Sunday, January 31, 2010

A New Addition to the Family!

I hemmed and a I hawed.  I considered pros and cons.  I wasn't sure if I could handle the expense of another, or if it was truly necessary. In the end, I made myself a deal: If it happened at the right time, it was meant to be.

So, without further ado... the newest addition to the family, Jan!
My new/used Janome Coverpro 1000!
I found her on Craigslist last week, she had been purchased just last year and only used twice before the owner became ill and passed away.  Her daughter already owned a convertible serger, and was selling this beauty for a mere $300.  I've been sewing more knits in the last year, and absolutely hate how the hems look, so I'm thinking this will make me happy in that department.  Also, the chain-stitch function will be great for making muslins, like the upcoming Taylor Swift Prom Dress Project.  I called many dealers in my area, and no one come within $200 of the price, so alas... it was meant to be!!!  This also means that I now own a Janome, a Viking (Iris, the regular machine), a Brother (embroidery), and a Simplicity (serger).  Ok, I think I'm done!

As for sewing, Little Miss Princess will be attending a "Fancy Nancy Valentine Party" and the "Daddy-Daughter Dance" in the next 2 months, so I picked up Butterick 3714 on sale last week, and she picked out some pretty "Barbie Pink" baby silk (poly) at Joann's.  I shortened the skirt to the lining length (just below the knee), and used about 1 3/4 yd of 60" wide.  She also picked out some "sparkly" trim for the waistline decoration, but I'm keeping that a surprise...

So, far I've got the bodice done, and the cowl neck drape was ridiculously easy!  My only concern is how to get it to lay nicely all the time.  When she spins or jumps (she's a dancing machine), it re-drapes itself and doesn't look right.  I'll probably sneak some tiny anchor stitches up underneath the cowl, and see if that works.  Here's a close-up.

We've had a slightly weird winter here in Michigan, so far.  It's been crazy cold the last few days, but hardly any snow all winter.  I've seen on the news how the East Coast got nailed early (and again yesterday), and down south even got slammed this week.  But here?  Up North?  Not a snow day yet!!! I'm not sure whether to be thankful, or bummed!  Regardless, I hope all of you are finding happy surprises in your sewing spaces, and staying warm!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tough Week! (a.k.a. No Sewing)

This week is the last of the semester, which means I've been very, very busy fielding questions, finalizing grades, reviewing 20 weeks of material, and writing/xeroxing final exams.  Today, tomorrow, and Friday are half-days, but only in length of time with students!  I still didn't leave until 3:30 today, after checking the finals and entering the grades.  If there ever was a week I needed time in my sewing space, it's now!

I've been looking for a quick and dirty project, just something to fix my sewing appetite, but indecision is haunting me.  Another mini-skirt?  Maybe an easy knit top.  Little Miss Princess needs a new "Daddy-Daughter Dance" dress.  Those corduroy pants are all cut out and waiting... but I'd really like to wear a new top tomorrow!  Decisions, decisions.

The most exciting "sewing" thing to happen this week is when my student brought me a picture of what she wants her prom dress (May) to look like.

Yup.  Taylor Swift.  To. Die. For.
It's all in the draping, though... and guess what I don't know how to do.  Drape.
So, I told her that I could get close to it.  Could she live with "close"?  Yes, she could.  She'll have to!  As much I want to learn how to drape, between now and May there just isn't enough time.  I started searching the pattern websites and found this Vogue (by Tom & Linda Platt) that is pretty darn close.  And guess what?  She loves it.

Better than the Taylor Swift dress!!!  Oh, yeah....
My student is a tall, thin brunette, and her only request is to lengthen the gown to floor length (to hide her shoes).  Easy, peezy.  Fabric recommedations, anyone?  She wants red (of course), and I want that front flounce to lay just right....
So, I'll bounce over to Joann's tomorrow and grab the pattern while it's on sale, and start the first muslin.  Hey, Lindsay T and Ann?! I'm gonna need some advice in the "boning" department!

And in the "What a nice surprise!" column, a very big Thank You to a special sewing friend for the book, "The Collection"!  When I'm done grading on Friday, I'm really looking forward to grabbing a glass of wine and curling up with this one!  You are the best!!!

