Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A New Adventure

Somewhere long ago on a day that I was probably bored, I signed up for BurdaStyle.  Now I rarely go on the site, but I do receive their emails. Honestly, most times I just delete them.  I know, I know, quite a few of you just cringed...but if you knew how much junk I get in my email box you would understand...or maybe you wouldn't.  

Anywhooo, today's email caught my eye because there was the word plus size in there somewhere...and even though I've given up all of my Burda subscriptions...today I clicked the email.  While perusing the garments in the plus size section, I stumbled upon this dress...

08/2012 #142 

...and after looking at the technical drawing, I was sold.

So the process of getting the pattern downloaded began.  Can I make a few suggestions to make this process a little easier, more user friendly...

1.  There should be a guest check out.  Maybe someone wants to purchase the product without having to be a member especially since Burda Style magazines are so hard to find in the US.

2.  If you're going to offer the option to become a member, maybe the email that you need to log in should come quickly.  I couldn't remember my log-in so I attempted to rejoin using another email address.  Three hours later and I still hadn't received an email. Actually I gave up waiting after 15 minutes.  I'm old.  I have less time than more so I tend not to waste it waiting. 

3.  So I signed in using my Facebook account.  Okay that was even worse...because then they want to post on my timeline and send notices to my friends.  Really? Do you really think I want to subject "my friends" to this?! (Oh and by the way, I would appreciate it if you didn't all start looking for me on Facebook. I'm not a big user and ignore most "friend" requests.)

I did finally get to purchase the pattern and print it out...ssshhh, I did it at work cause the printer is faster!  So this is what I came home with...

...and this is what my pattern is looking like as I'm taping it together...

Now I have to tell you this...I REALLY want to make this dress because I HATE taping pieces of paper together to end up with a pattern.  And now I'm in taping hell.

I do want to make the dress and I have a lightweight eggplant ponte that I'd like to use with this pattern.  Yeah, Momma don't lie...I'm sewing fall now! Okay, full disclosure I did start a red cotton eyelet sheath dress last weekend after I finished up Vogue 2090.  

Oh, I didn't tell that you it was done...well it is...just waiting for pics because I finished it after my daughter and the grandkids went home.  Wanna a sneak peek?  Okay you don't have to twist my arm...here you go.

I'm really liking this dress, enough that I'm thinking I should remake it again in a ponte for fall with long sleeves ~ that way the dress won't need a lining. Because the last time I made it for fall/winter in wool crepe, I added a lining and the dress was really heavy and hot.  Great premenopausal...not so great now that I'm a grown ass woman! *LOL*

Okay reining it back in...I think the tape fumes are affecting me.  I will keep you updated on the taping and tracing (seriously?!) of the Burda pattern.  Hey I spent $5.40 for it so I should at least get a pattern right?

...as always more later!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Hobby Lobby Skirt

I made this skirt from fabric that I purchased from my trip to Hobby Lobby - thus the skirt's name and the name of this post - The Hobby Lobby Skirt.

Again, this was a quickie sew to jumpstart the motor of my sewing mojo...y'know to get it revved up so that I would get back into the sewing mood...and it worked. After this skirt, I felt like myself again and have finished two more dresses.

There are no special details to this skirt...  

  • I used my TNT elastic waist skirt pattern that I last used here
  • Cut the fabric.  
  • Serged the edges to clean finish them. 
  • Stitched the sides together, stopping a few inches from the hem line for a side seam slit.  
  • Made an elastic casing and inserted the 1" elastic.
  • Sewed the casing close.
  • Ironed up a 1" hem and machine stitched it flat.

An easy peasy skirt with a lot of punch.  I'm planning on wearing this to work this week just as I've photographed it above.

This was my last fabric purchase prior to my fabric diet and I'm thrilled that it didn't linger in the collection.  My next sew is the Designer Inspired Linen Dress for my Mood project that will be up on the Mood Sewing Network tomorrow.  Go by and check it out then.

...as always more later!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Just Cavelli" Maxi Skirt

I decided to ease back into sewing in the new room by making something simple...and this skirt couldn't get any simpler!

