Sunday, October 16, 2016

#wineandcheesewithkashi 2016

About 30 women gathered at Metro Textiles last Thursday evening for some wine, some cheese and ALOT of fabric shopping! I want to thank everyone who came through and made the evening a success.  

A few photos ~
Some of the women who came out to shop

Peggy who came in to go to CampWorkroomSocial

Andrea (KnitKnac) and Arlette (arlycorr)

Clio Phineas and Rachel from House of Pinheiro

Rachel and I meeting for the first time!

Beth (SunnygalStudio), Rachel,  Claire (domesticcoquinette), Carol (makeitanywear), 
Jinxandgunner, Sonja (GingerMakes), Andrea (KnitKnac)

Kashi was thrilled with the turnout especially since he was closed for two days this week for Yom Kippur. 

One of the reasons I do this every year ~ besides the gathering together and fabric shopping ~ is to make sure that this fabric merchant endures. There have been several businesses in the garment district that have disappeared lately for various reasons. I know that we sewists can't buy more fabric than we can afford or store but these fabric stores do depend on our patronage.

So I may make this a spring and fall event next year.  If so, I hope you'll come out, shop, socialize and help insure that the garment district continues to thrive! always more later!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What I Forgot...

About a decade ago, I spent an entire day at The Worcester Sew Expo in sewing classes with my sewing hero, Cynthia Guffey. In one of the classes, she challenged me to "enjoy the process." Not to sew like the wind but to revel in the particulars of making a garment.

See, deep down in my heart, I'm a producer. What do I mean by that? I mean there are some sewists who sew using totally couture techniques. Who take their time and make sure that each part of the process is done correctly no matter how much time it takes.  Some sewists are tailors. Taking their time to go through all of the steps necessary to perfectly tailor a garment.  Some sewists like to follow the rules, make a muslin, check for perfect fit and sew a perfect garment.

That's not me. I like to produce. I like the idea of coming up with, designing, and/or copying a garment, spec'ing the fabric whether from a source or the collection and then getting it sewn up so I can wear it. In pre-internet days, it meant I allotted specific time periods for garments ~ 1 hour for an unlined skirt, 2 hours for a lined skirt, 3 hours for a pair of unlined pants, 3-4 hours for a dress...and I never lined a jacket.  It took too long! Unlined worked for me because it could be produced in a short period of time and placed in my closet.

I did slow down some after the Guffey class...and then again after I became involved with sewing boards on the Internet. I realized I could get a better result if I took more time, used better techniques, better fabrics and slowed down. Once that lesson was learned, I made some amazing garments ~ dresses mostly because I'd found my niche ~ but I was happy to take my time to get those results.

Now things have changed again and I no longer need a professional wardrobe and casual is king...I find I'm challenged to slow down again. Spending the last month sewing little girls clothing just played into that old habit ~ cause really how involved is sewing little girls everyday clothing. I was knocking out large amounts of garments in a weekend - 5/6 pieces.

I'm back to sewing for myself and I realize that I do need to take my time even if I am making tees and blouses or toppers. So my "Question of the Day" is ~ Are you a Producer, a Couture Sewist, a Tailor or just a regular Sewist who takes their time? And what makes you so? Is enjoying the process important to you? Or are you just trying to build a wardrobe?

Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day! always more later!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Update on Simplicity Code

If you've recently tried to use the discount code at Simplicity Patterns and it wasn't working, there was a web update and it's working again. Remember it's in effect until October 31st.  The 20% off discount code is "FANATIC16". If there was anything you wanted from the Simplicity website, you have time to surf on over and pick it up!

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

A Girls Cardigan from

I found this free little girls cardigan somewhere on my internet travels and I decided I'd give it a try. I'm building a wardrobe for the granddaughters and wanted to add several different types of garments to it. Believe it or not, it's hard to find a basic cardigan in the Big 4 pattern catalogs...probably why I went looking for one.

This one works well for late summer/early fall but will need some updating to go into winter because I believe in long sleeves for winter. Also, I chose to make this version from ponte fabric. I wanted something to go over t-shirts and long sleeve t-shirt tops but will be current and a little funky!

One of the goals of sewing for my granddaughters is to give them not only a new wardrobe but to make it a little fashion forward. So I'm making fabric choices for them like I'd make for myself. That's why this cardigan was made with a solid navy ponte and a coordinating navy/white print. It's a little funky and fun and will work with most of the leggings and jeans that I made.

This pattern was easy to use and even though it's a pdf pattern, taping it together was quick. Little people mean little pieces meaning a small amount of paper needed to tape it together. I traced the pattern pieces off in a size 3 for Miss Lena, however, after trying it on her, I'm going up 2 sizes. This one will go to Sammy.

