Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pinstriped Montrose Top + Full Legged Pants

I started out making just a pair of pants to wear with my black Cashmerette Concord Tee. Then I realized I had enough fabric left over to make another Montrose top so this is what I ended up making ~


The fabric is a linen/cotton blend that was one of the five pieces I bought from Fabric Mart during Sew Camp. I got four yards of it. I originally purchased it thinking that I would make a flowy waisted shirtdress. Well since I've sworn off waisted shirtdresses, I had to come up with another plan. These garments ended up being my "other plan."

As I stated above the idea for the pants was first. Then came the top, but for this post, I'm going to discuss the top first.


Montrose Top ~
This version is made with the pattern length added back to the pattern pieces and the two-piece gathered back. Also the stripes were manipulated to make it with some black ribbon added to make the black pinstripes pop.

I also changed up the sleeves, cause why not?  I cut the sleeve pattern piece into two pieces.  Primarily because the sleeves were cut from fabric scraps after the pants and top body were cut out.

- I added a 5/8" seam allowance and sewed the sleeve pieces together - 2" down from the sleeve cap.
- Pressed open and then topstitched
- Added the 2" ribbon to the top of the sleeve
- After the top was finished and paired with the pants, I realized that I needed to add more of the black ribbon from the neckline to the bottom of the top to finish the top off.


- Rounded the edges off the end of the ribbons to finish
  

Supplies ~
2" black grosgrain ribbon from Joyce Trimmings
1.5" black grosgrain ribbon from Joyce Trimmings

I really like the black trim on the top. It adds something to the top and the black trim ties it to the bottoms.

The last thing is the darts are a little low on the top.  I didn't notice it in the first version of my Montrose because the lace hid the details. I will change the angle of the darts for the next version - because there will be more of these!




My TNT Pants ~
I'm describing these as full legged because I added some width to the sides of my TNT pants pattern to get a fuller leg but not so full that they are palazzo pants...but they are WIDE! 


I also made a change to my back pants crotch area based upon an alteration that I saw on EricaB's blog here. I've made a few changes to my pants pattern over the years as well as totally abandoning it when I lost the 48 lbs 3 years ago.  As with all things I'm back up 15-20 lbs., depending upon the day, so I'm finding it's easier to alter my TNT pants pattern again. 

Also in all honesty, the other alterations I'd made from various other sources, weren't working. Maybe I was misinterpreting the alterations...maybe it wasn't the right alteration for me...but since I'm always trying to improve my craft, I thought I would try Erica's alteration. 

The final changes to these is I added the same ribbon from the top's sleeve hems, down the sides of the pants.  Using a 2" ribbon with 1/2" seams on both sides so that I was adding an inch to both sides of the pants.


I took 1" of width out of the inner legs from 10" below the crotch because they were a little wider than I wanted them to be.  The waistline is finished with the Japanese elastic I like and found at Pacific Trimmings, as well as, Shams brought me some back from her trip to Japan. Sewing friends are the best!

Finally, when I started constructing the two pieces I thought they would work well together but I look like I'm wearing pjs when the two pieces are together.  So, they will be worn separately.

A few pictures ~




Wearability Factor ~
After these were made, I was wondering if I would actually wear the wide legged pants in the heat. However, we got a couple of days of warm weather that wasn't hot, humid and stifling. This was a great outfit to wear then. The back crotch alteration worked like it was supposed to and my pants cover my backside when I sit down now.  The pants were comfortable and I got a couple of compliments on them! 

I'm glad that I made both pieces. Both will get some wear this summer! I'm on a tear though and want to add a few more pairs of pants to my summer wardrobe...so look for more of them on the blog soon.

...as always more later!





  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Simplicity 5075 - A Duster from Elliot Berman Fabric

One of the things preparing to attend the Baltimore Destash did, was it made me look at my pattern collection.  Like many of you, I have a lot of patterns.  However, in the collecting of sewing items, patterns are not my nemesis - fabric is! 

