Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Update from the Sewing Cave...

I thought I would answer some of the questions posed during the sewcation as well as document some of my thoughts in this post.  However, I thought I would start with a picture of the completed garments...

Pleather jacket, white/black herringbone skirt, CRR wool doubleknit suit
RTW cardigan w/brown pinstripe skirt, cranberry wool crepe lace dress
and finally the Chado Ralph Rucci doubleknit dress

I completed:

2 skirts
2 dresses and
2 jackets

6 items in all

So my thoughts and answers to a couple of questions follows...

I loved the Cynthia Guffey video and I immediately started using some of her techniques...

1.  Pinned the pattern perpedicular instead of horizontally.  Years and years ago I learned to pin patterns to fabric horizontally.  I've seen other sewists pin differently than I did but hey it was working for me - so what was broke didn't need fixing until Cynthia explained why I should.

2.  I'm a scissors/shears girl.  I own a rotary cutter and I do use it to cut bias strips, strips of fusible interfacing, etc. but I cut out garments with my shears. So when Cynthia explained a better way to cut out, I changed the way I was doing that too.  CG explained that you should cut with your scissors/shears between your body and the fabric/pattern because you get less ragged edges that way.  I've always wondered why one side of my pattern would be raggedly cut and the other side clean.  I always fixed it at the serger but its good to know that I can do it right on both sides with a little forethought!

3.  I know that Cynthia doesn't promote fast sewing - and by following her don't move anything after it's pressed until its cold and dry (from the steam) slowed me down considerably. I thought I was good about not moving freshly steamed pieces but when you're conscientious about it, you realize how much time goes by before a piece really is ready to be moved from the ironing board.

+ + + + +

You know the best thing about having a bunch of time to just sew?  You slow down and enjoy the process. What do I mean?  I take my time on the weekends when I sew.  I try hard not to rush any process but there is always a clock in the back of my head telling me I have only so many hours left before I need to shut down for the weekend.  With seven/eight days to sew, the clock doesn't tick as loudly.  I mean it did when I first started but midway into the week, I stopped hearing it.  All I felt was the joy of the process that thing that I was longing for.

+ + + + + 

My Janome 8900 QCP isn't a year old but it has changed my sewing life.  I loved my Memory Craft 6600P but I absolutely adore my 8900.  This week not only have I appreciated the fact that it has the ability to lift the foot in two positions to get lofter pieces of fabric under it but I am also loving my teflon foot.  This foot isn't part of the original feet included with the 8900.  My dealer gave it to me as a gift when I purchased the machine.  I was happy to get it when I got my sewing machine but I was thrilled with it when I needed it to sew the pleather/ponte sweater jacket. Thrilled.

+ + + + +

There were several comments on my preservance on the B6002 pleather jacket.  After thinking about it, I realized that I never felt overwhelmed or bothered until the end.  Maybe if it had been a weekend sew I might have been more challenged...but I had time to think things through and let it rest so I was fine with it.  What a difference having time makes vs. rushing.  And of course the fabric put up a fight...it is beautiful and not easy to sew but so worth the effort...so worth the effort.  

Rachel, I'm sorry but the pleather is only available at Mood's NYC store. Normally I say call the store and see if there is some left but I bought this at the end of July and I just don't know how much or if any is left. However, Mood does have an amazing assortment of pleather online here.  Don't be put off by the fact that Mood calls the pleather vinyl, just know that it's what I've bought and used for a couple of pieces.

+ + + + +

More questions about the sleeve board/shoulder stand that I used for the sleeves on the pleather jacket... I bought this board/stand after seeing it on Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics blog.  You can get one here.  Best $40 I ever spent and a wonderful addition to my pressing arsenal.  I blogged about it here.

+ + + + +

After a week of sewing fall garments, the one downfall is that I won't be able to wear them until it gets quite a bit colder.  It's kind of nice being able to wear the things I've labored over when I go back to work and that won't be happening this time!  Also, photographing these pieces in the heat was a little much!  Seriously, I took one set of pictures in tights and boots and thought it is time to make a transitional dress/outfit instead of all of these fall garments! *LOL*

+ + + + +

After a slow start due to the Labor Day celebrations, I've ended up with six great pieces, and I'm calm & collected ready to go back to work.  Stay tuned there are a few more posts about the garments I made, as well as the September Fabric Giveaway winner!

...as always more later!



  1. I was hoping to see a recap of your sew vacation and here it is. You made some wonderful unique garments - well done Carolyn!


  2. Oh I envy you the eight days of sewing...I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Oh boy .. I posted already and POOF .. gone into cyber
    nomansland. So, if it magically
    appears, you can delete this.

    What I similarly said was .. WOW
    .. what a super array of beautiful
    garments. BOOM!


    I so admire your tenacity in
    planning what you need works for
    you, and the patience to complete
    all it takes to get to your
    desired goal.


    How many hours a day would you say
    you sewed .. and did you need to
    take breaks due to eyestrain?

    I know you were in heaven .. I'm
    happy for you .. that you were
    able to so obviously enjoy a delightful, pleasurable week ..;)


  4. So glad that you had a happy and fruitful time sewing. You've made (another) set of lovely items and feel refreshed in doing so- bonus! Sewing is like wine to me- sometimes I need a quick fix and sometimes I want to savour it. The key is matching the item (or wine!!) to the moment ;-) Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well as finished items too, it is really interesting to see your thought processes.

  5. I want to take a staycation it sounds so nice. Thanks for sharing

  6. Beautiful pieces! I am coveting your wool crepe and lace dress right now. Thinking about copycatting in grey crepe and cerulean blue lace.

  7. I bought the Guffy video and thank you so much for recommending it. It was an eye opener about lots of problems I encountered in my sewing. I will be getting more of her videos too.

  8. You accomplished quite a lot. And some beautiful pieces too.

  9. Lovely work. I'm totally jealous of anyone who has a spare minute for ANYTHING these days!

  10. Well you must be pleased with your output this time, when you see them all hanging together you can appreciate the great variety of garments and fabrics.

  11. The highlight of my Monday morning is to go to your blog and see what you've posted. I like your style.
    I do want to address a comment you made a couple of weeks ago. You said that you didn't want to dress better than your manager. I have rarely not dressed better than those around me. Even when I was in high school I tended to out dress even a lot of the staff. I think it has to do with the fact that when you take your craft seriously your fashion sense and creativity is elevated. When I was younger I regularly heard that I dressed older or more mature than my peers, even mistaken at times as staff instead of student.
    We now live in a society that wears shorts and flipflops to church or to an awards show. My favorite is wearing PJ's in public and looking as though you just rolled out of bed. But there are always those that stay true to their style no matter what those around them do. Miley Cyrus does impact what Taylor Swift does, or doesn't, wear.
    Last year I started working as the receptionist for an architectural firm that is very causal and jeans are the norm. It sounds a lot like your office. Not long ago one of the partners told me that "HE" liked my style and creativity and the fact that I take the time to dress up even when I wear jeans. Yes, a man took the time to give me a well thought out compliment because he noticed. Whether it's jeans, slacks or a dress, even a suit, I keep true to my style and creativity. And sometimes it has caused those around me to rethink theirs.
    All that to say, wear your dresses if it makes you feel good. And don't worry about out dressing your manager because I doubt if they are thinking about it in a bad way. But you might make them rethink their style if you're true to your's.

  12. Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and in depth information you provide.
    It's great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same outdated rehashed material.
    Excellent read! I've bookmarked your site and I'm
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