Sunday, July 25, 2021

A Sewing Update - July 2021

Now that we're 16 months into this pandemic, it has affected my need to sew. Why you ask? Well my sewing was based upon me going to work outside my home everyday and other social events.  I was hopeful that with vaccines being widely available in the United States, that we would be further along in neutralizing the effects of the virus.  Sadly we're not and this new variant is on the rise globally. So I still primarily work from home and limit my visits into the unmasked, unvaccinated world.

Sewing Update ~

Since I have 10 great housedresses that I wear when I'm home and enough maxidresses and tunics to wear on the two days a week I work out of our office, I'm not inspired to sew more. This has caused my output to decrease and me to rethink what challenges me to sew.

This month as I've created a new cut pile, I've found that the challenge of altering patterns has encouraged my creativity. Of course this has slowed my productivity way down. I'm also only so-so on taking pictures of finished garments and all activities associated with it. I'm at a true turning point in my sewing life...

But, I have a few ideas that have provided flourishes of creativity...

...a great cut pile of maxidresses and tunics to sew for the rest of the summer and into fall...and two weeks of vacation that I hope will jumpstart that fire to create.

Sewing Room Update ~

The main sewing space is working well now.  It's well-lit. The last two purchases make it function better. The items I need to cut, press and sew are all stored well and easily accessible. There's plenty of space to maneuver and space to lay items without stacking them all on my cutting table!

However, the Resource Center still needs work.  I go back and forth whether or not to take the remaining boxes to storage (and forget about them) or figure out how to incorporate them into the room upstairs.  Right now I'm leaning towards seeing how much I can unpack and make work. Which means more purchases and time to spend on getting things moved around.  My current plan is to work on this during my two weeks vacation in August.

Sew Camp ~

I've missed Sew Camp at Carriage Corner B&B. I've missed spending time with other creatives, shopping, sewing and talking sewing 24/7 with a little current events thrown in. The last time I was at Sew Camp was 2019. I was supposed to go in September 2020 but my health issues stopped me. 

I'm linking to the schedule for the remaining Sew Camps this year, here. Though while I'm going in August, I'm not attending the one on the schedule. Five of my sewing friends and I got together and booked a private 5 day Sew Camp the first week of August. Did you know that you could do that? Well you can and if you're interested in sewing with some of your friends you should reach out to Gaylen. You can make your camp for as long as you want - a weekend, a couple days or like my friends and I, we're arriving on a Thursday and leaving on a Monday.

This will give us plenty of time to shop. Fabric Mart here we come! Explore some of the local quilting & notion shops and sew to our hearts content. I'm so looking forward to this. I haven't seen some of these friends in years, partly due to the pandemic and partly because we live all over the US. We're all vaccinated and ready to have a sewing good time! LOL!

Of course, I will be sharing the good times, here and on my Instagram account so look out for more on #SC2020 soon!

Next ~

Some of my cut pile will go with me to Sew Camp. I'm only taking three projects so that I can get them completed onsite. I want to take advantage of the beautiful grounds at Carriage Corner to get a few pictures taken. When I return home I will still have six days of vacation so I will be sewing and working on the Resource Center.

I'm ready to be settled in my apartment since it's been almost a year and just live. BTW, we're not going to talk about the state of my walk-in closet because that's another project BUT I can sew & create without it affecting me! Cause there's always gonna be a home project, right!?!

This is what's presently on my dressform.  While I love the fabric, the snug fit of the dress is challenging me to finish it. I think I'm going to move onto something else and circle back around to it.

So this is where my sewing is now...just wanted to share an update! always more later!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Circling my Shirt

I'm always inspired by external things.  Nature, people watching, RTW, designer gear, etc.  I see something and it triggers my creative process.  That's what this white shirt from Lafayette 148 did...

