Monday, September 29, 2008

New York, New York

"The city's got the right name - New York. Nothing ever gets old around here."
~Ralph Stephenson

Last week I went to New York. While the purpose of the trip was professional, I did get to do a little sight-seeing, and one of the sights I was sure to see was the garment district. It was quite amazing.The fabric stores are so unbelieveable! Rows and rows of fabric. It was quite overwhelming at first, but I once I got used to it I was in sewing heaven. Here are a few pics.

Me in Mood fabrics. If you've seen project runway you know what I'm talking about, if you haven't then you should check it out.

My friend Natalie in Mood.

My friend Gwen of after the dress in Rosen & Chadick Fabrics. This was the BEST store I went into for cotton prints. They had such an amazing selection I could've spent a small fortune in there and not gotten everything I wanted.

The other stores I visited were B&J fabrics, which was much too pricey for me, but very fun to browse, and Metro Textiles- a small store with a fun little owner guy who really layed the sales tactics on thick.

My next post will feature my purchases in NYC.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Project picture post

My sister decided to put the girls in the pjs and take a picture even though they're, as she put it, a TAD too big.

They'll have to wait till next year to wear them I think. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Past project Wednesday

My most recently finished project was two cute pajama sets for my twin nieces. Again I was able to find fabric that was similar (giraffes and elephants) but different colors. I'm afraid they're actually going to be too big on them right now, so it may be a while before I can post a picture of them wearing it, but I promise (assuming my sister sends me one) to do so when I can. In the meantime here's the finished sets.

You can read more about it here

Monday, September 22, 2008

My labels

Recently I was given the wonderful gift of some sewing labels. I add them to pretty much everything that I sew now. I like the special touch they give a gift. I just added one to the bag and remembered I hadn't posted about it yet. Here's what they look like (sorry the picture is a tad fuzzy.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tiger bag complete

"Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin' it back in." ~Will Rogers

I finished the bag I was making for my mom for her birthday.

My mom teaches at a high school where the mascot is the tiger and their colors are orange and brown. I think it will make a cute school bag for her.

The inside has a big pocket and a divided pocket.

The details:
This bag was quite a project and I only got it done in a weekend because I pretty much did nothing else the entire weekend. Next time I think I'll give myself a little more time for gift making.

The bag is formed by the patchwork layer (cotton fabric), a layer of buckram, 2 layers of fusible fleece, and another cotton fabric for the lining. Sewing all of that together was a bit difficult for my machine. I broke the needle 3 times. One time because the lining had bunched up so it was extra thick. Once I realized what had happened I had to take the stitches out and redo it which was a HUGE pain considering I was using a small stitch length. Also, getting all of those layers under the foot was a feat in itself. I think my machine is a bit grumpy after all that.

I hand stitched the binding on the top, and that was quite a chore, though I eventually got the hang of making the slip stitch and it got much easier. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with it despite the fact that more swear words were used in the making of this project than all of the others combined. :) I don't think I'd make it again necessarily, but I'm glad I tried it once.

Well my quote works two-fold. There's a slight chance (very slight) that my mom might read this and the cat will be out of the bag, and also one of the kittens decided to take a nap in it and I managed to snap a picture before she hopped out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

If you change your mind

"In order to learn one must change one's mind."
~George Byron

After buying the fabric for my mom's bag, I decided I really didn't like one of them. Of course I decided this AFTER I cut out the pieces. So I think I'm going to go buy some more fabric that I like a little better. I hope this doesn't happen often, it could end up being quite expensive.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Patience young grasshopper

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope.”
~Alexandre Dumas Pere

The smallest size of the penguin costume, xs, is too big for my nieces. The xs fits a 23-24" waist, and they have a 20" waist. So I had to decide - make the extra small and hope for the best, re-draw the pattern a size smaller, or make a bigger size that they can wear next year.

I chose option b - redraw the pattern pieces a size smaller.

After working for 2 hours on one piece, and not making much progress, I started to doubt my choice. I was very close to just making the extra small and hoping for the best. I took a break for a few hours and decided that I would be terribly disappointed if they didn't fit, and it may not even fit them next year, so I would just suck it up and finish redrawing the pieces. It took me almost one entire day, probably around 6 or 7 hours to redraw the 8 pieces that I needed, but it went much faster once I got the hang of how and where to make the measurements from the xs lines to make my xxs lines.

It took a lot of patience but I was pretty happy with how it turned out. To me it looked pretty close to the original lines and sizes, as if it were almost a real size included on the pattern. I mean it's not perfect or anything, but I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. I wish I'd taken a picture but I didn't think about it until after I'd cut them out. :(

Now we just hope that the new size fits them!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Past project Wednesday

So I was going to transfer all of my posts from my old blog website to here, but I finally decided it just wasn't worth it, and that instead I would just post my finished projects and add a link to the post from the old website. So here's the first.