Lately I'm not purchasing as many patterns as I use to...partly because I use so many TNT patterns and partly because I own a lot of older unused patterns.  Sifting through them for the Destash caused me to touch almost all of them and I found some oldies but goodies that will be making their way to my wardrobe and the blog.


Simplicity 5075 is one of them.  It's a Khaliah Ali pattern from her partnership with Simplicity.  If you were sewing then, you know she helped design this amazing collection and these patterns went from a size 8/10 to 28/32W.  It was one of the first pattern lines that gave plus size women current and trendy patterns in our sizes. It was literally an earth-shattering moment in the Big4 and I collected quite a few of them.  BTW, none of the Khaliah Ali patterns made it into the Destash giveaway...some things need to be held onto y'know what I mean!



So all of that to say, that even though I have two or three current kimono/duster patterns, I went with this out of print pattern. This pattern can still be found online with a simple google search so if you like my version, there are patterns out there to be purchased.

Next - the fabric used in this project is from Elliot Berman and is part of my brand ambassadorship with them.  The last time I was in EB's NYC warehouse, I spotted this navy voile and loved it.  However, at the time, it was too cold to sew it. Plus I knew I would use it for summer.



The thing I love about Elliot Berman is the vastness of their collection AND how interesting the fabrics are - nothing dull or pedantric here.  So if you want to see their online selection of cotton voiles look here.  

I need to apologize now because there are alot of photos in this post. I wanted someplace nice to show off how awesome this duster is and how the fabric was THE PERFECT CHOICE for this pattern. My daughter chose the Douglas campus of Rutgers University. These are taken at the Student Union Building.

Supply List ~
3 yards of a cotton voile from Elliot Berman
gray foldover bias tape - Wrights
1 yard of piping from Joyce Trimmings that I used for the ties

Construction ~
This pattern has 4 pieces and was easy to construct. I made no alterations to the pattern and cut a straight 26W because I wanted a little more flow to the body. The one change I should have made to the pattern was to raise the bust seam up. Also making a straight 26 was a little bigger in the bust area than I am, using the size 24 would have probably worked better. You have to really look for this because the print hides alot. If I had made this in a solid it would have been more noticeable.


After wearing it for a couple of hours, the flowy sleeves is one of the things I like best about the pattern. Now this pattern is pretty distinctive and I do have a few other kimono patterns in the stash I still want to use, so I don't know if I will be making the pattern again.

A Few More Pictures ~ 






A Little More Info ~
I'm wearing this duster with a RTW tank that's been in my wardrobe for years and a new pair of pants from my TNT pattern. I've made a few alterations to the pants pattern and those alterations will be discussed in an upcoming post.



The pants are made from a navy linen/poly blend fabric. This fabric is from deep stash so I have no idea where it came from because the tag wasn't on this 4 yard piece. I know it's old because I haven't purchased a linen blend like this in over a decade.

I've made no changes to this pair other than the alterations mentioned above.  That's what's so good about using a TNT pattern...a new garment without a lot of angst!  I love that I'm wearing two made by me pieces together.  This doesn't happen often anymore so it makes me very happy.



Conclusion ~
This outfit is sooooooo me! I can see me wearing it in all aspects of my life. To work, to hang out with friends...with my wedges pictured above...with my sneaks and even with a pair of heels. I love this outfit so much!!! So please excuse me for spamming this post with so many photos but my Daughter took so many amazing ones.

Finally, definitely try out some of these high quality cotton voiles from Elliot Berman. You can follow them on Instagram to see photos of their stock and behind the scenes of the showroom. Or you can follow them on Facebook where they offer giveaways and Deals of the Day/Weekend!  Also if you're ever in NYC visiting the garment district, don't leave without going by their showroom and touching the amazing fabric in person. You won't be sorry that you visited them!


...as always more later!





Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Embellished Shirtdress Series - Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress

I've wanted to make this dress ever since it debuted. I hesitated because the plus sizes are in pdf pattern form only and you know I only do a pdf pattern for a very special garment. Honestly as much as I liked it, this pattern wasn't special enough.


