Monday, January 31, 2011

Horsing Around

 Want to hear about sewing or horse races and food trucks?   Ok, sewing... didn't do much of it this weekend.  I did have 2 of the teens stop by friday night to work on their projects.  One of them is making an organizer and the other is making a dress for her American Girl doll.  They were able to get a big chunk of their projects done and will come back this friday to complete.  Saturday night (after a day at the horse races), I managed to cut out 4 items: Vogue 8676  

 which I'm going to make using a black and a black and gray thinned striped wool knit.    Next is Vogue 8346 in the shorter version

using a black wool and a really nice pucci silk for the lining.  I love having something crazy for a lining.  I predict this coat will take a while as I plan on do a lot of hand sewing and some of the tailoring techniques I learned in HS.  The next item cut is Vogue 1224  from an ITY black and tan/brown border print.  I lengthened it a bit and thought it would look cute with leggings.  

and finally, another pair of jeans using J Stern Jeans pattern which I find to be the best one out there for me.   And the leftover pucci print silk will be used for my pocket linings....  what do I like about this pattern?  the 1 piece curved waistband, the side seams are more towards the front (slimming) and the overall fit is almost perfect straight out of the envelope.

These patterns, along with my busy schedule for the next two months, should keep me busy for a while.

Saturday,  DH, a bunch of friends, and I went to Santa Anita Park, mostly for the food trucks that were going to be there.  We were in the in field and the lines were loooooong for the food, but oh so good.  We had hot dogs, lobsta rolls, grilled cheese, chili flavored ice cream, and fried chicken!  We ended the day in the wine tent. 

yes, it was a beautiful day, clear and sunny

My friend Shirlene and I both won enough to cover our expenses for the day....  I won my first Trifecta... too bad I only bet 2 bucks

My friend Joyce waiting for the fried chicken - she waited over an hour AFTER placing her order... then they ran out.  I don't think any of the trucks were prepared for the crowd as most ran out of food after 2 hours.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wish I was there!

I wish I was here.....
yes, that's a real time photo of Hermosa Beach, captured from their webcam.  I spent many many spring and summer days sitting on that beach, playing paddle ball, frisbee, and just enjoying the California sun! 
But today I'm here
at my desk, wishing I wasn't.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kids and Sewing

I'm starting my third year of teaching "teens" sewing.  For free at a local quilt shop who generously donates the space. I do this through our local ASG Chapter.   I really REALLY like it.  It is so inspiring to see these teens (ages 8-17) sew and like it.  That's the age I started sewing and even though I haven't sewn consistently since I was 8, it has always been my "go-to" hobby.

The last two years I planned projects we could start and finish during our 3 hours.  The problem with that I found is that we were all feeling rushed and not getting great quality sewing done and the teens were not learning important techniques.  So this year, I made a plan, for the entire year.  Here's the plan ASGLA Website
I talked to my teens and they liked this idea. 

We met last Saturday, each teen brought a pattern and fabric of their choice. There were 15 teens and 5 mothers (I don't mind at all when a parent or family member joins in, they learn some sewing, and can give their teen important one on one assistance!  I promised a sewing related gift to any teen who brought their completed item to our next meeting ... I hope that motivates them to do their homework.  Some of them brought patterns for American Girl doll clothes, purses, pj's, tunics, tops, and dresses.  It was a nice variety for them all to see.  I can't wait to see their creations at the next meeting.  I will post photos here too.   Share your talents with others.  Sewing is a life skill, and hobbies help keep them out of trouble!

Monday, January 24, 2011

More Crafty than Usual

Not much garment sewing this past week, but finishing up some "crafts".  The baby quilt for my great niece Amina is done. 
I don't really like quilting or doing the binding, but I do like piecing.  So, after a quilt is pieced, I generally quilt it the quickest and easiest way possible.  So, that is usually some sort of grid.   This way of quilting, does limited types of quilts, because anything that is more than just blocks/square would not look good grid quilted.  But the baby quilts I like to make are ones that they will use until they are worn out!    This is done, the binding was sewn on by hand and the label was created using HP Custon Quilt Label Kit - designed on the computer and printed onto fabric. HP custom quilt label kit

I also used my embroidery machine and embroidered a couple of kitchen towels.  Basically, all I have to do is monitor the embroidery (make sure it doesn't jam, thread breaks, etc.) and change the thread when needed.

