Monday, December 29, 2014

Well, next up......

Despite my better judgement and because I haven't done particularly well in these contests I'm entering another one anyway. Why might you ask?

Well there is the fabulous cotton trench fabric I have from Michael's Fabrics and some really nice wool plaid flannel from Mood. I made a trench a few years ago and I really love it but it is definitely a trench for Spring. I want one for Winter so that's why I got the wool flannel - for a lining. I knocked a few other projects out in the mean time (pictures to come) and have been wanting to do this one for a while so I figured why not? It will mimic (to a point anyway) a $2000 Burberry I've always drooled over (not literally of course).

Right now I'm embroidering some tissue boxes for the lake house but this starts on the first  and because the house is closed for the Winter I have no excuse for not finishing this. Frankly

I do need some inspiration. My favorite sewing instructor, my Mom, passed away early December but she loved to see what I was making right up to the end, even after her sewing days were over.

At the lake I have her sewing box. Even in assisted living she was hemming skirts and pants to help friends save money. Now that's inspiration!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sewing room luxury - sewing themed coasters!

I've been looking high and low for sewing themed coasters for my sewing rooms. Alas, none exist. Well, step in my creative side......make my own!

First I had to find blanks. I found these lucite coater blanks with cork backing at All Stitch Embroidery designs. I need to remember this group - they are in Baltimore and I got these in one day with regular shipping.

I then went looking for sewing themed embroidery designs. I really like Emblibrary because they have interesting designs and they are quite reasonable. I bought the Creative Filigree Design pack and picked out the four designs that I deemed most appropriate designs. 

I gave my B780 it's first embroidery workout doing these. Wow is that machine fast!

This was the result:

I made a set for the Virgina sewing room and a set for the Pennsyvania Sewing room. So now the coaster stones with the robins can go back to the living room!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My new machine and it's Gristmill cabinet!

Since it came out I'm been interested in a Bernina B780. It has everything I want in a machine but the size is huge and I knew it would not fit in my Rockler cabinet. I really like machines in cabinets as they get used more than machines in the closet. I also hesitated initially as there were issues with the 7 series machine. It's now been out for two years so I decided this was the time!

In our house in Virgina if something comes in, something must leave. The organizer I kept my television on is now at the Pocono house and the totally shot chair went out in the trash.

I called Pocono Sew and Vac in Stroudsburg and asked if they took trades. They gave me a great price for the machine, a great trade in for my Artista 630 and terrific financing AND even had it in stock. No way I was not getting it. Between that and my Babylock Coverstitch BLCS2 they are fast becoming my favorite dealer.

At the start it was on my Roberts table with the extended table on it. I made my Deer and Doe Pavot jacket on this machine and it did wonderfully with the thick wool with the dual feed engaged. When I made my denim/leather jacket it was set up for topstitching and the Bernina B580 was set up for piecing the jacket. The topstitching was absolutely perfect!

So enter the cabinet. As my dear Father in Law Jim passed away last August I have to find another place to get a cabinet. I've heard wonderful things about the Gristmill Collection of sewing machine cabinets. I contacted them and told them what I had and received information on what they recommended. I realize the cabinets suggested were too big for my space so I called Jason at Gristmill and we talked about what would work for the space I had. He proposed a Mini+ extended enough to accommidate the B780 and with an electric lift because of the height and weight of the machine. I requested shaker style and a color that would coordinate with the Rockler.

When it was built he called to confirm the stain color. Then several weeks later I was notified the cabinet was ready! 

We decided, since we are less than three hours from Bethal, PA, we would drive up to get it. It fit quite well in the back of my Prius (back seats down of course) and Jason and Colin got the cabinet in the car. We stopped at Wolf's Diner in Dillsburg, PA on the way home. It's a good basic diner, totally recommend!

This is what it looks like closed:

And this is what it looks like open with machine:

This, along with the B580 are the absolute dream team of machines for me!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket

As before mentioned I received this pattern as a gift for participating in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest. It was a really fun contest and putting things together and photographing them was part of the fun too. I think Colin would agree to that.

