Monday, June 17, 2019

It's like The Neverending Story without Falcor

     Mostly it just doesn't end, this organizing of the sewing rooms.

     I have not, as yet, encountered any stone demons, evil wizards, fluffy creatures or even a child-like Empress.  Just fabric, more fabric, patterns, magazines and "what the heck is this and why did I buy it and why is it up here?" things.  Fun times, my friends, Fun times.

     I've spent about 15 hours up there in chunks over the past 10 days, not counting Wednesday
thru Saturday because I did "something" to my left knee and couldn't go up and down the stairs.
It doesn't look as if I've spent any time organizing, but it does still look as if a tornado tossed things
around again. 
   I can see where the improvements are, but I doubt that anyone else would. 

I ordered some comic book storage boxes from Amazon and have been putting them together and moving some of my less-used magazines into them.  MAN, are these things GREAT!!  They're a bit
over  15 inches deep, so they hold a lot of magazines, and they take up the entire depth of the shelves I have. The magazine files I was using are much prettier, but they only utilize about half the depth available, and stacking them two deep wouldn't have been practical .  By the time I've relocated my Creative Needle collection and my SagaNews into these, I'll have made about 5 feet of linear space for the items I use more often. 

  Approximately 90 ancient craft magazines will be going to the recycle center soon. Yes, there are some cute projects in them.  No, I will probably never actually get around to making said projects.  I'm pretty sure that I have supplies for at least 10 years of projects on my shelves already without adding new ones into the queue.  I have moved these magazines from Philly to Amsterdam, to a little town north of Alkmaar, to California and then here to Pittsburgh and I have not made one single project from any of them.  It's time to thank them and let them go.  Past time. 

   As a totally unhelpful bonus, both of my Dyson vacuum cleaners have stopped sucking this week. I just had my upright in for a servicing!  It worked great for a day or two, and now it just doesn't pick anything up.  I get good suction through the hose, just not the beater brush.   I'll take it apart and check for a wad of paper; if I can't find anything obvious, it goes back to the shop.   The canister vac is probably due for a service visit, too.  I cleaned out the brush head really well last week, but that hasn't added to the suction capabilities at all.  The hoses all seem to be clear, there's just no suckage.
    This may sound like a tragedy, but seriously, both machines are over 8 years old, and with 2-3 cats and two adults with waist-length hair in the house, I think we've gotten our money's worth out of them. That being said, my next vacuums are going to be far less expensive models.

   Check back soon.  I'll tell you all about the Christening Dress I'm making for an impending stranger!  (not me- a sister-in-law)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

sewing room frivolity

  A few years ago, my hubby supported a Kickstarter for a laser cutter.  He thought I might enjoy using one to make stuff.  They had many delays, but finally my new GlowForge arrived.  It was several weeks before I gathered the courage to use it.  I used the learning tutorial to make a ruler from maple plywood and a couple of cable ties from leather.  It was very exciting.  Since then, it has been languishing in the kitchen waiting to be noticed and loved.   
   The reason he purchased this, I think, other than "it's so coooool", is that I'd mentioned wanting a Scan n Cut.  He got me that for my birthday last year.  It's out of the box, but I haven't done anything with it yet; I'm a bit intimidated by the thing.  (This is the main part of my problem with the GF as well. )  This past Christmas he offered me a gaily wrapped box which, when opened, proved to contain a Cricut Maker.  I now have two similar machines...and the Cricut is still in the box. 

Today, my Pinterest email had several pins about using a Cricut.  Clicking through to the original articles and reading them has motivated me to at least attempt to Do Something with them.  I was intrigued by a pin showing the machine cutting out doll clothes, which led me to the thought that I might be able to cut out Wee Care item parts, as well.  They're about the same size as doll clothes. 

   Step one for both the Cricut and the Scan n Cut is to open the box and download the software....
Well, I do have one box open.  I kind of need a place to put the makers, though, which has led me to decide, finally, to pack up my Singer Quantum sewing/embroidery machine and sell it.  I haven't used it since we moved to Pittsburgh from Santa Clara, so I obviously don't need it hanging around in the sewing room, set up and ready to go. I have a Baby Lock Xscape (now called the Amelia, I think) that I can use as a backup if something happens to my Designer SE.   It's time to thank the Singer and let her go.  [Why yes, I have been watching tidying up.  Why do you ask?]

