1, 2, 3, 4….

Four fabric squares, each with four seams and four corners. Now that is some advanced sewing, wouldn’t you say? And all these “fours” rolled together in my brain, and came out as 1, 2, 3, 4 … can I have a little more … a dandy little ditty by my four favorite guys.

So after this little digression, let’s get on with the post.

While on vacation last September I bought 4 cotton fat quarters (2 in Brecon and 2 in Chester) to make bandanas for my dear hubby. There couldn’t be a simpler project and as it is now April, he has waited long enough, wouldn’t you agree?

I zipped through the first one, but didn’t turn the corners properly.

Even though they are not terribly bulky, I needed to make better corners with the next one. Unfortunately, the next one was a very lightweight fabric that hubby had chosen himself. Now, who can worry about proper corners when one can’t even keep the feed dogs from chomping up the teeny tiny hems? And of course, this was the smallest of the pieces so making wider hems posed a problem. (Hmm, shouldn’t fat quarters be fairly uniform in size?)  So I did some troubleshooting. I cleaned and dusted my machine, grabbed a new needle, rethreaded both top and bobbin thread. I changed from the lightweight transparent foot (which I had just bought, and love!) to a heavier edge foot and checked the foot tension. The only thing left for me to do was buck up and start again. Starting with great trepidation on the flimsy little square, I happily discovered my machine just whirred right along, and no more hungry feed dogs! And look, my corners have improved!

Rather blurry photo, my apologies.

Here is the completed stack. A grand total of 16 corners and 16 hemmed sides to create four workout/running bandanas for himself. I don’t know which is his favorite, but I’ll just bet you can guess which one is mine!

Somehow, the color is a bit off on just one of these bandanas – the plain green one is a nice, bright green. Won’t he be a big hit at the gym?

And next to come, my new True Bias Hudson pants! And could it be? A dress!

Excuses, it’s the end of the road!

My sewing has been going sooo slowly. I’ve made a few garments (and got in some good practice time and a little skill learning) and have created a plan to make nine garments this year. Of those nine, I’ve finished one top, and really like it! Have a pair of pants and a few more little projects already started, but not worthy of posting as yet. (I do, however, have about a gazillion ideas for fabrics, patterns, etc needing to be ordered from absolutely everywhere! I’ll need to find a job … and a place to store everything …)

But you may wonder what I mean by the end of the road for excuses. I’ll explain. If you’ve followed me for the nearly two years of my blog (amazing!) you’ll recall that my sewing machine initially resided on the little-used dining room table. The table height wasn’t perfect for my back, and I had to run upstairs to the laundry room every time pressing was needed, but it sufficed well. But when my mother moved here with us, we converted hubby’s office to her suite, moving his office furniture into the dining room. Stella the sewing machine was banished to the laundry room, convenient now to the ironing station, but squeezed into a tiny corner. We purchased 2 utility tables, strapped them together, and the resultant 48″ square table is perfect for cutting fabric and folding laundry (and storing everything left over from remodeling) in this tiny room. To further complicate the situation, after my recent knee surgery, the dining room is now the dining room/office/infirmary. So, no more room at all for sewing (although I have been printing and cutting out some pdf patterns in there.)

You also know that our old house always has projects; the latest were the master bedroom and an emergency bathroom repair. With those completed, the sewing room arrived at the top of the list! And now it’s up to me to make all requests for my perfect sewing space. Soon. Like today or sooner.

And as is my wont, I’m turning to my knowledgeable sewing friends for some advice.

Here’s a little description for you. We are working with a 14′ x 10′ 6″ space with 3 doors and 2 windows and one overhead light/fan fixture. The little closet in the second picture will be for hubby’s clothes storage (after all, I have both tiny closets in the MBR).

Mr LTSB is crafty and has offered to build shelves, tables, storage, update electrical – you name it. (Yes, I’m the lucky one, that is for certain.) What I’ve come up with so far is a 48′ x 60″ cutting table with storage underneath. It would probably be in or near the center of the room. The sewing machine will go just to the left the window on the longer wall. The ironing board will stay in the laundry room, which is just steps away.

My general questions to you – what storage is best for what purpose? open shelves? closed shelves? drawers? what size cutting table works best? should it be against a wall or in the open? TV? lighting? I’ve seen lovely pics of sewing rooms (so many pictures my head spins) with threads, scissors, etc on display – very pretty, but don’t they get dusty? Think I’d like mine enclosed. Fancy sewing machine cabinet or just a table? This will be a simple, functional space.