I decided as one of the pieces for the Natural Fabrics Contest I would use it to make a Winter coat. This pattern is unlined and made to be mid season but I've pretty much got mid season covered and for Winter I wanted something new.

My fabric came from Gorgeous Fabrics. I got some very nice brown coat weight wool and some black Bemberg lining for it. The buttons were from G Street Fabrics.  I definitely recommend Gorgeous Fabrics - the fabric got here very quickly and it is wonderful to work with.

My first observation when I was doing the muslin of the pattern is that French women are obviously not like 5'8" me. I had to drop the bust point down 1 1/2" and also drop the waist 1". Because I was making it to go over Winter jackets and sweaters I used the largest size, 46, and added 1" of ease to it as well. This fabrics was pretty beefy and definitely benefited by the additional ease.


I came to terms with the Peter Pan collar although I had to think about the first. Not exactly my style but it works on this coat. I also decided the puffy sleeve affect wasn't me and really wasn't this fabric. I made the sleeve as a basic set in with a fairly thin shoulder pad.

I also drafted the lining using the skirt pattern, the bodice and taking into account the facings. That worked quite well.

I found these very cool buttons at G Street Fabrics:

This was my first project on my new Bernina B780. It followed me home a few weeks ago and although it's cabinet isn't here yet I have it set up on Roberts sewing table I bought for machines not in cabinets and it's worked out pretty well in the interim. I can't get over how much the dual feed feature helped on this thick wool! It also made some really nice buttonholes. Having this machine and my B580 as my two main machines is truly a dream combination.

The fact I got both of these jackets done in the month of October feels much like a win already -
so - bring on the Surprise Sewing Bee!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The iconic jean jacket - Denim and Leather edition

I've done this pattern several times but I thought why not do this for the Pattern Review Natural Fabrics contest? This pattern is a basic jean's jacket.  I know there are several patterns out there for this but I have the program for it and decided to use that. A quick muslin confirmed the fit.

The denim, leather and very interesting lining material came from Gorgeous Fabrics. The denim is some really high quality black denim and the leather is glove soft. I did interface the leather with Pro Weft Supreme Medium-Weight Fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I can't say enough about this interfacing! It doesn't need to be preshrunken and it fuses beautifully. 

For the front I used the leather on the yoke. On the back I used it on the yoke as well as the strip in the back. I also did the cuffs with it.

The jeans thread came from Wawak as well as the buttons. A word about this thread from Wawak. It came in a very huge cone - I think enough for me and maybe a few generations after me. But the price was good. The gray thread looks pretty striking against the black leather and denim.

To fuse the interfacing to the leather I used a cool iron without the steam. It took to the underside very easily. I do have a shoe on my iron so I didn't need a press cloth.

I set up the Bernina B580 with black thread for the denim and leather construction. I put a leather needle in and used the very interesting leather foot - it sort of looks like it's on one training wheel:

I threaded the B780 up for topstitching. I used the jeans thread with a denim needle and put all purpose thread in the bobbin. I used the jeans dual feed foot with the dual feed engaged and it did a wonderful job on topstitch both the denim and the leather.

I did create a lining out of a really interesting looking cotton fabric. I thought it was a pretty nice touch to inside. I didn't flat fell the seams because it was lined.The other modification I made was to make the rounded collar more pointed. Just more my style.

I'm glad I finished before Fall totally set in as it's the perfect weight for that season.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Contests, contests.....

I did okay with the T shirt contest but didn't win. I don't mind that because I've got a bunch of new clothes to wear that I wouldn't have had otherwise. As a matter of fact I wore the long sleeved dress to work yesterday. I'm finding some of the T shirts work pretty well with the clothes I made for the wardrobe contest. And my jacket for the outerwear contest is getting a lot of use right now.

Right now I'm working on the natural fabrics contest. I've all but finished the Deer and Doe jacket but I'm making it for Winter as opposed to mid season as suggested.. Currently it just needs the buttonholes cut and the buttons put on. I made a LOT of alterations and modifications and I'll get pictures up shortly. I've acquired a Bernina B780 and it makes really great buttonholes.