Making the skirt ~
  1. I wrapped this fabric around me.
  2. Cut it off at a length I liked.
  3. Turned it up twice and hemmed it using stitch witchery in the first turn of the hemline and then stitching it down after the second turn.
  4. Added a casing for some 1" elastic.
  5. Inserted the elastic and stitched it down on either side.
  6. Sewed up the side seam - leaving 12" for a side slit.
  7. Skirt done.

Yeah that was quick and easy.  I bought the black & white ITY Cavelli knit from Fabric Mart a couple of months ago.  I'd planned on making the skirt prior to the sewing room reorg because I had a casual evening event that I'd wanted to wear it to.  I ended up wearing another maxi dress from my collection but this fabric never made it back onto the shelves.

My likes ~
  • It was quick to make yet trendy due to the black & white print.
  • I love the "Just Cavelli" name inserted into the print.  
  • It's easy to wear - I love maxi anything in the spring/summer.
  • It works with quite a few tops in my summer wardrobe.
  • It was quick and easy!

A few more pics ~

Trying the skirt on to 
find the right hem length

Back view

A wonderful and comfortable skirt which is easy to wear!  It was a lot of bang for the buck and a great way to jumpstart my sewing mojo!

...as always more later!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Last Weekend of July 2013

This morning I was sitting in my newly renovated sewing room bemoaning the fact that I've rarely used it since putting it back together.  Usually the month of July is super productive sewing wise for me, not so much this year, and I'm feeling it. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that I had the time to get it put back together and I know that I'll get to use it in the future...I'm just missing sewing since I haven't done much of it lately.

I don't know how much I'll get done this weekend either since I have several things that I need to get done.  I don't know about you, but for me, there is no other place I'd rather be than in my sewing room.

+ + + + +

Okay I'm totally amazed by the number of entreats so far into the fabric giveaway and the supportive comments regarding my fabric diet.  I'm going to need a bigger jar!!! Although I do need to emphasize a few things...it isn't a true fabric diet because I still get to purchase my monthly Mood allotment. The good thing about the Mood fabric is that it has to be used that month...no lingering in the collection taking up valuable real estate...and it does satisfy that need to acquire new fabric.

My only true concern is going to be the Labor Day sales in early September. Those are usually fantastic so I'm going to have to be quick with the delete button to avoid temptation.  I think it will also help that I'm on vacation that week. Usually when I'm surrounded by my fabric, I'm least likely to purchase, because I can see what I own.

The hardest point for me is when I'm extremely busy at work, not sewing with no prospect of sewing soon. Since I've just come through three weeks of that and emerged on the other side fabric free, I'm hoping to build on that in the future. Now please realize that I'm going to buy fabric again.  I'm just giving myself a little rest and my fabric shelves some breathing room. Although by my calculations, I'm only going to end up losing two maybe three bins of fabric through this exercise. A drop in the bucket regarding the amount of fabric in my collection.

+ + + + +

So did you get some of the new Fall Vogue Patterns, in the last sale? If you missed it...you're not alone. Vogue Patterns has come up with a new marketing tool. On the last day of the $3.99 non-Club BMV members/$3.19 Club BMV members pattern sale, Vogue released a limited number of the new patterns.  

Now this isn't the first time they've done this!  Same thing happened during the last pattern sale. I wasn't as busy at work during the last pattern sale and was able to get all of the patterns I wanted. It probably also helped that I didn't like the last collection as much as I like this one.

I want to stop here and say that this new collection won't be for everyone...but it works soooooo well for my corporate lifestyle. There were quite a few spectacular dresses, a couple of great suit wardrobes, a men's coat pattern and a few interesting Marcy Tilton patterns. Again, not everyone will be happy but that collection, made me decide that I want to start sewing fall right now.

There are plenty of wonderful spring/summer outfits in my closet to finish out summer. If I get the desire for a new summer dress, I can always sew it...but I'm pretty much sewing fall after this dress I'm currently working on...and I made that decision based solely upon the new Fall Vogue Pattern collection. Yes, it was that good to me! You can check out the Fall Lookbook on Vogue's site or the patterns at regular price. Just wait for the next sale if you decide they will fit your lifestyle. 