And the most basic question – what is your number one must-have in an efficient sewing workspace?

I’d appreciate any advice. And when this is all finished, I solemnly promise a flurry of fabulously finished sewing projects!!

Stitch on, everyone!

Just the top, ma’am…

This was supposed to be a post about a pajama/lounging outfit, but I’m so happy with the top, I couldn’t wait to show you.

Working on my #2017makenine, I hit a snag right from the outset. It seems all the materials I had on hand were of the stretchy variety, which I’ve never sewn, even back in the old days when I made most of my wardrobe. (oh wait, there was a pink textured polyester shorts & tank set – ack! I’d forgotten about that gem – wore it proudly, but  in retrospect, it was an absolute horror)

Anyway….I decided to  toile my first planned make, pajamas, sewing the top from the Simple Sew Shannon Collection, a pattern gifted to me by Ali of THIMBERLINA fame. I would be using a beautiful piece of Art Gallery stretch jersey, purchased at Akhaban in Chester, when I met Ali and her mum.

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Thanks to all your good advice, see previous post, the neckline was stretched into submission and sewed to near perfection (although still a bit puckery).

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I tried on the top again; the fit was right, but something was not right with the sleeves. Were they too long? Maybe. Too tight? Not really. They just weren’t right. So how did I resolve this issue? Ditch the cuffs! So, with sleeves hemmed without cuffs, the length is perfect and the top is great! I love this cheery fabric.  For my next version, I’ll most likely make wrist length, snuggly sleeves.

Truth be told, the sleeve hems are not perfectly done; I turned them under twice so they’re a tad thick. I wanted to do a better job on the hem, so I searched the internet for tutorials and tips for sewing knits without a serger/overlocker. It seemed rather hopeless, as all the examples looked so nice and mine looked so …. well, not nice.  So I procrastinated, and tidied my sewing area instead. Lo and behold, I found some hem tape! I made a couple of sample runs to get the desired width, and with the hem finally sewn, this top is finished!

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Not the best hairdo for this picture, as it reveals that something is askew with the shoulder/neckline. The neckline isn’t so pointy when my shoulders are in a normal position, not up in a funny how-does-one-pose-for-a-selfie shot.

I love this happy little top so much, it might be allowed out in public after all.

Next up, to complete the outfit, my Hudson pants in a luscious black double knit. They just might have a little contrast trim in a familiar print.

Watch this space.

 

We’ve had MAN FLU around here…

Curses. My sewing has fallen off the shelf. Or more to the point, my photographing has fallen off the shelf. Hubby has been down with a severe cold (fever and bronchitis) for several days and now that he is very nearly recovered, I’ve succumbed. However, with only a low fever and no bronchitis for me, I expect to be up and around in a day or so.

The first day of his affliction, hubby found this video and shared it with me. And I’m passing it along to you, as anyone who’s had a sick man around the house can probably relate. Enjoy!

A real sewing post with pictures to come tomorrow or the next day.

Stitch on and stay healthy, everyone!

Sewing along, singing a song……

Sewing is happening here, and the following is a little progress report. A little report on a little bit of progress. But, even small progress is progress, right? And I may or may not be singing along, and there just may be a curse now and again.

I’m excited to be working toward my #2017makenine goal, see post here. I’m combining four elements of my plan to create my first make; pajamas, tee shirt, pants and some fun printed knit fabric. The knit fabric was destined to be pjs – but I was unsettled on the pattern, and apprehensive about sewing with knits. On the advice of dear Ali, I’m using the printed fabric to make a muslin of my Shannon tee pattern. This will be the new pj’s top. I’ve purchased a solid black double knit for a muslin of the Hudson pant, which will be the pj’s bottom. Very soon I’ll have a great pair of comfy pj’s (or lounging about outfit), and know that two of my new pieces will fit! (Not certain where the jams will fit into the original plan……..perhaps they will be Number 10!)

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How is it going? Well, the top fits! I’ve added 5 inches to the sleeves, and the sleeve bands are just right. The neckband? Not so perfect. I believe there is nearly an inch of extra fabric around the neckline than on the band. Good thing I elected to use the same fabric to make the bands instead of the black, as it has far less stretch.

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After doing a little research, I tried steaming the neckline to shrink it, and that didn’t work. So as I see it, these are my options; stretch the band to fit the neckline, attach it as is and try to smooth out any gathers or bunches, or recut the neckband to fit (there is plenty of leftover fabric). Any advice?

