Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Things on the Horizon

I know I've been MIA for a while... I'm working on a new sewing venture.
One of the things I've learned in the past several years is that if you have a job/career doing what you love, you will be successful!  Don't select a job or career for the money, do it because you love it!  I see this time and time again .  Yes, I like my job... but it's a job. I LOVE sewing and SHARING my sewing.  I look forward to teaching the teen group every month, and inviting the neighbor kids over to make projects.  I love talking about sewing, and sharing it with anyone who is interested.  I can meet a total stranger and if they sew, they are my new best friend. 

So, a friend and I have been talking for a few years now about starting a sewing business... to share our love of sewing; and a few months back or so ago everything clicked!  Sitting at a conference helping in someone else's booth we realized, that is what we love, sewing, and sharing our sewing!  I don't intend to get rich, I just want share sewing and travel sharing my sewing.  And I certainly am not going to quit my day job. We want to keep it simple and concentrate on knits.  I love knits, they are not scary and you don't need a serger or any fancy equipment.

We will have our Grand Opening (via internet) in early January... stay tuned. And here's a sneak peak at our soon to be live website.

And yes, we will be selling Jalie patterns!  

I've been working like an elf in Santa's workshop lately, and will have some Christmas sewing to share later this week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finished projects

Here's the red dress that I blogged about yesterday...  with and without the "modesty" insert.  ...(I think I need new shoes for this dress.  I only have summer sandals, and I think this dress requires "real" shoes... in black.)
When this picture was taken, I hadn't hemmed it yet, (just pinned), but it's done and ready to makes it debut.

This tee will be my favorite.. I already have 2 more knits set aside to make this top again.  McCalls 6399... I love the tucks and the neckline.
The neckline is faced, but I bound it instead.  The binding makes for a more casual look; I may use the facing next time.

I forgot I made this Cynthia Rowley skirt with some leftover fabric. The first time I made this skirt I felt like an apple. The bottom circumference is much narrower than the waist, and the waist is really gathered.  I didn't taper it to the hem this time, and like the look much better.   The waistband is cute

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sewing..... and more

What is/was on my cutting table:   Vogue 8561 which is a great skirt although I find the pattern pieces do not match up very well.  But it's easy enough to adjust and fix.  Some of the pieces are on the bias, and their  theory is, after they are cut, and the bias is ironed out,  you re-cut to correct size.  Correct size is the question since there is no correct size pattern piece, I just wing it, and recut so it lines up correctly with the corresponding pattern piece.  It does work as I have made this skirt 3 times and love it.  I needed another one for fall in a larger :( size.  This skirt is all done, I just need to hem it (which is another uneven mess due to the pattern pieces not being correct).  The hemming on this skirt definitely needs the ruler from the floor technique.

Also on the cutting table is Vogue 1255 which I've looked at a few times and all the pattern pieces seem overwhelming... all that ruching... so it will be last on my list.  I have it cut out with a nice sheer black cotton.  I think it will be cute for fall.

Then there is McCalls 6433 using a nice red double knit.  This is done except for the hem... and I wish I would have just checked the neckline on this as it is really REALLY low... so I needed to make a small panel to insert (or maybe attached to my bra like those things on the infomercials.  It would have been such an easy fix if I would have taken the 30 seconds or less to check the neckline before cutting... I will never not check the neckline again.  It's a cute dress, came out really nice, but would have been so much cuter if I didn't have that stupid panel there.  

And finally there is McCalls 6399 which is definitely a winner.  I'm wearing it today and was hoping to get you a photo before work, but husband was out talking to a neighbor and I didn't want to yell "hey, can you take my picture before I go to work"....  I love the tucks on this top.

The rest of my weekend was busy... 2 concerts and a trip to Disneyland with friends that swing dance.  Every saturday night at Disneyland in the Carnation Plaza they have a swing band.  I'm convinced... I need swing dancing lessons ... it looks like so much fun!  The concerts we saw were The Doobie Brothers (Thursday), Tower of Power, and Average White Band (Friday).  I told my husband, 3 dates in one week and asked if that was enough for the year so I can get back to my sewing cave.  All 3 were great and it was a fun weekend!