and the towels I did this weekend, which are ready to be mailed off

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vogue 1194

Here's a dress I cut out a few weeks back and has been sitting on my table.   I kept thinking, ah, I don't have time to make a dress!  Then I thought, heck, I can make a tee in less than two hours, and a knit dress is just a long tee... so I threaded my machine at 6:15pm last night and this dress was done by 8:45 pm.   This is the second time making this dress and subsequent versions of patterns always go fast, but it was still pretty easy.

it's difficult to see the seams/lines in a print, so here's the line drawing

The first version was made with a black rayon knit and this version is made with an ITY.  The first version, I omitted the elastic which is inside the front twisted band, in this version I inserted it.  ITY tends to be a bit more stretchy than the rayon knit, and didn't want the twist to droop.
The hems on both the sleeve and dress are 2" and done with a twin needle.  I've been too lazy to drag out my coverstitch.  I need to find a place to have the coverstitch set up and ready or get rid of it.  I had to raise the neckline 4" as it is very VERY low.  I considered leaving it and wearing a cami underneath, but decided I didn't want to be committed to an extra layer.  I think 2 of these dresses is enough and it's time to put this pattern away.

I like prints and am constantly buying printed fabric, but don't like wearing them.  But I have some more printed ITY knits in my stash, so I think I'll be making a few more. 

I purchased this pattern this weekend at the Joann's $1 sale and am considering making version A (the red dress) with one of my border print knits and having the border be around the neck (maybe) and at the waist.  This pattern is not for knits, but I think I can still make it with a knit. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Applique and Sashiko

I'm back from 9 days at my parents' AZ home.  I had a wonderful time...  I wonder if I retired, if I'd enjoy the free time as much?? 

Anyway, while I was there, I worked on an applique and sashiko project.  I took more projects in my suitcase than clothes!  I took supplies to make sock monkeys (love those things), a quilt kit for a great niece due in April, some crochet books for my mom, and my applique and sashiko project.  I almost dragged my sewing machine along, but realized that was over kill! 

My mom and I worked on our applique projects.  We are working on similar projects and we both got a lot completed.  My mom worked on the butterfly panel.

and I worked on the plumeria panel

both are Sylvia Pippen designs and the kits are available here   The indigo in her current kits is not as nice as in her previous kits.  In fact, it is not indigo but a moddled blue/white cotton.  If you order a kit from her, ask for the real indigo back, otherwise I would not recommend these kits. 
The plumeria flowers that I did are all double layered so that they are 2 toned.  The butterflies use marbled fabric which is so pretty.  The above photos are not from our actual projects but from Sylvia's website.  When panels are complete, I'll post a photo.  I think I have 1 more flower to do and the sashiko stitch.

My favorite method of applique is as follows:

I like the hand dyed fabrics and all the colors.  I think I'm going to make a wall quilt with the panels and maybe had some sashiko crests for the border

Friday, January 14, 2011

Quilted Photography

Several years ago I took a quilt class from Tammie Bowser who does quilted photography.  It was just my kind of quilting: fast, easy, all machine, and unique.  Tammie is offering a free online quilt class that gives you an informative easy tutorial on how to do these quilts  

I'm in the mood to make another quilt.  I have the book, but for those of that don't, it is free to download for those taking the online class.  About the only other thing you'll need is fusible tricot, a printer, computer, and a photo.  You could easily create one of these in a weekend.  Here's a photo of the one I did.

It is my mom's junior class photo. I think I made it for her for Mother's Day one year.  This quilt consists of 1.5" squares sorted by  value and placed on a numbered grid according to their value.  I easily made this from start to finish in a weekend.  Watch the video and see how easy it is!  My quilt is about 24x30.

The website is

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Retirement ?

I'm in Arizona at my parents' house

which is in a 55+ community.  All houses are single story, everyone has gravel and cactus instead of lawn, there are very few AZ license plates as most residents are "snow birds" from the midwest.  My parents, who live in Southern California, think that they are still in Chicago and need to go to AZ in the winter....  but they love it.   My mom had foot surgery last week

so I came out for 10 days to help out.  She doesn't need my help, but I'm enjoying my long visit.  This is the most time I've spent with my parents since I moved out 30 years ago.   So, what do retired people do?  First, we forget what day of the week it is, we eat dinner at 4PM, we go to all you can eat buffets and then Costco for dessert

when at home, my mom crochets, appliques, or plays her keyboard piano

my dad takes the dog for walks... these walk consist of a RIDE in the golf cart where the dog either sits next to him or jogs, briefly along side.    He tends to his rocks.  They rake the rocks, vacuum the rocks, and sift the rocks.

what do I do?  I do applique with my mom, play on my computer, chat about where we are going to eat, and take the dog for real walks   (today the dog is ignoring me, I think she is done with the walk stuff)

It's quiet here, no kids, very few cars - mostly golf carts and bikes, garages are left open all day without fear of something being stolen, and everyone waves when you walk past.

