Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sewing in the Sewing Loft

I know I said my next post would be a finished garment but I wanted to write about my experiences sewing in the Sewing Loft.

See everything is new.  New sewing machine, new sewing tables, new sewing, new, new! And my sewing muscle memory is for another place and time. So everything is moving slowly as I'm adjusting to all the newness!

First, as a Janome Maker, I am sewing on my new Janome 9450QCP.  While I've been a loyal Janome sewing machine owner for decades, this one is significantly different than all of the other machines I've worked on.  Every process, every consideration, even every foot, has been examined to make the sewing as simple and easy as possible. Now I know it's a quilting machine and even most of the YouTube videos are based on the machine's quilting capabilities. However, I've been using a "quilting" machine for garment sewing for decades - starting with a 6600P, moving onto the 8900QCP and now the 9450QCP.

Another reason I like this machine is because no eyestrain. The lighting is AMAZING. I had an Ottlite behind it and moved it because I just didn't need the additional light. It's all supplied by the machine and the extra overhead needle lighting.

My eyes are older now. It's a good lighting is a requirement. Just like the automatic needle threader which took me a minute to learn but is one of the main reasons for desiring this machine - ease of use. I have the feature on my 8900 and never quite got the hang of it.  I am having to rethink ingrained sewing processes because they're incorporated in the machine.

For my new make, there is some gathering in the body of the dress/jacket. I did it the way I've done it for years.  Lengthen your stitch, sew two rows of stitching, leave long tails and then pull the bobbin stitches to gather the stitches evenly. As I was reviewing my new Janome Workbook, I realized that there is a button for that. I want to use my sewing machine to its full I'm going to have to "unlearn" a few things!

See new...

Then there is my sewing machine table arrangement. I sew barefooted. While my sewing machine has a knee lift and a start/stop button for sewing, I still like using my foot pedal. The new table has so many pieces to stabilize it that I don't have the open space under it I had using a folding table. Learning that I can't kick my sewing pedal far out from my machine has been interesting.

Presently - my iron and ironing board are still at the bottom of the loft stairs. I'm making the trip up and down the stairs for now. I'm sure this will get tiring at some point. I do have some other options for ironing on the cutting table upstairs. As I try them out, I will share them.

Added a hook to the utility closet door for hanging projects

More space ~

I have more space to lay or hang pieces of my garments in progress including on Daphne my dressform. This is new. I had run out of space in the sewing cave and operated in very tight quarters with few clean surfaces. Not having my computer in the space definitely helps but the new layout is the real winner. The space astounded me as I worked in it last weekend.

Lighting ~

This refers to the room lighting.  Even as I worked in the sewing loft with natural light (astounding), dimmer light because of cloudy and rainy days, and darkness at night, the light is fantastic.  I still haven't figured out how to photograph things at night but during the day nothing beats the natural light.

I'm presently finishing up a Dover maxidress/jacket and that will be up on the blog next.  However, I really wanted to document this feeling of newness. So I can look back on it in several years, when I've acclimated to the loft and remember when! always more later!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

A Curtain Story

I don't sew home dec.  Nothing about it appeals to me.  However, when I need curtains, I find a few inspirational photos, save them and proceed to try and make curtains. This post is about my curtain journey for my new apartment.

Honestly, I'm not going to make all of the curtains for my apartment.  I've already purchased some floral sheers from Walmart for my bedroom.  I just hate most kitchen curtains in the stores and online. They're cutesy and frilly and that's just not me. I like clean functional designs. 

I really wanted a dark blue & white gingham to make kitchen curtains.  I thought I had some in my fabric collection and I did...but it was scraps.  Enough for accents but not enough for curtains. So I did the unthinkable I broke down and went to Walmart...thinking they would have a very basic blue & white gingham. Well no, no they did not. And the experience of purchasing from them was so horrible that I don't know how y'all do it!

I did purchase a yard of a bluish/grey gingham but once I got it home, it looked dull up at the window.  Because I was unsure about the bluish/grey fabric I also bought a brighter striped shades of blue fabric. That's what I used to make the curtains presently hanging in the kitchen window.  In all honesty though, I don't like them either. However, I do like that the window looks finished so I will leave them for now while I figure out what I want to do.

