Friday, March 27, 2020

Making Sewcial Isolation Sew Chatty

How are you doing? The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world and changed our daily lives in so many ways. Our schools and workplaces are closed to conform to social distancing and stay-at-home orders. In the midst of this crisis, I recently underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. I am on the road to recovery, navigating it on crutches or in a walker. 

In difficult times, sewing and humor have served me well to lift my spirits and get me through. The new Sew Chatty fabric line by Riley Blake Designs has arrived right on time. This is a colorful collection with the cutest graphics and adorable sewing puns. 

I recently renovated my garage into a new sewing studio and knew I wanted to add this fun fabric to my new space. I used a combination of Butterick  5506 and self-drafting to make covers for my sewing accessories. 

Butterick 5506 Waverly Reversible Sewing Room Pattern
This pattern has been in my stash for a long time and is currently out-of-print. You can use your old covers as a pattern to draft new covers of your own.

I made an ironing board cover 

another for my press iron, 

 and a cover for my wheeled chair.

In my current state, machine sewing is possible, but difficult. When I enter the room, I smile and chuckle at the cuteness this fabric adds to my space. I am looking forward to the time I will spend in here creating. 

Happy sewing while you stay at home,

Monday, February 24, 2020

Looking For a Bit of Date Night Romance

February is the month for celebrating those we love. 

As busy parents, my husband and I take any opportunity we can to have some quality alone time. I found this wonderfully romantic Pink Roses on Grey Bamboo/Spandex Jersey at Nature's Fabrics.
It evoked images of quiet music playing, candlelit Chianti bottles, and the aromas of a meal not prepared by me. I knew it would be perfect for a Valentine's Day date night dress. I have previously used Butterick 6678 to make a dress with the pattern recommended woven fabric. I liked that dress and wanted to recreate it with in a knit fabric with slight variations from my first.

For this version, I chose to make view B with the sleeves of view A.

To modify this for a knit, I went down two sizes from that needed for a knit. This allowed me to reduce the ease for a figure-hugging fit.

I omitted the center back zipper as the dress can be pulled over the head though the deep neckline. I added clear elastic to the neckline facing before sewing it to the bodice. This provides stability and prevents warping with time and wear.
I really love the look and feel of the delicate gathers at the sleeve 

and the lower-tier.

I don't think I need to say it, but this dress was a big hit with the hubs. We had a great time and this dress will be featured heavily in the date wardrobe rotation.

The Black History Month sale in my Etsy store is still going on. It will end on February 29. Now is a great time to order your pattern weights, vintage patterns and anything else that tickles your fancy. 


Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Unexpected Inspiration for a Sewing Room Renovation Part 1.

Can wallpaper light a spark for a new creative space? 

I've been thinking about my sewing space and wanting to make a change for some time. I currently use two spaces in my home to sew, one for personal sewing and another where I teach students. I've been thinking about a way to combine those spaces, but the daunting task seemed overwhelming so I procrastinated.

I routinely get collaboration requests from a range of companies. Each time, I thoughtfully consider the offers and accept or decline based on fit. I recently received it a collaboration request from Photowall a swedish wallpaper company. They offered to provide me with wallpaper of my choice in any space I wanted. In exchange, get to share the experience and discount code (thanksimadethem2020) with my readers.

I explored their website and looked at all the amazing wallpapers they offer and was definitely intrigued. There were so many bold vibrant and interesting designs that I knew I wanted to collaborate. Their H-torsion design really spoke to me.
H Torsion Color - Wallpaper - Hallway
Photo credit: Photowall
The wavy designs and color combinations reminded me of loose strands of thread, embroidery floss or yarn. l knew it would be perfect for a sewing space, but not just any sewing space, a renovated garage sewing space.

The beginning state of my garage, with most of the contents removed, left much to be desired, but held much promise.

In the planning of my new space, there were a few considerations I needed to factor in to make it workable space and keep hubby happy.
  1. It needed to be insulated with added heating and cooling
  2. It needed to have an attractive flooring
  3. It needed to maintain the garage door functionality for when we eventually sell
  4. It needed to continue to store the chest freezer, hubby's tool chest and water heater
  5. It needed to be able to be a garage again 
  6. It needed to be pretty 
With all those considerations we hired a local contractor to do the bulk of the work. The wallpaper installation needed to be one of the first parts of the process, so I placed my order. It was very easy to plug in my wall measurements plus a few extra inches to be sure. I love the option to customize the design with alternate colors and orientation of the design. I chose to flip my design so the image begins to the right and increases toward the left. 