Hoping to finish the top (a super simple pattern, that should have taken about an hour to sew) and cut out the pants this afternoon, if all goes as planned.

Stitch on, everyone!

Blogiversary Textile Giveaway!

Hi everyone, I’m reposting this Giveaway offer from Sheila of LaCartera. Good luck to all!

I’m celebrating my 4 year Blogiversary and I wouldn’t have anything to celebrate if it wasn’t for YOU!

So I decided to share my love of textiles with one lucky follower!

textile-giveaway

You decide which fabrics, Wallpaper or gift wrap designs you want from my Spoonflower shop and I will have it shipped to you.

International and U.S. participants are welcome!

(Note: Spoonflower will ship to locations all over the world except Belarus, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Cuba, Iran, and Syria.)

mix-or-match

Here are your options to mix textile designs or match one single design (Kona Cotton Fabric, and Satin Gift Wrap valued at $55 :

  • 5 Fat Quarters (Mix or Match designs )
  •  3 Yards of Fabric (Mix or Match designs )
  • 2 Yards of Fabric and 2 Fat Quarters (Mix or Match designs)
  • 1 Roll of Wallpaper
  • 4 Rolls of Gift Wrap (Mix or Match designs)
  • 2 Rolls of  Gift Wrap &…

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StitchingSanta Revealed…What Carmen Gave Me

Hoping you’ve all had a marvelous holiday, and that 2017 brings you peace and joy. And a great big thank you to Sheila, of Sewchet, for again hosting this delightful StitchingSanta Christmas gift swap.

My parcel arrived a few days before Christmas, and it was so difficult to not peek! But I was strong, and managed only to notice a gentle rattle when the box was moved. Ooooh, what could that be? Popcorn? Peppermints? Lumps of coal?

And so it is opened….

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Ooooh, look at the wrapped bag of snowy goodness!

And emptying the parcel solved the rattling mystery: buttons! Lots of cute, mostly wooden buttons! And who doesn’t love a nice button. See the one with the world map?

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Buttons and more….

 

Everything all spread out and looking pretty impressive.

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The contents, in no particular order:

A lovely Christmas card
A yellow book, all about the color yellow
A rubber stamp featuring a vintage sewing machine
Two spools of thread
A roll of golden circle trim
A roll of stay tape (now I don’t need to buy it)
A pack of buttons and embellishments
Six (!) patterns; 3 garments, 2 home decor, and a duffel bag
Three yards of snowy white polyester jersey

Quite the haul, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks so much, Carmen of See Carmen Sew!

 

Stitch on in the New Year everyone!

And Awaaaay it Went!

So pleased to be participating for the second time in Sheila’s #stitchingsanta. For my recipient, I included some bought goodies, some found goodies, and a handmade goody. Oh, I hope she likes them! All have been wrapped, tucked away in a shipping box and safely delivered to the Post Office.

My package arrived yesterday; I didn’t shake it, or try to peek inside, but it’s nice and rattly. So mysterious.

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Looking forward to all the reveals!

Sunday Sevens or How I Spent my Summer Vacation, Part 2. (Redux)

Ooops. Minor malfunction while editing this post; somehow I managed to get it published while still writing. Thankfully I also managed to delete the unfinished content, but that left you all with an empty headline. If at first you don’t succeed…

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As promised, here is the second, and final, installment of my recent travels. I’ll try to be concise, but as you may know, I’ve a tendency to ramble. So my apologies in advance if my narrative gets too involved, and too full of pictures.

After a brief period at home after our trip to see family in Wales, we embarked yet again for far-off places. This time we stayed stateside, flying across the country to California to visit family and friends, old haunts, famous landmarks, and celebrate two weddings – my daughter’s and my sister’s!

Beach Wedding

My daughter’s wedding was on the central coast, and we spent a wonderful week there. Our home away from home was a mobile home in a spotlessly tidy mobile community in Pismo Beach. It was the perfect size for us, steps from the beach, even fewer steps to a golf course, and a few minutes drive from the wedding venue and my daughter’s home.The little home was clean and comfortable, with one notable exception – the ceramic fairy in our bathroom. She was about 12 inches high, crouched in a corner, with eyes that followed you! Creepy. I threw a towel over her post haste and she remained covered until we left.

During our stay, we did a little shopping, sampled lovely beach eateries and coffee shops, walked to the shore, took mom to sit near the water, walked around the mobile home community and explored the neighboring communities.