Now it's an inspired by shirt because the idea of decoration on the white shirt intrigued me.  In my mind, I began to consider how I could create that affect on my own.  That's when I turned to the Circular Attachment that's a common attachment on most high end sewing machines.  I, however, love the simplicity of working with it on my Janome 9450QCP.

The Shirt Construction

Supply List ~

Pattern:  MimiG Katie Top

3 yards white cotton/poly broadcloth purchased from Metro Textiles years ago 

10 7/8" flat 2-hole blue buttons from the button stash

Amann Group Isacord 100% polyester ombre thread or a rayon thread of your choice

There are no new garment construction techniques to share about this shirt. It's the same as all of the other Katie's I've made. However, the instructions on how to make the circle design for the shirt are here on the Janome blog. This shirt is one of my Janome Makes as a Janome Maker/Brand Ambassador.

To highlight the blue threads used for the circular decorations, I added blue topstitching to the collar and sleeve hems.  And of course, the blue buttons down the front emphasizes the blue theme - cause you know I do trim in threes!

A few pictures of the finished garment ~

It was interesting to use some of the decorative stitches and the circular attachment to "interpret" a RTW design. It's one of the things I love about top of the line sewing machines, the extra features allow you to easily create any flights of fancy you may have.

One other thing to note - we took these pictures in 100 degree weather and the poly in the shirt was stifling. This is very much an early spring or fall shirt...not the summer shirt I was envisioning. There are some sleeve issues that I believe are caused by my fabric because I didn't have this pulling in any of the other Katies I made.

I am slowly sewing...recently posted my cut pile to IG. I have a few more items to add to it but hopefully another make or two will make it to the blog before the month is over. always more later!

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Half way through Twenty Twenty-One

This post is a compilation of thoughts, updates and follow-ups. 

I have a four day weekend generously offered by my company because we've been working from home for so long. In May I started going back to work regularly in NYC for 2 days a week. Overall my vacation, personal time off, situation has been greatly enhanced by my company due to Pandemic Fatigue.  And while the world is opening, I think we can all admit to Pandemic Fatigue and how it's affected our mental, emotional and physical health.

This weekend I'm sewing in the new and improved Sewing Room.  I've lived in my apartment for 10 months now. I've either been moving in, unpacking, determining how I want to live in this space or recovering from health challenges. It's just starting to feel like "home." I believe all of the above have affected how much I sew. 

What I'm Working on This Weekend ~

Today is a cut day.  I've been pulling fabrics and patterns for the last week and a half trying to determine what I want to make going forward.  Because need is no longer a word I associate with my wardrobe. Due to the pandemic I've been home more and need less of a wardrobe.

I have nine summer/early fall dresses I want to make.

    - Helen's Closet Reynolds Dress (hacked)

    - Christine Haynes Verano Dress (summer version)

    - Cashmerette Roseclair Dress

    - 3 Style Arc patterns

        o Nova Midi Dress

        o Hope Woven Dress

        o Jules Woven Tunic that I'm maxifying (yes I made that word up!)

    - Simplicity 8875

    - McCalls 7969

    - McCalls 7943

I've chosen a variety of fabrics to use - some new to the collection.  A piece holding it down in the collection for 24 years, purchased in 1997. I'm even using a piece given to me from an old work friend that's 17 years old and from her grandmother's stash. Fabric venders are: GStreet, Mood, StyleMaker Fabrics, Fabric dot com, and of course Fabric Mart. LOL!  Always Fabric Mart. I love how my fabric collection has so many back stories to tell as well as reflects my sewing journey.

Pieces Completed Last Month ~

I finished four garments last month with only one making it to the blog.  I was planning on taking pictures of the t-shirt and cardigan but honestly it was too dayum hot the day we chose to take pictures. Those pieces will be up next on the blog on Daphne my dressform. I want to get them shared and move on!

Here's what I made last month...