So you're wondering if I got any patterns this time, right?  Well I did. I was on the bus coming home, stuck in traffic because a truck driver inconsiderately rolled his truck in the middle of the afternoon. I pulled out my iPad realizing that it was the final day of the sale and maybe Vogue Patterns had listed the new patterns. Anyway, I pull the site up and my mind gets blown. There were still two pages of patterns up and I picked out 12 that I wanted. By the time I got home, I was only able to get 8 of my original 12...and when I checked the Lookbook I realized that even then, I'd only seen about 2/3rds of the collection.

Again let me state that this collection is probably not for everyone. It just really works for me!  Here are a couple of the patterns I still want:

Vogue 1360 - Kay Unger Dress
That even comes in a size 24!  Hallelujah!!!

Vogue 8918 - Very Easy Vogue Dress
I'm not sure about the neckline but I'm intrigued!

Vogue 8919 - I've already seen this one ridiculed
on the internet but I'm intrigued by this design
just not in this fabric combo!

Vogue 8925 - a top
I know I don't sew a lot of tops but I really like
the simplicity of this one!

Vogue 8931 - Jacket
This has two collar choices - notched and shawl and would
be perfect for my Derek Lam knock-off jacket!

Vogue 8937 - Jacket
I have several boiled wools in the collection that 
I could use for this jacket

Aren't these pretty?!  Yeah I've got to start sewing fall from the collection. Yes, I'm so inspired, so so inspired and I have quite a few pieces from the fabric collection that I want to use for these garments.

I'll show you what I did manage to get into my cart before they sold out in another post.

...as always more later!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A New Fabric Challenge & Giveaway...

It's been a few days since the fabric restoration project was completed.  The winner of the fabric giveaway has been announced and their package sent, as well as, three lucky sewists who also received packages in the mail from me. 

Two things came out of the water in the basement.  One, I rearranged the items in the sewing workroom, to give me more space and make the room appear cleaner and brighter.

Two, I realize that I've reached my fabric limit.  I've stuffed as much fabric into the shelves and the cabinet as possible.  I refuse to lay it on top of things again or to have so many bins in the room that I'm unable to move without rearranging things.  I'm seriously disturbed that with a sewing workroom packed to the gills with fabric that I still have four full bins of fabric in the garage...because that's fabric I'm unable to see and touch which was never my intent.

So, I need to do something drastic.  Very drastic for me.  I really don't want to purchase any more fabric (except for my Mood project fabric) for the next five months or until the end of the year.  I can't think of a type of fabric that I don't own.  I can't think of a color that's not well represented in my collection. Prints, plaids, florals, paisleys, abstract prints, yeah I have that. Herringbones - large & small in various colors...yeah I've got some too.  It's time to stop acquiring...seriously time to stop.

I'm making a public declaration so that there is someone to hold me accountable to my pledge.  I just want the next five months to be fabric free. Five months of no new fabric purchases.  Five months of sewing from the collection (well all except my Mood projects).  Believe me, five months won't make a difference in my collection.  It will be like a drop in the bucket BUT there won't be anything new coming in to add to the chaos.

I know some of you are out there shaking your heads, laughing even, seriously doubting my ability to do this because I AM A FABRICAHOLIC.  You know that I love fabric.  I love owning it.  I love the possibilities of it.  I love acquiring it.  However, I'm taking this a step further because I'm co-opting all of you to help me.  Not only am I NOT purchasing any new fabric for the next five months, but I'm giving away FOUR pieces to ONE lucky winner every month for the next five months.  For this giveaway, I'm opening this up to everyone, no matter where you're located in the world.

This is how it will work...
  • You must leave a comment on this post and this post alone.
  • Everyone's name will be entered into a jar (sort of like Karen's).
  • Around the 15th of every month, I will pull one name.
  • You will have three days to contact me with your name, home address and email addy.
  • I will ship four pieces (by the cheapest method possible if it's an overseas winner) that I pull from my collection.
  • I will forward a picture of the pieces of fabric to you via email.  Please confirm when you receive the email.
  • If you have a blog, would you kindly post the fabric's arrival on your blog. 
  • Once you've won fabric, of course your name will be removed from the jar for good.
  • Finally, the comments section on this post will remain open for one week - until July 31st at 11:59pm EST. I will lock it down then and I will transfer all of the names to my "Fabric Giveaway Jar".