...but I really wanted my own version. After A Gathering of Stitches made her version, I thought maybe I could make the paper pattern work. I double checked the finished measurements on the website and realized they were within range of my own. So the next time there was a good fabric sale at Fabric Mart, I bought the pattern and yes that means I bought fabric too *sigh*

Then I saw a picture of a dress in my Instagram feed from Draper James. 


The fabric looked similar to mine and I thought I could use the Myosotis Dress to get a similar look. I know the dress has a skirt that buttons open but that was the element I could overlook for my version. This is where I started my Myosotis Dress Journey.

Supply List ~
- 4 yards of embroidered edge navy 'n white gingham from Hobby Lobby
- 3 red buttons from the button stash
- Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply


Pattern Alterations ~
I started with a size 46 and made the following alterations.

1. For the bodice:
My first alteration was to the shoulders.  I narrowed them by an inch. This is a normal pattern alteration for me.

Then I added 1/2" to each side seam gradually from the armhole down to the waist. So that the 1/2" is widest at the waistline. This was done on both the front and back bodice piece.

Finally I slit the back dart open and spread it a 1/2" - to gain just a little more space. I did not add the waist darts to my finished bodice...side darts yes.

2. Skirt pieces:
Three inches was added to the last tier of the dress to gain some extra length to the skirt.

3. Collar changes:
To make this pattern more like the inspiration garment, I needed to add a collar. Since I'm not a patternmaker, I couldn't draft a collar piece. The next best thing was to find a pattern piece that would work. So I went with my TNT Butterick shirt pattern pieces. However, they were bigger than the Deer & Doe pattern pieces. 


I decided to shorten the collar piece by 5/8" in width so it would work with the shorter collar stand. I didn't want the collar to overwhelm the collar stand. Why did I choose 5/8"? Because that's the difference between the two collar stands.

Sleeves:
I eliminated the sleeve flounce from my dress. I wanted to use the embroidered edge of the fabric like my inspiration picture. That meant the sleeve pattern had to be lengthened.  Again I turned to a sleeve pattern that I knew worked and fit my bodacious biceps.


The sleeve from my TNT shirtdress pattern - Vogue 2090 - was used to alter the width and length of the sleeve. Although after I cut the pattern piece out, I folded up an inch  before cutting the fabric out. This was so the embroidered hem would not creep into my elbow crease.



Construction Information ~
Getting the bodice to fit was my main challenge because the tiers are gathered and can be made to work. Besides the space I added to the bodice, I also used 1/2" seam allowances though the pattern tells you to use 5/8" seam allowances.

The Collar:
I added a collar based upon my inspiration picture. I was a little concerned if my shortened collar would work but it sewed into the collar band no problem using the sewing techniques that are in my Butterick shirt pattern. I think my collar insertions are so easy because I've incorporated information gleaned from other bloggers. 

For constuction - I notch differently after seeing Emily's version, which of course I can't find now because I'm not sure if I saw it on her IG account or her blog. And I use Cennetta's suggestion of basting the undercollar down, pressing and then topstitching from the right side of the undercollar.

Topstitching:
I love the navy 'n white embroidered fabric but for the Draper James dress it's really the red embroidery that's eyecatching. So to bring that red to my dress I added red topstitching on everything...the collar...the front of the bodice...top of every tier. Hopefully the red pops and adds to the embroidery and gingham fabric as well as reminds you of the Inspiration Dress.

When I make this dress again, I will lower the bust darts since they are a tad high. You have to look to see this but I know it's there. Also, I made my bodice with a closer fit than some of the versions I've seen on the internet. I was concerned that if I made a looser fit that the dress would look like a muu-muu on me since there is sooooo much fabric in it already.

A few pictures ~

Just me hanging out by the garage doors

That close fitting backside


Hands jammed in pockets that don't work


So a few things ~ 
One - I included the pockets and then assembled the tier wrong. I haven't removed them and sewn the seam shut in the pictures above. However, I think I will.