I joined Goldstar and have gotten really good prices on concerts and other events. (I will never pay full price again).   You need to go to Will Calll to get your tickets on the day of the event.  You will not know your seat location until you arrive.  I have been to about 6 concerts the past year with tickets from Goldstar and have not been disappointed.  You'll know the seat section, but not the actual seat locations.   If you are not a member (it's free to join) you should sign up.  You'll receive emails for discounted events (plays, concerts, sports, amusement parks, etc.).  Their pricing is usually 1/2 off the regular price and generally go up for sale a week or two before the event.  We were in the second row for Tower of Power....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

yea, yea, yea... I know, time to post

I don't feel like I've done any real sewing this summer, but when I glance through my photos, there are a few things I've made:
Shirt for my dad, sewing apron, dresses, skirts, and a tee.  Most everything has been reviewed on Pattern Review and the links to the detailed reviews are over to your right on this page.

I've also taken several sewing related classes this summer both at the ASG Conference which was held this year in Los Angeles and at the Long Beach Quilt Festival. I learned couture sewing techniques with Susan Khalje; how to make a signature chop (still need to finish that), wonderful techniques with Marla Kazell; fabric dying with Pokey Bolton and Diane Ricks; and many more. I've even purchased a few kits that I really need to get going on.  I've taken the teen sewing group to The Getty where we had a private tour of some of their costumes and craft exhibits; sewn pillowcases with the Girl Scouts who are working towards their Silver Award, and made skirts with the ASG Teen Neighborhood Group.

I've done some quick trips to Portland to visit family and friends, spent time locally with family, and even managed to go to Disneyland....
All in all, it's been a great summer...  I'm ready for Fall, sewing, working in the yard, and spending more time with family and friends!  And yes, blogging....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot Pattern Weekender Sunshine

I love the Weekender Sunshine Top by Hot Patterns and it seems that I'm always modifying it.
On my trip to Chicago earlier this year, I saw a really cute knit top in a ribbon store we visited.  I love how they pleated the neckline on the top. Here's a photo is took
Their version has ribbon (of course) added, but all those pleats going the same direction completely around the neckline.  I immeidiately thought of the Weekender Sunshine top as my starting pattern.

I took my pattern and sliced the neckline to add more fabric for pleating.  Since I didn't want the entire top/hem wider, I just slashed and spread partially down.
Here's a photo fo the original and modified front pattern piece. 
and here's a photo of the back pattern pieces.

and here's a close up of my completed neckline, inside back and outside front.  I cut the facing the same as original pattern, interfaced it, and after pleating, put the facing and top wrong sides together, pinned very carefully so that all pleats laid flat and sewed three rows.  I then trimmed the facing.  I didn't hem the neckline as it would be too much bulk.   I love the results! 
and here's the completed top, front and back. 

Monday, August 1, 2011


The second class I took at the Long Beach Quilt Festival was with Polkey Bolton the editor of Quilting Arts Magazine and it was gel mono printing. [Polkey is really nice and and a great instructor, if you get a chance to take a class with her, I recommend it, you'll have fun "playing"]  We used fabric paints and a gelatin base to paint fabrics.   We used a new product call which made the process really easy as we didn't need to use real gelatin.   We covered the gelatin base with fabric paints using a Brayer or a sponge brush.  A sponge brush gives you much more freedom as you can apply the paint to specific areas of your Gelli.  Each technique gave different results.  I really liked mixing the paints and creating different textures with the brush.  Some of the painted surfaces we imprinted with various found objects or rubbing plates (plates usually used with paintstiks) which design was transferred to the fabric.  Here's a sample of some of my printed fabrics.  After I got home, I did some machine embroidery on a few.