That's it.  So not only will I NOT add to the fabric collection, but I will also give dozens of yards away.  Hopefully that will gain me some space on my very full fabric shelves which is my ultimate goal.  

Okay, so are you in?  Will you help me to stay on my fabric diet until the end of the year?  If so, leave a comment and tell me what is your favorite fabric to work with...and if you win...maybe it will be included in the gift parcel sent to you.

...as always more later!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Not sewing but prepping to sew

I was tired on Sunday and not very motivated to sew...probably because the upcoming work week was going to be intense.  I didn't want to waste a Sunday not doing anything sewing so I spent the day pretreating three different pieces of linen.

Last week I posted a pic on Instagram of a green floral linen and an out of print Tomatsu pattern ~ Vogue 2090.  

I've wanted to make a knee length shirtdress for awhile now.  I've bought several patterns that tickled my fancy over the years...but I haven't used one of them. When putting the sewing room back together, I touched this pattern and remembered how much I liked making and wearing the dresses made from it. So I pulled it out to make another.

This weekend, however, I realized that a solid color dress works better in my corporate lifestyle but I couldn't decide on a blue or pink linen. Since there is plenty of linen in the collection, I pulled three that I wanted to consider. They were all purchased from Fabric Mart last year or the year before.

A medium wt. pink linen

A denim colored medium wt. linen

This pink linen is brighter IRL than pictured

They were pretreated using the methods in this post.  Doing three pieces at once ate up a lot of my day and popped the fuse box!  Now that I have pretreated the three pieces, chosen the blue one as the one to make next and cut it out using my altered pattern, I'm all set for the weekend.  So even though I didn't finish anything, I did all of the prep work and that was good enough.

...as always more later!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Designer Interpretation in Linen - Construction Details

I loved making this dress.  After the sewing room disaster and making two quickie skirts (still need to blog about them), it was great to immerse myself in the making of a dress.  My mostest favorite garment to sew - and yes I know mostest is not a word! *LOL*  

The details that I liked and wanted in my version of the Barbara Tfank dresses - was the full skirt, the pleat in the skirt front, and the piped waistline & neckline. The welt pockets are pretty on the first dress but since I'm primarily a "no pocket" girl, I never intended to include them on my dress.

So some details...

Fabric ~
I chose a medium weight crisp linen from Moods NYC store that I washed and dried only once.  I chose to pretreat it just one time because this dress won't get a lot of wear. It's part of my "Meeting Black Wardrobe" that only gets a limited amount of wear...not only is the number of garments growing in this section of my wardrobe...but I also primarily wear them during heavy meeting cycles.

Pattern Alterations ~
  • I started with my TNT dress pattern - Butterick 5147 - which is quickly becoming a much used/favorite pattern, as evidenced by the number of times I've made the dress.
  • Then I made a full dress front by tracing the right and left sides of the pattern and taping them together.
  • Figuring out the waist band was next - how big did I want it to be and where to place it on the pattern.  I did this by using my other TNT pattern for the right waistband placement on me.  I also made sure that the waistband wasn't too large so I ended up using a 2" waistband.
  • To make new pattern pieces for the back I used my pattern sandwich method to get new pattern pieces - back bodice top, back waistband and back skirt pattern with pleat.
  • After all of the alterations were made to the new pattern piece, the pieces were cut apart.
  • Seam allowances of 5/8" were added to all of the pieces.

Making the front box pleat ~
I'm gonna be honest here.  I have no measurements for the pleat.  After cutting the skirt pattern from the waist band, I added 5/8" to the top of the piece.  Then I slit the skirt pattern down the front.  I added about a 20" piece of pattern paper to the front of the skirt pattern.  To check to see if it worked, I folded the front piece to make a box pleat. Then I made sure the two original skirt pieces met in the back of the pleat so that I would know that the skirt portion still fit at the waistband.

It worked for me.  I don't know if this is the "right" or "accepted method" but I did it intuitively.  Then I basted the pleat down and before assembling the skirt I topstitched both sides of the pleat leaving a small space at the top of the pleat so that the waistband topstitching would not intersect it.

Back pleats ~
They were made essentially the same way as the front pleat.  I just inverted the pleat on each back piece.

I chose not to add any topstitching to the back pleats. I stitched down 6" so that the pleat did not open over my backside.  With the pleat sewn down, the pleat opens further down and it doesn't add bulk to my backside. 

