I love to use Pinterest as my virtual bulletin board. As you might guess many of my pins are sewing related. Click here to see what fun stuff I've found and pinned to different sewing boards.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Crafternoon Tea - Finished my Beaded Cap (Terminado!)

First Marilyn made us a lovely festive tea! Doesn't she set a lovely table? And then we watched "Miracle on 34'th Street" (the original with Natalie Woods and Maureen O'Hara of course!), and worked on our craft projects together. OK, we also talked non-stop.

 I finished beading my faux-tapestry cap. You remember it? That's the project I started in Vancouver. I talked about sights, sounds and sewing inspiration in Vancouver in my (Episode 26) November, Enchanted By Sewing audio/podcast. You can find out more about that episode and listen right on the web, or download it to your mobile device, by clicking on the show notes at http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/11/ench-by-sew-026-embellishment-via.html.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Spinning Straw Into Gold - My Rumpelstiltskin Cowl Neck Knit Top (McCalls 6078)

My  Rumpelstiltskin Straw-Into-Gold Top looks best tucked in!

Oh I love wearing this straw-into-gold wool jersey top! Yes, you're right. The longer hem that worked for my polka dot cowl, is too long for this fluid wool jersey. I may hem it shorter, but I've ended up tucking it in most of the time anyway. What a difference the hand of a fabric makes, eh?

Do you recall a few weeks back, when I finished my reworked Retro Polka Dot cowl-neck knit top? I'm just starting to buildup my pattern wardrobe of tried-and-true patterns, and I love having a pattern I can turn to late one night, and finish off before breakfast.

I pulled out my version of M6078 (the version I traced, altered and know fits me) and a light weight, gauzy , golden wool jersey knit from my fabric inventory one night last week, and the next day I had a great new top to wear. I didn't stay up late making it either:-)

I can spin straw into gold.  I know just how that German gal  in the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale felt. You remember her? She was the one-time commoner who found a husband by practicing her domestic skills with her spindle and a hunk of straw.*   

This is already proving to be a great top for our not too cold, California cool season. It's good under a long sleeved top, or on it's own. I can wear it with jeans, a denim skirt or my brown stretch-velvet jeans. And yes, I'm tucking it in :-)

I'm so ready to make more. Sewing tried-and-true is the kind of thing that keeps me . . . 

Enchanted by Sewing!

* Honey, I highly recommend a degree in Computer Science as a better option.

Web Resources
My Retro Polka Dot Knit Top  (also blogged about as "Why I don't love Lucy") http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/11/terminado-retro-polka-cowl-neck-knit.html
Who's Rumpelstiltskin? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpelstiltskin

Friday, November 28, 2014

Terminado! - Ivy's Ready for the Holidays - Raw Silk Shirtdress

I'm really happy with my new shirtdress, Ivy. She's perfect for holiday occasions, and can also be accessorized for a variety of more casual situations during the year.

I created Ivy from deep green raw silk, also known as silk noil. I purchased this fabric last year from Exotic Silks/Thai Silks in Los Altos CA. They have an online store as well.

I used the same pattern I used for Peaches and Cream. I talked about altering and using this pattern extensively in my September Enchanted by Sewing podcast.

~ ~ ~ Web Resources ~ ~ ~ 

Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast- Shirtdressing
Includes pattern links and a number of blog postings about altering and creating my first version of this shirtdress.

Mrs. Obama's arms inspire shirt dress sewing

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Embellishment: Buttoning Up Vancouver B.C. - A Sewist Travels


On my recent trip to Vancover B.C., I stopped in at Button Button, a unique embellishment mecca for the sewist who just thinks she's already seen it all.

Browsing Colleen's collection of gorgeous, handcrafted buttons  is like visiting an art galley full of tiny gems - except that these jewels are more affordable than Tiffany's!

I purchased the lovelies above for future embellishment projects. Likely I'll attach them to one of my caps, or on the lapel of a jacket or shirt. Can't you just see that terrier doggie surrounded by a circle or oval of tiny seed beads, or seed pearls? 

I'll be talking more about my experiences shopping for embellishments and looking for sewing inspiration in Vancouver, in my (free) November Enchanted by Sewing audio podcast, which I'll be publishing by the end of this month. You can signup to get an email  each time these monthly audio shows are available.

