Saturday, May 16, 2015

Resale Store Connections and a New Dress Form

I love to treasure hunt at resale stores. My favorites are the small, personal, charity or church run stores. They usually have small personable staff, with management that  turns over little.  It is a great place to find vintage fabric, patterns and sewing notions.  I am always excited when I stumble upon a deal. Much of my adventures are hit or miss with a lot of hits. To minimize my misses, I have begun to established relationships with the managers. I ask them to give me a call if they get sewing items in their store.

Yesterday, I got a call from one of my contacts. This was the first time she called and I was so excited! She told me that she had an adjustable styrofoam dress-form to sell. I do not need one as B.I.R.A, my custom dress form, is still working great for me. I knew that to keep this connection, I had to check it out. Unless she was selling trash, I was pretty much going to buy whatever it was she had (I can turn down future items, but I wanted to be sure there would be a second call).

Lucky for me, the form was in great shape and a great price.

 This is the first time I have seen one like this.

 It is made of styrofoam with dials that adjust along the side.

It is segmented and because it is foam, pinnable. 

The tripod stand is awesome! It is so substantial. It will surely hold the weight of whatever she wears and the height is adjustable great for long dresses and skirts. I have been doing prom and bridesmaid dress alterations lately. Coincidentally, my clients' clothes have been the size of B.I.R.A or my plus size form. This one will come in handy for those garments that are not.
There are no identifying markings on it short of this sticker on the back. Do you readers know anything this form? I would love any information you can share.

Happy Sewing and Thrifting,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Polka Dot Promises with Vogue 9112- Again!

You remember how much I loved Vogue 9112 in my lemon yellow linen, right? Well as promised, I made another for myself in a black and white polka dot cotton.

This version is just as fun as the first. I like the quirky feel the polka dots adds.

Unlike, the yellow version,  I feel like the details of the seaming are lost in the small scale print I chose. I knew this was a risk when I was making it, but I do not mind. The fabric is a mid-weight cotton with a slight texture that holds its' shape well. Knowing the volume and angles would be maintained, I proceeded with this print. If you plan to make this in a print, I suggest you choose a sturdy fabric with a large scale print so all of the fun of this pattern is not lost.

In construction, I made a couple of changes from the previous version and the pattern. I still omitted the neckline facing and opted instead to edge finish with my serger. I choose to self-line the collar so the underside of the fabric was not visible. For this, I cut two collars, stitched them right sides together along the top and sides. I then flipped it, pressed it, and then transferred the markings. From there, I sewed it to the body of the dress as instructed. 

I like that by lining it this way, I can stand the collar up or flip it down. 

I decided, to omit the arm facings and use bias tape instead. I did this just to test it because I had it on hand. It was faster than the facing and had the same result.

So, what do you think? Are the dramatic elements lost in the print? Is this a dress better suited for larger prints or solids? 

I love them both and plan to make more. It is a fun everyday show stopper perfect for the Texas heat. 

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day! Mommy, Me, and He Ankara Outfits

Happy Mother's Day to the Moms out there. This week, Little Miss made a special sewing request. She wanted matching Mother. Daughter, Brother outfits to celebrate Mother's Day. She went through our stash to find fabric and patterns she wanted for the dresses. She chose New Look 6049 for me,


 and Simplicity 1704 for her.

I made the New Look dress for myself a while back and wrote about it here and wrote a pattern review of it here.

New Look 6049
For these outfits, we went with some of the Ankara fabric I purchased a few months ago. She liked my double peplum top, and wanted to use it for something for herself.

Mommy and Me Shift Dresses.

Simplicity 1704
Her dress was pretty simple to make and is easy for beginners. I wrote a review of the pattern that can be read here.

Little Man, could not be left out! I made him a bowtie that he loves and he is totally adorable in it! 

Mommy, Me and He.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Old Fashioned Sewing Circle: Summer Journey Groups

It is Journey Group time again at Gateway Community Church

                             Summer JG

In the past, we have sewn clothing and wacky creature toys for church groups in Africa. It has always been a fun time while working for a good cause. My co-leader Ginger and I, took a break from the last session. We used that time to consider our next project and fielded many questions about when the next round would begin. The wait is over, sign ups begin May 10th with the first group beginning June 1st.

