Monday, December 3, 2018

Moving along



This afternoon I threaded up the pleater so I could get going on Beaded Garland.

I pressed a layer of German Interfacing to the wrong side of the skirt top.  Silk Dupioni is a bit of a bear to pleat because it wriggles and it frays.  The very lightweight cotton batiste that this interfacing is made from adds just enough stability to the fabric to keep it from wriggling around as it is going through the pleater.  It also helps to plump up the pleats a bit. 

I'm fairly sure that this is one of the best pleating jobs I have ever done!





I used a winning combination- my Super Amanda pleater, German interfacing and a slow hand on the pleating wheel.  The fabric came right off the needles with none of the usual tugging. I can't tell you how impressed I am with myself!



Next up are the blocks for the tucked dress bodice and tucked pinafore bodice for the younger sister's dress.  I didn't notice that the pattern alterations started at a size 8 until I glued the tucking guides together.  I guess I'll wing the size 4!   
   Speaking of patterns, I'm using a pdf download which  means lots of pages to stick together.  I used to use tape, and I loathed this process.  I switched to Scotch brand Scrapbooking glue.  The bottle has two applicators: one is a dabber pad and the other is a fine-point nozzle.  I've used both now and really like both how the glue goes on and how well it sticks.  I had a bit of time to make sure the paper was aligned correctly before the glue set.

Now, time for a dinner break, and then back at it.  Time's closing in on me, but I wouldn't be me if I wasn't being loomed over by a deadline. 

sewing hijinks



I got sucked down the hole of Pinterest, as one does when there is a sewing deadline looming, and ran across a post on making an ironing station using an Ikea Kallax 2x4 unit and a piece of hardboard. 
One horrible trip to Ikea and an hour of work by the hubby and I had the base unit done. 
  It took a couple of hours to cover the ironing surface.  I used a 3x6 piece of 1/4" pressboard, two layers of cotton quilt batting, a layer of Insul-Brite and a final cover of Iron Quick fabric.
  What an amazing pressing surface this makes! 

plenty of storage, and it's easy to move around

I can press a 54" width of fabric with room to spare on either side!



Now that I have this great pressing surface I'm ready to pleat fabric and put some tucks into 
the organdy for the pinafore. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Christmas is Coming



Because I have so few examples of my stitching I thought it would be a good idea to volunteer to make holiday dresses for my great-grand-neices.  I had one in mind, but when I sent the link to Classic Sewing Magazine to their mom, both girls decided they liked different dresses, and because I'm a good Auntie, I said "suuuure". 
  Photos of the dresses can be found here on the magazine's website. [scroll down about 3/4 of the way).  Aria chose Glitter Garland (p 15-16) and Emma was partial to Peridot, Peals and Beads (p 13-14). 

Here I am now, with $200 worth of silk dupioni, $30 worth of lace yardage, a pile of notions and absolutely no motivation to go upstairs and sew. On the plus side, the hubby switched the lightbulbs in the sewing room fixtures and the rooms are super bright at night, now! 

My original plan was to have the dresses finished and mailed off so they could wear them for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.  I may have to re-think that unless I stitch fast.

I still can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week.



 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

It's nearly time



The 2018 SAGA Convention is fast approaching.  On Monday, I'll be heading to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a week of stitching and conversation with a whole crew of other women.  Of course, Florence is also barreling down on the North Carolina coast, so we're all waiting to see how she veers before throwing the suitcases into the car.  The venue is 60 miles or so inland so storm surge won't be much of an issue, but this hurricane is supposed to be "really wet" which makes heavy rains and winds an issue to watch.  Hopefully, the storm will have hit and weakened by the time we need to head south.

Most of my week will be spent with Claudia Newton. My first day is a small hardanger ornament.  I like the idea of small, and I like that the project is something I should be able to finish.
   On Thursday I migrate to Australian teacher Judith Adams for a class on designing smocking plates. Earlier in the year, I'd started trying to design a few graphs that had cables  tapering into large hearts.  It looks easy enough on similar plates.  You just need some baby waves for the tops and then some trellises to make the lower part of the hearts.   My math/engineering/design skills were NOT up to getting the bottom points of the hearts hearts to meet up properly with the center or the upper points.  I finally gave up and used a- transcription? interpretation? - of a dress I'd seen on Pinterest (as one does).  It turned out well, but I'd like to be able to figure out how to put these elements together on my own. 