It was a lot of fun and with my leftover yardage, I'd like to make a continuous 2+ yards for a dress for my niece.  If you are not going to wash your fabric, you can basically use any type of paint.  If you are going to wash your fabric, be sure to use fabric paints and heat set when paint is dry.  You can heat set by running an iron over it, or as I did, tossing it in a hot dryer for 20+ minutes.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vacation, the beginning

The first part of my vacation was spent in Yosemite.  We only stayed 4 days this time, but had a great time.  We hiked, rafted, and met a really nice group of adventurous ladies who were climbing Half Dome the day we left.  Yes, they made it to the Top!

We drove into Yosemite the "back" way through Tioga Pass (Elevation 9500+ feet). There was still lots of snow and it was beautiful.
Once in the Valley, we hiked.  Even though is was late in the season, there were still waterfalls flowing, flowers blooming and wildlife roaming.

Goodbye Yosemite... see you next year.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm Home

Been a while since I posted.  I just returned from a 2 week vacation that was a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and very little sewing... well, no sewing, but some fiber art!  Which I will tell you about first... I'll start with the fiber art which was the most recent part of my vacation.

I went to the Long Beach Quilt Festival.  I love this Show because it's less traditional and more artsy!  I took some fabric painting and fabric dying classes.  The first class I took was called "Twist and Shout" with Diane Ricks.  We twisted, knotted, and dyed some silk chiffon; opened it up and shouted!

We each dyed 2 yards of silk chiffon by making knots using string and/or rubber bands; twisted the fabric; knotted some more; dipped and/or injected our knots with dye; then carefully added dye to the unknotted areas; placed in a zip lock bag, and put in a microwave for 5 mins.  Took out of microwave, cooled, undid our knots, and opened to some beautiful colors.  I plan on making Vogue 1245 with my chiffon.  I bought some Palmer Pletsch Perfect Sew Fabri Stabilizer and hope that that will make sewing with chiffon easier.

ASG Los Angeles is going to have this dye workshop in January. So if you are local, I highly recommend it, you'll make some beautiful fabric which you can use for a garment!

The Long Beach Quilt Show  is at the Convention Center which is a great location, just a block from the beach, the Aquarium, Queen Mary, and a huge selection of restaurants (I need my elastic pants after this vacation) and nice hotels.  The weather was perfect and the quilts were fabulous!

I wish I would have taken more photos.  But I was so busy with classes (and shopping).  I did get a few using my cell and no flash (sorry for the bad quality).

The next day, I took "Printapolooza" and didn't take ANY pictures!  We silk screened, color discharged, and sun printed.  I have lots of little 8x10 pieces of different techniques.  Not sure what I will do with them, but thinking eye glass cases for Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chicago Part III

On the last full day in Chicago, Kathi and I took a tour of Marshall Fields (now known as Macys).  I highly recommend the architectural tours done by Chicago Architecture Foundation.   They are very interesting and informative and give you a great behind the scenes view of the city rich in history.

The store is located on State Street in The Loop in downtown Chicago.  The original store nicknamed the great Marble Palace was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire.  It was rebuilt and destroyed by yet another fire in 1877.  The store was originally owned by Field and Lietner and was more of a wholesale business supplying goods to smaller stores in the midwest and west.  Later Mr. Field bought out Lietner and the store grew into the modern department store selling more luxurious goods.  Marshall Field died in 1906 and Mr. Shedd, was appointed the new President.  The current store opened in 1907 and includes a beautiful Tiffany ceiling.

The ceiling is both the first and largest ceiling ever built in favrile glass, containing over 1.6 million pieces.  It is beautiful.  The photos do not do it justice.

