Saturday, April 30, 2022

Why I Shop Online

I'm a planner but I had to go to one of the big box stores because I needed some supplies in a hurry.  My projects are usually well thought out and everything acquired before I start. However, this project was a whim. See I'm allowing myself a little latitude with my sewing now to make it more enjoyable and less structured.

Anyway, because it was later in the day, my choices are Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby or in my world the dreaded Joanns.  I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague because of the crowds. I'm still Covid shy around a lot of people especially people who are no longer required to wear a mask.  Hobby Lobby comes with so many moral dilemmas that I always feel so unclean after a visit. 

I decided to get over myself and try Joann's online site to see if I could get what I needed at the store closest to me.  I will say that Joann's online experience is why I shop online.  It was easy to do.  Clear about the stock in the store (which I was concerned about) and online, and check out was a breeze even with choosing the store option.  The follow up emails were on time and filled with information I needed.

So I bought the items and choose the pick up in store option. I knew I was going to need to go into the store because I wanted to "see" a few things before purchasing.

My daughter and I got there around 7pm which was perfect because the store wasn't that busy.  Remember my Covid shyness. I wore a mask but there were few people wearing daughter included. This store didn't look like the ones I'd seen on social media.  The fabric selection was small and jammed in with the quilting and home dec fabrics in a corner of the store.  More space was definitely given to crafts and furniture stuff.

Also the service was uneven.  The cutting table person was so-so. We had to find her because she was talking with another sales person.  But the cashier was amazing.  Patient, informative on coupon codes - which ones could be used, and very pleasant.  It wasn't a horrid experience but it was nothing I would rave about and/or tell others to experience...and yes, I shared that with Joann's.

When I got home and laid my purchases out, it really gave me an understanding of why I shop online.

1. My selection online is vast and limitless.

I can literally buy from anywhere in the US, Canada, worldwide actually. I just have to be okay with waiting for it.

2.  I don't have to leave my home to do it.

Anytime, I feel the need I can surf the web for whatever I want. And Google is my sends me in a myriad of directions to find what I'm looking for.  I just have to make time to search.

3.  I don't have to deal with people.

With or without a mask, without their biases and bad day attitudes, the computer doesn't judge me, wonder if my credit card is stolen or not, or if I have enough credit to purchase my items...the computer just takes my information and processes it.  Now this is not to say I'm a fan of non-human interaction or AI, but sometimes not dealing with a human is worth it especially during these endemic times.

4.  I get to decide how quickly I want my purchase.

Do I want to spend extra on shipping to get it faster or not?  Is this shop so far away that no matter how fast the shipping choice, I will need to wait weeks for it. Am I supporting a small business or another big box store?

The caveat to this is that I have to plan my purchases. When I'm making a garment, I either have to have the supplies on hand or make time for them to arrive.  That's even true with my forays into the NYC Garment District.  While I work in the district, I still make a list before heading out to buy.  Even though there are a few stores no longer in business, the selection is vast, and I can spend my entire lunch hour looking at fabric, buttons or notions.

The experience at Joann's only made me long for my computer, phone, iPad even more.  I will continue to shop online and wait for the UPS, FedEx, or mailman to deliver my treasures.  How about you?  Do you shop online or in-person?  If so, why?  Also, do you have a local fabric store that you can shop at to help you get everything you need for your projects?  This is my Question of the Day, so talk back to me.

Also, if you're using ANONYMOUS would you mind leaving your name at the end of the post!  It helps if I'd like to reply to you.  THANKS! always more later!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Spring Sewing for 2022

When the weather gets warmer, my thoughts turn to dresses. At this stage of my life it's long, flowy, dresses that provide a comfortable yet cool wearing experience. So when I was composing my spring/summer sewing list, dresses were on the top of the list. 

I'm also trying to sew more than my TNT patterns. While I'm not out in the world exploring, I am trying to branch out and use more patterns in my creative life.  That means there are an assortment of old and new patterns on my list.  Mostly though my list is driven by fabric. Cause let's be real, I own a lot of amazing fabric pieces and that's what I want to highlight this spring/summer. 

There are 16 garments on my list. Some TNT patterns, some Big4 patterns and several Indie Pattern companies. I believe that if I start sewing spring in April and conclude sewing summer in September that I have enough time to create these garments. It works out to 2-3 garments a month. 

I know you're wondering about the temptation of new patterns and fabrics. Will I be tempted? Who knows. But I know that I need a roadmap to begin this sewing journey or I will be lost and nothing will be created. My old goal was to make a lot of clothing.  My goal now is to create beautiful clothing and to enjoy the process.  THIS is a work in progress. I constantly fight against the urges to sew faster and create more. Because that's how creating has ruled my life for the last decade.

Anyway, wanna know what's on my list?  

There are:

2 possibly 3 Myosotis dresses - I just can't quit this pattern!

Big4 - 4 McCalls, 2 Simplicity and 1 Vogue pattern.

Indies - 2 Helen Closets, 2 Cashmerette, 2 Style Arc patterns

...and fabrics.  I have a beautiful magnolia linen border print...

A beautiful pale blue linen, some printed rayon/linens, a light blue & white gingham, some pretty prints in cotton and poly fabrics.  Like my winter sewing, fabric is driving my decisions. My desire is to have a closet full of amazing and pretty summer dresses.  Dresses that make choosing what to wear in the morning a delight instead of a chore.

I've started a cut pile and hope to share some new finished garments with you soon. always more later!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

An Easter Fuller Cardigan

Easter is such a tricky day.  Some years it's warm and sunny so that spring dress you picked is perfect to wear.  Some years it's sunny but chilly so you need a little more coverage.  This year Easter was on the chilly side.  Sunny but definitely needing a little coverage to stay warm.