The other piece I'm making is a denim and leather jacket. It's a Bernina My Label pattern (not stopping using it until it doesn't work anymore) and I'm doing some tweaks but for the most part it's going to be right on the mark. I'm loving the fact I have my B580 set up for the leather part and the B780 set up for the denim.

Next up is a contest that's sort of like the Great British Sewing Bee. The first week will have a challenge where we get one week to make whatever is announced. Someone will win, some will get eliminated. It goes on in this format for two more weeks then after the last week's challenge the grand winner is named. The teasers make it look like the prizes could be interesting and if I every felt a Project Runway feeling coming on this is it!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Entries for the T Shirt Contest!

The title of this one is T Shirts for All Seasons.

Like the Wardrobe Contest I decided to take the approach to do the most intricate shirts first and go towards the easiest. That almost worked. Turns out number three was the most time consuming as it's the first time I worked with Bernina Design Works. The Crystal Works was a breeze but the Paint Works had a bit of a learning curve. The good thing was I had a lot of white knit fabric from a recent Michael's Fabrics bundle so I did have the opportunity to play a bit. Now I feel I've got it and there will be no stopping me in the future!

I based this on the Bernina My Label T shirt pattern that has served me quite well. The one big modification I did was a full bust adjustment. I've never thought that to be needed before but it made a big difference in the way the front lays. I used Louise Cutting's technique from her Threads Insiders Industry Techniques #4. It's also on the Thread's Insider site which I find very handy when I don't have the disc with me. This is a really good series for a more experience sewist as it goes through some very useful techniques. Not really beginner level though.

Well here is the first one:

I got some rather thin yellow rayon knit in the bundle and since yellow is not an everyday color for me I though beach coverup! Our PA house is across the street from the lake so I'm not particularly comfortable walking around in just my swimsuit. I took my basic T, lengthened it, put a V neck on it and shortened the sleeves. I could not resist embroidering the silly crab on the hem. Of course I had to take the picture at the lake on Cyber Seas.

For the next one I lengthened the shirt, made it with slits on the side, made it sleeveless and added the embroidery from Bernina's Tuscan Garden collection using the Mega Hoop on my Bernina 630. This was another fabric from my Michael's Fabrics bundle. This one was a little beefier. I thought this was a good Summer dress and something that can be dressed up or down.

The third one was the basic shirt but I embellished the sleeves with Paint works and Crystal Works. This had to be done on my B580 as it's the only machine I've got that's capable of using this program. The collections was Bernina's Loop-D-Loop which I thought looked like fun.

The Edding pens that came with Paint Works ran out pretty fast so I bought a whole bunch of Tuskineko pens in all kinds of colors from Amazon. They came highly recommended from the Design Works Yahoo group. I then punched the template for the crystals using the Crystal Works program and made four sets, 2 each for the sleeves. It was a lot of fun and I can see wanting to use this more in the future!

The forth one was a basic T with the neck scooped a bit and out of the fabulous nicely heavy wool knit from Mood. I'm not wishing Summer away so quickly but this is going to a nice sweater for when the weather gets colder.

The fifth one also fell out of my sequence on complexity idea. I was going to see if I had time for this at the end - the requirement was four but I shot for six. This cotton knit fabric came from G Street and it's a nice substantial weight. I took one of the curved rulers I got with my pattern design kit from Wawak and made the curves using the ruler. I then faced them and trimmed the facing down. My nice new Babylock cover stitch did a very good job of following the curves to cover. Then I used some very small black buttons to tack the sleeves together. The neck on this one was scooped a bit as well.

Here's the sixth one. I didn't get the cashmere knit fabric from Mood in time so into the stash I went. I found this wild knit fabric I got from the G Street remnant pile years ago and I though dress! I can always use a casual dress! I lengthened the shirt but 12 inches and "ruched" the sleeves a bit. For the ruching I zigzaged over the round elastic and then pulled it tighter. Voila! Instant ruching!

So I made it! Six shirts this quickly makes a very busy month. Wish me luck!