Two - while this is longer than pictured on the envelope and shown on the internet, I want to add at least another inch to the hemline to insure that it hits that sweet spot on me which is just below my knees.

Three - I didn't use the three tiers in the Inspiration Dress. I worked it out in my head but decided to baste the last tier on and if it was too short, then I would cut the middle tier. Since the two tiers worked and I was sick of gathering, I went with it.  I would like to try a three tier version, though.

Four - I'm trying to use my gathering foot more so I become proficient with it. The gathering on this is not as much as I thought it should be and when I used the foot, I ended up with too much gathering. I'm sure that there is an adjustment to be made but I need more practice with the foot. When I fell back on my normal gathering method, it worked just fine.

Five - while I added several rows of red topstitching to the dress, I'm not sure they are visible from far away.  But I'm glad I added them. 

Wearability Factor ~
I wore this to work on Monday and got a lot of compliments on the dress...from several strangers...just people on the street...at Macys...even my Lyft driver. This dress is a winner! However, I had one challenge with the dress, when the wind blew up against the dress and raised it above my knees it made me self conscious. Although I did receive one compliment when standing at the corner waiting for the light to change and the wind blew up under the dress and created the nicest fullness. 

Conclusion ~
This is an easy sew and I recommend buying the pattern if you're looking for a loose, cool and flirty dress for summer.  I made a few alterations to the pattern to get my version of the inspiration dress.  However, about halfway through I thought if you're a plus size gal, it would be just as easy to start with the Lenox Shirtdress bodice and add the tiers. You'd have to do some math to figure out the tier length and width (why I didn't go that way) but it is doable.

At first I thought I wouldn't make this dress again.  Then I tried it on and oh my goodness, the heavens opened, the choirs sang and I was a convert. This dress is EVERYTHING! I want another one in rayon and a tunic top. Just have to figure out how to make it not look maternity.

I know I can sometimes seem anti-indie BUT if you create an amazing indie pattern that I can purchase in a plus size pattern, I'm there for you. I don't mind making normal alterations, I just hate having to grade up a pattern after paying the patternmaker for said pattern. And yet again, may I state I'm not a PDF woman. There is no conversation/argument that can convince me that paying to download a pattern, printing, taping and cutting out or sending it out to be printed is cheaper than buying one of the Big4 on sale...so don't waste your breathe...I'm solidly in the paper pattern camp.

Okay after that, may I say I love this pattern and the subsequent dress and there will be more of them in my future!

...as always more later!




Sunday, July 08, 2018

The Embellished Shirtdress Series - McCalls 7470 in an Embroidered Fabric

My plan was to start my May Sewcation with this shirtdress first but I made the failed B6333 shirtdress before this one. See, I was a little put off when I opened the pattern instructions and there were four pages of instructions on how to alter the pattern. While this is a good thing, it took me for a loop...probably because I was opening the pattern at 1am!


After going back to the pattern and reading the alterations, great info on those pages btw, I went with my TNT method of altering a pattern...using a garment I'd previously sewn and knew worked for my body.  I used Vogue 2090 last sewn in 2013 (before it became part of the Embellished Shirtdress series) to assist with making the alterations. 


Supply List ~
- Embroidered striped fabric purchased earlier this year from Emmaonesock
- Yellow gingham from Fabric Mart (recent purchase from Sew Camp)
- Fusible interfacing from Farmhouse Fabrics
- 12 yellow buttons from Lauren Trimming in NYC Garment District
- 1/2 yard yellow piping from Daytona Trimmings
- 1 yard of yellow bias binding from the notions stash

Pattern Alterations ~
I made considerable alterations to this pattern since the finished hip measurements were 50.5" so not my finished garment hip measurement. Also the waist/abdomen measurements were about 6" less than my own.


As I stated above, I altered the pattern pieces using my TNT pattern. Although when I reviewed the pattern, I realized that I ended up altering the front and side back pieces just like the pattern instructions suggested.  But by using my TNT pattern, I didn't have to guess at the amount of inches to add.