I've been working on this Fuller Cardigan since last year. I cut it out at the same time I cut out this shirtdress in February. Finally finished it last perfect time for Easter.

Some background ~

This was one of those bonded cable knits that were everywhere in 2021. I bought my piece from Fabric Mart. There's still a couple of yards left in the fabric closet for another garment.  

The thing about this fabric is that it doesn't like topstitching or button holes. I learned that from making this cardigan. So when planning this sew, I decided no topstitching, no buttonholes/buttons and everything needed to be hand stitched. I'm happy with those design decisions.

Pattern Alteration & Construction ~

The Fuller Cardigan has two views.  A v-neck longer verson and a high u-neck shorter version. I combined the v-neck with the shorter version to get my cardigan. I wanted a neckline that would accent the neckline of the shirtdress.

I used 11/16" gold snaps instead of buttons on the cardigan front. The snaps were purchased online from Fabric Mart.

The facings were from a navy blue ltwt ponte from the scrap bin.

The sleeve hems were pressed up 5/8" instead of adding cuffs. Navy blue Hug Snug rayon tape was sewn to the hems and they were hand stitched. Chosen because I could hide the stitching in the busy knit.

A clean finish and allowing the fabric and design to shine were what this make was all about.

A Few Photos ~

Conclusion ~

This concludes my winter sewing. I know I still have a dress hanging out waiting for buttons/buttonholes and a hem.  However, I've decided to push it until fall. Spring is here with warmer weather and long sunny days. So I'm looking forward to making & wearing all the spring dresses and tops. always more later!

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Altered an Oldie but Goodie

I made this shirt back in April 2017 and if you look closely at the pictures, it's quite large on me.  This was back when I lost 35+ pounds and was still learning how to sew for a slimmer me.



Fast forward 5 years and I've gained back the 35 pounds plus some. But this is not a woe is me post. I love the me that I am right now especially since I'm living through a pandemic, the possibility of WW3, had some health challenges and I'm still standing. 

As you know I'm back to work in my office several days a week.  So I've been going through my shirt collection to see which ones still work for my body now. What I found is that all of the shirts with the back yoke and gathered lower back still fit fine.  It's the sleeves that don't fit. I've been going through choosing which ones to alter and which to donate.

To me this designer inspired shirt just needed new sleeves. I didn't want to lose the lacy effect of the original sleeves so I replaced them with full lace sleeves.  The lace of course came from the vast collection of fabric in the Resource Center. I actually had three pieces to choose from and went with the floral lace because you know stripes and floral lace. I love it when I can update a garment and definitely need to do more of that this year!

After prepping the sleeves, I tried the shirt on and while it fits, I wanted an even more relaxed fit. So I took the time to alter all of the seams on the shirt to give me another 1.5" of room.  I'm glad I reworked the shirt because I'm much happier with it now. It's going into the work garments rotation soon.

A few updated photos...

I have another two shirts that I want to make revisions to also.  They will be done as the spirit moves.  I want to save anything I've already created because so much time and effort went into making them.  Not everything should go into the donation pile, right?!

So do you save, recycle or donate?  Just wondering... always more later!

Saturday, April 02, 2022

In Unity There Is Strength - A Shirt

I purchased a cotton wax print bundle from Sew Creative Lounge in the spring/summer of 2020.  There were three prints included in the bundle and since there was yardage of one of the prints in the online shop, I bought 2 more yards.

When the fabric arrived, I noticed there was some writing on the blue/white floral print at the bottom of the picture above. I'm not a fan of sayings on my clothing and was concerned about what this meant.  However, this saying, "Dua kur gye enum a obu" is Twi proverb which means "In Unity There is Strength." 

BTW, Twi is also known as Akan kasa, or Akan-speak, is a dialect of the Akan language spoken in southern and central Ghana by several million people, mainly of the Akan people, the largest of the seventeen major ethnic groups in Ghana.  Yes, Google is my friend. That's how I learned what the proverb meant and about the language.

This was one of the last pieces from my winter cut pile. Constructed in December during my winter break and finally the buttons were sewn on in March - the end of March. I really need to hang my head in shame on this one! *LOL* However, it's a lighter weight cotton so it will be perfect with jeans and a cardi or sweatshirt jacket headed into spring.

The most important part of this shirt is using the border print to it's advantage.  To me that's all done in the planning and cutting stage.  Here's a photo showing the shirt layed out on my cutting table to check the print across the front.

The most important construction tip is related to the border print. I really wanted the flowers to run all the way around the bottom of the shirt. To achieve this with my pattern pieces, I cut them a little longer and ruched/gathered the side seams at the bustline. 

It gave the bustline some interest and allowed the borderprint to work the way I wanted.  Now I don't know if this is the "proper" way to handle this but it worked for me so I went with it. Also it gave the shirt a design element that I like making it a little different from all of the other shirts I've made.

During the construction, I also used a dark blue & white small gingham as my inner yoke. I just wanted something a little different to go with this very distinctive shirt.

Boy do I need a new ironing board cover!

I added some dark blue shirt buttons purchased from Lancaster, PA to close the shirt. I chose them because I wanted them to melt into the background of the print. The shirt also closes left over right instead of the traditional right over left for women. This is because I liked how the print looked left over right better. It makes the shirt front pop!

A few photos ~

I was very pleased with how this shirt turned out and how it showcased my love of working with border prints. This was the last of my Christmas sewing. It took awhile but it's finished and ready to be worn. always more later!


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