Originally I was going to only use this pattern for Lena because I thought it was a little too much for a 2.5 year old who is still rolling around the floor in temper tantrums. But Sammy tried it on during the fashion shoot and loved it. So this one and the other version I've cut out in chocolate ponte but haven't sewn yet will become Sammy's. I've also figured out how to lengthen the sleeves on the pattern so Lena's ponte versions will have long sleeves.  Now while Sammy loved it, I only photographed it on Lena.

Here are the pics ~

Lena is wearing the cardi with a white t-shirt and blue jeans   
made from a Kwik Sew pattern that's up next on the blog.

If you have a little girl that you sew for, I would recommend downloading the pattern and giving it a try. I really like this pattern and it's versatility! always more later!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Boden Kids Inspired Top

The top was totally inspired by this dress from Boden Kids ~

I'd already made a pair of black 'n white checked leggings. So I pulled some black ponte knit scraps and Vogue 8086 which I've used for Miss Sammy before, to make a top to go with the black 'n white gingham Burda leggings. 

After gathering all of my supplies, I kinda went my own way.  There is stitching down the front because I had to make a front seam due to my use of scraps. The topstitching appeared to highlight the seam. Then I added it to the center back seam to tie it all together. The pockets are the only thing that are similar and there are no sleeves. I went back and forth over adding sleeves and then decided not to. Sammy is wearing a top from Old Navy under the top.

Here are a few pictures of Miss Sammy wearing her top and leggings ~

This ended up being Samantha's favorite outfit.  She even jumped up on the piano bench and asked me to take her picture there. Sammy was the one I worried about the most when taking pictures and you will see that she was the easiest one to shoot. Way easier than her sister!

There are a few more back to school sewing posts. I've condensed them and highlighted the pieces that I'm going to do specific pattern reviews for. So, one more time if kids clothing isn't for you...check back in about two weeks. I will have some pics of me wearing me-made garments then.

Also isn't my Sammy the cutest! always more later!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

BurdaStyle Little Girl Leggings

I was intrigued by the kids clothing in the August 2016 Burda Style magazine. I really wanted to make those jean leggings (Burda 8/16 #138) for my granddaughters. Seriously, I really had to want to make them because I put up with trying to find those very small pattern pieces on that pattern sheet! Truly I have gained a new respect for those of you who sew from those Burda pattern sheets. It's a jigsaw puzzle to find the pattern pieces you need and I HATE jigsaw puzzles!

photo credit: doctortdesigns

After rising above that hurdle, next came the scanty instructions. Now I know this has been discussed time and again but I'm grateful I have a little sewing knowledge. Since I NEVAH found instructions on how to make the waistband. I read those instructions a couple of times and nuthin! Seriously, nuthin! So I added 2" to the top of the front and back pattern pieces for a foldover waistline casing.
The girls wearing the trial/first pairs of the leggings

Pattern Alterations ~
Next I didn't add seam allowances. I couldn't decide if I needed them or not. After an initial fitting on Miss Lena and Miss Sammy, I learned several things:

1. This pattern is great as is for leggings but NOT jeans for Miss Lena.
2. However, it works as both for Miss Sammy who is a couple inches shorter than Lena.
3. I needed to make a bunch of adjustments for Lena once the elastic was added.
4. The pattern was lengthened another 2" at the top because the leggings hit under her belly button and she asked for them to be raised to cover it.

The length was an easy adjustment. Although I will need to add a little width for jeans - even if they are skinny jeans. Lena wouldn't be able to get them on without a little more width. So I added a 1/2" on the outer seam, making new patterns for the leggings. 

Construction Tidbits ~
To add the elastic to the leggings, I used the technique where I stitch the elastic to the waistband - stretching it to fit.  Then I folded it over and stitched it flat on top of the original stitching line. My first efforts were a little sloppy but make 10 pairs of leggings (5 for each girl) and you start to get very efficient with this technique.

For my first pair I constructed them totally on the serger but these are small pieces, especially for Sammy's, and I found I had more control if I stitched them first on the sewing machine. I used a 3/8" seam to stitch them. Then I serged the seam over the stitching line. Again repetition makes you more accurate and faster. Construction ended up being only an hour for the majority of the leggings after I figured out a construction order, and pre-cut the leggings and elastic.

Fabric Choices ~
I chose fabrics from the collection for the leggings - pontes (both solid and printed), a cotton knit and a ITY lycra. Since they are more legs than body, both pairs of leggings were able to be cut from 1 yard of fabric.

Here are a few pics of the girls wearing some of the leggings ~

These were made from a ponte fabric from Fabric Mart
The top is from Old Navy

Lena's black leggings are ponte from Metro Textiles
I made the tops both girls are wearing and they will be in upcoming posts.

