I did finally buy two fabric pieces that I think will work for pillows I promised my nephew weeks ago. His furniture is black leather and his carpeting is cream, so I hope these will work well. I went back and forth about whether I should do splashes of color to make it vibrant or keep it more neutral so he can add other elements and not be on overload. As usual, my more classic side won out -- I hope he doesn't think they're too boring! But, then, it's only cloth -- more can be made if he doesn't like them...

I may do another one or two in black with some free style embroidery in cream and maybe red to spice things up.

Back to clothes -- I really need to zero in on some patterns that work for me and a plan to put together a wardrobe! Hopefully I will make some progress on that this week and get my new machine up and running!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Now and Zen Shirts

Sewing Workshop has the most wonderful patterns. They are just different enough to resemble something from a boutique rather than your usual department store.

This one is from the Now and Zen Shirts and is a breeze to make. I love the high, asymmetrical collar (detail below). They have the nicest construction with french seams and a rolled collar that ends up looking on the inside much like a tailored man's shirt. They even recommend making oak tag rulers in 1 1/4" and 1 3/4" to use when making your folds/hem so you get real precision. When you're finished the inside is almost as good looking as the outside! There is no interfacing or facings -- just the 4 pattern pieces. It can easily be worked up in an afternoon. This one is in a very tightly woven pale pink cotton. I like my tops to sit more on the hip so I extended the pattern by about two inches.

I had hoped to make a dressier one in a very sheer sea foam, but alas I am struggling with the cloth which is distorting every time my iron looks at it! I may need to give up on that version, at least for today and set my sites on something else.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fabric 'Fix'

Well, my sister and I were supposed to head down to Swansea today to check out Apple Annie Fabric, one of the few fabric stores left in Massachusetts or New Hampshire these days. You can find quilt shops galore, but to find a great fabric store for clothes sewing is no small feat. We decided to leave that two hour jaunt for another day, much to my dismay since I've never been there and fabric stores are a special adventure.

But, all was not lost. We did head over to Fabric Fix. For those who have never ventured into this tiny venue on Blaine Street in Manchester, you are in for a treat! In fact, I almost hate to talk about them for fear everyone will find my special haven. They have bolt upon bolt of beautiful fabric including dupioni and linen at great prices. I was very good today since I was just there two weeks ago. I only succumbed to a lovely pale pink linen with a miniscule brown/black slub for the glorious price of $6 a yard! A summer jacket is calling me....

Apple Annie will be another day. Next week we are headed for Montreal and I've been promised I can wile away some hours in their garment district. I'll let you know -- off to sew!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Bag

I love this bag! It was trauma to make and I can point out every mistake, but I do love it. It's Vogue 7889 and the fabric is, of course, what makes it. It was a remnant that probably cost a few bucks. The fabric is heavy, the interfacing is heavy and I probably broke at least a few needles before I finished! If I made it again, I would definitely not interface the tabs all the way to the edge as they were very difficult to attach to the body -- way too much fabric, interfacing, etc. Unless you have an industrial machine, it gets a bit sketchy if your fabric is heavy.

But, with all its faults, it garners lots of compliments (for the fabric, not the workmanship) and holds lots of things that are easy to get to.