Monday, March 18, 2013

Jeans sewing workshop and a Goodwill cabinet find

I was fortunate to be able to attend a Jeans workshop this weekend by Jennifer Stearns, held at The Sewing Tree in Dover NH. What a great time we had, and learned so much! Jennifer is just delightful, a great instructor and extremely personable and down to earth. If you ever get the chance to take this workshop, do it! We had a small group of 10, so it was easy to get personalized attention and fitting.  

The first day was all about fitting, using Jennifer's jeans pattern pre-made up into muslins then tried on for size. She measured what we each needed for adjustments, then we made up our own muslins from her pattern. After that, we were checked again for whatever additional adjustments were needed. 

The second day, we learned some of the techniques that were needed to complete the jeans. She brought pre-cut pieces to make pockets, fronts and fly fronts. We didn't need to bring a thing to the weekend, everything was provided for us. It couldn't have been made easier for us to go home well satisfied! 



Along with the jeans workshop, Jennifer brought some of her creations for us to see- the first Trunk Show I've ever been to! Her embroidery work was simply amazing, the pictures just can't do it justice. The black and pink coat to the right is silk velvet with pink and metallic embroidery and free motion stitching.  The ecru gown to the left (back view) has vines of multicolored embroidery around the neckline and hemline, at the tips of the multilevel train and hand made silk ribbon roses at the waist.  All of her embroidery designs are designed and digitized by her.                     
On the way home, of course I couldn't help but stop at Goodwill (or 2.) I thought I might pick up some cheap jeans on which to practice my newly learned skills. I found three large mens pair at half price. I also was lucky enough to find an older sewing cabinet and chair for $20. I have needed another chair for a while, and the cabinet is a plus and will replace the folding table I have under one of my machines now.  It doesn't have a lift, but has an adjustable shelf which can hold a machine at two different heights. The right side door has metal spool holders, the left side door has a piece that needs to be screwed back on that appears to hold scissors. 


                 



  We are expecting another foot of snow over the next couple of days. When I got home, I unloaded goodies, and then brought in some more wood for the stove. I am planning to practice my jeans skills during the storm.  What did YOU do this weekend??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pattern found!

Lo and behold, I got up this morning and found a pattern close to the pink chiffon style I posted about last night!  Vogue 8150 shows an almost identical criss crossed bodice. This one is not V necked, and I'm not wild about the straps, but at least I can get familiar with the techniques. Of course it's rated for advanced sewers, while I consider myself an intermediate.

The odd thing about finding this was the round about way it came about. While having my morning tea, I was googling "tucks vs pleats," trying to pinpoint the difference. This subject came up in our neighborhood knitting (and other various textile hobbies) group last week while someone was adding tucks to the bodice back of a vintage seersucker dress. So up came this page  http://fashion-incubator.com/archive/pop-quiz-tucks-vs-pleats/. (If you haven't seen this site before, it's very informative for the devoted sewist.) From there I continued onto Part 2 http://fashion-incubator.com/archive/pop-quiz-tucks-vs-pleats-pt-2/. See the picture she has here?

This photo originated from http://vintagedetail.blogspot.com/2009/09/1990s-draped-cocktail-dress.html
a blog new to me that I will be reading avidly. Another post on her blog,
http://vintagedetail.blogspot.com/search/label/Pleats%20and%20Tucks,  shows a fabulous 80's cocktail dress by St. Gillian described as draped and tucked.
    By using these descriptions I eventually was able to find Vogue 8150 and from there went to Patternreview to check out the reviews http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/search.pl?search=search&patternid=14421&CompanyID=51&PatternNumber=8150. I love the web!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Progress on the sewing front


I’ve been fortunate to finally be able to do quite a bit of planning, fabric organizing  AND sewing lately. Spending time in my sewing room is a great de-stressor for me. Is it the same for you?


Telling you all about what I’ve been up to will take a while, but I’ll start with what I did most recently and work backwards. Just as a teaser, though, coming up are stories of making a body double, visiting a sewists’ gathering in the “big city” and I’ve actually made one and a half skirts at another sewing circle here in my own hometown! Best yet, with the help of a sewing teacher, I finally overcame my bodice fitting issues!


