Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: A Good Cry and Sew Therapy

Hello friends, I just want to write a quick note about Hurricane Harvey. This will be brief because I am overwhelmed and still processing it all.

As you have likely seen, the Gulf Coast has been devastated by catastrophic flooding due to the Hurricane. I live in Pearland, a suburb of Houston. Our family decided to shelter in place and ride the storm out. We stocked provisions and prepared for the worse we could imagine. We did not expect 57 inches of rain and days of worry and anxiety. In the end, our family came out better than most. The nearby streets are flooded, but thankfully no water entered our home.

Today the rain has stopped and the sun is shining. We have limited access beyond 2 or 3 streets and the lines at the few open businesses are out the doors. With all we have experienced and watched others go through, the clear sky brought me to tears. We are all balls of emotion feeling gratitude, grief and guilt all at the same time.


We are anxious to be useful, but are limited in what we can do physically. We have made monetary donations to send some support to those displaced. If you wish to do so, here is a list  of organizations that can use your support. When we are able, we will get out and help where we can.  In the meantime. I will do some soul-mending with sewing for myself and others. A friend has lost most of her first floor to flooding. All of her soft surfaces, curtains and cushions will need to replaced. We will get together to restore her home and spirit.

If you follow on Instagram or Facebook, you may know I was one of six sewing bloggers selected as contestants in the Fabric Mart Fabricista Fashion Challenge. It is a month long sewing competition with specific challenges each week. I was excited to be chosen, but considered withdrawing as the storm approached. Now that it is over, I have decided to continue in the challenge. I have this tension and nervous energy that I hope I can channel creatively. This contest may be welcome distraction I need. 

Thank you for your prayers and support for HoUSton. We feel them and I appreciate it.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Craigslist: A Source for Vintage Patterns, Fabrics and Sewing Supplies.

A big thank you to those of you who tuned in to my interview on "That Sewing Blab". I had a good time chatting and answering questions. As promised, here are the steps to get up to the minute alerts on Craigslist for patterns, fabric, machines of whatever you like.  I have also included items I have recently purchased at a recent estate sale. It is proof that these alerts pay off. (I am so sorry for the photo quality. I was having trouble with my phone for clear screenshots. I went old school and took pictures of my monitor. You will get the idea.)  

Open Craigslist for your city and enter the search terms you want.

Your search results will open.

To the right of the search bar, click "save search". 

Log in or create an account

Your search criteria will be confirmed as saved

Your alerts will remain in your account until you delete them. If you want a break from alerts, you can turn them off and on.

I have built my fabric and pattern stash at reasonable cost over the years through my Craigslist purchases. Last month, I received a late night alert about an estate sale for a seamstress in a nearby city that was happening the next day. After reading the details of merchandise, I knew I had to go and be there when it openned.

I ended up making two trips to the sale and scored big! The first trip was to be sure I got what I wanted. The second trip was a leisurely one without my kids. Because I was friendly, enthusiastic and made friends with the staff the day before, I got great deals on the second trip.

I love this iron! I suggest you set an alert to snag one of these if it comes available.

Wiss brand scissors, pinking shears and sewing pins.

Rare (and awesome) June Tailor Pattern Weights and an expandable Gauge

Sewing Books for $1

This is just one of the fabric tables I took my pick from.

There were hundreds of patterns and I looked at everyone!  Scroll below to see what I got. 

There was a wealth of items that I admired, but decided to pass on. I set a budget and wanted to stay within it. I had to consider the available space at home and my mortality. This Bernina Cover-stitch/Serger combo however, was hustling hard to join my family. I have a serger and have been wishing for a coverstitch. I had to utilize my "phone a friend" option to have her talk some sense into me. She wisely advised against the purchase. Apparently, owners prefer separate machines and don't like switching between the two. It was still available on the second day at $200 less than the day before. I have no regrets passing on this one.

As I shopped, I chatted with other sewists. We admired the sellers stash and vowed to honor her with our makes. We all reflected on the fact that someday we will leave our stashes behind. We promised to try to pass our passion onto others so our treasures can bring joy to our loved ones. Knowing that is not always possible, we delighted in the thrills we will bring to bargain-hunting sew sisters like ourselves.
Happy sewing,

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Falling in Love With Caftans

You guys! You will have to stop me from making my new love, caftans. I know you may be thinking I am nuts for loving these shapeless frocks, but I do.

Photos taken by my 8 year old :) 
For better or worse, I grew up watching Mrs. Roper on Three's Company. Her Bohemian  clothes, along with her attitude subconsciously imprinted on my fashion sense.

Image result for mrs. roper caftan Image result for mrs. roper caftan Image result for mrs. roper caftanImage result for mrs. roper caftan

I own many caftan patterns and discovered that I had 2 Simplicity 5315 in my stash and knew it was time to get one made.

                                  Image result for simplicity 5315

This pattern requires almost 4 yards of 60-inch fabric. I had 4-yards of a fun black and white stripe fabric in my stash. It is a rayon/lyrca jersey that I bought from Fabric Mart a year ago. 

The fabric has a combination of wide and thin stripes across its width. I played with the placement using the thin ones on the upper bodice, wide ones on the skirt and a cut of black for the midriff.  

The back of the dress required no manipulation of the print of the fabric.

I really enjoy sewing older patterns because I learn so much. Before sewing this up, I was curious about how the armhole would be finished.

I had concerns that the weight of my knit would make the opening flimsy, but it turned out great!  

Many caftans are voluminous AND shapeless. This one has some built in shaping that makes it more appealing. The midriff can be adjusted inside with seam binding ties that wraps and is secured around the body.

That feature along with deep V-neck makes this one a winner.

I think if Mrs. Roper wore this caftan, she wouldn't have had to work so hard to get some loving from Mr. Roper.

I will be making more caftans for sure. I am not sure if it will be from this pattern or if I will try the others in my stash. If you look closely at the photo above, you will see a line at my knee. After two knee surgeries last year, one on each knee, I am wearing braces daily. It has been very discouraging to live with chronic pain and feel out of control with my body. I have not been able to get in minimal daily step requirements or do cardio exercise for most of the year. Daily frustrations, weight gain and pain forced me to be a stronger advocate for my health. I demanded more from my doctor and my new braces are part of  my new treatment plan. They are unattractive but helping my physical and mental health. 

I love that I sew. I can make clothes to suit my physical needs and provide a creative outlet. My future sewing will include more maxi length dresses, tunics and caftans. Lucky for me, injury or not, that's what I like.

Side note: Be sure to sign in to my interview on That Sewing Blab on Tuesday. See the previous post for all the details.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, August 17, 2017

That Sewing Blab Interview!

Hello Friends,

Mark your calendars! I will be interviewed on the show That Sewing BlabI will discuss my sewing journey with hosts Dawn and Myra. 

We go live on August 22, at 6:30 pm CT. Log on to watch and ask your sewing related questions. The Crowdcast platform allows viewers to get on screen and be a part of the interview; think about joining the fun. 

Click here to go to Crowdcast for all the details.

I hope you will join us!