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Web Resources

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pattern Work: Binder Clips and Household Hooks Keeps Pattern and Fabric Sections Current in a Small Space (Organizing )

Three clips in action!
A little binder clip is hooked over the neck of the hanger.
A bigger binder clip is attached to the top of the hanger.
Farther down one of the hanger hooks supports a few more pattern pieces.
I take advantage of the up and down bits of the clips as well, to keep things out of the way.
Since I've begun working with patterns I'm creating from scratch or altering, I'm finding that I need to keep my pattern pieces handier during the project. That's because I make more changes as the work progresses. 

Locating and re-ironing a particular piece really adds a lot of time. It also just kind of makes me feel nervous not to have my pattern pieces handy, when I have so many personal decisions invested in them!

The most important things are:

1) Don't lose any pieces! I've invested a lot of myself and my time in them.

2) Have all the actual garment pieces, as well as pattern pieces ready and pressed 

I've seen photos of sewist's and designer's studios with their big tissue pieces hanging from specially designed walls and display areas. That's really neat! But, I don't have that kind of space. I've mentioned before that I have a sewing zone, not a whole room. That means I'm sharing my sewing space with my family.  It means I clear off the communal work table, and put most of my bits and pieces away, every time I stop a particular work session. Honestly, I'd rather have the company than the space!
A skirt hanger holds up a number of current pattern pieces. More pieces dangle from another binder clip I slipped over a nail in the corner (off to the left). These areas are, more or less, out of the way from other folks who use the family room where I sew.
My pattern pieces and cut out garment sections are another thing however. I need to be sure I have all those individual pieces - both cut out fabric sections and individual pattern pieces I need to refer back to - close at hand and ready to use. I also need them to stay as pressed as possible in between work sessions. I bet you know the challenge of having maybe only a half an hour to sew. It can take that long to re-press a cut out section or pattern piece.

What works for keeping my pattern pieces at the ready and out of the rest of my families' way? 

Binder clips (two sizes), skirt hangers with clips, and every out of the way hook (or nail) I can find, does the job for me. I also have one of those long 'S' hooks (designed for plant pots) that I can slip into loops like the curly brackets that support our high shelves. Once I have hooks in place, I have something to slip my clips and hangers over. There are my pattern pieces all ready to go - snugged in a clip - with the cut out fabric attached, or just on their own waiting to be called into use, or  ready for a penciled note. 

I can hang up layers of pattern pieces within one binder clip and laying over another. I can dangle all those clips from a hook, nail or the neck of a hanger. Several items (both paper and cut out pressed-and-ready-to-go fabric) can be clipped together. 

This method of keeping all my pieces hanging at the ready has really helped me during my current work on my shirt dress Ivy. That silk noil fabric wrinkles like crazy, and I've saved a lot of ironing time.

Once the project is over, I'll make sure I've got all my notes on the pieces, then fold and press them, and store them away in my "Tried and True" pattern box. But for the time being, my clip and hook organization method keeps what I need handy, while making sure nothing gets in anybody else's way.

Figuring out how to keep my pattern and garment sections pressed and at the ready, helps make my sewing time more enjoyable, because it keeps my project steaming along.

That's the kind of thing that keeps me . . . 
Enchanted by Sewing!

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Web Resources

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mrs. Obama's Arms Inspire Shirt Dress Sewing and More (Romancing the Dress, Ivy)

Mrs. Obama is an inspiration to me professionally and politically.
Also she inspires me to want to improve my muscles - using sewing as my exercise willpower gimmick!

I've been working on adding weight lifting into my health routine. I'm a regular exerciser, but weights have been a challenge for me to add. They just doesn't interest me like walking, hiking, biking or swimming do. I know, however, that weight lifting is linked to a decrease in health problems that affect ladies of a certain age (osteoporosis). I think it may help with my posture improvement program. I know that it improves lean muscle mass, which increases my metabolism rate (never a bad idea). It's clear from her toned physique and excellent posture, that Mrs. Obama has mastered this exercise skill. Isn't it nice when our leaders and their spouses are not only professional and citizen role models, but health models as well? Images of our president's beautiful wife  have reinforced my desire to improve my own biceps, triceps, and .... you know all that other arm area stuff.

Oh yes, this is my sewing journal!

I don't know 'bout you, but I sometimes have to fool myself into liking a new exercise. I think I may have found the secret for making weight lifting more fun for me. 

You probably guessed that has something to do with sewing...

Here's how I do it... 

