Sunday, October 31, 2010
Ah, but it was unusual for me. This was a day devoted to sewing something I had never, ever attempted to sew before.
The truth was I was a bit intimidated by something that appeared to be difficult to sew.
The first first
What did I sew you ask? Why, a simple little bra.
Those of you that have sewn these before are now falling over with laughter because you know how easy they are to construct. Those of you that have yet to construct one, rest assured, they are so much easier to make than you might think.
Sewing a bra was my first first.
The second first
Not only did I sew my first bra, I spent the day sewing bras with 20 other women. I had never, ever spent a day sewing with one other person let alone an entire room!
Sewing with others was my second first.
The third first
The workshop took place at the Textile Center. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I live so close to this wonderful facility and have never, ever stepped foot inside. I avoided visiting it because I was unfamiliar with that part of Minneapolis and with no dedicated parking lot I was unsure where to park. Parking still sucks but at least I now know some options.
Visiting the Textile Center was my third first.
The fourth first
With 20 other sewers filling the room it was pretty easy to find common ground. I really think overall sewers are an incredibly friendly group of people. But you all know that already don't you?
I shared a lot of laughs with the four ladies I sat next to. I think it's impossible not to when you're all sewing bras together. And the instructors are flashing ... well, more on that when I write about the workshop.
Guess what? I now have some local sewing buddies! Yes! Did you read that? Local. Sewing. Buddies.
And we're going to plan a day to make duct tape dummies together! Yes! Super excited here.
Finding local sewing buddies to make a duct tape dummy was my fourth first.
The bra-sewing workshop was put on my our local American Sewing Guild. While it cost a bit of money I'm thankful I was able to find the finances to attend. I'm still digesting all the information I learned and will share more about the workshop in a few days.
It was indeed an uplifting day...in many ways.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010
Laura's been busy quilting as you can see from her comment "I've been working on some quilt blocks for a block swap, and another quilt that I'd like to enter into the Joann's quilt contest. I haven't been able to get into clothing sewing for the last couple weeks, which is odd because it's usually my favorite."
Laura, please email me your mailing address at sewingbysharon [at] gmail [dot] com?
Thank you everyone for leaving a comment. I enjoyed reading what all of you are working on right now. What a creative and talented group of people.
Take a minute to read through the comments for some great ideas, or to meet a new blog buddy.
Guess what I'm going to be working on today? My first bra! I am excited beyond believe to be attending an all day workshop with Anne St. Clair, owner of Needle Nook Fabrics. Last night was the lecture and fitting and I can tell we're going to have a whole lotta fun today. I promise to tell you all about it.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010
Better late than never, right?
So here you go.
If you haven't purchased a copy of this wonderful book, here's your chance to win one.
If you've already purchased a copy, here's your chance to win one to use as a gift.
It's filled with 101 projects that take less than one yard of fabric.
Try the file cabinet cover- designed my moi. Not gonna lie, this was the cover I had sewn for the file cabinet in my sewing studio and I miss it. But it does look pretty darn nice in that photograph.
Or sew the 30 minute strapless cami - another one of my projects. Check out my yellow lace version sewn last year.
The book is spiral bound, so it lays flat when open.
Just leave me a comment telling me what you've been working on lately - sewing, knitting, scrapping, cooking, kids - just because I spend my spare time sewing doesn't mean you do.
So share with me. I'll even give you plenty of time to do so. Leave a comment on this post by midnight Friday, Oct. 29. I'll randomly draw a name on Saturday, Oct. 30.
Okay, I'll start. I've been busy sewing and writing a few tutorials, this time geared towards gift giving. Although I do hate it when the idea in my head doesn't translate into a finished item quite as well as I envisioned.
I've also been sewing for me. Yea! Me, me, me. I just finished a knit top, have two skirts in the works and a suit cut out and ready to go.
My international friends, I'm sorry, but this one is for USA addresses only due to shipping costs.
Monday, October 18, 2010
All birthdays are special. But this one even more so. Considering it was a real possibility that he might not have been with us to celebrate this latest birthday.