All this is part of my ongoing battle with organizing my sewing room.  The wire shelves I have in there make me feel a bit boxed in, even though the rooms are quite large. All the plastic bins along the walls add to that trapped feeling.  The hubby has been taking some woodworking classes and sort of offered to make cabinets to replace, or at least hide, the bins.  I would love to have some sort of streamlined, matching cabinetry all along one wall that would contain most of my junk, provid edisplay space, and offer work space.  We'll see how that goes. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Post Christmas Post

Well, those two little dresses didn't get finished due to this and that and too much procrastination.  Their mom found the girls a couple of cute dresses to wear instead, and I can now spend the rest of the year working on the green dresses for next year, sizing them up one to allow for growth.
   I'm pondering whether to re-pleat the pleats  on the smocked dress since I pulled it up to the incorrect, too-small size.

Christmas went well enough.  A friend (my ex, actually) came out from Philly and brought his new companion dog. The cats weren't happy, but they spent the day on the third floor and recovered quickly after Moonlight left.  She's a Pit Bull/Lab mix (mostly) and just the sweetest doggo ever. She'd been a stray on the streets of Philly and was rescued.  R was fostering her until she could go to her furever home (she needed some medical care), but just couldn't give her up.  Can't say I blame him.

Tomorrow I'll probably make a list of all the Things I Want To Complete for the coming year.  I don't call it a resolution.  It's just a game plan, subject to amendments and editing as needed.  There are a few things that are solid though:  put the elastic in my ironing station cover, re-cover my tiny ironing board, as I've found that I actually do need that pointy bit from time to time when ironing pleated skirts and sleeves and such, and installing two more drawers on the station.
   Getting things sorted and weeded out is an ongoing project.  I have a hard time letting go of anything that might be useful, but a harder time keeping those things in a manner where I can actually find them if they ARE needed.  I suspect there are lots of multiples of basic sewing supplies on the third floor.  Time to gather them up and use them. 

Two projects I know I want to finish: 
      The Glittering Gentleman's Nightcap, a project I started a few years ago.
       Those two Christmas Dresses.
I've also recently discovered that my youngest sister-in-law is going to need a Christening Gown for an Impending Stranger.  My favorite sort of sewing.  I'm already planning that particular confection, and ordered fabric for it Saturday!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Fine thanks, and yours?

Have you ever had one of those projects that you were really excited about, but thing just kept stomping all over your enthusiasm?
   Of  course you have, if you're a normal person.

Let me tell you about mine...

   I'm still working on christmas dresses for my great-grand-neices.  I love the patterns.  I love the fabric.  The beadwork will be fun to work on.
  IF I can get the wretched bodice on the larger one properly!

While pulling out the basting threads from the second side of the bodice-to-skirt seam, I noticed that the tips of some of the pleats had turned inwards and were visible on the right side of the seam.  (The first one went in perfectly.) ((because of course it did.))  I carefully unpicked the stitching, which was not easy given the really great match of fabric and thread, pulled out the gathering threads and pressed the skirt out flat again.  Restitch the gathering rows (3 of them), carefully knot the upper thread and start pulling up the bobbin thread.  Pin the wrong side of the skirt to the wrong side of the
bodice, pull the pleats to fit and carefully, carefully go over the entire length of the seam twice to make sure nobody has wriggled to the right side again.  Stitch the seam...  turn it over, and it looks pretty good.

   I take the garment into the other room and sit down, slide the seam under my magnifying light and discover that somehow, SOMEHOW, a few threads have escaped to the right side.  I made the seam bigger; screw ripping all those stitches out again.
The next step is to fold the bodice lining back over the skirt and bodice front bits, making a sort of fabric sandwich.  It didn't look quite right, but I stitched it anyway.  I pulled out the pins and shook the garment out....yeah, it looked okay, so I did the other side of the bodice.   This is when I realized that the previous sandwich was more of a bread/bread/filling than the proper bread/filling/bread.
You guessed it.  I am going to have to take those stitches out again and redo the skirt-to-bodice seam, this time actually stitching the pieces wrong sides together the right way around. 

But first, I'm going to have a SoCo and cola and watch an episode of Midsomer Murders.  Nothing like a little murder and illicit doin's in the quaint villages of South Oxfordshire to repair a fractious sewing session! 

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.