The other pieces that I altered was the back yoke piece and the front top yoke - just to make sure they fit the newly altered body pieces.


Construction ~
I'm one of those sewists who serge finishes all of her cut out garment pieces before I start construction but for this one I finished the seams as I sewed them. I'm trying something new and was scared the entire time that the dress wouldn't fit because I just couldn't imagine taking out the serged together edges if I needed to make some fit alterations.

Some more info:
  1. All the body seams are sewn using a 1/2" seam allowance.
  2. The fabric was difficult to sew at points because of the density of the embroidery.
  3. So I omitted all of the topstitching so it wouldn't be wonky when it hit embroidery.
  4. There's a lot of handstitching in this since I couldn't topstitch the seams...undercollar to dress and the front button bands.
  5. The handstitching let me maneuver through the dense embroidery easier but took FOREVER!
  6. The buttonholes had to be carefully placed so that I wouldn't hit any of the dense embroidery. I knew my sewing machine wouldn't like them. So I was going to take them to Jonathan's in NYC to make them instead.
  7. However, when I went to mark the buttonholes I noticed that the majority of the buttonholes were in a space that did not have embroidery.  So I gave it a try.  Some were a little challenging but my machine I got through them all!  I love my sewing machine!!!
  8. This is why this is the last garment being shared from the May Sewcation.
There were a lot of pattern pieces to this pattern so it took some time to sew. It was the perfect pattern to use during the sewcation. It allowed everything with all it's frustrations to be completed at one sewing instead of being stretched over a couple of weekends.

A few pictures ~





Conclusion ~
I will make this pattern again. It's the perfect summer shirtdress. I have fabric for a shorter length version so I need to schedule that into my sewing to do list. However, it may make an appearance in a fall edition too!

...as always more later!






Friday, July 06, 2018

A Spate of Quick Garments?

As my Sewcation garments reviews wind down, only one more shirtdress to come to the blog, this post serves as the introduction to my June sewing.

After an intense week of sewing detailed garments, I sat and thought about what I wanted to add to my summer wardrobe.  In the last two summers, I've concentrated on making various types of dresses ~ t-shirt, maxis, denim and other styles, so I have a pretty nice dress wardrobe.

Summer of 2017 Sewing

I've made a couple of skirts but I really haven't concentrated on them this season. I have several maxi skirts in my wardrobe, made over the course of the last couple of years, that I'm still wearing so I don't really feel like I have a need for more skirts short or long. 

Summer of 2016 Sewing

However, there are a few on my to-sew list because I'm infatuated with several different tops and want to make them. Since I hate jeans in the summer, I need a bottom for them to go over...thus skirts.

I'm also feening for wider legged pants and culottes. I've bought a couple of pairs of RTW cropped pants because I've just wanted not to have to worry about what I was wearing under my dresses and skirts to keep my thighs from chafing...EVERY DAY! I would like 5-7 pairs of some kind of ltwt pants in my wardrobe that I can scatter in with my dresses so I made a couple of pair of pants...more to come.

So my June sewing was all about quick, easy projects.  A couple pair of pants, a duster and some tops.  That's what's up next on the blog...just waiting for photos to be taken.

I'm off for the next couple of days since the 4th of July holiday fell on a Wednesday. I am sewing and picked two designer knock-off projects. I'm not taking a "vacation" this summer just a couple of weekend trips. So I will have several more 2.5 day weekends to sew this summer. BTW, I counted ~ there are 8 weeks of summer left before the Labor Day holiday arrives. As usual I think I have more sewing on my list than I have time for!  

I want to add one more comment before I close out. It's regarding my last post and the amount of comments it generated. I am a hobby sewist. I have nothing to sell. I'm not a brand. I'm really just passionate about sewing, sharing info about sewing & fabric, and showing my garments. So threatening to unfollow me doesn't phase me. It use to but this blog is not the sum total of who I am.  As a fellow sewist, it's your right to follow or not follow the blogs that stimulate you creatively and whose philosophy or train of thought you agree with. It's that simple. 

