Saturday, November 30, 2019

I'm In A New Place...

I haven't been sewing much in the last couple of months.  Some of it's from a loss of desire and some of it's because my sewing in the past has been driven by need.  In my previous job I needed a constantly revolving wardrobe for the many facets of my job. It was a very corporate job with very specific needs.

In this job, those needs no longer apply.  If you've been following along for the last couple of years, you know I really struggled with what I wanted to wear. It's been a four year adventure and I've finally figured out what I like sewing and wearing.

I've sewn a comfortable wardrobe of shirts, cardigans, toppers worn with jeans in the fall/winter/early spring.  For late spring/summer/late summer I wear a wardrobe of dresses both short and maxi length.

When I wake up in the morning, I no longer ponder what to wear.  I no longer wish I had something that didn't exist in my closet. Yes, there are pieces I can add to give it more depth but I'm not discontent with my sewing or what's in my closet.

So this has brought a moment of hesitation, loss of direction and sewjo. My friend Gaylen asked me the other day if I didn't have a long period of time when I didn't sew.  I can honestly say that the longest period has been for a couple of months when I was getting divorced. But at that time I could barely get out of bed every day to do every day chores.  Everything took so much effort - going to work, getting my kids fed - that at the end of the day I had no more energy so I went back to bed. Sewing wasn't in my universe because it took everything I had just to survive. I know if you've experienced divorce you know what I mean.

The other time I stopped for a couple of weeks was when my Dad died.  The grief was like a curtain that shut out everything else...I could barely breathe for the hurt that enveloped me.  And the crazy thing is that it wasn't unexpected...but there is no accounting for the empty hole the loss of someone who loved you so much leaves.

Other than that, I've always sewn. It's who I am. When I move not only do I need a dishwasher and washer/dryer but I also have to have a designated space to sew.  If there's no area for that, I keep looking for the next space. I know other people have other priorities but not me. I fully intend to sew until I can no longer sit up straight at my sewing machine.

So the continued lack of desire to create has me befuddled.  At first, I used the time to catch up on movies and TV series I hadn't watched.  Then I started reading.  Because not only does it transport me to other places and shut out the craziness of the present political climate, it takes time. Time I'm no longer using to sew.

I think I would be completely despondent if I didn't still have ideas of things I want to make swirling in my head. But that burning desire to create, the thing that drove most of my sewing weekends, it's just not there. I miss THAT!

My normal triggers haven't inspired me. Usually a fabric purchase works, but I haven't wanted to add any to the plethora of fabric I currently own. Or a design idea stimulates me to want to create, usually burning so brightly that I can't do anything else until its made. Nothing this time. I mean I have ideas but nothing that makes me want to rush home and spend every waking minute in the sewing cave until it comes to be.

Now I'm not asking for suggestions on how to leave this place. I'm writing this to explain why there's no content here.  Why there will probably be only a little content going forward. I get some of my best "Questions of the Day" when I'm neck deep in sewing. One sewing journey usually leads to another.  A need usually leads to a purchase of sewing equipment. I no longer have needs...wants maybe but few needs.

So I'm figuring out where to go from here. How to either get back to where I was or find a new space to create. I believe this is my new and/or next sewing journey! always more later!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Changing It Up

I made this denim shirtdress in June 2018 during my shirtdress making season.

I wore it a couple of times.  Every time though I felt like a jailhouse matron. When I pulled it out in the spring it just sat with all of the bad feelings attached to it. I thought it would make a great vest. Not something I would wear during the spring/summer months, so I left it to make the alterations in the fall. Then my sewjo went on vacation and the dress sat. 

I'm missing my sewjo. It's my friend and keeps me company...engages me creatively...takes amazing adventures with I want it back.  In an effort to coax it to return, I thought I would do some simple creative tasks. Clean off my cutting table, trace a pattern out that I want to sew and alter this dress.

Alterations to the dress ~

Of course I removed the sleeves first.

Next I cut 7.5" off the bottom of the dress because I wanted a cardigan length vest not a maxi one. As pictured below, I chose to cut it off right before the last buttonhole. It would allow me to have enough space to hem the vest without having to remove a buttonhole.

The hem was topstitched with a 6.0mm twin universal needle using a 4.5" stitch length. This was done to match the existing twinstitching on the garment.

When I was reworking this, I realized that the accents for this dress/vest were made from some of the same blue gingham fabric I used for this shirt (which is one of my faves). So naturally I paired them together for a photograph.  This is how I will wear the vest and shirt over a pair of jeans or leggings.