   I'll be with Miss Claudia for the remainder of the convention. I'm repeating a class on dainty edges.  She teaches a gorgeous mitered hem suitable for delicate hankies or hand towels, and while I finally got the gist of it in the first go-round I would like a refresher.  There will also be instruction on a shell edge and applying delicate lace or tatted edgings to fabric, discussion of the proper threads to use and when to use color.     
    Hemstitch is the topic of my next class with Claudia.  We'll be making a sampler with several variations of a basic hemstitch.  (I need to practice my basics before class!) 
    Finally, there is a pretty tape-measure circle that features a shisha-worked mirror centered between some decorative stitches, all done in shades of sand and sea.  She has an entire set of "smalls" and possibly a sewing case that match this piece, but I like the idea of a small project that I might actually be able to finish. (Unlike the three different styles of reticules and several dresses up in the Room of Doom!)

Photos of all these projects and more can be seen at www.smocking.org under "convention class descriptions".  It will probably only be available for another week, though.  I'll see if I can post photos from the brochure here in my blog after that.  It bugs me when I read a blog and get links to photos that have disappeared, so I'll try to avoid doing that to you, my readers. 

In the interim between now and taking off I'll be doing the usual- frantically catching up on laundry, sorting out the tools and supplies I need to take along with me, watching the Weather Channel often, and finishing up a few Wee-Care projects for donation. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sewing Room Updates

In the past couple of months I have:

organized most of my magazines and donated or recycled ones that I've finally admitted I'm never going to use again.   I've not weeded out my Threads yet, but I think I'm going to buy past issues on disk and donate the paper copies. 

Cleaned off my computer desk, shampooed the carpet around it and installed Viking Premier +2 Ultra (for Mac) on my Mac.  I've even read some of the manual and played around with the features  a little. 

Cleared out some fabric that no longer appeals to me.

Made a Christening Dress for a client.  I still need to finish the slip, but want to do a monogram on it and have to figure out how to manipulate Ultra to design one.  Or find one I like online and do it by hand...

The annual Smocking Arts Guild of America is coming up in 9 days and I need to complete three items to donate to the Wee-Care charity,  do some fun homework for one of my classes and finish up a silk ribbon project for a friend who is also going.  We're trading my work for one of her Featherweight machines. 

Monday, August 6, 2018



I'm back in the sewing room!

Someone recommended me to a friend who was in the market for a Christening gown, so I've been working on creating one for the past few weeks. 


The fabric is cotton batiste from Spechler-Vogel and the smocking is done with two strands of DMC.   I'm happy with how it's turning out so far, although I always forget how fiddly adding lace to a neckline is.  Takes aaages.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


I'm not very good at keeping up with blogging.  There are reasons:

I don't do much.
    Especially when the weather is very hot or very cold, my fibromyalgia tends to flare up and keep my activities to a bare minimum.  I've managed to make it to my gym training for all but two of my three-times-per-week sessions, and I count that as a win.  Blogging about the same thing every day is boring to do and boring to read, though,

I'm easily overwhelmed.
   My sewing room still looks like a battle site for the most part.  I have organized a couple small areas, but it isn't enough to be able to WORK up there.  There have been at least two attempt where I got up there, moved things around for five minutes and then just gave up because there is So Much Stuff that I couldn't deal with it.   I've made a few lists since then of things that I will just never get around to doing. Once I box up the fabric for those and get it donated and out of the room, I'm hoping things will look a bit less horrifying.   For example: I have at least 2 dozen pair of old jeans up there.  I'm sure I can use them to make things.  Potholders.  A braided denim rug.  I saw some really cute beaded denim bags on Pinterest that were made from repurposed jeans.  The jeans have been up there for at least 5 years: how likely am I to actually make any of those things?   Yeah- time to pass that part of the stash on to someone else.
    Last week I started on the computer corner and discovered that my boy cats have sprayed and re-sprayed all the surge protectors and cables.  Crusty dried pee is caked on most of the surfaces. Cleaning it up is going to require some prodigious scrubbing and wiping in order to keep Loki from just re-baptizing everything again. ( I'm seriously considering putting a half-door at the bottom of the stairs to limit his access.)  The cords, cables, desk and walls will all have to be de-felinated before I can get Himself up there to help me move the heavy desk so I can clean the carpet.
   I screbbed, soaked and then re-scrubbed the surge protector cable, then let it dry in the sun for a couple of days, then let it dry in front of an AC vent inside for another few.  Loki didn't bother to sniff it, so I'm hoping that means I got it clean.  Now I need to see if it still works- but I'm a bit wary of plugging it in. (The Husband says it will either work or blow out the outlet, so go for it.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or maybe I should just invest in a new one that I know will work.)