So I appreciate the sewists who continue to come and read my ramblings, be they political or not, and appreciate my garments. I thank you for every comment you leave...no matter what it is...because I learn from them all. I can't guarantee that I won't speak to another political situation in the near future or not, so if you really DON'T want politics on your blog, please feel free not to visit again. I won't be upset. You should do what makes you happy.

If you're sticking around, there will be more garments up on the blog soon.

...as always more later!




Wednesday, July 04, 2018

This is America!

I know I said I wasn't talking politics on the blog anymore but my blog so I can do what I want.  If you're content to keep your head in the sand and don't want politics, current events, or whatever on a sewing blog...run...run now...cause I'm wading into the deep.

Let's start with the facts...as a country we do have porous borders.  Also as a country, we are much harder on immigrants of color than we are on lighter hue immigrants.  Let's also agree that America has a racist history especially if you're not of European descent.  So we should not be surprised at the new low this administration has reached by taking babies, toddlers, small and older children from their parents as they seek to gain entry into this country. And now that the "error" has been realized that there are still 2047 children being held from their parents without a reconcilation date in the foreseeable future.

photo cred: Associated Press

Let's also agree that unless you are of Native American descent, someone in your family either immigrated here or was brought here against their will.  Those are the facts whether your history book taught you them or not and they are not fake.  Let's also agree that in Making America Great Again, we're rushing headlong into a future where if you're not of European descent, you are an other...an undesirable...unwanted.

So....here we are standing on the precipice, testing the "ideals" of what people think/believe this country is...while pictures in the mainstream news feature images (which I've scattered throughout this post) of a situation that is in direct opposition to that image.  Now I know this situation is being featured differently on that other news channel or some of the right wing news sources.  But most of us in America are being bombarded with these images.

photo cred: Associated Press

The question I pose to anyone reading this post is this, "Is this MORALLY right to take these children from their parents?  Is this the ONLY way to handle our Immigration issues?  Isn't there some other way that we can do this or should we be okay with letting the children of the world become pawns in one man's quest to build a wall?

I'm sure if you're paying attention, you've heard the talking points:

1. It's the Democrats fault - they could fix this without being obstructionists
However, may I point out that the republicans control all THREE branches of government so shouldn't they be able to pass legislation to amend this..instead of going home for a holiday break. I mean they've suspended the Senate's summer vacation, ostensibly to get some legislation passed, but I suspect more for political reasons than what's being stated. So why not hang around DC and work on this issue more!

2. They are criminals who've broken the law and their children should be taken away.
Well yes, the law of the land was broken BUT we allow criminals in our own country to make arrangements for their children before they go to prison.  Or if no arrangements can be made, they are put in foster care - a system where their own language is spoken.  They are not placed in tent camps, renovated Wal-Mart's or areas surrounded by wire fencing.


photo cred:  Associated Press

3. We need to be strict on Immigration because it's taking away jobs.
Someone made the point on that other news channel, that these immigrants are taking away minimum wage jobs from Hispanics and Blacks who need those jobs.  I just can't speak on this asinine supposition because it falls under the lesser than mentality of this administration.

4. They had a choice not to come here.
Of all the reasonings this one hurts me the most because so much for the land of the free and the home of the brave, or the words on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


And let's not forget that Domestic Abuse or Gang Violence are no longer reasons to seek asylum in America since the attorney general has taken those reasons off the list for seeking asylum. So being a battered child, woman or elderly person no longer qualifies for asylum.  Your country over run by gangs, raping and killing the people - nope - America doesn't want you. Those humanitarian reasons have been swept from the table. Stay home and wait to die...yes that was dramatic but we have reached that point, people.


Now I'm heartbroken at the images that are everywhere...but I'm not surprised because we as a country have been walking towards this very point for the last two years.  Along the way there have been people screaming, chanting, protesting and still protesting that we're going the wrong way.  People yelling the bridge is out and that danger is ahead, but this administration keeps pushing forward. 


