Monday, August 3, 2009

Tailored Jacket

I managed to get my SIL to take a picture of my jacket. After working on it for several months, it is ready for fall weather. It is the Sewing Workshop pattern, " San Diego Jacket".Take a look at the great lining. That along with the lime green button made the jacket an exciting article of clothing. I always have to have some fun element in my work, in this project the button and lining gave it the fun it so needed. The buttonholes are bound button holes and the pockets are outside welt pockets. It is interesting to me to see this pattern made up several times and not one of them looks like the others. When personality is added the same pattern is unrecognizable from jacket to jacket.
My SIL has a much better camera than I do. She also took pictures of my finished quilt. These look a bit better than my photos.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Finished Quilts

I had promised my dear sister that if she purchased fabric for a quilt that I would make her one. I went ahead and found this fabric in her color choices, it was so gorgeous I knew it was the one that not only I would enjoy making but she would enjoy receiving. She may have been a bit anxious for me to get this done for her, after all she was trying to redecorate her bedroom and who doesn't want things right now? I'd get anxious too. However the process of putting one like this together is more complicated than the baby quilt shown below and much, much larger. This finished king size quilt made to come down the edges of the mattress to the box springs measures 102"x110". It weighed in at a whopping 14 pounds. I managed to quilt this on my Juki TL98E. The first generation of these sewing machines. I'm not sure how I got it moved around by myself to quilt it. I also managed to baste this by moving all my furniture in my living room off to the side and by using the basting spray. Again somehow managed alone. I love this newer innovation. The basting spray makes the actual quilting very nice as you don't need to work around safety pins and there is no need to pull out basting stitches. I think my sister will be very happy with the end result of this quilt and find it worth the wait of a year.
My nephew and his wife are very nice people. They have the sweetest little boy and last week added to the family a darling baby girl. I hope they enjoy and use this quilt. It is made from Moda flannel. It is lovely to touch and sit with. I think the baby will like it.
This is what some of us may think of as cheating in that Moda sells the fabrics of each line in sample squares. One each of the fabrics per sample pack. I purchased two of these packs and a bit more fabric off the bolt for borders and backing. What's wonderful about it is that you get a beautiful quilt that is simple and easy to sew up. When you want a lovely gift quilt but happen to be short on time this is a great alternative to more complex blocks, and every bit as nice. The gift recipient of such a quilt doesn't feel at all slighted, nor do you want them to, you do love them. This little gem is about 40"x40". I find anything larger than that overwhelms the tiny baby and it is still plenty big enough for the child to use while growing.
It's been fun to get some quilting done in between apparel items. However, I'm not sure how long it would have taken without the gentle pestering of , "how is my quilt coming?". These days I'm much more into the design and construction of clothes, the dream of my actual childhood having been reborn.

Good Friends

I have quite a few good friends. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by fun, kind and loving people. I have one friend that I sew with quite a bit. She was my first sewing buddy after moving to California four years ago. She likes to make things for her friends. Now, I know what you are thinking. And you'd be right I am lucky! Let me show you the very useful items she has made for me. And may I just say one of these projects is not for the faint of heart. I think you'll know which one.

I know that little project was not an easy one and I don't think she'll be quick to make another one any time soon. But, isn't it just fabulous. I can just grab this tote when I am going to be sewing in some location other than my home or even at home, I know just where things are!
She also made me both of these other gems. Both trash collectors, one for use with my serger as a catcher and one with a pin cushion to set next to my sewing machines. I don't what I did to have such a friend but I'm very happy to have her as one. I wish for you all happy sewing with good friends all around.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Swimming Suit Season

I was lucky enough to have taken a swimming suit workshop. There sure is a lot more to making suits then I imagined. MaryJane is a professional swimsuit designer. Those of us in her workshop had a great time. We enjoyed learning how sew and size swimming suits. I hope my granddaughter will get lots of wear from these two suits. Next I'll be making one for myself. I have the suit cut out and ready to go. I'm just waiting for the bra insert to come in.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Today I spent a few minutes making this cute little dress for my grand daughter. It is very simple and since she lives in Arizona I think it's perfect.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Patternless sewing