The denim like ponte for both pairs of leggings is from Metro Textiles
Both Sammy and Lena are wearing Old Navy tops in these pics.

As I stated above I ended up making 5 pairs of leggings for each girl. Part of it was that once I started pulling fabrics, I couldn't believe how much of the collection would work for them. So I went for it because a lot of the clothing you see for little kids in RTW, doesn't necessarily use little kid's fabric anymore.

Speaking of that, I spent quality time on the following RTW sites to determine the types of outfits I wanted to make for the girls: Old Navy, Gap and Boden Kids. I was even inspired by some of the styles there and incorporated those looks into what I made for the girls. Of course there are quite a few patterns for leggings in the Big 4 children's pattern catalog so if you don't have access to Burda magazines, you can make your own from them. 

This is the first of the Back-to-School posts, there are a few more to come. I'm doing them as pattern reviews since I used several patterns to achieve the girl's wardrobe. However, if little kids clothing is not your thing, come back in a week or two when I will be showcasing my own me-made garments! always more later!

Sunday, October 02, 2016

What's Next for October?

First, I need to thank all of the retailers who participated in National Sewing Month by donating a pattern ~ Simplicity Patterns, Cashmerette Patterns, Closet Case Patterns, Blue Dot Patterns and SBCC Patterns. Thank you, thank you thank you!

I'd also like to thank The Dutch Label Shop and Stylemaker Fabrics for their generous discounts this month. I hope you were able to take advantage of them.

Finally Simplicity Patterns has agreed to leave the discount code in effect until October 31st.  So the 20% off discount code "FANATIC16" is still working. If there was anything you wanted from the Simplicity website, you have time to surf on over and pick it up!

* * * * * * * * * *

During the month of September I've been busy sewing...for my granddaughters. I've also made an outfit for me using some fabric from StyleMakers Fabric that I will share shortly. I didn't want to interfere with the StyleMakers Blog Tour that finishes up this week. I hope you've been following along because some amazing garments have been made with wonderful fabric choices from StyleMaker Fabrics.

Lena's Outfits

Sammi's Outfits

So those are the items that are up next on the blog! My daughter and I spent today styling and photographing the little people. It ended up not being as bad as I thought and I got some great pictures ~ 378 to be exact! I've posted a few to Facebook and to Instagram. More will show up here and on Instagram.

Look for those blog posts later this week. Just so this isn't a picture-less post, here are a few outtakes! always more later!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

What Sewing Means to Me - Part Three

This is the last post in this series and the last post for National Sewing Month even though it's posting on October 1st! I truly hope that you've enjoyed the posts, the discounts, the giveaways and hearing from your fellow sewists. I appreciate everyone who has followed along, entered the giveaways and left comments.

I traveled to Chicago this week for work and tried to write the second installment of this post on the plane, on the fly, and then posted it when I got home. When I went to write this installment last night, I noticed I'd omitted Anita from Anitabydesign. So before you finish reading this post, head back to post #2 and check out what Anita has to say. Thanks!

One more thing...I was writing this post for over three hours last night and ran into obstacle after obstacle. First I came home to no power. It had been off for over two hours then it was another hour before it came back on. After the power came back on, it went off again an hour later. To say I don't know how people lived without electricity is an understatement!!! This is why my final National Sewing Month post is appearing today! 

As I said in my last post, I call these sewing women below my friends...and not just sewing friends but true friends that I can discuss all manner of things with and most importantly call when I need help. We discuss politics even when we don't share the same view! Now you know that's a friend! *LOL*

Before I share their words, I need to say that the sewists in this series of posts are NOT the only sewists that inspire me. However, they are the ones that I reached out to and who replied with their thoughts. Actually I could do a month full of posts of sewists that inspire, encourage and challenge me - maybe next year!

Here is what my sewing friends had to say about "What Sewing Means to Me!"

Marcy/Oona/Oonaballoona ~
"Sewing means I get what I want. I want a metallic brocade party dress?  I get it. I want a faux fur bomber jacket? I get it. I want a subtle, office appropriate blazer with matching knee length skirt? I get it. (Although that last bit is in opposite world.) And the best part of getting what I want is: I enjoy every bit of the getting of it."

Marcy's blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Gaylen of Gmariesews ~
"To me sewing means many things, the least of which is being able to make clothing that fits me. Through the American Sewing Guild and blogging, sewing has introduced me to several incredible women. I have the ability to travel to different places and meet people I only knew through the computer, in person and nurture those relationships. 