The clocks on the corners are listed on the National Historic Registry as is the building.  It is said that this corner was a popular meeting place where Chicago visitors and residents would meet and/or leave notes.
The store has a beautful atrium which used to be an ally.  In the late 1990's (I believe) they joined the 2 stores.  From the outside of the building you can see the two different architectural styles of the buildings.  This difference in style is also noticeable from the inside as well.
you can see the two styles here.  The center 2 columns that are slightly higher and lower than the sides... that used to be an alley.

original elevator doors

The Walnut Room where Kathi and I had lunch has an interesting story.  It opened in 1907 as a place for unescorted women to have lunch.  In the early days woman had to go home to have lunch.  Marshall Fields filled this void by becoming the first department store to start providing lunch and/or tea for their female shoppers.  It is said that in 1890 a lady working in the hat department, Mrs. Hering, started bringing in homemade chicken pot pies for her customers.  Trying on hats could be very time consuming and she wanted the ladies to be comfortable and shop.  Having something for her customers to eat increased their shopping time.  Mrs. Hering's chicken pot pie is still served in The Walnut Room, although it is not the original recipe.

In 2004 Target Corporation sold Marshall Fields to Macy's. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Local Fabric Shopping - Los Angeles

This August, the American Sewing Guild is having their Annual Conference in Los Angeles.  ASG Conference Info here My friend Kathi and I volunteered to put together a fabric shopping guide. [I can't figure out how I'd post it here, so I'll just cut and paste some of the booklet.]  Note: The Fabric District is constantly evolving, so the stores and selection may change at any time.
Fabric Shopping in Downtown LA
The LA Fashion District is home to the largest selection of textiles and notions in the United States.  There are almost 200 wholesale and retail textile stores selling trim, beading, and fabric for apparel and home décor.  Prices start at .99 cents per yard.  The fabric stores in this guide are clustered around the corner of 9th and Maple Streets.  Don’t be put off by what you see on display outside – the good stuff is inside the store.  Step inside and have a look around.  If you don’t see what you are looking for, ask.  The stores are shoulder to shoulder for blocks.  A few of our favorites are listed here but don’t assume that these are the only stores with interesting fabrics … be adventurous and don’t be afraid to haggle. 


Textile and notion stores are generally centered within four blocks, from 8th Street down to Olympic Boulevard, between Maple Avenue and San Julian Street.

9th Street:
Ashanti Fabrics at 224 E. 9th St., carries African fabrics at very competitive prices. (period after each)

Golden Cutting and Sewing Supply at 318 E. 9th St., offering scissors. 

City Fabrics at 324 E. 9th St., carries a full range of fake fur.

305 E. 9th St. is an indoor mall with stores (listed below) opening onto 9th and Maple Streets.  This address includes:
·                     Blue Moon (entrance on 9th St.) specializes in dance wear fabric and baby blankets (minky), lots of glitz, glitter, and novelty knits.
·                     Niki Fabric Gallery (entrance on 9th St.), carries a full selection of plain and fancy higher end fabrics.
·                     Silk City (entrance on Maple), carries some very unusual silk fabrics, a large selection of solid color silk, some woolen fabrics, brocade, silk knits, and some trims.  The store starts at a high price but seems to be somewhat flexible.
·                     SamanTex (entrance on Maple), specializing in lycras, glitz and glam, pleather, and good selection of solid lycra knits.

Fabrics and Fabrics, 403 E. 9th St., carries a large selection of solid color silks, some unusual silk prints as well as a wide range of cotton and linens with  a room off to the right (as you enter the store) with fabric stacked up like cord wood.  The staff is very helpful at directing you to the right location for a specific fabric. 

L. A. 99 Cent Fabric Store, if you are looking for inexpensive costume fabric, this is the place. 

L. A. Fred’s, 411 E. 9th St. carries home dec and home dec trims. 

Journal Fabric, 419 E. 9th St. is a large store with a little bit of everything. 

Top Trims, 425 E. 9th St. carries costume components, appliqués, feathers, and rhinestones. 

Town Fabric at 433 E. 9th St. carries plain and fancy fabrics, including embellished lace and silks.

L. A. Alex, 418 E. 9th St.  This is an eclectic store with unusual fabrics like oilcloth, poly mesh, and other novelty items.  At the rear of the store they carry a selection of notions, serger threads ($1.25 a cone), and bulk elastic, ribbons, and trims.  Zippers are organized by type and hung on pegs in the notion section.  Mixed in with the novelty fabrics are some nice knits, denim and woolens at unbelievable prices. 

