Thursday, March 15, 2018

Saturday Sewing—Completed

See how the fabric unravels!

Part 1—Saturday: Which is to say, nothing was sewn together! Instead, every piece (fronts, back, yoke, pockets, collar) was edged with an over lock stitch! Two partial spools (one, a 220 yds spool 90% full. The other, about the same yardage) were used up! And nothing was sewn (together), though I did get the darts sewn. The edge stitch— two stitches to left, 2 stitches down, 2 stitches up hill and to the right, (starting point) and 2 stitches forward, 8 stitches, and only 2 moving forward. It is no wonder it ate up thread--(and time!) When sewing seams, a front and back are stitched—but with edging, each edge (one front, one back) needs to be sewn.

edge stitch in contrasting color.
The coarse even weave (something like Oxford cloth) frays just looking at it, so edge stitching was not an options, but a necessity!

I also got the interfacing ironed on (I almost always use non-woven iron on interfacing) So, now that each piece is prepped, sewing up won't take much time at all!

Plans for today(Monday) are to spend a little time sewing up the (collar) band. This needs a bit of precision; sewing round the curves, grading the seam allowances, notching, turning and pressing. Nothing very hard, but a little time consuming. Tomorrow or Wednesday, I will get the pocket pieces sewn to the side seams, and other day, I'll get the sleeves hemmed.

When Saturday rolls around again, putting all the pieces together will be quick work! Well, quick work except for the button holes. The actual button holes won't take much time or effort (How I LOVE that my sewing machine has this automated!) Measuring and marking, making, cutting, and hand sewing on the buttons—that will take some time-- Because I have changed the neckline, I will likely have to adjust the button placement. Change one detail, and other details need adjusting!

That is part of the reason I want to do other little details during the week. Then, come Saturday, I will have enough time for basic assembly, and the detailed button holes, too!

I have another spool of yellow thread, enough to finish everything, but I will need some more, for when I start on the second piece of yellow ( a skirt and vest) The pieces for those will need the same overcast edging, and the edging stitching eats up thread! Plus, I tend to keep some basic colors on hand-- But thread is not a pressing need--I have plenty of spools for the next 3 skirts, and the 3 vests--(buttons, too). The skirts will have finished edges, too, but a simpler basic zig zag stitch will be more than enough. (I remember the huge dressmakers spools of seam binding tape my mother would painstaking sew on—Just another reason I am so grateful to have a machine that sew a multitude of stitches!)

After this batch of wardrobe enhancements, I am going to take a break and make some doll clothes—My granddaughters have 18 wanna-be American dolls—time to make some wardrobes for them. I will splurge and buy some fat quarters of velvet, and they will get party dresses, and other fun stuff. I will likely add some purchased shoes and socks, too. I had a similar doll when I was a child, I played with it till I was a young teen. My mother made a few pieces of clothing for her, too. It's a family tradition—My daughter had a “Holly Hobby” doll, (an 18 inch soft/rag doll) I went so far as to crochet lace on the doll underclothes! I became more 'invested” in the doll than she was!

Then—another big cutting fest, and more sewing!

Monday to Wednesday

The yoke sew--the beginning of the end.
Collar done, pockets attached; sleeves sewn and hemmed—but not attached, A practice buttonhole done, to set up for doing buttonholes. Finally, the fronts and backs were attached at the yoke. Come Saturday again, and all that will be needed is final assembly. Mostly straight seams. Starting with the side seams, with some detailing with the pockets. Then facings and collar; stopping to press the seams before setting in the sleeves, and finishing detail on the collar. I'll press the hem, too, before I attempt to sew, a bit of painstaking worked since the curved edges add a bit of challenge. That will leave the buttonholes-- I always hand sew the buttons on, that my be “while watching TV” project—and might be put off till Sunday.

I got some ironing done, too. I like to pre-wash my fabric, especially the cottons, and pre-washing means a spot of ironing. I also had some touch up ironing, too. I am impatient to get the pieces I've cut sewn—First the skirts I think, then the vests, then more cutting! A few sets of doll clothes, and more skirts, and more vests, and another shirt dress. Sort of like washing your hair; shampoo, lather, rinse and repeat!