But first, what I did last night…
   The reason I’m working backwards is because I’m needing input from some other sewists about an idea I have for a dress for my daughter for her art school graduation. She would love to have one made out of came material and most of what I find is not what I would typically use for a dress. However, in one of our local surplus and salvage stores, I found a sheer polyester in shades of red, coral and black. I’m thinking of combining it with black for something similar to this:              



                            




I also found some photos online of dresses in styles I liked. This one in particular:


But finding a pattern to mimic this is proving to be challenging. I’m thinking there’s a basic V necked sheath underneath and the draped pieces are actually four separate pieces X-ed across front and back, attached at the armholes, shoulders and neckline, then sewn into the side seams.
    I’ve looked online at the big 4 current patterns and didn’t find anything close that was constructed like this. I’ve also looked at some of the indie patterns, but there ARE a lot of indies (is that even a word?) out there now. Has anyone else seen anything similar? Or any other camo fabric I would consider? 




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sewing pick-me-up

I've been taking an online fitting class through Patternreview.com and due to my very oddly shaped upper body (thank you scoliosis!), it is a lot of ripping out and experimentation. I got kind of frustrated this week, so I said to myself, "Self!, step away from the fitting muslin!"
So I did some cleaning and straightening up of my sewing room, pulled out a few small mending projects that I'd been procrastinating about, and made a few small crafty sewing projects.
I've been dying to try to make this type of headband. Once I did the first, it was simple!  I used these test fabrics, but found them too stiff. They made the band too wide for your average head. The next ones will be a softer material or I'll try pleating it. 

T shirt scarves!

I've made a lot of these lately.
They are actually a no sew project if you get a t shirt with no seams on the sides.


I really need belts! And belts that don't have a huge bulky buckle in the front. So I remembered that I had picked up some vintage plastic buckles and stashed them away, and dug them out. Fun, quick and just begging for fabrics to go with every pant and shirt I own!


What have you got hiding in your sewing room that would be fun to do as a quick pick-me-up project? 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Textile treasures!

I promised you photos of some of the items I found at our local swap shop. Most of the clothing that I bring home will find its way (eventually!) to a new life in another form.  Refashioned into a different type or size article of clothing, or a hat, purse, headband or pillow. 

 These two photos are of a great Flax brand dress in a color that's hard to describe and the photos do not do it justice. It's a greenish blue heathery weave with a bit of iridescence to it. The whole dress is in excellent condition. Since there is so much material here, I hope to cut his down to a more stylish, but casual dress closer to my size. Any pattern ideas?





 This one is a corduroy LL Bean shirt in a
2X size, excellent condition. This one is destined
for my family summer cottage for family
wear on cool nights.






                                                         




This Old navy dress is a great brown with metallic gold overlay. I may cut off the bottom for a cute skirt with a smocked waistline, for one of my many great nieces, then make a matching headband. Any other ideas?                        



Men's tuxedo shirt with great tucking.
This tucking will look great in something!
Another men's shirt in a coral/orange gingham.
This one is going to be a summer shirt for me!

These are just a few of the items of clothing I've found. I also find other useful things like a chicken waterer which I gave to my friend who sells eggs, appliances for some of our tenants, books for light reading (which always get returned for someone else's reading pleasure :)  Yesterday, DH found a Greist sewing machine attachment, not in the swap shop, but in the trash metal pile. I was sad to realize that the sewing machine that it came from had probably been trashed and taken to be sold for scrap metal. But I was glad to have saved this small piece.
 It says Greist "A" on it, but has no number. I know that it is a tucker, but don't know which machines it was made for, do you?



Sunday, December 9, 2012

From my corner of the world

I love fabric and gardening. Oh, and reading...and chocolate...and singing...and animals...and technology...and talking with other people who love the same things. I'm addicted to blogs about them, too. On Google reader, which I just discovered, I already have a list of 22 sewing blogs.

I live in the northeast section of the US, on an island 13 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. We have most of the modern amenities, except for cell service, but of course no fabric stores unless you count the "Swap Shop" at the local landfill. This is an old trailer truck body where folks leave items that 1) they think are too good to throw away, or 2) don't want to pay to dispose of. Ideally, the first outnumber the second! I have found some lovely and useful things here: Flax dresses, vintage patterns, sewing machines, like-new Foodsaver vacuum devices, Fiesta dishes and a fabulous all-weather coat with a removable lining that I wear a lot! Look for photos of some of the things I have found in my next post!