The summer session will be a short 6 weeks for 1.5 hours each time. Given the time constraints, we decided to keep this session simple with an old fashioned sewing circle. We will have no specific agenda and no group project to make. The goal of the group is to be social with other people who love to sew. Bring your unfinished projects and get them done! Gain inspiration from other creative people! Machine or hand-sewing, knitting or crochet, embroidery or tatting, whatever you like! 

I have a few ideas of projects I would like to work on including:

The Sew Together Bag

                                (9) Name: 'Sewing : Sew Together Bag

The Geo Pop Bag

                                (9) Name: 'Sewing : Geo Pop Canvas Cargo Duffle
And maybe a few more of these Vogue 9112 dresses

Registration begins on Sunday May 10th. We will meet at 6:30 on Monday evenings. You can sign up here. This group fills up quickly, so if you want to join us be sure to register on Sunday.

Our previous groups have had no skill requirement and we taught what was needed to complete the project. This session will not be a teaching session. You are welcome to sew along with others' projects, but a basic knowledge of sewing is required. If you need help along the way we will be happy to assist. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

If you are interested in learning to sew you can register for my June lessons here.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, May 1, 2015

Best Dressed Rain Barrel on the Block!

I recently participated in a rain barrel program hosted by The Galveston Bay Foundation. The goal is to reduce runoff into storm drains and collect water for use in personal gardens. I purchased two barrels for our garden and my darling hubby installed them with the included downspout diverter and barrel spout. 

My naked barrel.
These plain barrels were once used to hold syrup for the Coca Cola Company. They are a semi-transparent polypropylene plastic that if left uncovered/unpainted will allow organisms to grow in the water. In the workshop, we were advised to paint the barrels to reduce the sunlight on the water and prevent said growth. The paint process includes, cleaning, sanding, priming, painting and sealing the painted barrel. The foundation even hosts contest each year for the best barrel. 

I was initially excited about painting the barrels with the kids. I had visions of hand-print flowers and butterflies to bring whimsy to our garden. After considering the cost of supplies for two barrels, time commitment, and multiple steps, I changed my plan.  I opted instead to cover my barrels with outdoor fabric.
                                    Outdoor Fabric- Solarium Wilder Cabana, , hi-res

This fabric is Solarium brand Wilder Cabana it resists sunlight, heat, mildew, moisture and rated to withstand 500 hours direct sunlight. I drafted a simple plan and  came up with this cover.

I used spray paint for plastic to coat the barrel of the lid. I will likely cover it with plants or a fairy garden of something. The recessed areas will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes if standing water is allowed to collect there. 

For the cover, I  used 2, 1-yard cuts of fabric stitched side-by-side at one selvedge. I then made a 1.5 in a casing along the top of my fabric and inserted elastic through it to gather the cover. I adjusted the casing to fit the circumference of the barrel. I secured the ends of the elastic in place and added a button and loop of elastic to close it over the hose.  

For the non stitched selvedge side panel with the downspout, I secured it with snap tape for easy removal.

Does this make sense? One side is stitched closed and the other is closed with snap tape. I wanted the option to remove it easily to wash it and it contained 50 gallons of water.

To allow easy access to the faucet, I made a  slit in the fabric above the spout and hemmed it around the cut edge. 

This front slit will allow access to the spout while keeping the cover free when filling my watering can. 

I have no information on the success of covering a barrel instead of painting it. I hope this cover keeps organisms out and discourages algae growth. I love the burst of color it adds to our backyard. I have another barrel that I plan to cover as well. That barrel will not be attached to the house, but will have a rain saucer. When it is ready to be put out I will share what I have done. 

If you are local the Galveston Bay area,  be sure check out the foundation for future workshops. If you want to learn to sew your own barrel covers, I can teach you. Email me to be added to the waitlist for my next round of sewing lessons. 

Happy Sewing,