Sunday, April 22, 2012

Clover pants - now the REAL never-ending story!

Hello, readers.  Well, it happened.  I was finishing up my clover pants, re-attaching the new waistband, feeling the love of finally being able to wear them when my sewing machine started making really funny noises.  No warning, no problems.  Just suddenly, as if it was revolting against my using it.  So, I focused on trying to fix it, thinking there was a jam somewhere.  The bobbin kept on getting knotted up and I couldn't figure it out. 

Yesterday, I took it into the repair shop and they discovered that my bobbin casing kept shifting.  No explanation as to why.  But, the bad news is that my machine will be in the repair shop for at least a week.

So, my Clover pants, all pinned and ready to be finished lay on my sewing desk.

My frustration knew no bounds!

So, not wanting to waste any time, I decided I could prep future patterns.  I got some new fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club.  The red I want to use to make another pair of Clover pants.  The other is more of a winter fabric that I won't be using yet.

I've decided I want to make Colette Jasmine top with some printed aqua rayon blend and I have some nice printed cotton to make another Sorbetto (sorry, I didn't take any pictures of them).  I also have some white bull denim fabric for Simplicity 2562  that Erica Bunker inspired to me make.  She made a pair using yellow bull denim.  They look great!

So, for the most part, I'm in a holding pattern until I get my machine back.  I'm hoping it doesn't cost too much nor take too long.

Do some sewing for me, ok?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Clover pants - the never-ending story

The Colette Clover pants are coming along fine.  They are almost finished and fitting very well.  I’m finding that they are gaping just a tad away from the back but not enough to be bothersome.  I don’t tuck my tops into pants anymore so I’m not too worried.  And, of course, that gaping might correct itself once I put in the zipper and finish the waistband. 

Sometimes it seems that way. Things are going well with them and I'm very excited to get them finished up.

I tried them on this morning but didn’t take any pictures because I had just gotten out of bed.  I didn’t think any of you really wanted to see me in all my morning glory.

I did make a mistake, though. 

I attached my waistband last night during my 30 minute sewing session and didn’t realize my mistake until I tried on the pants this morning. Turns out it the waistband wasn’t on the inside as I had thought but on the outside and would have shown.  So, this morning, I quickly removed the waistband and will cut out another tonight and reattach.  I also plan on finishing up the pants since this happens to be my Friday.  I only have the zipper, the left side and the hemming.

I can definitely see myself making several pairs of this pattern.  They are very quick and easy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Classic Films

Don't you just love classic movies?  I know I do.  In fact, one of my favorite past times is sewing while I watch whatever classic movie is on TCM.  I don't get to do it often enough.  Sometimes, I have to listen to a Disney cartoon so my toddler will be occupied and I can get my 20 minutes of sewing in.  Bad mother, I know, but sometimes there's no other alternative.  When he's tired of cutting old scraps of fabric, Disney movies come in handy.

But, I grew up watching classic movies.  Channel 5 KTLA used to have a Saturday afternoon show hosted by Tom Hatten that showed Hollywood musicals and comedies.  Tom Hatten would sit in a chair and much like TCM today, would give interesting insights into the people who made the movie and how it was made.
I spend every Saturday afternoon in front of the TV watching Abbott & Costello, The Marx Brothers, Singing in the Rain, Easter Parade, and on and on and on.  I loved the singing and dancing, the comedy, the filming - everything about it.

My older sister took me to see Gone With the Wind for the first time at the local movie theater.  It was still being re-released way back then.  Many blockbusters were.  Every Easter, we would watch Ben Hur or Ten Commandments.  Every Christmas we watched all the classic Christmas movies. Needless to say, there was never a lack of classic movie watching my house.

Last week was Doris Day's birthday and true to form, TCM launched a week of Doris Day films. One of my favorites is Love Me or Leave Me starring Doris Day and James Cagney.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you treat yourself to this fantastic movie.  Doris Day has never looked so beautiful and her costumes are to die for....

 Forgive the horrible picture.  I took it with my phone during the movie.  This particular dress is fabulous!  All sequins and tassels.   I was unable to find many pictures of this movie online.  Perhaps I'm just looking in the wrong places.  Trust me, you will be salivating

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It Costs How Much??!!

Hello, Friends.  Today I wanted to talk about sewing tools and how much they cost. Like most sewers, I’ve spent my fair share of money on my tools, fabrics, notions, etc., and have spent a small fortune.  It has been worth it though, and I’m glad I was in a position to afford it (although I’ve yet to come across a deal on yards of fabric for $2 that I read others all over the internet are finding!).  But, does price equal quality?