Over the last week, I've been working on a new dress, I call Ivy. I had the piece of forest green, raw silk (silk noil) you see below, in my fabric inventory, just waiting for more meaning in it's life, then could be found in my armoire. I bought the material at Thai Silks/Exotic Silks in Los Altos a year ago, planing to create a shirt dress for last fall's Draping class. Part way through the semester, I realized, that I wasn't quite ready to drape something with that much detail, so I made a simpler linen dress with a front zip instead. Since then I've altered a commercial shirt dress pattern to create just the  type of dress I wanted. (More about my pattern work and sewing experiences in my recent Shirt Dressing audio podcast. You can also read blog postings I wrote about my first shirt dress "Peaches and Cream".)
A little pinning, a little cutting - it all fits great in between
ten curls, rows or other weight bearing exercise moves.
Don't you love this deep forest green silk noil/raw silk?
I bet Mrs. Obama would approve!
I'd like to wear Ivy to several events over the holiday and winter season. I've also got a personal deadline for finishing her. There's a supper party coming up midway through this month. Though these events inspire me to complete Ivy, life gets in the way a bit. Believe it or not, I have a few things to do other than sew :-) ! Of course in addition to fitting sewing in and around those things, I need to schedule in my exercise as well.   New activities like weight lifting might just get overlooked. 

So I setup a multi-tasking project session, alternating between weight lifting and sewing.

My weight lifting program is three sets of six exercises. That's 18 different spots of work. So first I do my first ten bicep/tricep thingies. (Yeah, I forget what each exercise is called, but I know what to do each time, and that's what counts.)  Then, while I'm taking my quick break between exercises, I unfold Ivy and do a little bit - maybe I plug in the iron and set up the board - maybe I pin a seam. Next, as you guessed, I do another batch of ten exercises for the next part of my program (that extended flying arm thing maybe - do you like the professional way I describe my exercises?)  after which I sew that freshly pinned seam or perhaps press what I sewed last time.

Well, you get the idea. I do a little bit of each, sandwiching my sewing and weight lifting tasks together. It also really helps me to get through some of the aspects of creating Ivy that I don't like as much. My least favorite parts of creating a shirt dress are the work on the front facing and collar, with all the interfacing, pinning, pressing and basting, working to get a clean, precise, finished edge. 
Collar and Front Facing
I'm not as partial to doing the work involved in getting the
interfaced pieces working, as I am to other
aspects of sewing a garment.
Fitting the steps involved in these less desirable activities around weight lifting, gets me through more easily. It also encourages me to stop regularly and stand back from the task, which helps me to accomplish the task more neatly and thoughtfully. It actually makes me less likely to buzz through too quickly (in an attempt to
Anything that helps me avoid those
 painful personal sessions with
Auntie Seama Rippah is to be encouraged!
finish what I don't like to do), which can typically result in a painful session with Auntie Seama Rippah. I know that never happens to you, of course.

When we elect Mrs. Obama as president a few years down the road, I'm going to write her a fan letter. Of course I'll tell her I respect her stand on important issues. And then I'll let her know that she's been an inspiration to me for quite some time...
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Let's Not Invite Auntie Seama Rippah for the Holidays! http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2012/11/avoiding-auntie-seama-rippah-for.html

I recommend Exotic Silks (formerly Thai Silks) highly for both price and quality. They are a local business, but you can buy their products on-line. http://www.exoticsilks.com

My Enchanted by Sewing Shirt Dressing Audio Podcast (listen on-web or download to your mobile device) http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/09/ench-by-sew-024-shirtdressing-and-fall.html

A wrap-up posting about my first shirt dress project, "Peaches and Cream" http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/09/terminado-completing-peaches-and.html

Mrs. Obama's Exercise Program http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/michelle-obama/6156655/Michelle-Obamas-arms-the-nine-minute-secret.html

More Sewing Inspiraton from Mrs. Obama - A blog kept for five and a half years that records many aspects of the first lady's wardrobe http://mrs-o.com

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Terminado! Retro Polka Cowl Neck Knit Top (M6078)

Hey! I got that remake of my retro-style polka dot knit top finished!
It's McCalls M6078.
I blogged about my experiences altering this pattern, and sharing my attitudes towards I Love Lucy:-) in  Reworking a Retro Style Polka Dot Tee

I've been focusing more on wardrobing in my sewing. (How about those red accents!) I talk about wardrobing and my pattern alteration experiences, in the October episode of my Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast