Friday, January 30, 2015

One UFO checked off list

Project #5 for this year.

While cleaning and organizing the studio, I found a ‘few’ Unfinished Objects, or UFO, as we like to call them in the Quilting world.

I don’t know how long ago I made this jacket! I’m thinking maybe even ten years ago. It was all finished except for the buttons and buttonholes, but just sat in a box for ages! So, I found the buttons and today I made the holes and finished it. Now I can wear it when the weather is warmer.


It has an outer vest from home dec fabric attached to the men’s woolen base jacket. Then some silk added for contrast on the sleeves and the same vest fabric but from the wrong side for the cuffs. I like it! Will be fun to wear.

I need to find a good way to photograph my garments. Maybe set up the mannequin in a corner with lighting and my tripod at the ready.

We are in full swing with costumes for the high school musical in February. Lots of long satin gowns to make but in between I will be working on my projects and some other UFO’s! Why don’t we finish a project before starting another one?

Right now I have a baby quilt on the wall, two upcycled men’s jackets on the tables and a UFO coat that needs cuffs and button to finish. I have my work cut out for me this weekend!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

One pattern, two versions

 I bought this Burda pattern last year to make a Koos collage sweater.


I bought this metallic knit online but when I received it, I was disappointed to see that it was bonded to another fabric and had no stretch. So, to use it, I cut the back in half and put in a silver zipper.

The front is pieces of left over obi fabric and some cottons with sheer ribbons going up the right sleeve and then down the front.

Version #2


Continuing on my quest to sew more this year and to try to use fabric from my new Treasure Trove, I selected this soft printed knit last night. There was only 1.5 yards so couldn’t do anything fancy. But I think this basic sweater will be worn often. Project #4 for the year.

I cut it out at 5:30pm before I had to get dinner on the table. The pattern is only 3 pieces so with my trusty serger, I sewed the sleeve seams, side seams and attached the sleeves to the body.


Then hemmed the sleeves with two rows of stitching using the free arm feature of the BERNINA, which is so useful. Hemmed the bottom with 2 rows of stitching and then made a binding strip for the neck and attached it with a narrow zig zag of width 1.3 and length 3.0 so it would stretch when putting on.  Done in 2 hours or less and I wore it today!

I wore it to show the husband of the Treasure Trove what I did with his wife’s fabric because I went back again!! My friend wanted a BERNINA and he had a great Virtuoso 155 for sale!  Lucky girl!

You know how I said in my Jan. 6 blog, after buying 80 yards of fabric from him that I wouldn’t buy any more fabric for a while….? Well, that was broken five minutes into the studio door!  My friend got 36 cuts of gorgeous fabrics and I came home with some treasures I missed from the first visit including two really special cuts.

DSC04290DSC04292A Border knit with metallic



and this interesting knit with sheer ‘windows’ and gold metallic ink! I’m going to have to think for a while about what to do with these. The other wools were heavy coatings, a striped linen and some silk to dye. About 25 more yards. That’s all!

And a few antique buttons and buckles….


…and two big bags of roving in dozens of colors!

But now I won’t buy any more fabric, except quilting cottons! At least for a long while…but don’t hold me to it!

I’m going to cut something now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another Vest


Project #3 for this year finished! It’s a vest for my son with penguin lining. I can’t count how many I’ve made for him in his lifetime but this is the fourth for this year. Below are the two of the others I sent to college in the Fall.


Currently the Cornell red vest is his favorite, naturally!

It was difficult to shop and find penguin fabric over the past years but my friend showed me all the fabulous penguin designs on Spoonflower so now we’ll never run out!  IF you have never been to that site, it is mostly for people who want to print their own designs on cotton, silk etc. but will sell you yardage of designs that they have printed.

So, this vest is nothing to shout about. I’m putting it on to keep track of this year’s work. In my professional life, I strive to learn all I can about advanced sewing techniques and related textile things. I try to make unique art wear or design or complex garments, but then sometimes I just sew. This is a simple 3-piece pattern, not a wedding gown.  It takes a few hours to make but brings my son much joy and pride when he wears them. He is now known for his vests and his love of penguins! I love making him something that he enjoys so much and that’s what sewing is all about!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Silk Blouse

January 7, 2015

  Project #2 for this year finished last night! I cut some of the Treasure Trove (described in yesterday’s post) silk charmeuse into a Vogue blouse pattern that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time but didn’t have the right fabric.


above.Vogue 1415 Tom and Linda Platt designers. It is very simple with only three pieces.



So, I’m known for sewing at a very fast speed which is why I love the new BERNINA 880 with its industrial motor that goes “100 miles per hour” or seems like that.  But I have to sew slower with silk which is slippery and requires precision topstitching.

This blouse had narrow hems on neck, sleeves and bottom hem that were 3/8” turned under twice and then edge stitched. First I pressed under 3/4” and then folded the cut edge into the fold and pressed well. To stitch close to the edge I used the #10 foot and moved the needle over 4 places. I like it CLOSE to the folded edge…see picture below…so I had to test how many places to move the needle and be able to catch the fabric.


With this foot on and using the guide, I found that I could go faster…hee hee!

Next, I’ve selected a beautiful fabric from this Treasure Trove and pattern which will  take me longer than one day to make. But first I have costumes to alter for the high school theatre, Steel Magnolias next weekend and….yucky end-of-year tax accounting stuff/blah!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

An Epic Experience


Jan.6, 2015

Yesterday was an epic day for me in my sewing life! It started last year when I read Marcy Tilton’s blog and saw a letter from a woman who was trying to figure out what to do with her deceased sister’s giant, humonguous stash of fabrics and other related collections. It said that she lived one and a half hours from me.

I had assumed that it was lots of quilting fabrics so wrote and said that I could get it to a center that makes quilts for chemo patients.  The sister wrote to me last week and said that I could come and shop this stash. She sent these photos.

photo 1photo 2photo 3

I was sooooo excited because garment sewers know that it is hard to find fabric any more. Any kind of garment fabric.  The only source is the big box store which doesn’t have quality fabrics.

When I arrived, I met the sister from Australia and the husband of the woman who owned this stash.  They were charming and very welcoming. We went down to her studio and the stash was OVERWHELMING in this giant work space!  I quickly saw that I would have liked this woman a lot! We had a lot in common. Besides sewing garments, she knitted, dyed fabric, did beading and had similar taste in books and patterns!  She was a president of the local American Sewing Guild at one time.

This studio looked like a small store. I felt that I should be discriminating and only take the fabric and things that I think I can use in the next few years. I realized that I don’t want to accumulate too much that I will never use. But it was hard since there was soooo much beautiful fabric.  Here is some of what I took…



It totals about 80 yards and ranges from silk chiffon, sari, wool, knits, beaded chiffon, foreign fabrics…. I’m so thrilled with them and have high hopes of making lots of garments this year, although this collection could last a decade! I’m going to try to NOT buy any more fabric for a while…except quilting fabric though!

There also were collections of yarn which were beautiful so I have to start knitting again. Books and dyes for my shibori class in June and antique bag frames were other great finds.


I feel so lucky, so happy and inspired but also guilty that I benefited from this great woman’s death. If I bought it all on ebay, I wouldn’t have gotten to know her or her family so it wouldn’t bother me.

Like I said in my last blog post, I intend to sew more this year and post it all to get your creative juices flowing. This sure jump-started my year! I hope to have lots of photos soon. I am going to go cut some silk now from this stash.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Happy New year to all!

I said that this year my resolution is to sew more, try more sewing/quilting techniques and just generally be more productive and post it on my blog for you to follow.

Lately with the new BERNINA 880 and a lot of new fabric, I’ve got so many ideas swimming around in my head and I vow to take the time to try some this year. I’ll try not to waste my time on the computer so much and spend more time on the sewing machine. I find that when I am sewing and the machine is really humming, that I am so happy. I just love the act of pushing fabric through the machine!  Crazy? No, I bet that is a feeling many of you share.

Well, Jan.2, I started a table runner for my 8 foot walnut table and Jan. 3, I finished it!! A simple project but I wanted to try the circular stitching attachment that I bought last Dec.  I had several fat quarters of Marcia Derse fabric that I thought would go well with the green granite in my kitchen so I made this ‘quilt as you go’ table runner.




backing fabric and here you can see the overlapping circle quilting.



Does it go with my granite?

I’ll have instructions either on another blog or on mine soon. It was fast and easy and totally adaptable to the size you want and with the fabrics you have on hand.

So…on to the next project! Let’s see how many projects I can make this year! I’ve got a wedding and a friend’s baby in May and I think it’s time for a new tree skirt… I’m supposed to be doing End of Year accounting stuff though….