While in Walmart, I picked up a few other things.  One of them was a shower curtain that I thought cut up would make an excellent bathroom curtain.

Yes, this is bathroom realness...

This one I like much so much better!  I love the gradient stripes of blue and it works for me pulled to one side. I purchased a navy blue bath mat and some navy blue towels to finish the look off.  

The Living and Dining Rooms still need curtains and furniture.  My Dining Room is basically a storage space for leftover fabric bins and other things I don't know where to put yet. While I'm taking my Mom's dining room set when she moves, it will be months before that happens. Even though I know what style of curtains I want for the Dining Room, I will probably make them once the furniture arrives.

The Living Room is still waiting on furniture to be delivered...and I really miss a couch! I have blinds in the living room so curtains aren't a necessity at the moment. This is where I have no idea what I want and will take my time to decide on what to do here. 

Now that the Sewing Loft is done...the itch to sew is back with a vengence.  Last weekend I cut out a Dover Maxidress.

That's what's cut out and waiting for me to work on during this three day weekend...hopefully I will get some pictures next weekend to finally have a new garment to share here!

I'm seriously ready to sew garments! *LOL* always more later!

Saturday, October 03, 2020

My Fabric Collection 2020

When I unpacked my fabric collection one major thing I realized is that I neglected it when it was in the Sewing Cave. See it was so well organized and put away that when I added more fabric bins to handle the fabric buying overflow, I stopped paying attention to the main collection.

I saw that as I unpacked it.

The Fabric in the old Sewing Cave

Also, I own so much more fabric than I've been willing to admit I own. In all honesty, I'm an emotional fabric purchaser.  Meaning it wasn't bought when I was when I was unhappy with a job I worked at for far too long...I bought fabric.  When I was unhappy with my living situation...instead of dealing with it...I bought more fabric.

I saw that as I unpacked it.

Several years ago I wrote a blog post about how my fabric collection was my retirement fund. The internet gave me a lot of flack for that post. However, fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic...when everything shut down for fabric collection was truly a good thing. For that reason and for the fact that it will take me into retirement, I am thankful for the fabric collection.

I saw that as I unpacked it.

As I put it onto the shelves, I wondered why I have so much green fabric when I don't really wear a lot of green. Oh yeah, it was the pantone color of the year and I bought all of the pretty hues of green. I've found 5 yard pieces of merino wool in red, navy and black - why so much? Oh yeah, was having an amazing sale so why not buy all the basic colors.

The Fabric Closet at the bottom of the loft stairs

So much of my fabric has stories behind it. Where I bought it. Why I bought it.  Who I was with when I bought it. How I was spending my last disposable dollars to buy it. It's a living history/testament to my sewing journey...

I saw that as I unpacked it.

  • I found the one piece I purchased as a 18 year old and have held onto for all these years. 
  • I found a few pieces I bought when I made my first trip to the original GStreet Fabrics in Maryland. 
  • There are pieces from fabric stores that no longer exist in the NYC Garment District. 
  • Pieces purchased from Mood Fabric when I was a Mood Blogger and pieces that friends have given me over the years. 
  • There are also pieces from online fabric companies that no longer exist. 

I'm thankful for those memories.

I'm also thankful that I have this amazing collection. I can honestly say that I won't be buying any more fabric this year and probably not into the first quarter of 2021. Even if I start sewing from my retirement fund now, I know I won't make a considerable dent in it before I actually retire! *LOL*

Most importantly though, I've learned a few things about myself by unpacking and situating the collection. This is where I'm at now. Just like my extensive pattern collection (which hasn't been sorted yet), I will be sewing from what I have. It's time to make what I have work for me.

A tour of the fabric collection can be seen here

The new black/brown/shirting shelf

The new pinks/prints/red & purple shelf

The Sewing Loft is finally finished...

...and I'm spending my first weekend sewing.  Sewing in what seems like a very long time! 

Enjoying the view from this lovely window since it's a bright, crisp fall day. always more later!


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