Last February 26 this vibrate, healthy young man underwent emergency brain surgery to remove a baseball sized tumor located behind his left eye. His only symptoms had been severe headaches. He was fortunate that the doctor he saw suggested an MRI or he likely would have suffered a seizure. Most of the medical personnel were amazed that he had not suffered seizures, memory loss or other neurological deficits due to the size of his tumor.
A few days after the surgery we heard the devastating news - it was a grade 3 anaplastic astroyctoma. (I shared a bit with you last February, when I/we were all still in shock.)
Over the course of these past nine months my boy has undergone brain surgery; hospital stays; no driving; pills, pills and more pills daily; blood work; daily radiation for six weeks; chemo for six months (he's still in the chemo treatment stage); weekly follow ups with radiologist and oncologist; paperwork, and more paperwork; dealing with short-term and long-term disability; dealing with social security; learning about patient advocates and difficulties with insurance companies....
And he's done all this with a smile and a positive attitude. "I can sit around and feel sorry for myself because I have brain cancer" he's said "or I can just deal with it." He's chosen to deal with it. Positively.
That's not to say that he's never been down. Because he's had his down times. Who wouldn't? But overall the way he has approached this battle has been quite an inspiration.
While he's still undergoing chemo treatment, the prognosis is promising. His scar is healing well and his hair has grown back quite nicely. The follow up MRIs have looked good. No new tumors and no flare ups - just want the doctors want to see.
So today it's not about sewing. It's about celebrating. Pin It
Sunday, October 17, 2010
It's sewn from one of the burnout silks I purchased recently at SR Harris. Aren't the colors great? Sheer brown with periwinkle and navy blues.
I know I had seen instructions in a Burda magazine fairly recently. Well, at least in the past year. But do you think I could locate the issue when I actually wanted to reference the instructions? Of course not.
So I just winged it.
You can too.
Here's how to replicate my scarf:
Cut a rectangle that measures 44" long x 26" wide. Unless you have a length of fabric 44" long you'll have to cut the rectangle on the cross grain.
(I would have liked a longer scarf so I could double it around my neck but I had only purchased 1 yard of 44" wide fabric. That's how the 44" length was determined.)
Fold the scarf (right sides in) together matching the long edges.
Sew together leaving about 2" unsewn on each end.
Bring the short ends together (right sides in) and sew.
Turn right side out.
Slip stitch remaining opening closed.
Place over your head and casually adjust the folds.
Stand back and admire your handiwork.
Pat yourself on the back because it took less than one hour to complete.
Be warned. This is such an instant gratification project that you won't want to stop. That's okay. You'll be all set when you need a last minute Christmas gift.
10/18/10 - Edited to add: Thanks for your comments letting me know where the instructions can be found. They are in the Sept/Oct 2010 Vogue Patterns Magazine. That would explain why I couldn't find the instructions in my Burda magazines. I was pretty close on the dimensions too!
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Friday, October 15, 2010
When I asked if any of you had been successful in washing out fade marks I have to admit that I was being a bit sarcastic - but in the back of my mind I hoped against hope that there was some deep dark fabric secret that no one had ever shared with me before
It's also been my experience that independent retailers are more likely to know their fabrics and cut appropriately. They also know if something is off grain, will point out flaws, and sometimes throw in the extra 1/4 yard of bolt at no charge.
And I've also dealt with knowledgeable staff at Jo-Ann's over the years. Unfortunately the store I frequent has left me with memories of very poor interactions over the past ten years. Guess one never knows what to expect when visiting a "craft store masquerading as a fabric store" - (Thank Carolyn for that one!)
With the discussion we had about Jo-Ann's I found this blurb in BusinessWeek interesting:
Jo-Ann Stores to hire 3,000 for holidaysJo-Ann Stores Inc., which operates fabric and craft stores, said Tuesday it plans to temporarily increase its work force by 15 percent by hiring 3,000 workers during the holiday season.Good news? Not so much if you're looking for an improved customer experience. But yes indeed if you're looking for a job and if it means people are loosening their purse strings.
The company said it has "positive" expectations for the holiday season as more Americans make handmade gifts.
The retailer, based in Hudson, Ohio, has benefited from increased interest in crafts and sewing around the country, spurred on by the recession. In August, the company reversed a year-ago loss in the second quarter as its revenue rose 5 percent to $439.3 million.