Eco Fabric and Tex Carmel, 432 E. 9th St. Eco is the place for more contemporary home dec and outdoor fabrics, nicely displayed and easy to shop.  Tex Carmel carries a wonderful selection of silk and linen at exceptional prices.

Robert Textiles, 510 E. 9th St.  Robert’s has a changing selection of cottons, linens, and novelty fabrics at exceptional prices, but it can be a challenge to shop.  Ask for help if you are looking for something specific.

Maple Street:
The 800 block of Maple Street is the place for beading and trims. 

Trim 2000 Plus, 820. S. Maple, claims to have the largest selection of buttons in the district, and they might be right.  The store is well lit and roomy, a delight to browse.  The buttons range from standard shirt buttons to beautiful embellished fancy buttons, toggles and everything in between.  They also carry buckles, studs, purse hardware, lace trim, elastic and beaded appliqués.  Trim 2000 carries more colors of serger thread than the other stores, priced right at $1.25 per cone. 

Button and Trim Expo, 828 S. Maple carries, more exotic trims and an extensive selection of appliqués.

Angel Textiles, 850 S. Maple, is a fabric store along this block of trims.  Angel offers exceptional prices on knits (on the left side as you walk in) and wovens (to the right).  The inventory changes frequently and is always worth a look.

Michael Levine territory, 900 block of Maple, is the only full service fabric store in the district carrying a wide selection of fabric, notions, and patterns.  The main store is at 920 S. Maple and is worth a visit if only to see a beautiful, huge world of fabric.  If you are looking for something special, this is the place to shop.  Home dec fabric is in a separate location across the street. 

Michael Levine’s Annex is above the home dec store and is a challenge to some and a delight to others.  Fabric is stacked on shelves and in boxes and is sold by the pound.  It can be a bargain hunter’s paradise.  Both the main store and the home dec store have public restrooms, a rarity in the fashion district.

Wall Street:
Mike’s Fabric, 821 S. Wall St., is a small store with great displays and an exceptionally pleasant owner.  The store is clean and easy to shop with fabric folded onto bolts and attractively priced.  Mike’s Fabric is a big supporter of ASG, so be sure to stop in for a visit.

Island’s Fabric, 829 S. Wall St., the go-to place for tropical printed fabric in cotton, poly blend and rayon. They also carry bark cloth.  Most of the fabric is hanging on rolls along the walls so it is very easy to shop.  The owner of Island’s asked us to let you know that they allow customers to borrow the restroom key.

Zip Up Zipper, 828 S. Wall St. a trim and zipper store without much organization.  If you can’t find trim or specific zippers you need you might try this place. 

Fabric Hotel, 848 S. Wall St., the only place we have found with a selection of quilting fabrics.  The store is large; the fabric is stored on bolts and is well organized by designers.  The name of the store isn’t obvious from the outside, so you will have to look for the address.

Stores – Off the Beaten Path:
B. Black and Sons at 548 S. Los Angeles St.  This store is a step back in time to what a fabric store would have been in the 1920s.  B. Black specializes in fine woolens and silks and tailoring supplies.  If you are browsing, be sure to look at the remnants, which are generously cut and very reasonably priced.  Most of the fabric is not priced, so you may want to explain what you need and a budget range so that staff can direct you to appropriate choices.  B. Black has a website ( so if you are from out of the area, it would be worth a visit to get an idea of the quality and selection for future shopping from home.  Buttons are available in a wide range of colors and sizes.

FIDM Scholarship Store on the corner of 9th and Grand Avenue has a small fabric selection at the back of the store (behind the wall divider) but their prices can’t be beat.  The store sells donations from local fashion companies and funds scholarships for students, giving us the opportunity for a great bargain and good deed at the same time.  Sometimes the store is loaded with knits, other times it might be home dec.  They also carry a variety of notions (threads, zips, and trims) but stock varies greatly based on donations.
California Mart Bookstore at 9th and Main Streets, sells fashion and sewing related books and magazines.