The July  Threads magazine has an article about sewing a bias topper from two squares. I just adore patternless sewing and always find it enjoyable. I purchased the magazine friday afternoon after going with my DH to see the new Star Trek movie. A must see btw, even if you are like me and not totally a sci fi geek, it is very good. I was tearing in the first five minutes of it. Back to sewing. Two squares one large and one small. Now, you do have to go back to your basic algebra to figure the size of squares. I tell my 14 yr old DS that math does apply in every day but he still is not sure he believes me. Well, believe me you need to remember that a triangle is A^2+B^2=C^2.  and then since two sides are equal you need to know that 2x A^2=C^2. I know this stuff so I can figure out my square sizes. Anyway, go now and  buy the issue of Threads and make yourself a topper. I'll admit here that I did have to make it twice. The first one was looking very cute until I decided I wanted a larger neck opening. Then I attempted to repair the gapposis and let's just say it turned UGLY!! I decided not to despair and tried again remembering my mistake. So here is my version. 

I made this one with a beautiful poly crepe purchased in the remnant department at Britex in San Francisco. I've had this beautiful fabric for a couple of years and finally decided to use it. I'm in the mood for a gorgeous pink. It must be spring! 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Vogue 1113

I was lucky enough last week to make a JoAnn's run for vogue patterns at $3.99. WOO HOO!! I first went to a super store and found this fabulous new pattern. I wanted it in both size ranges and so went to another store to get the other size. When I got there it wasn't listed in the pattern book. I was confused and then realized this pattern must be a brand new one. I flagged down a salesclerk and had her check the back room for patterns still in the box. Sure enough, they hadn't put them out yet. I think this is a fabulous pattern!! I love the geometric quirky things. When I finished sewing the jacket, the button I was thinking of using didn't seem right. I thought about this vintage brooch and it is perfect! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I've been holding out

Yes, it's true I have been holding out. I have been sewing and not blogging about it. :( I have finished a quilt top for my sister.
the quilt is not quilted. However if you would like to see the quilt in process there are more pictures here:

New Fabric from Josephine's

If you happen to be driving through Portland Oregon, you may want to consider stopping in at Josephine's Dry Goods. It is a VERY lovely higher end fabric store that is just a joy to be in.  My DH is the best. He planned our trip with a stop for the night in Portland so I could indulge. How many husbands are willing to not just let you spend two quick minutes in a nice fabric store but plan your overnight you could spend a couple of hours if wanted? WOW. I only purchased three pieces of fabric.

This is a beautiful brown italian linen with  a lighter color mixed in and the black is a bamboo woven fabric that feels very much like a nice rayon challis. 
It's  a little hard to tell but the printed fabric is a wonderful japanese made double cotton gauze fabric. It is a two layer fabric with what looks like small stitching holding it together, visible from the wrong side.

We did have a wonderful trip and were able to spend time with my MIL and SIL and have a few days on San Juan island as a highlight. Next year we are hoping that my wonderful SIL will be able to come to the island with us. Here is a pic of our favorite place.  the top pic is our favorite place. I'm still figuring out how to get the pictures where i want them?? Have a great sewing day!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My sewing story

OH, there aren't to many people that can say sewing is their passion. Here's what I'll say... my dm says that she was glad I was the youngest because when the other kids were at school (I'm the youngest of 6) and she didn't know what to do with me for the afternoon she would give me a bag of scrap fabric and I'd be happy all day long. That is how much it is in my blood! My oldest sister (who is the oldest) was a great seamstress. When she was in high school she would make these wonderful dresses out of much funner fabric than my DM would ever use. For some reason she wouldn't volunteer her scraps. I had to dig them out of the garbage. It use to make her so mad But they were just too fabulous to stay in the trash and my dolls really needed them. I also would pull up a chair next to my mom when she was sewing and just watch. I sewed all my clothes in high school and college and through 5 years of single parenting.