The birds don't even run and hide

We went to my mom's foot doctor appt yesterday for a follow up and her foot is healing well.   It's nice being able to spend this time with my parents... I am very thankful for them both


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vogue 8636

I like raglan sleeves for my narrow shoulders and this top is quick and easy!   I had about 1 yard of this plum fabric which didn't leave enough for long sleeves, but 3/4 are just fine.
I gathered the neckband in three places with a small hand running stitch instead of buttons. 
I think it looks pretty good.  this fabric is so soft and nice.  
I'm out in Arizona visiting with my mom and dad, and brought this out for my mom..   I think it looks nice on her!

and she likes it
This top was 100% made on the serger (except for the neckband gathers).
Last Wednesday was my birthday.....   my sister got me a cake, and HAD to put the candle with my age on it !   Happy Birthday to me!   It was red velvet cake from 31 flavors.  I said, get a small one, I'm only going to have 2 bites... well, I had 3 pieces!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's in the Sewing Que?

I cut out a couple of things the other day and have these on my sewing table ready to sew:
Vogue 8691, view D.  I made this a few months back and have worn it to death.  I love it with boots and skinny jeans.  It's ready to sew up in a black rayon knit. A few of the reviewers of this top do not like the hem or the fact that it is longer in the back, but that's the part I really like.

 Vogue 1195.  I also made this a few months back and love the way it fits, and I can't have enough knit dresses.  The last time I made it was with a solid black knit, this time it will be a paisley print in greens and browns.  

Vogue 8636.  I also made this and not sure if I've ever worn it.  Um... wonder where it is.  that's a problem with sewing so much, sometimes I can't keep track of my stuff.  anyway, I have about 1 yard of a plum ribbed knit and this pattern takes just about that much.  And I like raglan sleeves, they seem to look better on my narrow shoulders.  Not sure if I will do the buttons, but it's a possibility.

I'm hoping to have these done this weekend as I'm leaving Sunday for a week with my mom and dad in AZ.  My mom is having foot surgery, so I offered to go and help out.  I actually think this will be the most time I've spent with my parents since I moved out 30 years ago! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Blog

I was not happy with the looks of my previous blog and found it very limiting, so I switched over and will now try blogger.

In 2010 I kept track of my sewing projects (well, at least 90% of them) and came up with the following statistics:
217 yards of fabric sewn
     32 dresses, 49 blouses/tees, 2 skirts, 1 purse, 3 vests 1 trouser, 8 jeans, 5 jackets
     Patterns used: 2 Butterick, 2 Collette, 2 New Look, 4 Hot Patterns, 7 Silhouette, 5 McCall, 26 Vogue, 5 Kwik Sew, 1 J. Sterns, 4 BWOF, 5 Jalie, 1 a la Mode, 8 Christine Jonson, 1 Burda, 7 Simplicity, and 2 Sewing Workshop!  
Wow, I’m not sure what’s more amazing, all the items sewn or the fact that I kept track!  For 2011, I think I’m going to keep track using an excel spreadsheet so I can do pie charts and graphs!

My first project of 2011 was finishing up the Vogue 8692, a Claire Shaeffer jacket.  This jacket took me the entire month of December to complete.  It has lots of couture techniques, most of which I learned in high school, and I enjoyed using them again!

The lapels and collar are a single layer which works well for this boiled wool fabric.  These are my first exposed bound buttonholes and the lining was all inserted by hand.  Something about hand sewing I find relaxing.   The jacket is cropped and the sleeves are 3/4 so the photos make it look boxier than it is.

After finishing up the jacket, I was looking for something simple to make and needed to start on a couple of baby quilts for 2 grand nieces.  One was born a few days before Christmas and the other is due in April. I purchased 2 kits from Connecting Threads and was able to piece the first quilt top in a few hours.  This quilt will be for my niece that was just born, Amina.  I ordered some backing fabric and will probably quilt it in a grid pattern.   Here’s a photo of the top.