My very first solo project:

Butterick 3772.

For and as modeled by my twin nieces.

As you can see, I made 2 using a denim fabric for one and a corduroy fabric for the other that both had the same embroidery on it. I really loved this because it allows them to be dressed similarly but not exactly the same seeing as they are, a bit obviously, not identical twins.

I have to say, this was a very good first project. It was fairly simple, but had some elements that were a bit challenging for a first-timer.

It really allowed me to practice basic techniques like adding buttons with my machine, using my one-step button hole function, adding bias tape and interfacing, and practicing rounded stitching. I would definitely recommend this pattern for a first-timer.
You can read more about it here

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birthday present project

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."
~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

My mother's birthday is coming this Friday. Eep! I had no idea what to give her. So I decided to make her this bag

McCall's 5598

Finding a bag pattern I liked was easy. Choosing 4+ fabrics is turning out to be not so easy. I spent over an hour last night dragging poor B around making him help me make decisions only to say to him "well I dunno that I really like that, actually." :) He was quite a trooper though.

My first thought, since my mom is a French teacher, was to find some cute fabric with scenes of Paris or the Eiffel tower on it like these Michael Miller fabrics

But they didn't have anything even close at my local Joann's. We scoured the shelves and came up empty handed. As an after thought we checked the red tag clearance and found a nice cotton fabric with tiger heads on it. The reason for the tiger print is that the high school where she teaches' mascot is the tiger, and their colors are brown and orange. She has a lot of school spirit - she wears orange and brown clothes, she has tiger stickers that she puts on the students papers sometimes and she has various other tiger school supplies - so I think she might really like it if the patchwork was some combination of tigers and brown and orange fabrics. Though I only found 3 fabrics that I liked for the patchwork so I was thinking of repeating the tiger fabric for one of the 4 squares.

The cool thing is that my mom used to sew. She still does a little, but I think mostly to mend. She never got a chance to teach me, but now when I have questions I can call her up and ask her and she does the best she can over the phone. So I think she'll really appreciate the handmade bag.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're gonna need a cart...

“The experienced mountain climber is not intimidated by a mountain -- he is inspired by it. The persistent winner is not discouraged by a problem -- he is challenged by it. Mountains are created to be conquered; adversities are designed to be defeated; problems are sent to be solved. It is better to master one mountain than a thousand foothills.”
~William Arthur Ward

...and boy do I have a mountain of fabric for my next project! Being rather inexperienced at sewing, I am quite amazed that all of this

will eventually become 2 penguin costumes for two 2 year olds.

List of Materials
lots of black fleece, lots of white fleece, some black flannel, some white flannel, a bit of white ribbed knit, some stiff interfacing, lots of stiffer interfacing, 2 packages velcro, black and white thread, 2 pkgs 1/4" elastic, 2 pkgs 1/2" elastic, 2 pkgs single fold bias tape, and fiber-fill (I was kindly given 5 lbs of this!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

In the beginning...

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca (also lyrics from the song "Closing Time" by Semisonic)

This is a journal of my, a beginner seamstress', sewing endeavors. (I use the term seamstress very loosely) :)

It all started two summers ago when I interned in Florida, and my friend, Gwen, helped me to sew these cute babie's buntings for my nieces.

snuggly #2

Snuggly #1

At that point I was hooked.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a sewing machine of my own, and having to return to graduate school in Reno, NV, I didn't have much time for pursuing the craft. So my interest had to be put on hold.

Then, last summer, I was fortunate enough to be handed down a nice sewing machine by my mother.
christines 007

Alas, I was still in graduate school and had no time for embarking on a new hobby.

Now, however, two years after my first experience with sewing, a new chapter of my life is beginning: I've finally finished school, I've moved to Florida to begin a new job, and now I'm able to really dive in and start sewing. Hopefully still under Gwen's tutelage. :)

First, I figured I needed a place to sew, so I bought this sewing table at a used furniture store
christines 003

and I already have my iron and ironing board set up in what will become (after some more unpacking and straightening up as you can see), my sewing room.
christines 004

My cat, Figaro, has even taken up residence in my sewing room, which I understand is quite common in households with both cats and sewing rooms.

I have everything I need to begin sewing now, including a pattern and material for my first project...and sew it begins....

Coming Soon!

I've officially moved my blog to this blogspot site.

You can check out the old location of and sew it begins if you sew desire... at .

Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoy, and please come back again soon!