My life dream as a child was to be a fashion designer. I have parents who didn't know how to help you achieve your dream. I ended up getting a Fashion Merchandising AS degree from LDS Business college.
 I loved working retail but after marrying young, having a baby, and becoming a single parent. Retail was just not going to work. I worked for a clothing manufacturer sewing garments and then also working in the warehouse. I worked for them for 5 years. I decided I needed a much more lucrative career. I went back to college at the U of U. Just a couple of weeks before I started classes my DH and I started dating. I ended up getting married again and staying home with my then 6 yr old DD. I also gained weight, was home for the first time as a parent.
 Sewing for myself wasn't as easy anymore and I started watching Eleanor Burns on PBS. This was back in 1992. So this started a 15 yr love affair with quilting, and I have to say I am very good at it. It came very naturally to me. I could figure everything out and retain information from classes like I was meant to do it. I joined quilt guilds and also a surface design group. I became very efficient at dying, manipulating, printing and anything else surface related to fabric. I found a world so fabulous that I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was introduced to art quilting and studied processes to make art quilts. I took all kinds of classes involving regular quilt making and artsy compositions. I still can spout out rules for seam allowances for which kind of piecework you want. Quarter sq triangle, add 1 1/4 inch to a square.

Eventually my DH and I moved to CA. I grew up here so it wasn't a huge shock. We moved to the San Francisco Bay area. 107 miles from the home I grew up in. I still quilted and continued to sell Mary Kay. I was selling quite a bit of Mary Kay but alas my sewing won out. I still sell makeup just not as much as I used to.

During the second year of living here I was introduced to a jewelry designer that lives in my town.
Because I think in a visual way and artistically I was immediately inspired again about my childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer. While talking to Debbie, she realized I should have her beloved fabric and trims, which she would no longer be using but wanted the right home for it all. I became the right home. I made her a custom, fabulous dress from part of it and also repurposed some clothing items from a second hand store. She was so taken with this dress it has become her favorite. I told her about my dream as a child. She responded that you never know what may happen. In the ensuing months she would tell me that she thought fashion is where she felt it was at for me. Thanks to her encouragement I have gone back to my original love of fashion design. I started sewing apparel again and LOVING it.

Last year I discovered while in a wacky fabric store and overhearing and butting into a conversation that there is a fashion department at a community college. About 35-40 miles way from my home. This woman informed me that it WOULD be worth my drive. (It takes over an hour with traffic in the morning and about 50 minutes without) Living here in CA is great. For only $20 a credit you can attend community college. For under a hundred dollars you can be in a specific class for a semester. That is a no brainer in my book. It costs less than any kind of sewing related daily workshop where the fees run anywhere from $40 to $100+ a day.
I currently am enrolled in a tailoring class. It is so much fun . I feel like a kid on christmas morning.

I also love felting, although I haven't done as much of it as I would like. Speaking of which I went to Exotic Silks after my class on Wednesday to buy lining for my jacket and overheard some ladies talking about felting. One of them had on this wonderful nuno felted vest. I just had to go see it. (I took a class on this several years ago and loved it) It is where you take wool roving and felt it into a sheer fabric to create a wearable felted fabric. Turns out this woman is here from Kansas City giving a workshop today and tomorrow. And get this, they had a space in tomorrow's workshop!!! I wouldn't have been permitted except that today is the learning curve and since I've had some experience they could let me come. They also asked if I was busy that afternoon. I had to get back here to the east bay to get my ds from school. Otherwise you know I would have taken off and gone felting with them. This woman who is doing the workshop is Sharon Kilfoyle. Her website is and the woman who organized the workshop is Lorri Scott her web site is
I can't wait until tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life flying by

Wow, where do the days go? 
Speaking of life so quickly vanishing before us. Any of you parents out there will acknowledge the quickness in which our little bundles of joy grow into people. Live adult people. So one of my friends is having a new bundle of joy entering their home. Saturday a shower was given. I donated to the group gift but that didn't stop me from deciding the baby needed a handmade gem of a jacket in her wardrobe. Here's the jacket. I decided that even though I am short on time I would like you all to see the jacket complete with a spanish snap buttonhole.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lessons Learned

There are things in life you simply will never do twice. 
It reminds me of moving to the San Francisco east bay. Just after moving here my daughter was about to give birth. I being an excited first time grandma decided I wasn't going to miss this birth. Since my husband was at the office I had a friend drop me off at the local BART station and I just knew I could get to the Oakland airport easily. To make my point I will just tell you I ended up at the Embarcadero in San Francisco. By the time I hooked the next train back and got to the airport I had missed my flight and ended up on a red eye. I will NEVER miss that stop again. I have made that trip many times since, very successfully. I will also say here that I did witness my grandchild's birth.