Sewing also allows me to slow my brain while I am working on a project, to problem solve how a pattern goes together when the instructions don't make sense, to encourage and support other women in the local sewing community and ultimately to 'refill' myself.

Finally, sewing provides an opportunity to make clothing for my girls that is appropriate for their careers and which they couldn't afford. Sewing helps me to be a better person."

Gaylen's blog and Instagram

Nakisha or Kisha to me is SewCrafty Chemist (as I was going through my photos I realized although I talk to Kisha all the time, we've never met in person. I'm gonna have to rectify that!) ~

"Sewing means I get to work with my hands. I am a technical person and I adore that aspect of sewing.

Sewing means freedom from convention when I choose...or conforming completely and making things that look like I plucked them off of a rack.

Sewing means connections. I really enjoy being a part of the sewing community. I love seeing what others create. I love the positive interactions - encouragement, cheerleading, advice, etc. And I love reading a story (PLEASE don't stop blogging people!) of how a garment came to be.

First and foremost, sewing is my hobby. I truly believe that everyone needs some kind of hobby - something they can immerse themselves in that brings them joy.

I am an introvert and the best definition of introversion I've ever seen stated that introverts recharge by being alone. I read that statement and my entire life suddenly made sense - I am outgoing and a people person, but I am an introvert (introversion does NOT necessarily equal shy!). So, sewing means I get to escape from the rest of the world for a little while, recenter myself, and do something that brings me joy."

Nakisha's blog and Instagram

Cennetta of Mahogany Stylist ~

"Sewing is a place of creativity for me. It brings me a lot of joy to be able to sit down at the sewing table/machine to create something beautiful (at least beautiful to me). During the very stressful years at U of I, sewing helped me push through those times. I couldn't imagine life without sewing."

Fabric shopping with my girl at Vogue Fabrics in Chicago

Cennetta's blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest

Shams of Communing with Fabric ~
"Without getting too spiritual here, I believe that some of us come to this planet with an innate need to create. I have enjoyed many different creative pursuits throughout my 57 years, but sewing most deeply, and most satisfyingly, scratches that itch. My mother, who died at the age of 54 when I was in my 20s, clad me and my siblings almost entirely in her handmade clothing, and our shared passion for sewing was a strong bond between us. Now that I've gotten to that point in life where I don't mind 'looking weird' or standing out in a crowd, sewing has become my strongest form of self expression.

Sewing, and my sewing community, means more to me than most anything else in life, except for my two daughters. And connection to that community is one of the biggest reasons I continue to blog."

Shams blog and Instagram

My new friend Candice - thanks for always checking in on me! ~

"This question couldn't have come at a better time in my sewing life. As I finally feel as though I now understand 'What sewing means' to me.  Sewing, for me, is the opportunity to embrace my creativity in creating different looks with hair, make-up etc. I've realized that this was the aspect of sewing that really motivated me, and that it was okay to just embrace 'your' style of sewing. Sewing also allows me to sew garments that fit as I would like them too, rather than being subjected to 'Ready to Wear' garments, which may not fit as I would always like them to fit."                                                            

Candice's blog and Instagram

Wanett/Nettie Sown Brooklyn ~
"For me sewing means a few things. It's tradition - several women in my family were amazing seamstresses. Sewing makes me miss them and feel close to them in equal measure. It's legacy - the women before me continued what was before them. Black women have left a legacy of handcrafting that continues, today. It's connection - I have met and befriended some of the most amazing women I've ever known through our shared connection of making things with our hands. It's introspection - though I love and appreciate the friends I've made, I require time alone to recharge and renew. Spending that alone time sewing, making, creating fills me with pride & makes me happy, and feel the most like myself in a way that nothing else does."

Wanett's blog, Instagram and Twitter

Sonja of Gingermakes ~

"What sewing means to me, in a nutshell, is community. It means friendship with people from all over the city, the country, and the world, online and in real life. I am grateful every day for the relationships I have with a diverse and amazing group of fellow sewing addicts! Even more so, I appreciate that learning to sew opened my eyes to the community of garment and textile workers around the globe who use their talents to clothe the whole world. The sewing community has given me a new appreciation for these folks and a new career path in sustainable textile development."

Sonja's blog, Instagram and sustainable fabric site - Hellgate Fabrics

I need to say that these aren't ALL of my sewing friends. I can think of at least 10 women that I could have also asked this question to that I speak with often. 

Here are some pictures of other sewing friends ~

I'm going to do a National Sewing Month wrap-up post tomorrow cause there is one more discount y'all! I just need to do a little more sewing today for the grandbabies. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I've spent September sewing for the granddaughters. The photo shoot is tomorrow (Gawd help me!) showcasing the 10 outfits for each girl that I've made. always more later!


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