The next time, the shirt dress will have a different collar, (in a contrasting color), for a different look. This will be the third shirt dress in a solid color—a nice navy blue. No shoulder yoke in this version either. A “uniform dress” that is different every time I make it. Typical me—an uniform made from a bunch of different versions!

Three identical/not dresses, from last year, one grey with military details, (shoulder yoke, epilaats, pockets with button down flaps, and metallic buttons), two; the current shirt dress with man tailored details, (shoulder yoke, band collar, and shirt tail hem), three; the next one, in navy, no yoke, but a detailed sailor collar, (buttons, top stitching and a neck tie)--and maybe an anchor embroidered on the front. The basics for all three are the same, but the colors, fabric choices, and details make them seem different.

Cleaning and organizing along the way, I unearthed some fabric I had forgotten about. So, my plans have expanded—I'll soon have a rainbow array of skirts, some with matching vests, some just color co-ordinates—and few more dresses—in prints and solids alike. I am never sure of my favorite color—i really like the all, but judging by my stash of fabric, BLUE is very popular with me.

Monday, March 05, 2018


Most Sundays, I am to be found watching TV, because most Sundays, my local PBS station (WNET, channel 13) has an afternoon of cooking shows; Cooking with Lydia, Martha Stewart's Cooking School, America's Test Kitchen and other are all part of the line up.

But about once a month, there are specials—So instead of watching TV, I went shopping. I had a few lists—The longest was sewing stuff. I needed buttons: for all three vest, and another set for the plum skirt that has a button down front. I need something for the lining for the purple vest, I had lining (and had cut it) for the print and grey vest.. I needed some groceries, stuff I like, that my Aldi's doesnt't carry.

I needed to go to Aldi's too, the had a great special on a charging station. Now day, so many THINGS need to be charged. Instead of outlets clogged with transforms, a charging station has one single plug, that allows you to connect 4 UBS connections—so, a phone hand set, cel phone, and tablet can all be charged at once –using 1 outlet, not 3, making things easier and neater.

I got one for my DD, too. She has things worse—Her hubby has a job that requires him to carry a company cel phone, (and he also has his personal cel) the girls (as I call the twins) have tablets, she has a phone, and her laptop, too. That is 5 things to charge! Luckily, the charger station has 2 outlet so you can plug in two things as well.

pretty new cotton print.
One problem with shopping for buttons, is, I went in to fabric stores... While looking for something to line the purple vest, I saw a pretty print—in peach/corral/turquoise—I passed it by—I wasn't shopping for more fabric. But I found that the rack was on sale, and the print I liked? Just $1 a yard! I bought the bolt (well what was left on the bolt!) 4.3 yards. Likely, because I have enough, it will be skirt and shirt combo—but, I am still not sure. It could end up being a dress, or a skirt and vest combo. I might trim it with a peachy orange, or with the turquoise blue. Or both! I have 2 peach/corral swim suits, what I ever I make will match nicely—I like going to a pool with my swimsuit on (I do change out of my wet suit before coming home) a skirt and top might be the best option –a simple casual outfit to wear to the pool.

I still have some work to do to prepare the yellow dress for sewing. I like to use tailor tacks to mark out darts and other details like pocket placement, and these need to be done. Plus I will pre-fill 2 bobbins—the even weave fabric will need need to have a zigzag binding stitch on every edge—so I will easily use up 2 bobbins worth of thread.

Finally, I need to clean up a bit—fabric has been pulled out, while looking for lining pieces, and needs to be put away, as do patterns. There is a small under shelf in my new cutting table (just 8 inches, by 32—even smaller than the table top when folded) but I have some 8 inch metal baskets, and these are just the right size for storing pattern! A bonus!

By the time Saturday rolls around again, I will be ready to start sewing

I Have Got My Work Cut Out For Me

I planned to post this Sunday--but best laid plans and all.  More to follow.

