Thursday, November 30, 2006

And life gets in the way...

I know that I haven't written much lately but that is because sewing has moved so far down on my list of things to do! This is by no means a reflection of my desire to sew or how important sewing is in defining who I am but it is more a reflection of how involved my life has become in other areas.

I use to wonder how people could let "life" prevent them from sewing. Guess if you wonder about something long enough, "life" provides you with an answer! *smile* So now that I have gained understanding, I am trying to fight my way back! I try to do a little something sewing most weekends, but when I compare what I do now to what I was producing just a few months ago, I have to fight hard against discouragement.

At the beginning of the month I received a new shipment of fabrics from my favorite fabric resource, Fabric Mart. I purchased these particular fabrics because they really called to me and I knew exactly what each piece should become. But four weekends later, I have only made a lined straight skirt from the smallest piece in the package. And it took two weeks to accomplish that...something that previously would have taken one Saturday afternoon. And even now after a long weekend, I have only managed to accomplish cutting out a cardigan and sleeveless dress combination. I guess I really shouldn't say only since it is something and getting anything started now is a big deal!

However, I have pledged to myself that I will try to do something sewing related every week because some progress is better than none!


I ordered my qualifying fabric purchase from Timmel Fabrics for the SWAP contest. Four metres of a very fine red wool crepe to give the "pop" of color to my black & white theme. Now I just need to come up with a name for my collection. The SWAP officially begins tomorrow!!!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Its a SWAP Thing!

If you have been reading along you will notice that I like to create garments in sets. I am really enamoured of matching and/or coordinating pieces. That said - It is SWAP time again at Artisan's Square! Every year for the last four years, Julie Timmel of Timmel Fabrics, sponsors a SWAP contest. The rules are listed on her website under SWAP 2007. Last year was the first time I officially participated, the year before I sewed along but did not join in.

Learning to SWAP - Sewing With A Plan is a very dynamic process. You actually learn to train your mind to think in coordinating garments and fabrics. You actually stop sewing or purchasing "orphans" garments that don't go with anything else in your closet. The combination of 11 garments if sewn correctly yields about 40 outfits...I think that's correct, but Julie's website has the definitive answer.

Every year Julie adds on a new requirement to make the SWAP contest a little different and more challenging - as if sewing 11 garments in a set time frame isn't challenging enough! *smile* One year it was an embellished or trimmed garment, last year two garments had to be made from the same pattern but with a totally different look and not by just changing the fabric, and this year the hook is that one of the garments must be reversible. I have to admit that the reversible thing really hung me up for a while and almost caused me not to participate this year. But I love SWAPping, and the camaderie & conversations that take place during the process, so as Tim Gunn would say, I made it work!

Finally, there are two types of SWAPs that you can create - a regular one (11 garments) or a dress SWAP - all of this information is detailed on Julie's website. Since I have completed two previous SWAPs - this year I decided to make a dress SWAP. A dress SWAP consists of four dresses, two jackets, two bottoms and three tops.

To begin my SWAP, I looked at patterns/looks/silhouttes. I have a few TNT dress patterns so I started there. The Tamatsou dress pattern -
Vogue OOP 2090 which I have previously made is the first piece in my collection. I have about ten yards of black wool crepe on hand and I have been dying for a lined, long sleeved dress from this fabric and pattern. The next dress is from another Vogue OOP dress pattern 2688. I just recently made this dress in a tobacco colored tropical wool and it is perfect for business wear. So I will make another version in black and white - wool crepe and a sandwashed silk with a special ribbon trim. My third dress will be from my TNT dress pattern using a red wool crepe. It took me a while to come up with my final dress but I have finally decided upon the new, trendy piece for this fall - a jumper! Which will be made from this fabric that was originally purchased to knock off a Dolce & Gabbana skirt - that I am just not feeling this fall!

Next up - jackets!

I have wanted to make Simplicity 4093 since I first saw it! I even went so far as to actually felt a piece of the black wool crepe for the jacket back at the end of the summer. I have a great floral silk that I want to use for the lining and this jacket will work with all of my dresses and bottoms.

My final jacket will be from the red wool crepe - Butterick 4871!

Bottoms were easy - one skirt and one pair of pants. The pants of course will be lined and made from my TNT pattern out of the black wool crepe. No need to mess with perfection, and who doesn't need an extra pair of black pants!? I am planning on making my skirt my reversible piece ~ one side being a light red silk broadcloth and one side a linen/silk blend glen plaid that has red/black/white threads for the plaid.

Finally - white sandwashed silk one from my TNT Sewing Workshop Mission Tank pattern. I have made this top so much that I could sew it with my eyes closed but it just works in my wardrobe! The second one will be a black wool/silk jersey Jalie sleeveless turtleneck made from the pattern I received for participating in last year's SWAP contest - appropo right!?! My last piece will be purchased since you are allowed to purchase one piece - and it will be a white shirt.