Marking the seam for the inverted pleat on the dress' skirt back

Dress' skirt back with the inverted pleat stitched down

Waist embellishment and the zipper ~
I really wanted to add piping to this dress but I couldn't figure out how to do it without screwing up the zipper in the back.  I love this dress but putting the zipper in gave me such a hard time, that I just couldn't go there again, and I wear the dress infrequently.  So I put in a 9" zipper at the neckline.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get the dress on but I had no problems doing so.

Since I wasn't using piping, I decided to topstitch the waistband, as well as the armholes, neckline and the front pleats. I used the #5 triple stitch on my Janome 8900 and lengthened the stitch length to 4.  Prior to adding the topstitching to the garment, I auditioned a few colors.  Originally I was thinking a black garment with white piping but once I ditched the piping idea, I realized I could use whatever color thread peaked my interest.

As you can see, I did use several colors in my sample stitch out...however, it was the green that really caught my eye. So that's the color I went with for the dress. It's a little unexpected, not a traditional color, but I did have a short cardigan that coordinated with my thread choice so I used it.

Black dress lightened to highlight the topstitching

Correct color with green topstitching 

A few additional observations ~
As I stated earlier this was an easy sew.  The challenging part was the pleats. Once I figured out that I wanted a box pleat in the front and inverted box pleats in the back, it was a breeze.  Of course, it helped that I started the process with a TNT dress pattern.

Besides piping, topstitching is another one of my favorite methods to embellish a garment.  I wrote about my topstitching technique here and here. I loved the green thread because it looked fresh and fashionable.  I'm glad I chose it.

The dress took 4.5 yards of 60" wide fabric to make...most of it in the skirt. The dress is lined with black rayon bemberg.  However, the lining is made from B5147 without the additional pleating.  I'd seen it done that way in a ready to wear garment, so I made the lining that way, sort of slip like.

Photos of the finished dress soon...but I'll leave you with a picture of my gorgeous grandbabies, who I'm hugging just a little tighter these days...

...as always more later!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trayvon Benjamin Martin (Feb 5, 1995 - Feb 26, 2012)

This is not a sewing post.  So if you're only here for my sewing posts, click away now.

I purposely haven't written a blog post this week. I was so hurt by the decision rendered in Florida last weekend, that I didn't know what to say or how to cohesively state, how demoralized that decision made me feel as the mother & grandmother of black sons in post-racial America.

However, this week President Obama shared the speech that I've copied in it's entirety from The Huffington Post below. To say that this speech made me proud of my President is such a gross understatement, but I have no other words than pride.

I've closed the comments section on this post because I don't want to discuss this.  I want to share these words and that's all.  I also want to say that my heart still cries out for Trayvon Martin's parents, for the loss of their young son who was just learning to make his way in the world and for the fact that they will never know what he could have become.  

He could have been either of my beautiful black grandsons....

President Obama's speech...
I wanted to come out here, first of all, to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is very much looking forward to the session. The second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks, there’s going to obviously be a whole range of issues -- immigration, economics, et cetera -- we'll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.
The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week -- the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday. But watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.
First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.
The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case -- I'll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues. The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that's how our system works. But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
And I don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws -- everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.
And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.
I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.
I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.
That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation we can’t do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff, so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.
Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.
When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.
And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.
So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And let's figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.
Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.
I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the "stand your ground" laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these "stand your ground" laws, I'd just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
Number three -- and this is a long-term project -- we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys. And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?
I'm not naïve about the prospects of some grand, new federal program. I'm not sure that that’s what we're talking about here. But I do recognize that as President, I've got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they're a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed -- I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.

And then, finally, I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.
And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are -- they’re better than we were -- on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.
And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues. And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.
Thank you, guys.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What I'm working on...

I have a heavy meeting schedule coming up for the rest of the month and I wanted a new black outfit to add to the mix.  Since I also needed a Mood project for this month, I started looking at dresses on Style.com to see if anything piqued my interest.

Ever since Michelle Obama wore a Barbara Tfank outfit, she's been added to my list of designers I check when new collections come out.  In the Resort 2014 collection I found these two dresses that screamed great summer dress to me...