There has been violence - murdering black men and women, mass shootings, school, nightclub, and even a newspaper office shooting and during all of the carnage this administration has turned a blind eye. I'm kinda sick of the "our thoughts and prayers are with you" response...aren't you?  Protections for the average American have been revoked, the right to vote in some areas has been denied or restricted to people of color, redistricting for the gain of one or the other political party has happened, denial of aid after hurricanes and other EPA and oil related measures revoked. THIS is the legacy of this administration.

So let's not pretend that we're surprised we've reached this point. I was going to ask a question to those of you die-hard republicans and conservatives who voted for him here but after reading a recent article, I've decided not to.  Y'all obviously love him and defend him to the end so no use wasting my breathe.  

However, to those who voted with their hand over their nose choosing what you deemed the lesser of two evils, I do have a few questions. Do you still believe that he's a good business man?  Do you believe that he truly stands for Christian values? Do you believe he's the best person to push your anti-abortion rhetoric? Cause I though it was "the children" you were concerned about?  Look if he's still your guy, please realize that there are consquences and repercussions for these actions.  The reckoning is coming.

If you did not vote in the last election for whatever reason, please realize your vote matters. That by not voting you co-signed all of the things that are happening in America right now.  If you did vote for one of the other candidates, or if you voted for him and now believe that this and other recent events in America is wrong, please take a minute to dial one of the numbers below and let our elected officials know that this is morally repugnant and just wrong!

The DOJ Comment Line - 202.353.1555
Chief of Staff John Kelly - 202.456.1414
Attorney General Jeff Sessions - 202.353.1555
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen - 202.282.8495
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan - 866.DHS.2.ICE
HHS Secretary Alex Azar - 202.690.7000
Acting Assistant ACF Sec Steven Wagner - 877.696.6775
ORR Director Scott Lloyd - 202.401.9246

...and don't forget your Senators and Representatives

I know this is long but one last point ~
America has a long history of racism.  We can start with how the indigenous Native Americans were treated and how their land was stolen from them, also how the Eskimos were driven from their land in Alaska.  Slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws after the Emancipation.  The treatment of the Chinese workers who built the railway systems in America.  The internment of Japanese FAMILIES during World War II.  How even Puerto Rico and the Virgin Island who are US territories and US citizens, are treated like second class citizens.  

And yes, we weren't kind to the Irish who fled famine nor to the Italians who fled here after WWI or WWII...and even the Jewish people escaping extermination in Germany were persecuted.  Do you see the pattern here?  Do you see the hypocrisy of people of European descent who fled religious persecution and then proceeded to persecute others who followed after?

Yes, this is where we're at in America.  It's not pretty and there will be a cost to pay for our sins, if we don't do the right thing. I'm deliberately posting this on "Independence Day" after writing it at the start of the "zero tolerance" policy, it just felt apt to be posted today.

I have left the comment section open.  Play nice or I will remove comments or shut it down.  My living room, my rules...and now your thoughts...




Sunday, July 01, 2018

A few of my favorite things...

I've been spending loads of quality time in the Sewing Cave. And as I was working on my last couple of garments, I was thinking of how much I love using my favorite tools...so of course I thought I would share them here with you.

1. My Kai Scissors


I bought these from Wawak when they were on sale and love, love, love them! They are sharp enough and cut neatly through anything. They are lightweight in my hand and don't hurt to use. I presently own one pair but when they go on sale again, I'm buying another pair! Because while I know many of you are fans of rotary cutters, I'm a scissors girl through and through.

2. My Dritz Pins and Magnetic Pincushions


I bought these pins after using them at Gaylen's four years ago. I love how they glide through most fabrics, are lightweight and pressable. Also since they have colored heads, I can find them when they fall on the floor. The Dritz pins are in the first magnetic pincushion.