Last year, I decided to purchase a new sewing machine.  It’s a Janome and although I bought it on sale, it was still more than I’ve ever spent on a sewing machine before.  My serger, a Brother 1034D was purchased on Amazon for less than $200.  I’ve been extremely happy with my Janome, the first non-Singer I’ve ever owned, as it has a whole lot of really neat features that have impressed me over the months.

Today, I was perusing the aisles of Joann’s during my lunch break today and I looked at pinking shears.  I’m not sure if I will buy a new pair as I already have a pair but, they acted up on my Clover pants pockets and things just haven’t been the same between us since.  So, thinking I might have to replace them, I stopped to look at the scissors.  As we all know, scissors aren’t cheap – well, at least good scissors aren’t cheap.  I’ve learned that, at least with sewing scissors, you get what you pay for.  Not yet ready to give up on my current pair of pinking shears, I didn’t linger too long and moved along to the next aisle.

On the next aisle, I saw the irons and began to invest some time in looking at the features of each iron.  Personally, I’ve never owned a top of the line iron.  I’ve usually stayed about mid-range or in some instances when it was an emergency, I bought a cheap iron to get me through.  As I was looking at the irons, I saw the prices and just about had a heart attack!  Some of these irons were going for $199!!  For that amount of money, the thing better make my dinner as well as perfectly iron my sewing projects.

                                         By the way, aren't these lovely trivets?

I’m sorry but, $199?  Really?  I just can’t envision any iron that works so well that it would be worth $199.  What could it do that the other models at $79 didn’t do?  Nothing.  Would it last longer?  Maybe marginally longer.  I understand that better irons do their job better but $199 worth of better?  I don’t think so.

In closing, dear readers, am I crazy to think that is far too expensive for an iron?  Do you think this is a reasonable price for an iron?  Am I missing something?

Have a great day and keep on sewing!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Clover pants

Hi Friends!  It’s another rainy day here in Southern California and I’m here to give you an update on my Clover project.  

So far, everything had gone smoothly.  I’ve been allotting about 20-30 minutes at the end of the day to sewing and I find that not only am I getting my sewing fix in, I’m making progress on my project.  Its slow going but progressing nonetheless.  (Sometimes I think I should change the name of my blog to The Slow Sewist instead because it certainly would be a more accurate portrayal of my sewing style, heh).

I traced my pattern pieces and made the necessary adjustments.  I cut and marked my fabric and stay-stitched the waist bands, etc. (I used some leftover yellow fabric for one of the waistbands.  It will be facing the inside and won’t be showing.  It would have matched with the pocket fabric but you will see what happened with that)

I moved onto the pockets.  I was going to serge the edges to keep them looking professional but my serger was acting up.  After several attempts and yards of broken thread, I came to the conclusion that my serger must have been damaged in the move.  One of the needles is hitting the needle plate and a new needle isn’t doing the trick.  I will need to take it in for adjustment, I think.  Drat!

So, I figured I would just do a zigzag stitch around the edges.

But, the pockets turned out to be really wonky after that.  The fabric I used for the pockets is lining fabric and very light weight.  I don’t think it was happy with the zigzag stitching.  *sigh*.

I decided to move on and cut new pockets out of some quilting fabric that I’ve had for years and I absolutely love.   Isn’t this pretty fabric?  It’s from a civil war collection (whose name I can’t remember) and I heard that they don’t make it anymore.  Anyhoo, it’s a little more substantial than the lining fabric and it looks good against the navy.

Instead of zigzagging around the edges, I decided to use my pinking shears.  But, low and behold, I had trouble with them, too!  They kept on getting caught up in the fabric and weren’t being very helpful.  I haven’t had this problem with them before so I don’t understand what’s up with them.  They weren’t cheap pinking shears.

I finally got the pockets sewn onto the waistband and the front waist of the pants.  Tonight I will be sewing the darts and the legs together and do a little fitting. 

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bags, bags and more bags

Hello friends!  There’s been something on my mind for quite some time and I’d like to talk about it.  Purses.  They come in all shapes and sizes, all different colors and styles.  Some are beautiful and some are downright ugly.

Here is a picture of my dream purse but I cannot find it anywhere for less than $300.  That’s too rich for my blood. (No, that's not me holding it.  It's some other very lucky woman!)

