Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I was a bit surprised to see that almost two-thirds of the people who responded (10 out of 16) are ASG members!
As you might expect, however, among the members there is quite a bit of variability in how active people are. Some, like Joannely, Gaylen and Meredith are extremely acitve and have even started new neighborhood groups and/or served as leaders for their groups.
Other people are not as active, and you can probably guess many of the reasons why: they don’t have a neighborhood group (NG) close by, they have schedule conflicts with the local NG meetings, and/or the local NG has a different focus than they do (for example, more quilts and crafts, less garment sewing).
For the people who are able to participate, it sounds like there are both technical benefits (having workshops and speakers) and social benefits – just getting to hang out with wonderful, classy people! And the 10% discount at Joann’s and other retail stores might have been brought up a few times too… ;)
I did get the impression that that not all NGs are "created equal" and finding an NG that is a “good fit” is a very important factor in determining how much you get out of the organization. In fact, Connie recommended starting your own NG!
Speaking of advice, Meredith gave what is probably the most important advice that anyone can keep in mind when joining any organization – never leave the room when they are looking for volunteers and/or leaders! ;)
Finally, it was also cool to read about some other sewing-related groups. Elaina belongs to a Burda club, Summerset belongs to a quilt guild, Cindy has a "meetup" group and Mamafitz used to belong to an independent pattern club that sounds very interesting! They would pick a specific indie pattern to try each month, and then get together to compare notes (and garments) afterwards.
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to tell me about your experiences! I’ll let you know how it works out for me. :)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is another of the fabric purchases that I made in Missouri during my visit with Lori of Girls in the Garden. It is a grey sheer with pink and white paisley. I think it will make a lovely skirt. I don't have a particular pattern in mind, but I'm imagining something a bit fitted at the waist and hips, and then godets or something to make the bottom very flowy and full. It will definitely have to be lined! Any thoughts?
I've got some higher priority projects that I SHOULD do first, but this one is showing signs of wiggling its way to the top of the pile! ;)
Even if I do exert some self-control and submit to more pressing responsibilities, never fear - I will get to this eventually! It's in the queue... ;)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Okay, really? Are they serious? A ONESIE for a NEWBORN requires TEN pattern pieces? Yikes!
At first I couldn't believe it, but as I looked over the pattern pieces I realized why. There are two main reasons:
1. The front of the outfit is not symmetrical, so they have separate pieces for the left front and right front (and different facings, too).
2. They don't use bias tape for the edges - they use fabric strip bindings (not cut on the bias) and attach the snap tape to those fabric bindings. That adds several more pattern pieces.
Well, that's not much progress, but hopefully I can get some work done on this during my evenings this week! I hope you had a good sewing weekend! :)
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Thank you so much to Gwen, Myrosia, Amelia, Cindy, Lori, Summerset, Elizabeth, Lisa Laree, Elaina and CarlaF for talking back to my confession last Friday! I confessed that I often forget to add pockets to pocket-less patterns and am always annoyed with myself after the fact.
Photo credit: online pictures thundafunda
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Apparently my idea of a “doozy” and fate’s idea are not the same size… ;)
I’ll spare you the painful details - let’s just say that this towel has been relegated to a practice piece and ne’er shall Christmas wrapping paper touch its waffle-weave. ;)
Here’s a full shot of the first few inches:
And here's a close-up:
I’m guessing (i.e., hoping) that once the fabric is not under the tension of the loom it will shrink-in a bit and form the bumpy waffle pattern…?
I am way overdue at replying to some comments that folks have left for me over the last few weeks. Julia had a wonderful idea for the lace on my pink skirt. She suggested that I cut away the fabric behind it. I’m not going to try it on this skirt, because I think it would be problematic given the way I positioned the lace relative to the hem of the bottom band. But I love the idea and will keep it in mind for next time! Thanks, Julia!
Thank you also to MJB, Meredith, Sew-Ann and LaKaribane for their advice on how I should arrange the border print of my paisley jersey for a dress. I’m going to play with the layout of the pieces and see what is even possible, before I make any final decisions - but you all gave me some good things to think about!
And, as for meeting online sewing friends - Meredith, you hit the nail on the head with the word "classy"! Cindy - I can't wait to meet you too, and I can't believe I've met two people from other states before meeting someone from my own state! And Gwen - you are definitely invited to join me and Lori the next time we get together in Missouri, but you may want to skip one trip, as I'm probably going back in January, which is not the ideal time to visit that part of the country! ;) After that, I'll probably go back in May, which will be much more temperate. :)
Parting shots: The first fall-weather day in Florida was a perfect day for a trip to the zoo, with my sewing student Ana, her friend Marguerita and Marguerita's five-year old daughter, Mariana (of the princess dress and the alphabet quilt). Riding a camel...