Or more precisely, I have cut out my work for myself.

Remember last spring? When Saturday was for sewing? Week after week I worked on new additions to my wardrobe. A few skirts, a few dresses, and a dent made in my fabric stash. As the summer came to an end, so did my energy. Sewing came to a halt. Sure I did a little bit of mending here and there, but no real projects.

new sewing table
Then, this year I bought myself 2 gifts—A sewing (machine) table, and a cutting table. I ditched the old kitchen/dinette table (recycled!) that was a bit too high for sewing, and definitely too low for cutting (and besides which was oval shaped) The cutting table is a huge 36 X 60 opened and a compact 36 X 10 closed. I also added some bits and pieces, a thread rack, an ott light (I had this in storage) a bulletin board, too. Now everything is set up everything. The best addition are the two metal baskets that fit on the shelf of the cutting board—Perfect for holding patterns! My sewing room has needed these improvements for years—I still need to get some storage bins—and I plan to get a small shelf unit—the kind that holds cloth cubes—and use it to store some of my fabric stash. Since this photo was taken, I have mounted the power strips (out of sight) and hung the bulletin board, too.

3 skirts
This Saturday, I put the cutting table to use. 3 skirts, 3 vests, and a dress. All cut, including interfacing and linings (well one vest doesn't have a lining, but 2 do)

2 of the skirts, (purple and pink) are my “uniform” skirt, a 6 gore A line. The third, (plum) is a variation, 3 gores in front, with a center front button closure, (2 gores in back). There will be more of this variation, I think.

3 vests
The vests? One to match the purple skirt, one to match last years light grey skirt, (lining was cut, too!) and the third is a multi-color print—13 different colors—but really a few shades of pink, purple, and grey—So it will match lots of thing—the three skirts I've cut today for sure!

a soon to be dress
The dress is the uniform button down the front dress—this time, as a “man tailored” shirt dress, with a band collar, and shirt tail hem, and breast pocket detail-- just to add a bit of variation. There is more of this yellow, you can expect to see a skirt and vest combo, too, later in the season. I have several versions of this dress done in prints, this is my second version done in a solid. I have several more solid dresses planned; one in a navy/purple linen blend, another in a teal linen blend, plus a black one, in an even weave—which will be trimmed with red piping

I have several yellow hand knit scarves/shawls –but till now, no yellow clothing. I actually have an array of colors of hand knit scarf, and several “pashima” style shawls, in multi color prints—so some solid color clothes will show these off to good advantage. There are more solid dresses and skirt and vest sets planned. There are even more colors to add to the mix—sky blue, turquoise, more yellow, a rainbow of colors.

On deck, (as it were) is a piece of Prussian blue, to make into a skirt. This, like many of the pieces of fabric I buy, this was a remnant. How I wish it was bigger! I would truly love to have a vest and skirt pair—but I do have some white which will become a vest, since it is too small a piece to make a skirt. A white vest will go with so many solids, and prints, too. Right now my red vest is my must worn stand alone vest. I think a white vest will be almost as popular.

There will be some more jumpers & dresses, too. The kind that can be worn in the summer, as a dress, and with a shirt (long sleeved T type shirt), as a jumper in the winter. Some of these will be solids, and at least one, a print.
And I haven't even begun to work on the denim! I have a lot of denim skirts, some not too old, and 3 denim vests already, so there is no rush.

Once again, for the next few months, Saturday will once again for sewing.

With all these new clothes, I have been cleaning my closet of old, dingy and worn stuff, and have upgraded with new clothing hangers—all matching! No more hodge podge of styles and shapes and colors! I had been thinking about this, (many of my older plastic hanger had been breaking) and then Costco pushed me over the limit. Boxes of 35 hangers (the velvet flox kind) for $10 (30 of very similar one were over $20 at Bed, Bath and Beyond) 125 hangers later, my closet looks better! I did end up buying a bunch of skirt clips at B, B & B, since Costco didn't have these handy accessories.

