Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

One of my sewing resolutions for this year (Learn how to sew with knits and better use my serger) led me to buy this pattern today. The Joann's near work was having a 99cent Simplicity pattern sale, as I discovered when looking for skirt hooks to fix a costume for The 39 Steps. Which of course meant that I had to buy some of these on-sale patterns.

When I got home I picked out fabric from my stash for this pattern, pictured below. It was form one of those pre-cut sales bins at Denver Fabrics, and I got 2 yards of it for $4 per yard. Not really sure what it's made of, but it's pretty and a knit, which is all that I care about for fulfilling this resolution!

I know, I know. New Year's now? It's practically February. So I'm a little late to the game, so sue me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Attachment Issues; or Why I Have A Hard Time Getting Rid of Fabric

I seem to have an unusually large fabric stash for an individual person. At least, that is what I gather from reading other sewing blogs and comparing stashes with the (few) other real life sewing friends I have. And I have a really Really REALLY hard time letting any piece of fabric go, no matter how small. Part of that is not wanting to be wasteful (hey, all those tiny scraps can totally stuff that pillow!); but I must admit that a bigger part of it is probably emotional.

The problem is, I have a memory attached with almost all of the fabric in my stash. And I'm not just talking about yardage here. I'm also talking about the 60+ plastic drawers full of scraps less than a yard long. Pull out any significant yardage piece of fabric from my stash, and there is a 90% chance that I can tell you where I bought it, when I bought it, approximately how much it cost per yard, what percentage it was on sale, and what first attracted me to the fabric, or alternately, who gave it to me and why. But beyond the "facts", I could probably also tell you how I was feeling when I bought it, what the general mood of my life was those days, who I was interacting the most with, what big changes were happening or about to happen, and what dreams I had for the fabric. That is a lot of stuff, all packed into a couple of yards of cotton or rayon.

For the smaller scraps, I may not be able to tell you where exactly every piece came from, but I have a good idea who 75% of the scraps in my collection came from. Because at this point, I have a reputation for not turning away any fabric, no matter how hideous or how small. There is some sort of redeeming quality in almost every fabric I have ever met, which usually comes out when used in small doses with plenty of other fabric to tone it down. Of course, many of the scraps come from various costume shops I have worked at over the years, and I can tell you every piece that they were used in, and some interesting drama about the designers or the drapers.

All of this makes it pretty hard to contemplate getting rid of any of my fabric. Getting rid of fabric would feel kind of like giving away my photographs, or my memories. Part of ME lives in all of these fabrics that I have caressed and adored. I have at points considered selling some of it (especially when I have been hard up for money or space), and I have occasionally donated some of it to a specific costume that I was working on, or to a friend who was learning how to sew. But even then, I remain fairly possessive. If I find out they aren't going to use it, I kinda want to ask for it back and make sure that it doesn't just end up in the garbage.

At this point, though, I have so much fabric that the thought of moving it again, and how long it would take me to sew through all of it is rather daunting. I may actually consider trying to get rid of some of it. I'm not sure how, or when, but it may just be inevitable in my future. I know for sure that I am not allowed to buy any more fabric unless I have a really Really REALLY good reason. And I may even have to stop taking fabric donations...