I won't be taking "modelled" pictures of this alteration.  Just wanted to share how I updated the dress and made it wearable. I'm happy I shortened it into a vest. It will definitely get more wear this way.  Don't know if this actually made my sewjo come home but Imma keep plugging away at smaller sewing tasks so it knows its missed. Though this little bit of sewing felt good and I'm hoping my sewjo will come home soon! always more later!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Sewing Room Redo

As the Christmas holidays approach and I think about how I'm going to spend them, I know that I want to redo my sewing cave. It's overflowing and not functioning well...and I guess I'm tired of this arrangement too.

A few pictures of it in its total disarray ~

Coming down the steps into the Sewing Cave

Looking from the back of the room to the front
Computer Desk and Sewing Machine desk

From the front door viewing the cutting table full on

Storage underneath the sewing desks

Sewing machine & serger on the table

Computer area

It's junky. I have way too much stuff put in there haphazardly.  I need to remove all of this stuff, sort through it and then put back what I want to keep.  The last sewing cave refresh was over 5 years ago so there's five more years of sewing things stuffed into the room. I need to change the storage arrangement and make it more functional and remove the accumulated junk.

Where It's Going ~
A couple of months ago I took a trip to IKEA as a sight-seeing mission and I found a few things I'd like to use to refresh the sewing cave. I've made a list, measured my space and I'm waiting for a bunch of time to take the sewing cave apart and rebuild it.

Alex Desk
(I wanted the drawers so I could remove some of the stuff from the top of my sewing table)

I'm no good at doing things in pieces, like a weekend at a time. I will be off work almost two weeks during the Christmas Holiday so this will allow me to take my time and refresh the room. I might even get some sewing in.

Next ~
Right now my sewjo is gone. I guess I should be concerned but I feel like I've sewn so much in the last couple of years that my wardrobe is everything I want it to be. I've been sewing so many years from NEED that I'm adjusting and recalibrating to WANT. 

Need sewing is right now, hurry up and get it as inventive as possible. Want sewing is figuring it out, developing projects, slow sewing and taking my time. Although, I'm good where I am right now. I'm reading, watching all the shows on NETFLIX I've been putting off watching and coming up with another crochet project.

So there may be little content around here over the course of the next couple of weeks. I mean you have to sew to have something to say, right?! But who knows, my sewjo may come raging back any minute...LOL! always more later!

Saturday, November 02, 2019

A Visit to Urban Sewciety ~ A Local Fabric Store

As sewists we all know local fabric stores that aren't chain stores are few and far between.  I mean everyone can find a Joann's or Hobby Lobby near them. However, most of us can't name a good local fabric store that carries a nice range of fabrics, patterns, notions and has classes.

That's why when I heard about Urban Sewciety on Lauren's IG account, I had to find out about them.  Visited their IG account, Website and Facebook page then scheduled a trip with a local sewing friend because who else to take on a sewing adventure than a sewing friend, right?

For my friends in the NJ, NY and PA area this shop is easily accessible by car and by NJTransit trains. It's a five minute walk from the Westfield Train Station and easily accessible from the NJTurnpike & Garden State Parkway. Also, there is plenty of parking which can be challenging in downtown Westfield.

The shop is light and airy, relaxing and comfortable.  It has a wonderful selection of indie patterns, quilting cottons, interfacing, a smaller selection of apparel fabrics and NOTIONS! I love that they realize you may want to purchase everything at one shot to get a project completed.

When we came in there were classes going on in the back which was so cool! There is an extensive list of classes on the website for garment sewing for adults and kids, as well as crafting classes. Most especially though, they do sewing classes for the Girl Scouts. Since I was a Girl Scout, that organization is near and dear to my heart, so was thrilled to see they were assisting the girls with skills and badges!

So how about a few pictures of the shop ~

A view of the classrooms ~

...and this is the Ladies Room...
(don't you just love this!)

Now you know my philosophy, I can't visit a new fabric store without purchasing something.  This time it was two indie patterns I've been wanting.  The Adrienne Blouse by The Friday Pattern Company and The Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated.  Both are paper patterns (of course) in extended sizes. The Adrienne Blouse is up to a size 4x and The Hinterland Dress to a size 24. Of course a piece of fabric...I chose this one because I don't have much green fabric in the collection (which is relative I know compared to normal people's fabric collections). Someday, hopefully soon, it will be a shirt.

As we were leaving, we saw that there were clipboards by the stairwell advertising upcoming events.  There were two that caught our eye...

Now you know I'm down for a sewing retreat...and as soon as I got home I signed up for the retreat as did my friend Melanie. It's a two day retreat. Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 9am to 5pm with all meals supplied. If you're in the area and you're free on those dates, you should sign up and attend with us.  It would be fun to sew with you!  You can sign up here!

Even if you can't attend the sewing retreat, I hope you will visit Urban SewCiety. I'm sure you will be as charmed with it as I was and will visit them again and again. We need to support our local sewing stores if we want them to thrive! always more later!


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