Kinokuniya Bookstore, 123 Astronaut E. Onizuka St. Los Angeles (located in the Little Tokyo district) This store carries a nice selection of Japanese fashion magazines and books. They also generally have a few Bunka Fashion Series Garment Design Textbooks in English in stock. Or you can order them and have them shipped home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer's Here... Summer's Here....

Happy First Day of Summer....  

now go play in the sprinklers and have some fun!

I'm slowly sewing up the items I cut out last week.  Sewed up the slip in nothing flat, wished I would have had some black lingerie elastic for the waist instead of the white I used, but no one will see it regardless of what color I used. I like the lace I picked up for a few bucks... it really makes it "pretty".

I also finished Vogue 1427.  I lengthened the skirt 8".  I think the top is cute with jeans, and the skirt is cute with a fitted tee.  I'm not too thrilled with them together as an outfit.

I think the top would be much better in a rayon knit.  The lightweight linen is nice, but eh...  but like most things that I sew up and am on the fence about, I will wear it a few times, and maybe I will eventually like it. 

Here's a photo of me with my mom and dad and their dog/kid Katie.  My mom lost over 30 pounds the past year and wanted me to take a "new" photo so she could show off her skinny-ness!  I love visiting my parents, my mom cooks the best food and it's always relaxing to hang out with them. They are in California for the summer, in the mountain house. So it's an easy drive of about 80 miles one way compared to the 450 miles one way to AZ in the winter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What's on the cutting table

I finished up my last pile of items (well, except for the quilt for my grand niece - still needs the borders quilted ... and the top I tossed out before even sewing).   Why did I toss it out?  Well, because I was lazy and trying to cut corners (no pun intended) and cut out silk chiffon without using tissue paper to stabalize the fabric and it ended up all wonky!  I matched up the first seams (the shoulders) and there was about a 6" difference.  I put the pattern piece on top of the fabric, and the entire piece was a mess and out of whack.... why bother, into the trash it went.  Lesson learned, well, at least for now always use tissue paper when cutting out chiffon.

I cut out the next round of projects:
using some nice white eyelet I cut out Simplicity 2690 View C, (below) but without the modesty panel.  The fabric is sheer and requires a cami any way, so no need for a modesty panel.  I saw a similar top on my sister's friends this past weekend and really liked the look using eyelet.  Dug in my stash and out some eyelet and a pattern.

Next up on the cutting table was a half slip, using some lavender tricot and some nice wide stretch lace for the hem.  I recently picked up some really nice stretch lace in pretty colors at FIDM for cheap!  The pattern is an old Stretch and Sew.  I desperately need some half slips, and plan on making at least a 1/2 dozen or so in a variety of colors and all trimmed in these laces.... ooooo

Next was another Vogue 1224 (above) using a black and white ITY knit.  Made this 2x before, and like it... easy to wear and easy to make.

Then, and this is my favorite, and can't wait to make is  Vogue 1247 both the skirt in a nice blue textured Japanese cotton with tiny flowers. (I had to add 8" to this skirt's length.  I want it just above the knee, not just below my bum.)  And the top using a very light weight white linen. 

Items still on the cutting table are some nice double sided lightweight wool to make J. Sterns new trousers.  And I may cut out a few more half slips. 
These should keep me busy for a week or so.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicago - Part 2

Been neglecting my blog lately.  You know sometimes, I guess I just need a break.  It was the end of the school year; I was getting caught up and pondering summer vacation options. I've been sewing too... but how about more of Chicago....

While in Chicago we went to the top of the John Hancock building.  From there, we got a great view of the entire city.

Back on the ground, the apple trees were blooming and really pretty!

The next day we met with my cousins who drove up from Indiana  for a trip to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and dinner

The Field Museum had an interesting exhibit on Horses and their relationship with mankind.  Their permanent exhibit included "Sue" the largest, most complete T-Rex

The Shedd Aquarium had a beautiful exhibit of the Jellies... love the colors!

We finished the day with a delicious pizza dinner

Good times!