I have a real love/hate relationship with purses.  Because women’s clothing is all about looks, not about practicality and is mostly produced without pockets, I have to carry a purse just to carry my necessities, I.D., lipstick, nail file, etc.  I’ve whittled my necessities down to the point where I can have a small cross-body bag and it suits me perfectly. I must keep my hands free because I have a toddler that requires two hands.

Every month or so, I see a sewing magazine that inordinately has a front cover headline about purses.  Quick and easy purses!  Pretty and fabulous totes!  Purse projects for spring! The styles always change with the fashions and lately I’ve seen more patterns for clutches rather than purses. Tempted as I am to try them, I resist because none of them fit what I need – cross-body or – dare I say it? – fanny pack (on etsy).

The purses are usually pretty cute and use great fabric but I’ve never made a fabric purse. Sure, I’ve made some larger totes in neutral colors to be used at the beach or some other purpose.  They looked fine but never quite cut the mustard for my taste. But, this one is really cute.

So, I was wondering - do you like to sew purses?  How have they turned out?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

No More!

Hello friends!  Today I’m going to talk about something that I just recently had a revelation about – cheap clothing.  Now, granted, we all have different reasons for sewing.  Some of us (like me) just love it as a hobby and can’t have enough fabric in our stash.  Some of us sew because we like to have our clothes fit better.  Some of us sew because we can’t stand to buy the cheap clothing we find in department stores.

Until recently, I’ve sewn just for the sheer joy of it.  Although my time is limited, I stole a few minutes each week to work on some project that was taking me far too long to finish. I’ve always looked at sewing as just a hobby, nothing more.  I would spend more time shopping to nurse my fabric obsession than sewing.  I read blogs and magazines, all about sewing, to get my sewing fix. Every now and then I would sew something to keep my hobby alive.

No more!

Lately, as I’ve done clothes shopping, I’ve really noticed how cheap all this clothing is.  I’ve shopped at Kohl’s, JC Penney’s, Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, etc., and I find the same thing over and over again – the fabric is cheap, the sewing is standard, and there’s nothing in these pieces of clothing that stand out as well-made.  Why do I want to spend my hard-earned money on this junk?? 

I know some of you may be saying “DUH!” but for me, this realization is fairly new.  Well, not really new but let’s say that it just sunk in.

Yes, I’ve always known that the clothing I was buying was substandard and not being able to afford couture shops, I just settled for what I could afford.  But I tell you, this past week as I was window shopping during my lunch hour, I couldn’t find anything that I would actually buy. As I looked through the racks of clothing,  I knew that the t-shirt I’d buy would shrink to be too short on me in the first wash.  I knew that the slacks I purchased would rip at the seams.  I knew the fabrics would fade and that the clothing would end up looking like a rumpled mess.  I also knew that I wouldn’t fork out the cash to dry clean them.  It was all so cheaply made and the fabric was such low quality that I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Why would I bother to buy this junk when I can make it so much better myself?”

Not anymore!  I’m done spending my money on crap.  I’m frustrated but this realization is born out of my frustration, really.  

My hobby is no longer just a hobby to do in my spare time.  It’s a means to create higher quality clothing that fits better and lasts longer.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How the quilt is coming along.....

I got around to making up the backing to my quilt yesterday.  I picked stripes which wasn't a very good idea since I'm horrible at trying to match up stripes.  I think I might have to read up on how to make a quilt backing.  The ones I've made in the past were whole - extra wide fabric - so, I didn't have to do any piecing to make the backing the correct size.

It's very pretty and should look quite nice when I get it done.  I will have to add binding which I wasn't really wanting to do.  I will be using the turquoise fabric I got for the border (as I'm not going to make a border).  I should have enough but first things first.  Get it to the quilter!

I got a book recommendation from a local quilt shop called Start Quilting with Alex Anderson and it is a very easy to use book. Even with my limited quilting experience, I could easily make two or three quilts in this book.  Problem is, I find that most quilting books focus on making the blocks and very few discuss how to make the baking.  It kind of seems like a no-brainer but I tell you, its a lot more difficult than it looks.  Perhaps its because I'm challenged in math and having to figure out how to make two yards of 45" fabric fit onto a 51" x 62" quilt.  But, I managed to muddle through it even though the stripes aren't matched up well.

Anyhoo, I suppose it's time to go on YouTube and look up making quilt backings. 

Have a great day and keep on sewing!