A Swingy Version of a Pembroke Top

Cardigan from Simplicity 8059

Vogue 9299 in a border print

Outtake of this MimiG Katie Tunic
Love this photo its just very dark and 
the garment's not posted to the blog yet

This Weekend ~

I will be spending the next couple of days altering patterns and cutting them out.  Probably will make 2 or 3 this month, then take 2-3 to Sew Camp (yes, I'm headed to Sew Camp but more about that in a later post), and the rest by the end of the summer.  Which should be about right since I'm averaging 2-3 garments a month now.

Sewn Garment Recap ~

I've sewn 13 pieces this year. I honestly haven't been very motivated to sew.  My sewjo has come fast and furious in spurts...and I've gone along with it. While I have purchased some fabric, it hasn't been enough to track. Whenever I think about purchasing I do remember what it was like to pack and unpack my collection.

Not to say I haven't self-medicated with fabric from time to time.  In fact 17 yards will be showing up this week because last week was a rough week. However, I have plenty of storage space and no desire to overwhelm it.  Though if I sew through my plan, I will have sewn down 33 yards so it works out.

Future Sewing ~

I have a fancy wedding to attend Labor Day weekend and I'm trying to decide if I will have time to make another dress.  Or just wear this one since I've worn it exactly ONCE!

Something in me is pulling for fresh and new which means I will have to shop for fancy fabric. That is one fabric I don't store because you never know what the special event will require.

There are some other ideas floating around in my head but unless I become the sewing maniac I was prior to the move, they're just not gonna happen. Which makes me a little sad because they would be great garments but it's not earthshattering if they wait a little longer to be born!

Finally, when I have pictures of the finished Resource Center, I will share them. I'm looking forward to having it done because it's a lot of space that's not being used right now.

The cardigan and t-shirt information will be up next... always more later!



Monday, June 28, 2021

A Borderprint Tunic

I've worn my first Vogue 9299 so much at least once a week! I love that tunic.  It's appropriate to wear to the office and it works for at home zoom meetings too. So as with all good patterns, I've decided I need to make it a few more times.

The Fabric's Backstory ~

The fabric for this make is 9 years old. It was purchased in February 2012 and documented here. I use to buy a lot from Sawyer Brook but not so much anymore.  This is deep stash fabric and there is another story associated with it.

Do you remember when my sewing cave flooded in June 2013? Well this fabric was laying in the bottom of a box on the floor. It and the other two pieces in the box were totally soaked. I quickly took them upstairs and put them in the washer & dryer. The piece made it back into the collection where it resided until I climbed the stairs to my Resource Center and plucked it from it's resting place to use for this garment.

Sewing Supplies ~

Pattern:  Vogue 9299

3 yards of 60" wide border print linen from Sawyer Brook Fabrics - deep stash

9 - 7/8" tan buttons from deep in the button collection

9" of 3/4" elastic for each sleeve hem

Interfacing from Steinlauf and Stoller for collar and button fronts

Construction Techniques ~

What makes this version different from the first one is that I used a border print to highlight the fabric's uniqueness. So it was all about how I cut the pattern pieces out to showcase the border print.  Now y'all know that's the thrill of using a border print, "how can I use it to set off the garment's properties?"

Cutting the front pattern pieces so that it ran down the front of the garment...

Then cutting the collar and undercollar out of pieces of the border

As well as making the sleeve hems highlight the border...going with my rule of three for a border print to really feature this pretty print.

I also changed the back pleat to gathers between the back yoke and bottom pieces. I wanted a slightly different look for this one.

Last thing I added one of my really old labels to the inside yoke because it matched the fabric so well.

A Few Pictures ~


Conclusion ~

I love this pattern and will probably make more!  We took these pictures in 95F degree weather and this top was perfect. I didn't feel as if I was overheating or needed to change clothes. I'm sure it will be in my permanent rotation this summer.

This was the last piece in my cut pile so over the Independence Day weekend I will be cutting out summer dresses to sew. I'm using "new" to me patterns. Patterns I've purchased over the years and not sewn, will be getting their turn in the sun to shine.