Jo-Ann Fabric operates 750 fabric and craft stores in the U.S.
Shares rose 13 cents to $41.84 during midday trading.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I happen to have taken today off from work to complete a project. As I cheerfully sat down at my sewing machine I discovered I had no matching thread for my project. Which meant I had to make a run the closest fabric store...the dreaded Jo-Ann Fabric store during the final day of the Columbus Day sale.
Because I desperately wanted to complete this project, I bravely I arrived minutes after they opened. Looking around I realized it wasn't crowded at all so I could spent a few minutes browsing the fabrics. I may not plan on shopping the holiday sales, but I do keep that 50% off coupon in my purse just in case.
All of a sudden, there is was. The perfect shade of green RPL knit. EXACTLY what I had been searching for for the past few weeks. See that sequin trim at the top of this photo? That's thre green I've been trying to match. The perfect green makes the little sequins POP. And with the 50% coupon it would be affordable at only $6.50 per yard.
What the heck, I happened to have two different 50% off coupons so I grabbed a deep purple also.
Eagerly I made my way to the cutting table, asked for three yards of the perfect green knit fabric only to gasp as she began measuring out the fabric. It was discolored. Very obviously so. Right along the fold lines on the bolt.
I had to tell her to stop that I didn't want discolored fabric. Remembering there was another smaller bolt of the same color I went back and brought that to the table, hoping there would be three yards and no discoloration.
No luck. This one was discolored even more so. I can't believe the bolt was almost gone. Does that mean no one noticed it was discolored when they were making their purchase?
Anyway, as she began cutting the purple knit (thankfully no fade lines in this one) I unrolled the green yet again hoping to against hope the fade marks had miraculously disappeared in the past three minutes. No luck. Not only that, this time I noticed multiple holes in the fabric that had been on the underside when she had been measuring.
As I'm unrolling and inspecting the green knit, I'm trying to keep an eye on the cutter who doesn't appear to know much about grain lines and getting fabric laid out properly to measure and cut. Man, that Jo-Ann's is really strict about how they teach these cutters to cut. One piece I just had her put back as I could tell I would have been shorted close to 1/8" of a yard. Not much money overall, but it's annoying.
The cutter noticed me still inspecting the green fabric and asked if I planned on washing my fabric first.
"Sure", I said. To which she replied, "Well, sometimes those marks go away when the fabric is washed". Maybe, but I'm not willing to spend the money on a "sometimes". I get it...she's trying to be helpful.
Do you think if I purchased three yards, washed it and discovered the lines are still there Jo-Ann's would give me my money back? Oh silly readers, of course not.
So, two questions for you today.
1) Have you ever purchased fabric that appears to be discolored only to have the discoloration disappear when you wash it?
2) How are the cutters as the fabric stores you frequent?
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010
To begin I browsed the silks hoping against hope to find some silk jersey. I have yet to find silk jersey there but one never knows right? I did however purchase two beautiful burn out silks that I plan to sew into infinity scarves.
I then wandered to the knit aisle and piled bolts into my cart. I've learned from years of shopping here that if you see something, even if you're not sure, you put it in your cart. If you try and go back sometimes you just can't locate it again or someone else has it in their cart.
From my selections I ended up cutting and purchasing two sweater knits. I just can't help but think "Chesire cat" when I look at the gray and black stripe but that fabric is oh so cuddly soft. I'm sure it's acrylic, but it'll be great made up as a cozy pullover to wear while reading a book or watching tv. The blue is somewhat lightweight and is already cut out and partially sewn into another big top destined for winter wear.
The other knits are a bit boring to look at as they're all solid colors and in the blue family.On the left, a beautiful periwinkle blue with a nice hand, most likely a rayon. The blue piece in the center photographed quite off as it is more of a sky blue with an almost shimmery sparkle in it, most likely a polyester. The other blue is a hefty cotton lycra blend knit.
Now this knit I thought was interesting. It's a gorgeous berry color with sheer stripes - not the color my camera captured. It drapes beautifully and the alternating sheer and fabric stripes give it an interesting look.