The shipping was fast with DHL and I had my order within days. The paper arrived in sequential numbered rolls to take the stress out of the installation.  There is a placement line on the top of each sheet making matching the paper to the top of the wall very easy. There was a simple instruction sheet and Youtube video to take the guesswork out of it.

After understanding what was involved, my husband and I felt comfortable installing the paper ourselves. When I showed my contractor the paper, he quoted a reasonable add-on rate to do it himself. 

The paper works best on a smooth surface. Because the garage wall was not, he spent some time removing the texture and leveling the wall before beginning.

The entire process took him a day on his own. He was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the paper, the vibrancy of the design and ease of installation. I love the bold pop it gives my space.

As the rest of the renovation went along, I would smile amid the chaos looking at this wall.

Each section of paper gives a different perspective from whatever machine I am working from. 

This is the look for which I was hoping when I started.

I am still pulling the rest of the room together. I will share the complete room in part 2 coming soon after QuiltCon. In the meantime, have a look at Photowall and get inspired! You can save 25% off their entire selection of  wallpapers with the promotional code:thanksimadethem2020. I hope you find designs for all your creative spaces. Use the code as often as you like until March 10.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, January 31, 2020

Looking Forward To Spring with Petals and Pots and a Cirque Dress

Do you have a tried and tested sewing pattern? One you return to over and again? I have an extensive pattern stash with vintage and current patterns. Because of that, I rarely remake a pattern for myself, preferring to work my way through what I have. 

The Cirque Dress, Vogue 9112, is a rare exception which I have made several times for myself and a few for friends.
Image result for vogue 9112
Gratefully, I have had to retire my versions of the dress because of continual wear. When I saw the Petals and Pots collection by Riley Blake Designs, I knew it was time to add mixed print Cirque dress to my wardrobe.

I chose 1-yard each of Weave Mustard, Geometric Blue and Main Blue from the collection. 

Color Fun Pattern Weights available in my Etsy Store

This is such a fun dress with this mix of fabrics!

It gives that refreshing feel for which I was hoping.


The lines of the dress highlight the fabrics so well.


I modified the collar of the pattern so it is fully lined with a contrast that can be flipped

and folded to reveal one side or the other.

In addition to this being a fun quirky dress, it also has pockets!!!!! If that doesn't make this a winner, I don't know what does. 

The weather here is too chilly to get daily wear from this one dress until it warms up consistently. When the temperatures hit those characteristic triple digits, I will be ready. 

Happy Sewing,

Monday, January 27, 2020

Mixing It Up With Liberty Cottons

Sew the precious fabric! It looks better on a body than on a bolt! This is a pledge I am constantly working on as I examine my wardrobe in potential form, also know as my fabric stash. I am at times halted by the fear of ruining the fabric or the unwillingness to lose the thrill of the possibilities of what it might become.    

The Summer House Collection of Liberty Fabric by Riley Blake Designs was a recent opportunity to turn precious fabric potential into a treasured garment. 


      The Summer House Collection Manor Tile Navy

Feather Dance Blue- Liberty Summer House

The Summer House  Collection Feather Dance Blue 

My love of tiered maxi dresses continues with this mixed-print, buttoned bodice take on Mccalls 7834,
The pattern was missing some markings on the skirt pieces. I had to quarter the tiers before gathering and attaching them to the vnext. This issue aside, I love my new dress!

I love the play between these prints and the flow of the fabric.

I love the opportunities to  play with the print placement throughout the design. Here is a contrast cuff.


Here it is  rolled back with no contrast.

The collar facings and necktie add visual interest to the neckline.

The side slit in the skirt adds a bit of sass to an otherwise conservative silhouette (I moved the placement because of my occasional need for a knee brace.) 

I like that the tie can be worn at the neckline

Or around the waist for a different look 

Is "prairie chic" a thing?

I feel modern and old-fashioned at the same time. Truth be told, I am perfectly fine with that.

Happy Sewing,