The new lesson... I decided I would buy the fabric for my tailoring class inexpensively. I needed 100% wool. I have a degree in Fashion Merchandising and have been sewing for many years and so I had every confidence I could choose 100% wool fabric without much problem. At the warehouse type fabric store I ran into a fellow classmate also having the dilemma of not wanting to spend top dollar for fabric. I suggested to her that she run a burn test before beginning. I on the other hand KNEW my choice was right. I chose two nice fabrics just knowing they were 100% wool. Later that evening while contemplating my good fortune I decided that maybe I should take my own advice and do a burn test on my fabric.

Well, you know I was stunned to find that my wool fabric was NOT  100% wool but was indeed a blend!!!! An expensive mistake. The two fabrics while being much cheaper per yard, were by the time I purchased two fabrics with an ample yardage a very close price to my guaranteed from a reputable dealer wool. :(  I will never buy ample yardage from a lower price dealer without the appropriate burn test. I remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for".  Well, once again it holds true.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The last of Melissa's "Skirts and Blazers" and Sewing without a pattern

I am done making the skirts and blazers for Melissa. She was so excited to get them. It is so fun to have people love what you do for them. The fun thing about sewing for other people is that they have to make all the decisions about what they want and out of what. When I am making something for myself I often have such a hard time with those pesky decisions. It does help to have purchased your fabric inexpensively.

 The other day I received a box from Fabric Mart with five pieces of wool. Fun, fun. The great thing is that the fabric is way better than I expected. I only paid about $4 a yard for each piece. 
I made a lovely dress from the purply/grey wool crepe.

This dress was made with a bias technique I learned while in a class on making a Chinese Lantern skirt from Juliann Bramson. Here's a picture. I was the star pupil that day making two of these skirts (I'll post photos another time) I found my MoJo that day. 

Juliann started telling me about another technique she had learned of making clothing without a pattern. Making a skirt or dress or top with or without sleeves, and on the bias. Making clothing on the bias, when using a drapey fabric gives a wonderful hang and is very comfortable. You start this with just some yardage of fabric, and by folding and stitching you get a tube of bias. You then add holes for neck and arms for a dress or top, or you finish the end with elastic or add darts and a zipper for a skirt. Julieann told me I would probably enjoy figuring it out by myself. Sooooooo she demonstrated the idea with a piece of paper. I was so intrigued with the idea. It turns out Juliann was right, I loved the whole process of figuring it out. This wool crepe dress is done with this bias method and then the neck and sleeve openings were cut out. I used the pattern Simplicity 2846 for the sleeve and neckline cuts. I really think the sleeves and neckline are classy and cute. You can't really tell in the picture the diagonal of the dress. Here is a picture of the technique while in the tube state. This will become a skirt. The tape measures are set down on the seam lines so you can see them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Simplicity 2882 modified

Here is the simplicity pattern brought to me for the making of this white dress. She needed sleeves and the bodice brought up a bit for more coverage. I altered the bodice to accommodate both of these changes. 

Here is the dress I made with the alterations. It turned out quite well and the client was happy with the results. This dress was also done during the week of Thanksgiving. You can see I've been very busy. 

I didn't talk about christmas but my DH was so nice he purchased the perfect gift for me. This captures my mantra of life so well!

I am still having technical difficulties trying to post my blog entries the way I want. I hope the strange way things may look at times doesn't make you want to stop reading. My technical people don't seem interested in trying to help me, so I am on my own!!!! consequently some paragraphs are centered and some start at the left or right and sometimes I can't get pictures to move so I can write more. (last post) Maybe this is better anyway, I WILL learn how to do all this eventually. I did from last post to this one for example learn how to move the picture so I could keep writing behind it. Maybe having people to do things for you is overrated. The satisfaction from doing it yourself can be liberating, satisfying and simply wonderful! (even if things don't always look or read the way you intended)

Suits and skirts

I have been sewing a large order for a gal who is going on a mission for our church. Seven skirts and two blazers. WOW! This is a large order. I didn't meet with them until the week of Thanksgiving due to the college schedule. Now you know why posts haven't been made. I managed to get one blazer and six skirts done before christmas. The mom wanted gifts under the tree for her daughter. Add Image

Shown above is the finished suit. Here is a picture of all the skirts together from the same pattern I developed.