I really took my time and planned this year's SWAP out. I was not only looking for wearable pieces that would fit into my wardrobe and lifestyle but I was also looking for pieces that would present the look of a collection and photograph well. Since this will be a huge amount of my winter sewing, I will write about all changes, challenges, and triumphs here. And if you want to see last year's winners...check Julie's site under SWAP 2006!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Monday Morning Shoutout

I stopped doing shout-outs several months ago, but I went to the mailbox on Saturday and found my "Winter/Holiday Sewing Today" pattern magazine ~ that's what they are calling the "old" Butterick pattern magazine now! As I was flipping through the magazine, I came upon an article about/by Vonnevo from Patternreview. And the sad thing is that is how I have always thought of her as Vonnevo when she has a real name, Yvonne Andrews!

The article was about how Yvonne took McCalls Pattern 5007 and made four different jackets from it with at least two being designer knock-offs! So I want to do a big Monday morning shout-out to Yvonne for the magazine article and for making those wonderful jackets!

If you haven't received your copy of the pattern magazine yet, or if you don't subscribe, run right out and get a copy because we should do all that we can to support fellow sewists! When one is featured or mentioned in a magazine article, I think we all benefit and we all should be proud!

So my Monday Morning Shout-out is to Yvonne Andrews! Keep on doing what you do!

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm ready!

It's been weeks and I haven't really felt like it but, deep breath, I am ready! Yes, I am ready to sew again! So maybe all of that fabric purchasing was a good thing! *Yeah, right!*

Seriously though, after a strenous week, I am so ready to go and dust off my sewing equipment, junk up my very clean cutting table, and put the ironing board back up. Now you know you haven't been sewing when your cutting table is clean and your iron is put away! My Fabric Mart box arrived yesterday and that along with the new fabrics that have come to visit have inspired me.

I have no idea what I am going to work on first...I just know that I am going to sew! Whatever the spirit moves me! I am going to sit in my sewing area and touch fabric and what sings the loudest will become something new.

So those are my plans for the weekend and I hope that you have a wonderful sewing weekend too!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It is disappearing...

I am sad today because yesterday I needed more fabric retail therapy and I thought that I would take a quick trip to the garment district to relieve some tension. One of the little fabric stores on 40th Street is now a hair & nail salon!!! A hair salon on fabric row!!!!! It wasn't a major fabric store that everyone targets to visit when they come to New York but it is next to Fikret Fabrics (a favorite of mine) and I am sure people would stop in because they had some interesting laces in the window.

So another store on 40th Street has bitten the dust because The New York Times decided that they needed a new building. Look, I understand about change. Change is a necessary thing in life but this change is heartrending to me. 40th Street use to be a fabric wonderland! You would walk down either side of the street and there would be store after store selling amazing fabric fantasies. Each storefront window would have a totally different yet beautiful piece of fabric...pure eye candy! And now it is all gone! 40th Street is starting to look like any other street in NYC and it all just makes me sad....

I am almost tempted to tell you that if you haven't visited the garment district lately that you should soon or you may lose your way...but I don't want to be that pessimistic! I mean B&J has a wonderful new spot on 7th Avenue as well as Rosen and Chadicks! Both stores moved on, changed and became even better! I guess it is just some of the smaller ones that were unable to go on that I am missing...

Let's just hope that the district may be changing its size and location but not going away! And if you get a chance, do your part by buying a piece or two from one of the stores that are left. We have to preserve our sewing/fabric heritage!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Buying Fabric

Why is it that when I am not sewing, I buy fabric?

If anyone knows the answer to that question, I sure would appreciate knowing the answer! It just seems that everytime my life gets the better of me and eliminates all of my opportunities to sew, I buy fabric! Now is this a knee jerk reaction to the fact that I am not sewing? Or is this the way that I keep my hobby alive and close to me? Because as you all know, well those that "know" me through reading this blog, that I have a very full and varied fabric closet! So why am I purchasing more?

And here is another question ~ why am I buying more when I already have a very large and varied clothing closet? Doesn't this just seem like an oxymoron?

Lots of clothes + lots of fabric = buy more fabric? It just doesn't equate! But buy more fabric I have, from my favorite fabric source - Fabric Mart. And it's not like I can even show you what I bought because I purchased things from the Sample Cut Club!

Now that is on top of the eight, yes eight pieces that I purchased at Metro Textiles with Ann (Gorgeous Things Blog), her friend Sandy and Barbara Bell (one of my Saturday morning shout-outs!) in the middle of October! Have I sewn anything from that haul - noooooo! Have I sewn anything at all ~ one lonely dress from OOP Vogue 2828.

So if you have the answer to the mystery of why I purchase fabric when I am not sewing - please feel free to share!

And BTW, I'm back...hopefully with newly sewn garments to share soon!


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