Parting Shot ~

I added some things to the Sewing Room and finally feel like it's done!  

Now to make the last few changes to the Resource Center and live in these rooms instead of continuing to update/change them. always more later!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

What a Hot Mess...

I got this wild flight of fancy in the dark days of winter - you know when the days were short and darkness reigned. The time of year I hate the most and want to fill with the most color and light as possible.

Supplies ~ 

I was surfing fabric sites because I needed some comfort and found this amazing panel on fabric dot com with a coordinating print.

Doesn't this fabric just scream warm summer evenings!  So yes, it's a quilting cotton but I've had success with other quilting cotton panels and after some hesitation because of price, I bought three panels. First off, I should have bought four...but we will get to that later! Oh and because I'm so timely (joke, joke) with this post, the fabric is long gone!

During February I took a week off to sew. I needed some days to sleep and create and this was the first project I worked on.  

A few more photos of the process...

This back was a whole hot ass mess, so I put the shirt pieces away and worked on some other garments during my sewcation. While I working on the other pieces, I was pondering how to save this. Obviously the back was the main problem. It wasn't working and wouldn't work with the 24" panel width.

Construction Techniques ~

After I made that hot mess of a back, I had to come up with another look. I will admit the shirts I've been most comfortable wearing during the pandemic have the gathered lower back eased into the back yoke. Plenty of room for those extra pounds I gained. But I only had one panel for the back and I just couldn't see how to make it work. That's when that disastrous back was created and immediately ditched.

After thinking on it I decided a solid back would be the answer.  I went and touched quilting cottons at the store. Then decided upon this printed blue fabric that I used to construct the back of the shirt.  

Making the collar...

Inserted the sleeves, okay auditioning sleeves...

...and the back quilting cotton is making the shoulders and sleeves buckle because they aren't similar weights. *sigh* I should have known better.

I let this shirt sit for 2 weeks before admitting I was done.  I don't want to save it.  I don't want to add my good buttons to the front and finish it. I basically threw a hissy fit because I'm tired of it.  So now it sits on the clothing rack.  After a couple of weeks, I decided the fabric is too heavy to think about finishing it sits.  My first UFO for 2021.

Thus the title of the blog post - cause it's a hot mess!  BTW, I've completed two pieces just have to photograph them. But it's summertime, my grandkids are getting older and my photographer (my daughter) has things planned for their family for the summer.  I've scheduled a day so hopefully the completed items will be coming to the blog soon.

To all who celebrate, Happy Father's Day! always more later!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

My Summer Sewing Plan

While Summer doesn't officially start until Sunday, June 20th, it feels likes summer's here now.  We've had several days over 90+F degrees. They've been mixed in with some cooler days but the humidity is creeping up. You can tell the hot and soupy days are coming.

I haven't been sewing much. I own a lot of clothes since I've been sewing non-stop for over 10 years. Staying home during the pandemic didn't encourage me to change my wardrobe much especially when tops worked just fine for work Zoom meetings. And my shirt game is pretty strong since I sewed a lot of them over the last couple of years. 

Now that it's warm, I realize I own quite a few summer maxi dresses since they were my go to garment in the past.  Meaning for awhile, I haven't been inspired much to create.

However, here in the US, vaccines are available (I'm fully vaccinated) so the country is opening back up. I head into NYC two days a week to work in our office and the desire to create some new pieces is growing stronger. 

I realize that I use to sew just one new garment a week and that's the goal I'm setting for myself this summer.  One new piece each weekend.  Hopefully photographed and blogged during the week.

Of course you want to know what I'm working on now ~

I started this border print Vogue 9299 in late May.  I'm determined to finish it up because it needs sleeves, buttons & buttonholes.

Then I want to start on this McCalls maxi dress. It's a popular pattern and almost everyone has made it with the voluminous sleeves. I'm making View D with the flutter sleeves.

