Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gotta Love the Stash!

Miss V came for the weekend.  She forgot to pack her capris, so we went upstairs to the sewing room.  First I got her measurements into Wild Ginger's Child's Play and created the pattern.  After it was printed and cut out, I gave her a couple of purple knit choices from my hefty stash.  I actually bought the fabric because purple seems to be a popular color with the girls.  We got it cut and sewn, so we could grab a little lunch. I really love my sewing room's contents!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Taking Time to Play--Pattern Master Boutique Style

Tonight was the monthly meeting of the group of friends who use Wild Ginger's software for sewing pattern creation.  Most have Pattern Master Boutique for women's clothing, but tWild Ginger also hse Child's Play to create children's patterns, Curves for exercise wear, Knits for knitwear and a program for making men's clothing.  I think there may be more, but I have the first four and have used them all at one time or another.  I've probably used Child's Play as I love to sew for my grandchildren. 

The meeting tonight was using the pattern editor of the software to create a pattern based on our own measurements that copied a ready to wear or a commercial pattern.   I worked with Vogue 9079.  It has both dresses and a top and pants.  The thing that makes it striking is the front of the sleeveless top is cut into two parts with one shoulder one color going off into a curve into the other half of the garment and back in an arc to the hem.  You can look at the picture at and to see the top, put your cursor over the dress picture and it changes. 

We first had to figure out what the basic design, and in the PMB software you have a lot of things to pick from. We chose a boat neck, sleeveless top with French darts. The back has a zipper with princess seams.  All of these choices can be achieved with just a few clicks of the mouse.  When you save it, the program automatically creates the pattern pieces you've chosen designed to your unique measurements. 

Next you take them into the pattern editor.  The back pieces were actually ready to cut and sew, as were the armhole facings.  The back neck facing was fine, but the front neck would have to be changed as soon as the final pattern was finished.  The front half piece, normally placed on a fold, had to be duplicated and the two pieces combined to form a single front piece that we then had to place the arc to cut into two very distinct pieces. 

I hadn't used Pattern Editor for awhile, so the exercise was a good refresher course for me.  Sure was nice to think about something other than unpacking boxes!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Relocated! Now to Get It All Organized!

The move itself is complete, but the unpacking  and reorganizing certainly aren't!  It's truly amazing how much I had stored all over the four bedroom house!  I can't really believe that most of it is now residing in an upstairs room (pictured on the left), but what needs to happen now is some severe reorganization. The room started out 18' X 39', but we put in a half bath to the left of the stairs. Right now it's mostly boxes and who knows what else.  Oh, the blue tape was from us marking for the painters things they needed to touch up before we closed.

 I sorted through many things before packing, and gave away fabric, yarn, a small iron, trim, etc. to a soon-to-be art teacher.  She will have her own classroom for the first time next year and was so thankful for everything she received.  I have a feeling she may be getting more before too long!  There were many bins of fabric I didn't sort through, and I know future art students will be excited to work with the items I donated.

It will probably take me another month to get things where I want them, but then watch out!  I have projects to finish, granddaughters to teach more about sewing, and I see a long, fruitful relationship with all the things I planned to do in retirement.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy New Year! New Year Crafting Resolutions

Well, it's the 5th of January and I finally finished the next to last gift I had to do.  After the first of the year, I monogrammed towels for my husband's brother's grown kids and finished the hat I was knitting our niece.  Her towel set is actually a housewarming present as she purchased her first home in 2016.  I still have a kitchen towel to complete for my Mom, and need to desperately get busy working on the grandson's sweater jacket for his February birthday.

Since we'll be moving in a little over two months, I've been doing a lot of packing of things we want to take, but don't necessarily need now.  There's a lot of that as well as a lot of getting rid of stuff we don't want/need anymore and don't want to pay to move.  I've donated several sewing and quilting books to ASG already.

My new crafting (i.e. sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery and maybe tatting) room is a lot bigger than what I've had in the past, and I am so pumped.  There's the stairwell and a half bath at one end with a window in between, a storage closet and the closet for the furnace/air conditioning inside parts, and the rest of the 18' X 39' space is mine!  Actually the closet and bath are there for a reason, too, but I just can't wait to move everything into the space.

So here are my resolutions for the next few months:

1. Get everything sorted through and packed.  Take the important stuff (machines in the case of the craft area) and other things we don't want the movers to take and put them in our storage area.

2. Donate what is useable and we don't want and get rid of the rest.

3. Finish the birthday sweater/jacket.

4. Learn to tat after we are settled.

5. Start a crochet project.  I really miss using the hook!

6. Finish projects for other great nieces.

There are probably lots of things I've forgotten, but this is a start.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Keeping My Serger Humming While Busting My Christmas/Winter Stash

First let me say that I really LOVE my Babylock Imagine Wave serger! I've been using it for over ten years now and it just never lets me down.

Since we're moving in the spring, one of my goals has been to cut down my sizable fabric stash.  (Another goal this year is to make everything I can without spending any more money.)  When you've sewn for over 50 years, it sort of grows, and while an analogy comes to mind I'm not putting it in writing!  I not only have to move my stash, but move it to my new sewing room upstairs.  I'm trying to save the movers' backs (and our pocketbook) a bit of wear and tear.  That said, I realized this would be the last time I'd be making holiday gifts for coworkers, so wanted it to be something they'd use and perhaps think about me when doing so.  It also needed to be something that was fairly quick.