My magnetic pincushion also comes from sewing in Gaylen's sewing room.  She bought her's from a hardware store but I bought mine online from Amazon. Again multiple sources both online and locally to purchase both the pins and the magnetic pincushions. As you can see from the picture above, I store two different types of pins for different fabrics. 

Right now I'm using two magnetic pincushions but I'm thinking about adding a third smaller version to the ironing board...we'll see!

3. My Pressing Shoulder


I bought this years ago off of Etsy when Ann from Gorgeous Things shared it on her blog. I love this pressing tool and use it for ANY curvy seam now. Initially when I bought it, I used it for shoulder seams of sleeves but over time I've incorporated it into all of my pressing needs.

Of course my source doesn't make these any more.  If you want to add one to your pressing tool collection, Gaylen sells them on her blog, here.  Reach out to Gaylen, if you have any questions about them.

4. The Make-up Brushes I use to clean my sewing machine


I own canned air and use it in various places in my sewing cave. But when I upgraded my sewing machine and serger, I stopped using it in my machines. Instead I bought some cheaper make up brushes to clean my machine. After a few years they went kaput so earlier this year I invested in a better set of make up brushes to clean my machines. 

Honestly got these really cheap because they were on sale and my local Walgreens offers points, so I used the points to pay for these. They have bristles that don't shed and softly clean the insides of my machines. Since I sew a lot, there is a lot of fuzz collecting in my machines and I try to keep them clean between sewing marathons.

5. Shout Color Catchers


I buy these in bulk from Amazon because I put them in EVERY dark colored and some print fabric pre-washes. Since developing this policy, I haven't ruined a piece of fabric which occurred from time to time prior to this. I bought them in a large (56 count) box last year and am still working my way through the box. I love having them on-hand whenever I need to set up the washer with some fabric!

6.  My button collection



Now that I'm making more shirts, I'm loving my button collection more and more!  I've collected enough different types of buttons that I can usually find something that matches or coordinates with my fabric. Also since I use to work for a button company, I usually have at least 2 dozen of each button. I've stored my buttons in embroidery thread boxes. This allowed me to store them by color because there were plenty of sections to store different size buttons.  They are stocked on two shelves on my computer table and are easily accessible when I need to rumble through them.

7. My Duckbill Scissors


I have several types of scissors, my Kai ones were mentioned above. These Duckbill/Applique scissors make the list because they are perfect for grading seams, notching seams and getting close to tightly sewn areas to cut things/seams for any reason. There are presently three pair in the sewing cave. One in my scissor block between my sewing machines, one in the drawer under my cutting table (where my other scissors and rotary cutter is stored) and one on the ironing board. I hate looking for things that's why they are kept at all of these places.

8. The Hump Jumper


This tool has been a godsend while making shirts. I've used it ALOT! It's also great for starting bulky seams in jeans, jean jackets or anywhere the fabric is thick. If you don't own one you should be able to purchase it anywhere notions are sold both locally and online.

9. Janome Noise Reducing Anti-Slip Sewing Machine Mat


I put this under my serger because it tended to travel all over my sewing table when it was in use. Since I've bought it, my serger is glued to the table top.  One of my best buys EVAH! It was purchased from Amazon but if you Google it there are other options if you don't like the Big A.

10.  Schmetz Needles in the 100 packages


About three years ago I started buying packages of Schmetz Universal Needles in 100 needle packages from Amazon. I have them in all sizes from 60 to 110. I'm just sad that I can't purchase the stretch or denim needles in these size packs! As I said I purchased these three years ago, right before I started this job and I haven't bought a needle since then!  Seriously the best investment, because I never worry about having a sewing machine needle when I need one.

So this is my Top Ten Favorite Things. Do you use any of these items in your sewing space?  Or do you have other faves?  If you want, share what you like below! Also, how do you store your tools? I would be interested in hearing about that too!

Finally, I was never contacted by the winner of Barbara's book so I've pulled another name - Marlene Golden - please contact me with your email address! Thanks!


...as always more later!



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