My fabric is a ltwt. polyester from Fabric Mart purchased a few months ago. It's a silhouette not currently in my closet. If I like it, I may make the other version with the big sleeves but we'll see. I have about six other patterns on my list to sew. That list will take me through the Summer and give me enough variety in my work wardrobe.

Fabric Buying~

I haven't been purchasing a lot of fabric lately. However, Fabric Mart recently had an amazing sale on blouse weight fabrics with a ton of border prints in them. Of course, I purchased a few cause border prints.

Lastly ~

I don't know if you know but The Sewcialists blog/group is calling it quits.  They've been doing a series of round up posts.  This week's post, "Saying Farewell: Specialists Interviews" was written by BeckyJo.  I'm honored to be included in the group of sewists she featured. If you get a chance, head over and give it a read.  The Sewcialists have promoted ALL sewists and ALL types of sewing over the last eight years. It will be sad to see them go.

I need to head back to my sewing machine... always more later!


Saturday, June 05, 2021

Remaking my Sewing Spaces

It's June and I promised myself that once spring arrived I would work on making my Winter Sewing Room (which I'm now just calling the Sewing Room) and Resource Center function better for me. While I've stored away 90% of my fabric, and all of my buttons and bindings, the extra patterns have remained in boxes and garbage bags for the last 8 months. Well all except my TNT patterns and newly purchased ones.

So to make my sewing spaces perform better, I needed to purchase more stuff.  I've dragged my feet because it's not only buying, it's assembling since nothing comes prebuilt anymore. I have many skills, assembling furniture isn't one of them. While I looked at things to buy, I also looked for someone to assemble them.

That's what's taken so long...getting furniture purchased, delivered, assembled and placed. Oh and my stubbornness because I refused to purchase items from IKEA if they don't deliver to my address...and so much wasn't available to be delivered to MY home address.

A few reasons why I've decided to keep the sewing space downstairs:

  • I've been sewing in it for the last couple of months and I like it. 
  • There's light and an actual window with a view that I can look out and observe the world around me. Better than the Sewing Cave or the Sewing Loft. Didn't realize how much I missed that.
  • It's easily accessible to the rest of the apartment and it gives me the same calming feeling that the Loft does. 
  • Making the Loft my Resource Center is a good use of the space and allows me to have an organized space to hold all of my sewing accoutrements of which I own ALOT.
  • I'm going to update this space by removing everything from the floor and putting it on wall shelving. It will make the Sewing Room less cluttered.

These pictures are after I've moved the sewing tables and all of the sewing machines downstairs. This brings me such joy that all I do is cut, sew and compute in this room.

I've purchased the shelving and the totes to make everything orderly and functional. I also have curtains to hang. I've just been dragging my feet about hiring someone to finish these last installs.  

As previously mentioned, the Loft will now function as a "Resource Center". 

The first set of filing cabinets have been built, carried to the Loft and stuffed with the patterns that had no home and were just hanging out in boxes and bags. I still have one more filing cabinet and small bookcase to be built to add to the other wall.  That should give me more than enough room for future pattern growth.

This is the other side of the loft right now...

There are seven bins of fabric here that have to be dealt with and I'm undecided about them.  It's mostly coating fabric in these bins and I'm trying to decide whether to put them in storage or what?  Once they're handled and a few more pieces moved around, I should be fine.

I also want to set up an area to take photos when my daughter is unavailable. But that's a whole 'nother set of purchases I'm not ready to make yet. I know I'm investing in my sewing situation but this last year has been all about purchasing things so it will wait a minute, especially since June is here and I can shoot outside for awhile.

A few photos from Sewing Rooms past and not in the so distant pass...

The Sewing Cave as it looked right before I packed it up!

The Sewing Loft when I thought I could sew in it...

BTW, I just received my notice of lease renewal.  It's been almost a year since I moved in. I laughed out loud when the Leasing Center asked if I wanted to move out. Hell, all of my stuff isn't unpacked noooooooo! always more later! 


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