My next stop was the wool aisle. Always one of my favorites. Lots and lots and lots of grays and blacks but I was specifically looking for color. Again I pulled a few bolts into my cart but ended up only purchasing three.
The left piece is a deep plum wool knit - it's lightweight and slightly transparent - and I thought I might sew Vogue 1202 - the draped, open back Donna Karan design. But now I'm not so sure. Only because I love the fabric enough that if I don't like the top I'll be terribly disappointed in using up this piece of fabric. I'll have to think on that a bit longer.
The center is a lightweight soft blush (not the ugly color it appears in this photo) wool destined to be a skirt. I would love a jacket out of this color because its a wonderful wardrobe building neutral, but I can't wear that shade near my face.
While I don't need any more gray wool, I couldn't resist this stretch wool piece. It's the perfect weight for a dress. After I got it home I realized it has a green hue to it so I may have to rethink the pattern as green is another color that doesn't flatter my complexion.
Finally, I headed to the trim section. I was looking for flat black lace scalloped on both edges for a project I'm working on. I had hoped to find various widths, but no luck. I did however locate a white lace outlined in black and a beautiful plum colored ribbon trim.
The other trim I was looking for was something similar to this ad I ripped out of a recent "W" magazine. I think those sequin strips could be loosely translated to something else I'm working on.
While I didn't find sequin insertion trim, I did come across these beaded insertion trims. Aren't they beautiful? Good price too, less than $5 per yard.
Keep in mind that my purchases were chosen from the knit, wool, silk and trim aisles only. Just imagine how much more there might have been had I wandered down each and every aisle.
Stay tuned as I'm halfway done with the blue sweater knit top and will be ready to share that with you in a few days.
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Sunday, October 03, 2010
Rows and rows and rows of heavy duty shelving packed tightly with bolts and bolts and bolts of fabric, all 50 percent off the marked price. Knit, Lycra, Silk, Wool, Cotton, Rayon, Faux Fur. You name it they probably got it. Except silk jersey, which is one thing I was specifically looking for.
This is just the row of knit fabrics. Just the cotton and jersey knits. There's another row for lycra and lycra blends.
One never knows what oddity might be buried among the treasures. See what I mean? What would YOU do with this printed knit?
This is the place where you measure and cut your own fabric and trim, with some exceptions. Employees cut all silks, some trims and anything over five yards.
I do miss the days when I lived close enough to pop in weekly just to browse. But I do know my pocket book is much happier when I visit once a year.happier Pin It
Friday, October 01, 2010
I had my two dressed up and right after this photo was taken I piled them into the car to head to Grandma and Grandpa's house where there were more opportunities for trick or treating.
Before heading out the door (with their pillowcase treat bags, LOL. I should have sewn them one of these!) they stopped to pose with my youngest sister, D, who was eleven at the time. You know, D's always had an aversion to having her photo taken -I bet if I asked her she would admit that underneath that pumpkin hood she's sticking out her tongue.
Aw, yes, the after trick or treating ritual - dumping all the candy out on the floor and sorting through it. Every year I begged for a chocolate bar and every year Raggedy Andy boy refused and Raggedy Ann girl said "yes, of course, what else would you like?" She's a good girl - I know when I'm sitting in a nursing home she's going to come and visit me :-)
Did any of you sneak candy from your children's trick or treat loot? I don't remember for sure, but knowing what a sweet tooth I have I probably did. Although it's difficult when they are old enough to actually inventory the candy supply!
I know, what you really want to know is if I sewed the costumes, right?
Of course! And they cost me ZERO dollars to make!
What's my secret you ask? Simple.
In 1980 I was an employee of JoAnn Fabrics - back when the store was located in a shopping mall and carried high end fabrics. Yes, you read that right. Wools, silks, ultra suede...you get the picture.
And the employees sewed all the model garments that were displayed in the store. So, using McCall's 7232, I choose to make these two adorable little costumes as model garments. Being model garments meant everything was free - the pattern, the fabric, and all of the notions! The only catch was that it had to be displayed in the store for six weeks.
Do you have a Flashback Friday photo you want to share? Post your photo and story on your blog but be sure to leave me a comment so I can go visit!
Originally posted 10/5/2007 here