But lest you think this post is all about my Issues, I give you Tiny Umbrellas! This fabric is one that I bought at Bolt in Portland, OR about 2 years ago, at one of their sales. It was so cute, and colors that I love, so I bought one yard of it, intending to use it for purses. Now I may just have to use it as trim on something....A black button-down shirt maybe? or side panels/pleated ruffles on a pencil skirt? It is 100% cotton, but I would have to look on the selvedge for the designers information, and frankly I'm not sure where I put this piece.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I often have a problem finishing a sewing project in a "reasonable" amount of time. If I don't finish a project within a week of having started it, I will often get busy with work, or gain more interest in another project, and will abandon the half-finished one. The thing is, I never abandon it completely. I usually just end up bagging the pieces up, sticking them in a plastic container somewhere, and forgetting about them. Until one glorious day, 6 months later, a year later, 3 years later, when I stumble across it again and think "Gee, I am so close to finishing this, and it is such a cool project." Out comes the bag and the half-sewn fabric, and we are back in business!
Such is the story of this floral skirt that I have been working on lately. I bought this skirt super cheep somewhere between 6 and 8 years ago. I really liked the fabric, but was bored with the style. I thought that adding some ruffles would solve that problem and make it totally worth buying. I had in my head circular ruffles, to give it a cuban/salsa feel to match the floral. The only problem was that at the time, I had no idea what circular ruffles were or how to make them. I only knew that there was a way to make ruffles that didn't involve lots of gathering at the seam, and that was what I wanted. About 6 months later I finally managed to acquire some fabric that I liked for said ruffles (the black and red-violet cottons, which were purchased at Fabric Depot purely for their color and weight). At which point, the skirt and fabric sat in my UFO (UnFinished Object) drawer for years. Every once in a while I would take it out, but I would always put it back as the idea of doing the math to figure out the necessary size of the circles was too much for my poor word-addled brain.
Until 2 weeks ago, when I bought a book at the used book store that inspired me: Singer 101 Sewing Secrets. On pages 84-87 there is a whole spread on how to make circular ruffles (which, as the name implies, are ruffles made out of sewing basically doughnuts of fabric with one vertical cut in them together). This type of ruffle gives a soft, even wave and doesn't add any bulk at the seamline (think Spanish ladies/Flamenco dancers). So I got to work calculating circle circumferences and cutting and sewing fabric. I am so very close to being done with the skirt: all I have left is to attach the completed ruffles to the skirt, and to replace the invisible zipper that broke. But I must confess, my interest is waning rapidly. Yesterday when I went to work on the skirt, I ended up sewing this instead:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just call me Betty Crocker...

Here is the finished apron made out of last post's fabric. I finished the apron on Monday. I never did take any "in progress" pics, so you only get to see the finished product. The pattern that I used is called "More Retro Aprons" by Cindy Taylor Oates; I made view A2 (which is on the back) without the bow. This is the first time that I have used a pattern like this, but I think it worked out well. The green material for the lining is something that I had in my stash. It's a pretty heavy cotton weave. The yellow ricrac was also in my stash. I didn't exactly follow the measurements for the ruffles. The cupcake fabric wasn't wide enough with the direction of the pattern on the fabric, so my ruffles are less full than the pattern calls for. I would have liked fuller ruffles but didn't want to piece them, so this seemed to be my best option.

My only dislike about the way that this project turned out, is that somehow the front of the apron ended up being about 1/2 inch longer than the lining, which causes it to bag and hang in such a way that the bottom ruffle looks uneven. The solution to this problem is pretty simple (remove part of the lining and shorten one of the seams between the under-section and one of the ruffles), but I am too lazy right now to fix it. Also, I'm fair certain no one will notice besides me.

I got to test drive my apron by making some brownies. I looked pretty cute while doing so, although I still managed to drip brownie goo between my shirt and the apron, staining my shirt and defeating the point of wearing an apron in the first place. ::sigh::

Close up of the back loop and lining

Close up of the ruffles

The back/straps/tie

Thursday, September 2, 2010

mmmm...Tastey fabric

So, I haven't posted for a really long time. I mostly blame that on work, and my own laziness. Also, I'd rather be sewing than blogging about sewing, but I also want to share the awesome fabric I find. Anyways, I am back, and hopefully this blog shall not waste away entirely.

My latest project involves some fabric that is not only adorable and colorful, it's practically edible. Although anything I bake never looks this perfect (except maybe my cookies). Pictures of the work in progress to come soon!