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My step-grandmother lived in a mobile home (it was pink and black!) when I was a youngster. In spite of many attempts over the years, this was first time I’ve been able to find her neighborhood, still watched over by this grand old Victorian (now badly in need of some paint).

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Mama liked meandering through the mobile home park. We’d sit at the end with coffee and wave at the homeowners and/or vacationers, then head back to our own little spot.

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Oh yes, hubby and I did walk on the beach at sunset.

Leading up to the wedding, daughters and I did some last-minute shopping, had a nice lunch, picked up the wedding dress from the tailor (first real tears of the visit),  and stopped for a little lunch out and about. Youngest daughter arrived to assist, and on Friday the festivities were underway. First came the rehearsal, held at the outdoor location with the most incredible views, crisp, clear, blue ocean, brilliant blue sunny skies. This was followed by the rehearsal dinner, where we enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the head chef, a long time friend of the bride and groom. Only one more sleep now.

The morning of the wedding broke cloudy, rainy and cold. But we were up early, scurrying to dress and get prettied up. Fortunately I had lots of help in this endeavor, as I was having hair and makeup done with my daughter and all her bridesmaids in the resort’s bridal suite. Such exquisite pampering. And such silly girls to hang out with. A mother’s dream, to be certain.

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Mom and daughters.

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All made up and coiffed, with somewhere very special to go!

It’s worth mentioning that Saturday was the one rainy day of the entire week! The staff hustled to get the chairs set up in the ballroom arranged for the reception. Not as spectacular as outside perhaps, but done to perfection on a moment’s notice. It was a touching and sometimes funny ceremony; tears of joy on my face and my beautiful daughters’ faces. The reception followed, full of great fun, family, children, grandchildren, lots of old friends, fabulous food, beautiful cake, elated newlyweds, great music and dancing.

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And you know how it’s always that one song that gets everyone dancing? Well, in this case it was “Thriller“, requested and dedicated to me by my hubby for my upcoming birthday. Nice touch, eh?

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The wedding could not have been more lovely, and after a long, busy day the happy couple returned to their home nearby, as the honeymoon in Hawaii will not be happening until Spring.

City Wedding

So, with the first wedding accomplished, and happiness in abundance, we took our leave and drove north to Sacramento for the next week. Along the way is San Simeon, home to famous Hearst Castle. We didn’t visit the castle, but amongst the horses and cows, we spied these interesting beasts roaming the property along the highway.

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Upon arriving in Sacramento, we plopped our belongings at our dear friend’s home where she had dinner waiting for us. The next day, hubby and I took off for a 2-day excursion on our own. We drove about 2-1/2 hours to the town of Groveland, where we would spend the night, and then drove on to our destination, Yosemite National Park.

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We spent the majority of two days touring this remarkable place. Waterfalls, enormous redwood trees, massive rock formations, miles and miles of miles of forest and wildlife. I would highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in California. This second week was capped by my sister’s wedding, a small affair, held in an old mansion in downtown Sacramento, converted now to a bed and breakfast, with lovely event facilities. The immediate family members and close friends entered the courtyard to the soft sounds of flute and harp. The ceremony was short and sweet, and quite moving. My sister was a radiant and happy bride, with her groom beaming from ear to ear. The following luncheon was exquisite, with the ideal wine pairing for every course. So fancy!  After lunch, the happy couple exited the party, to be transported via limo to their hotel and then off to honeymoon in Hawaii.

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The attendants were a 14-year old bridesmaid and 3-year old groomsman.

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One happy bride! She’s not really a two-fisted drinker, one of these glasses was for me.

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After beaches and forests and such, we returned home and had to settle for walks in the park. 😉

 

Hope you’ve all enjoyed my little wanderings. Next up: a Christmassy sewing post!

 

I’m such a joiner…

After seeing many familiar faces participating in #BPsewvember, I’ve decided to join in!

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Now as well as being a joiner, sadly I am also often a dropout. But…..a friend posted on Facebook that November is the month of NO. Such as NO EXCUSES. NO QUITTING. So I am promising to try to follow through with #BPsewvember, which means I will have finished projects and other bits of sewing related progress to share.

Obviously, this will require a good bit of effort, but I’m hopeful. Thanks to Bimble and Pimble for hosting this IG event, and to all the accomplished and novice sewists whose accomplishments continually inspire me.

Stitch on, everyone!