And a tiger! ;)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Cindy and Sew-Ann gave the advice that I was kind of dreading - fit your largest measurement, because taking in the extra fabric is far easier than the alternative. (But I'm partial to my smallest measurement!) Cindy has a lot of experience as a sewing teacher with many different body shapes and sizes, and she says that few people fit the established sizes perfectly. She also recommends starting with a muslin and taking notes on the adjustments that you have to make to achieve a good fit - so that you know exactly what to do the next time. :)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
This question brought a pretty even distribution of responses across the entire set of possibilities, including “No, not really,” “Not yet, but someday,” “Sometimes,” “Often,” “All the time!” and “Heck, I’ve been refashioning, since, like, forever!” In fact, it appears that Goodworks1 has been refashioning clothes since before she was born! How about that for a long time! ;)
Even within the “Yes, I do it!” category there were a lot of variations. Some people called out smallish projects, such as tweaking the fit of a RTW garment or prettying-up the clothes that big brother outgrows in order to pass them on to little sister. Other people described mid-range projects, such as reworking an existing, beloved garment that has an unfixable hole or stain, to give it a second life or modifying an adult garment to suit a child. And there are some hardcore repurposers / refashioners / recyclers who save buttons and zippers from cast-off clothes and scour second-hand stores to maintain a second “stash.”
Reasons for repurposing? You can probably guess most of them – saving money, simplifying and being better to Mother Earth were big ones, of course. Sarah pointed out that it gets her “creative muscles flexing” – something that hadn’t occurred to me, but makes a lot of sense.
Several folks were quick to point out that repurposing doesn’t mean lowering your standards – Uta and Elaina refuse to repurpose worn out or poor quality fabric. Summerset never wants any of her projects to look cobbled together.
Thanks again to everyone for all the great insight! I wasn’t able to capture all the good ideas and useful information in this post, so if you are interested in the topic, you might want to take a minute to read the original comments here. Also, if you are pregnant or have any pregnant friends, check out this great tutorial on refashioning maternity pants out of regular pants!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It specifically calls out "jersey" as a good fabric. What do you think? Would this dress be a good match for my fabric?
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I also worked on preparing my loom to start weaving the kitchen towels that I plan to make as Christmas gifts. This yarn/thread is much thinner than anything I have ever worked with before and the pattern is also wider, so it is slow going! But I am not rushing - I really want to get it right the first time.
Well, not counting that whole 1 yard too short thing... ;)
Finally, I used some TV time to assemble more card sets. I've put together over 200 sets! Yay! :)
Friday, October 2, 2009
I first learned about repurposing from Becky’s blog (those pictures are from one of her projects). It’s such a cool idea – it’s like the Reese’s cup we get when the sewing movement (aka the chocolate) and the green movement (aka the peanut butter) collide. ;)
And now it’s popping up all over the place – from blogs (for example, Sew and So and Repurposed) to internet magazine articles (e.g., Suite101.com) to online sewing communities (e.g., ThreadBanger and Wardrobe Refashion) to popular daytime tv shows (e.g., The Rachel Ray Show).
So, how about you? Have you done any clothing repurposing projects? If so, please tell us a little bit about your experiences! If not, do you think you’ll try someday? What do you think about this movement?
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Seriously - Wow! What an overwhelming convergence of responses – and from people with as little as 2 years of sewing experience through people with over 40 years of experience! You guys have generally agreed with one another a few times before, but never like this!
And, of course, one of the things that I love so much about your answers each week, is that you don’t just give a bare bones “yes” or “no” – you go on to elaborate, and I always learn something new!
For example, (and this counts as a mildly embarrassing confession), I didn’t realize that there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to use the seam ripper. Apparently you are NOT supposed to insert the seam ripper between the 2 layers of fabric and just zip it down the seam. Instead, you are supposed to carefully pick out individual stitches.
When do people use their seam rippers? Several people, like me, find that as they get more skilled in sewing, their standards also get higher, so while they aren’t making the “big” flubs that they originally had to rip out, they are now re-doing steps that are “pretty good” because they want them to be “perfect”.
Others pointed out that they are most likely to need to use their seam rippers whenever they try to hurry through things and maybe even skip some steps to “save time”! ;)
Lois K and Elaina mentioned some other uses of the seam ripper, including cutting buttonholes, pulling threads from fabric to find the grainline, and working with the threads around the presser foot on the sewing machine.
Becky uses hers a lot in her deconstruction work (she re-purposes used clothes into really cool, unique creations!) and said that it’s much more fun to rip apart someone else’s stitches than it is your own! ;)
Two people mentioned alternative tools. Lisa Laree uses a sturdy straight pin to take out her stitches, because that prevents her from “cheating” and using the seam ripper the wrong way. Goodworks1 recommended the seam rippers that come with a surgical-style blade. I had never heard of this, but a quick Google search turned up lots of links, including this one: http://www.nordicneedle.com/PROD/7255.html.
Some of my favorite responses addressed the philosophical side of seam ripping. A couple of people compared the seam ripper to the backspace or delete key on your computer keyboard. They pointed out that we don’t “hate” those keys and we don’t feel like “failures” when we use them. They make it easy to fix the mistakes that are just naturally always going to occur. Seven people made this analogy more explicit – using a seam ripper does NOT mean that you are bad at sewing and we are lucky that sewing let’s us have second (and third and sometimes fourth!) chances. :)
Rose and Relished Artistry were even more philosophical. Rose believes that the ability to deal with mistakes is a very important skill to develop – more important than getting it right the first time, in fact. And Corey, of Relished Artistry, argues that using a seam ripper represents an attention to detail and commitment to quality that rises above the “instant gratification” culture that bombards us (at least, in the US) every day.
Finally, Lisa Laree introduced me to a new term – “frog stitching” or “rip it, rip it”. ;)
Thanks again to everyone for your insights and encouragement to Cindy’s students! And a special thank you to Cindy - I think this will always be one of my favorite installments in the “Confession” series! :)