Fabric Stats- Purchased at: Beverly's in Fair Oaks Fiber: cotton, probably quilting cotton Selvedge text: VIP by Cranston and Robert Kaufman Sweet Tooth Screen Print D#6828

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The skirt I made yesterday

This skirt took me approximately 5 hours to make. I got the idea when my friend picked out the patterned fabric and wanted me to make her a skirt out of it. For her skirt we did the yoke in a matching red cotton. I ended up having her buy twice as much printed fabric as needed, and I fell in love with it so I bought the remaining from her. The fabric was sold bye the "section", each section being the equivalent of two rectangles (approx 26 inches wide by 45 inches). This skirt required two sections. For my yoke I used a stretch denim that I had on hand, and for the tie some red knit fabric I had on hand. I wanted to use up some red rick rack that I had lying around, and it seemed to go with the whimsy of the patterned fabric. I gathered the fabric into the yoke so as not to loose any of the awesome pattern. I believe the selvage called the fabric "Recesss - Fun with Dick and Jane Collection" by Moda. I threw it away before I could copy it exactly (silly me).

I also added a square pocket approx 12x12 inches on the right hand side of the skirt. The volume of the patterned fabric mostly hides it, although it does want to stick out just slightly. The trickiest part of this skirt was figuring what order to sew the pocket on so that the rick rack would look continuous. I drafted a pattern for the yoke, and let the bottom fabric become its own pattern.

I really enjoy the length and the lightness of this skirt!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Visions of pleather all through her head...

This is one of the 3 fabrics that rendered me insomniatic on Thursday night. It is a chocolate brown pleather with flowers and paisley shapes embroidered into it. I purchased this fabric back in 2005 with the intention of making pants. At the time I had pretty much no experience making pants and no free time, which meant I put the fabric in my closet and forgot about it. When digging through my stash for a specific blue upholstery last week, I rediscovered this fabric, and again the desire to make pants immediately seized me. Since I just wore out a pair of well-fitting jeans, I tore them apart to use as a pattern base. I am a little uncertain as the jeans had some stretch to them and this fabric doesn't, but I figure I can add extra seam allowances and hope for the best! I need to remember to buy blue thread for this fabric; all the ones in my stash are entirely too teal.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sometimes I can't sleep.

Sometimes the reason I can't sleep is that I have a vision of a particular item that I want to make. Tonight I have had three different items haunting me and rendering me insomniatic. Usually this kind of energy is good, because it means that I work hard on whatever is currently obsessively tickling my fancy. Sometimes it's just frustrating, especially when I don't have certain supplies to work on the project. It is especially frustrating if I have the supplies, but really need space to spread out my project. I don't really have this space at home, but I do have it at work. Tonight is one such night for me. I have visions of a black wool cloak (which I do not have the fabric for), visions of a blue patterned mens 18th century cutaway coat (I have the fabric, but the pattern is at work, and I don't have the space to cut it out here), and visions of brown embroidered pleather pants (I just spent the last hour or so tearing apart an old pair of jeans to turn into a pattern for said pants. Now I need to wait until I can get to work to correct the pattern and cut out the fabric).

Did I mention that I have a huge deadline at work tomorrow and need to get up really early to work on meeting it? Of course all that I want to do is to work on my own side projects!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Economies of Scale

I fell in love with today's fabric as soon as I saw it on the sale upholstery rack at Mill End. It had so many colors that I like: green, yellow, and dark pink. But what I think really attracted me to it was its size contrasts: it was basically a bunch of huge polka dots surrounded by tiny dots. As you can see from the measuring tape, the "sunbursty" circles are about 3.5 inches in diameter! This is a much larger scale than I usually get in fabric. I find myself drawn to upholstery fabrics often for their fibers and feel but just as often for the sheer scale of their patterns. Big! Bold! Prints! AND upholstery fabric tends to be 60 inches wide, which is becoming increasingly important to me as I want to make very full skirts and dresses without lots of piecing.

Since this fabric was already on the sale rack, I was tempted to buy it (at Mill End, if you buy everything left on the bolt in the upholstery sale section, you get it at 50% off). When I saw the sign saying that they were taking an additional 20% off of all upholstery fabrics, I was sunk. I just HAD to get this fabric. I believe there was approximately 4 yards left on the bolt, and it ended up being around $6 a yard. The fabric is a medium heavy cotton twill. I intend to make a full-skirted halter-style-with-waist-yolk dress out of it, as soon as I am allowed to start new projects. Since I can't actually stand the way halters pull at my neck, I will probably convert the pattern to a cross-cross back. Here's hoping I can get to this project before the weather turns rainy and cold again around here.