November 24, 2013

It's the Little Things

Due to extreme distractions and also lack of anything in particular to blog about, I skipped last week's   
entry.  Grandchildren overnight can be great fun and great exhaustion for us older folks.
 Here they are in a rare moment of relative quiet. 

Yes, I know! You really don't want to hear about someone else's grandchildren BUT this really is pertinent to the requisite theme of SEWING. See the pants on grand-daughter? I made them... from a t-shirt that had been hanging unworn in my closest. These are so easy to whip up on the serger.
I bought the shirt she is wearing as I didn't have any fabric to go with the print.

They think the fabric stash is a great place to come up with improvised costumes. This was an especially popular bit of yardage.

Another pair of stretchy little pants! They are not hemmed and the waist band isn't finished yet in wait for this week when I can make sure they fit. WHY don't I write down the measurements is what you are thinking. Well, I was NOT thinking.

Funny thing with this fabric. The monkey faces and the teeny hearts run in both directions. But when I cut and sewed them I found all the monkeys on the from are right side up.
And all the monkeys on the back are upside down.

Haven't decided about a top for these. If I use the same fabric they will definitely look like and BE pajamas.

Yesterday I got really fired up and decided to use a crazy flannel fabric I had ordered online from
Jo-ann Fabrics. The selection in our store was pretty lame and I found some cute ones on their online store.

I like its cozy crazy quality. I am not the biggest fan of the endless pink and purple for little girls as well as all the bows and tu-tus. This is my idea of childhood. With her dark hair and eyes, my Angela can really "carry this off" as they say in the fashion world.
Because I was in the mood to do it immediately and had no pattern I went online and found a pattern On Craftsy I could download which I have never done before. I found THIS :

Here is my fabric cut and laid out. I used the same fabric turned vertical for the bib insert and used 
turquoise rick-rack instead of the ruffle.

Things were going really well and I was whistling away and thrilled to turn this out so quickly.
THEN the old nemesis, the button-hole came up to bite me!. I have never used the button hole foot that came with my new Janome and I decided now would be the time to use it. I made several practice button holes on scraps of the same fabric and it worked great, but when I tried to do it on the garment the seams somehow fought with the button foot and it stuck. I even spent waaaay too much time trying to remove one and then the next attempt got totally misplaced because what I thought was my start mark WASN"T.  Here is my solution. I used snaps ignoring the ill-advised buttonholes.

And then I covered up the whole mess with some of this giant size jumbo rick-rack I bought back when I had no idea what I would ever use it for. 
Then I cut an interfacing for the hem and added the same rick-rack as a finish for the hem to repeat it for balance. Since my model will not be here for awhile and is has been typically two when I want to photograph her (see previous entry ) , I am using a bulletin board for display. You will see I have cut up another orange t-shirt for a coordinating pant. I had that bit of green from a previous remake. So overall this went really well except for those little button hole things!!

November 13, 2013

A N0-Sew Weekend

I love polka-dots and why not a house ?

And stripes are good, too. 

See more about the weekend at my OTHER blog.
Click HERE

November 3, 2013

Sometimes a Great Notion

Anyone with a calling to do something, and that is what my sewing is, has a penchant for acquiring all the paraphernalia to go along with their pursuits. And there are always those inventive entrepreneurial types willing to invent and purvey these items. 

Yes, I had to look up the spelling of two of those words.

This week I came upon a number of new sewing notions to make my life perfect! Do others call the stuff of their pursuits NOTIONS or do they just call them tools? Fishermen have TACKLE but that is only a small part of the stuff they use. My brother makes his own tackle, so I guess the tools to make the tackle would be his NOTIONS.
Okay, enough of that. On to the stuff. One of the challenges of sewing is organization of all of those notions and one of the most frustrating for me has been the bobbin. This is somewhat organized but it is still a tangle of unwinding threads. A casual browsing of Pinterest turned up THIS! Eureka! I couldn't get my order in fast enough (NANCY"S NOTIONS plug, plug )

Isn't it adorable? It even fits into the same drawer of my sewing table.

Its six layers all come apart and can be put back any way your little heart desires. One set holds 30 bobbins in flexible little "jaws" that prevents the thread from unwinding.

Up close its like a little Christmas tree.

Here is another great find. I have been constantly chasing the sewing machine pedal around. Every time I sit down to stitch I have to drag it back to a comfortable position. 


The pedal sits on a mat that is like a miniature chair mat with a carpeted square. Velcro strips on the back of the pedal keep it right where I want it. I guess if I spent enough time on the machine it also would protect my carpet from heel dents. This would work great on hard flooring as well (which I wish I had).

Then there are these favorites that most of you have that are truly indispensable.
Pointy pokers for corners and a turner for tubes. I always used scissors and large safety pins for these jobs. Scissors sometimes proved disastrous. The safety pin as a turner was fine if you didn't make anything really narrow to turn.

Pattern weights for cutting are great and really essential with the rotary cutter. Why did it take so long for THAT to be invented? Like luggage with wheels, duh! 
The seam ripper is not really a "favorite" because only comes out when disaster strikes, but in this pretty green the job is less of a drag. I suppose I didn't really need these weights either. Many of you use other items around the house, but they are so cute and colorful.
 The FRIXION pen is another great product that probably isn't exactly in the notion realm. It was purchased at an office supply store. It can mark fabric and then erase completely with a bit of heat.
There are those with caps and also "clickable" ones. The "clickable" completely baffled me when I first tried to use it. The clip moves up and down to move the pen point in and out. I kept trying to pouch the top end of the pen to my complete frustration. 

Just holding the iron close to the surface and not touching the fabric will accomplish the erase.

                     ALL GONE!

And then there are those Notions that don't work out as expected.
All of these were to help me create fabulous bias bound edges. The three different sized ones with handles are for making your own bias tape. I didn't find them to work all that well and as long as I keep my fingers back from the iron's steam, I do better without these. 
The top one is the foot that is supposed to allow you to sew both sides of the bias tape onto the edge with one line of stitching. I have failed to master it and have found numerous tutorials and videos that didn't do it for me. Two of them even have you loading the fabric two completely different ways!

What are your favorite notions/tools that you cannot sew without? 
Or what have you found to be a complete waste?
Please comment and let us know.