After a little thinking, I came up with sets of napkins with a Christmas or winter theme.  As most of you know, quilting fabric comes in 44"-45" widths.  Since I was stash busting I was limited to the amount of fabric actually on hand.  That means out of a yard or a little more I couldn't do the big (18"-20") napkins and get more than four, so I decided for most people I'd make six luncheon sized napkins.

Here's the process when you're using quilter's cotton:

1. Tear, and I do mean tear, all four edges of the fabric as close as you can top/bottom and so you get the complete selvage edges off the sides.

2. Measure your fabric piece and determine if you can get three 13" to 14" napkins from across the width.  Figure out what it is, and most of the time I went with 13.5" squares.  Tear the fabric into these squares.

3. Iron the fabric flat--I use a little spray sizing to give the napkins some body.

4. The next step requires the use of one of my Corelle fruit bowls that match the plates I've had for over 40 years.  I use it to round each of the corners of the napkin.  For these smaller napkins, I set a corner on my cutting table so it is against the grid, then place the bowl so that the edge of the bowl touches the 2" mark from the corner on the top and side, then hold the bowl down and cut the corner off.  (For larger napkins like the 18" to 20", I use the 3" mark.)  I cut with my rotary cutter. Repeat this till all corners are off.

5. I have my serger set up for the rolled hem stitch. For mine, I actually use a little smaller stitch length than the manual suggests as I like tight rolled hem.  I put Polyarn or Wooly Nylon in BOTH upper and lower loopers, then a thread that matches the background of the napkin in the right needle.  Make sure you set your serger up and test for a rolled hem before starting on a napkin.  [Note:  I really like Superior's Polyarn better as it takes the heat of an iron better than the Wooly Nylon, which melts.  I still don't advise ironing the rolled edges, though.]

6. I usually begin my serging on a straight side just after the curve.  Hold the tail of the rolled hem you've previously done while you begin and rolled hems tend to curl and can end up in your new stitching.  (Ask me how I know from multiple experiences!) Make sure you are cutting off at least 1/8" or so as you serge so the rolled hem has a nice, crisp edge to roll. [Note: If your fabric has from fray whiskers where you've torn it, make sure that the cut is at least 1/8" inside where the frayed part ends.]

7. As you begin to approach the corner, you need to start to gently curve the fabric so the you're consistently cutting off at least 1/8" of an inch, and sometimes you'll have to get more. I use the fingers on my left hand to do the gentle twisting to get around the corner.  Remember, it's better to cut off a little too much than not enough, because you'll have rolled hem hanging on to thin air if you end up cutting nothing.

8. Continue around the four straight sides and three corners, and when you get to the last corner remember that you are going to not only have to turn, but cut off the beginning tail and overlap a bit of the already sewn rolled hem.

9. Leave the tail attached and use Fray Block to seal the hem.  I like it better than the other popular Fray product as it doesn't discolor over time and becomes fairly soft after washing several times.  I have napkins I've used for decades that I've used this on, and I've never had one fray apart.  Let it dry.

10. Once the Fray Block is dry, hold the ending tail out and cut close to the overlap.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Project Update

I've been busy over the last month or so working on projects for people I love.  The first piece I finished will go to one of the daughters, and is on the right in the picture to the left.  It's a lacy scarf that I crocheted after I got home from Stitches Texas, so it has a foundation row where the chain and the first row are combined.  I loved taking the two classes from The Shibaguyz!  I learned so much.

The second is for granddaughter #1, and is a cowl.  She has to wait at the bus stop this year to go to middle school, so I knitted the one from the Craftsy Fall Knit Along with Kate Atherley.  I didn't make as many repeats of the pattern as it called for as her neck isn't as large as an adult's yet.  Besides, when you live in the south, there truly aren't too many days when she'll be wearing it, but I know it can get cold waiting for the bus.

I also have two projects on different knitting needles.  The first is a cabled hat that I'm making for our niece who does live in the cold winter weather area.  When we were there this summer, she told me she just loves gold, so that's what she's getting.  This project is also from Craftsy's Fall Knit Along.  Love the videos with the clear photography!

The other gift I have on the needles is actually going to be a zippered sweater jacket for the grandson, but it might be for his birthday rather than for Christmas.  My hands got tired yesterday knitting on the cables, so I switched and actually got this much done in an afternoon.  Very relaxing after the cables!  I'm making it a little big, as he's growing like a weed.  He has a really long, thin torso, so it's important that the length of the body and sleeves match him.  I bought an extra skein of yarn to make that happen.

I have other project yet to start.  The twins need another leotard each--this one will be made from a swimsuit pattern rather than the leotard, which was a little tight.  I'm making DD#2 some things for her Montessori school.  Not sure what else will appear from my crafting, but I'm sure something will--it always does.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sewing Again. . .

You know it's been a long time in between sewing projects when you haven't hooked up your sewing machine since it was cleaned early in the month!  Today it not only got hooked up, but it was used on a project from start to finish!  I cut out and sewed up one of the leotards we'll give one of our twin granddaughters for her birthday this weekend.  I have the pattern all cut out and taped for her twin's, which will be tomorrow's project.

I love the Wild Ginger Child's Play software.  I think they are on version 6 now, and I've been using it to make kids' clothing since v1.  Our oldest granddaughter has always been thin, and it's been difficult for her to find pants with a small enough waist that are long enough.  She's a preteen now and is maturing, so I figure it won't be too long before she'll be able to use the women's software, Pattern Master Boutique and the Knit program.  These days when we have more than a quick weekend together she likes to sew along with me.  I think she'll get to learn to use the serger this coming summer.

I'll add to this post when I get the second leotard done.  I had to write today, though, because it felt so good to complete something in the sewing room.