I painted all my closets when I moved here (almost 20 years ago now!) with good quality paints, and they still look pretty fresh (before painting the white paint (a flat) was a dingy grey—I used a semi gloss and it has held up well. The paints (several different ones) were cheap—Custom colors that had be returned to big box home improvement stores—My bright pure yellow 'computer room” has a marigold yellow closet, (with toffy brown shelves) Other closets are periwinkle blue (a sort of blue violet color) with true blue shelves, that don't exactly match the colors of the bedroom (more of blue green color) or the entryway (a better match to the deep violet)--It was one of those good pieces of advice I picked up—Paint your closets before you move in! I am so happy I did!

I spent most of the last 6 months reading,. First Ron Chernow's HAMILTON, and then I started on GRANT (which I haven't finished yet) I highly recommend both.

Monday, January 01, 2018

My Craft Room Sewing table

I haven't done much knitting or sewing since September—I have been reading instead.

And this past week, I have been fighting the flu—and working on a new (really new, not just a recycled new to me) sewing table... This is the first part of some planned improvements. The table came completed unassembled. The package came with a hundred or so screws and bolts and over a dozen pieces to put together. It was, I guess a four hour job—but working while not feeling well turned it into a 5 day job!

Part 1—replacing the old kitchen/dinette table with a proper sewing table DONE!

Here is my new sewing table (pristine ) The center insert can be easily lowered or raised to be use as a sewing table (as is) or with the center raised, a cutting or crafting table.

I am MOSTLY pleased with the table—The “drawers” are fabric and only supported at the edge—and almost useless, the are not strong enough to hold a pair of sewing shears—I plan to hang my shears—but. I think I have an idea that will work to improve the situation—I need something flat, thin and strong—(and cheap!) I think that I can cut slats to support the “drawers” from vertical blind slats. Slats will over more support to the bottom of the draws--(I might even use some crazy glue to make them sort of permanent. One great advantage of living in a multifamily building is the “Recycling” room is actually a great source of recycled material! I 'll keep an eye out, and hopefully find some soon.

Some features I do LIKE--
1—I have routed the machine cords UNDER the table with the use of some Velcro zip ties. Tidier to start. When the center is lowered (as it will be for sewing) the power cords are handy to plug in. When the center is raised, the power cord to the machine will be secure neatly under the table

2-- The flat surface make it possible to clamp on the work light. It holds a U shaped florescent bulb—It is not a OTT brand fixture, but I replaced the standard bulb with an OTT brand one—so it has great lighting. (the previous dinette type table had an apron and it wasn't possible to mount the light.)

3—The size and shape—the dinette table was oval, wider and shorter. This table fits up against the wall, with the leaf, is 60 inches long (vs 45) and 23 inches wide (vs 30) The rounded corners of the old table contributed to things falling off the edges—this is less likely to happen now. A better shape and size.

4--The ability to vary the height is great—It makes sewing easier –My sewing machine came with the extended bed and now this bed is at table level making a HUGE work surface. My machine can be packed away, and the center lifted, and I will have nice craft table for painting or beading or jewelry making (with great light!) That is the machine cover tucked under the table.

I like that the little plastic set of drawers fits below the left side extension, and that my little waste can fits under the drawers. on the right.

Part 2 (still to come—and soon) Will be be hanging some stuff. The cork/magnetic white board combo, and some spool racks, shears, and my yard (really a meter) stick will be the first things to be hung—all with 3M command hangers--Organizing the wall space will put my tools right where I need them. The extension cord/power strips will be mounted too There will be a floating shelf, too I tried to install it last summer, but I messed up. My walls (even the interior ones) are not plaster but cement—and hanging anything is a major PITA. These improvements won't take much time or effort—but I haven't decided on the exact placement for all these things—so it might take a week or two to get them done.

There are other improvements to come—I needs some bins for fabric storage—and other stuff-- But I am happy the table is put together and ready to be used! I might even repaint the entire room—I have a lot of work to do—but I am happy with this start.