I decided to choose design features from both dresses to make one amazing dress for me.  First can I say that this silhouette is out of the norm for me. However, I'm in the mood to mix it up a little and full skirts just say comfort to me especially in the summer.

So using this black linen scored from the Moods NYC store (but it can also be found online here):

I using my TNT dress from Butterick 5147 as the starting point.

I'm working out pattern alterations and how I'm going to construct the dress now, so stay tuned for more on the making of this designer interpretation.

...as always more later!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Fabric Goes To....

The winner of the fabric giveaway is:

thaliap who blogs at Thalia and Family

Thalia please leave a comment with your email addy and I will get in touch with you to mail
your fabric out to you!

Thanks to everyone for participating in the giveaway...believe me this won't be the last one!

...as always more later!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Don't forget...

...to enter the drawing!  Leave a message on the post, "Four Bags and counting so let's celebrate!" if you want to inherit some pieces from my VAST fabric collection!  I will be closing the comments section tonight at 11:59pm EST...and you know what they say, "You have to be in it to win it!"

Good luck to everyone!

...as always more later!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Done and I'm so happy!

I started Saturday morning a little down.  It seemed like there was still so much left to do in the sewing workroom to make it functional.  Friday evening I'd gotten two more bags onto the fabric shelves.  However, you know when you're almost finished with a project and the end seems further away than it did when you started the project?  That's where I was when I woke up Saturday morning.

Then I got downstairs and I decided to listen to the wise words of wisdom that had been offered in the comments section on a previous post.  It was time to let the last of the fabric sit and get the room in shape so that I could sew. That meant that I needed to clean the room and pick some fabric to start working on...so that's what I did.

The room is finished for now and there were a few things that I did differently for this version of it.

I added a plastic thin sheeting to the bottoms of the lower shelves, just in case there is water again. Now of course, if the room floods this won't work but it is preventive for a little water in the room.  I bought these sheets from Quill.com and then cut them down to fit the shelves.

The cutting table has been placed further back than it was originally.  I started to feel a little closed in with the u-shape that I was using.  This new arrangement feels more comfortable...really I don't need as much space behind the table as I do in front of it.

Moving the white cabinet to the wall with the sewing machines lightened up the room.  Less fabric, more wall space gives the room an airy feel.  I needed that especially after looking at so many sewing sites on the internet and Pinterest and being struck by how light they were.

It's hard to get a light feeling in a basement room when there are just two windows that are high up on the wall ~ towards the back of the room.  So to get the lighter look I desired, I knew more wall space was needed, especially since my walls are painted eggshell. I added more white coverings to hide the fabric to further the light illusion. 

Which brings me to the two new matching floor lamps...they are lights with three way bulbs that are 50/100/150w.  I'm using the 100 watt settings on both of them. Lots of light and they match each other, as well as, coordinate with the shelving.

Then I shifted the white plastic bins and the shorter black fabric shelf.  This gave me a wall of shelving that is lighter because of the white fabric liners and better organized, holding more things. I did gain more shelves for fabric by combining the two pieces.

However, since I used the top shelf to store magazines...fashion and sewing...I lost a huge amount of fabric storage.  Previously there were magazines laying EVERYWHERE!  That's not a problem anymore.  There is more than enough space for Threads, Vogue Pattern Magazine and my Vogue Fashion Fabric Club newsletters.  Also, when the pile of magazines on the side gets too high, I know it's time to send them to recycling.

A few more pics of the room from all angles, cleaned and ready to be used.

The fabric shelves...

Fabric shelf across from the computer desk
with the shower curtains open & closed

The main fabric wall with the curtains open & closed

Second black shelf moved full of fabric
with the curtains opened and closed

The sewing area...

The white cabinet now holding my Janome 8000
with a leather tray holding little girl's patterns

Views of the room...

You will notice there is fabric on the cutting table...well I've already started working with it.  A couple of quick skirts to jump start my sewing mojo! Look for pics of them soon, as well as, a review of a new Craftsy course that I signed up for during the dark days of the sewing workroom redo.  

Finally, I'm back! This is the last post on the sewing workroom that you will have to endure for awhile. Thank you for hanging in there with me as I worked my way back!  I think I'm going to be happy creating in here for awhile...

...as always more later!


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