Hope you all have had a very productive and successful beginning to 2010.  Can you believe that it's gonna be February next week???

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm on a Roll...

2 new outfits posted in the same week?! Unheard of (around here, at least)!!!  I'm gonna fool you sweet readers into thinking I'm speedy and productive, or something...

Yesterday was MLK day, and I got to spend the day at home with the kids.  Little Miss Princess had a friend over to play, and the girls were sweet enough to include Little Brother in the mix.  So, I was able to stitch myself a whole new outfit!  Yup, both pieces. All from stash. Yesterday.  Like I said, crazy and unprecedented!  (Can you see the sewing gods smiling down on me, here?)

Now, please don't confuse me with Dawn.  I know, the resemblence is striking (us skinny biotches are forever getting mistaken for each other... yeah, right... in my dreams!) but, it was her idea first to make a bunch of easy skirts using BWOF 9/08 #120.  Once I saw how great hers turned out (especially the plaid one), it occurred to me that I could make myself one before all hell breaks loose with the next fire dept. shirt embroidery order!  Well, the skirt came together so fast (no lining), that I realized I might be able to squeeze in a new top, too!  What a wonderful surprise when I reached for Vogue 7799 (oop) and found the paper already cut, and ready to be pinned down! Yes, yes, yes!!!  Even with making frequent and numerous stops to feed the kids and break up squirmishes, I was still able to have this done, and be in bed by 10:00.  I. am. a. ROCK. STAR.

I love them both, and will being making more of each very soon.  I have a fabulous grey/red boucle in a large plaid that will be a skirt, and many, many knits to make up more of these tops.  The only alteration I made was to remove the cinched in waist on the top, and make it a straight line from under arm to hem.  I'm not a big fan of turtlenecks, but this gives me the cozy, covered up feeling without the claustrophobic, choking feeling.  I know everyone on PR says the shoulders are too wide, and I ignored their warnings just to see (yes, they are a smidge wide), but no one at work today seemed to notice anything but my very cool outfit.

Short skirt... check.
Tights and boots.... check.
Killer attitude.... check.
Now I just gotta get DH to take me to Hawaii, and I will be the total package! (I love you, Dawn!!!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

What a wonderful day I had yesterday!  I am so blessed with a fantastic family and great friends, and had a nice relaxing day at home.  My in-laws (also very loving and sweet) got me gift certificates for Haberman Fabrics (Yes, yes, yes!!!) and my best friend got me this lovely framed print for my sewing space!

DH got me a beautiful bracelet (angel wings, in memory of my mom, who collected angels), and a gown-length garment bag for trucking Homecoming and Prom dresses to and from school.  I want to embroidery my business name on it, but it also has a million little compartments, so I don't know if that will work!?  Regardless, it will just be nice to have professional looking bag to lug muslins and gowns around in, instead of plastic drycleaner bags!  Like I said, it was a wonderful day!

While I've been kept very busy with the embroidery business (the same chief that ordered the 50 hats, has now ordered 50 shirts!!!), I have found a little bit of time to sew for myself.  The pants are from the ???? issue of Burda, and Kenneth King helped me fit the muslin in NYC this past August.

The fabric is a black with silver pinstripe from Joann's, and the top is Simplicity 4020 made of a grey knit from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The pants pattern needs to be tweaked a little on the outside leg seam, but other than that, I love them.  No waistband, no pockets, just a couple darts and an inside facing.  The pattern is fixed now (I think), and I've cut the next pair out of tan corduroy.  You can see them next week...

The top is fantastic, and I will make this up again.  I'm probably the last person on the face of the earth to do so, but I got it late (its out of print) from Salinda, who had a duplicate.  Thank You, Salinda!!!  In my opinion, the pattern runs a little small and short on length (Simplicity tends to do this with my torso), so I added a band to the bottom, giving myself a couple more inches.  Next time (in a rust knit from Gorgeous Fabrics), I will cut it a little longer and wider in the back.

Currently on the table are the tan corduroy pants, a silk print blouse, and a red plaid skirt.  I had this crazy idea that having today off work meant I'd get some serious sewing done.  I have always had an over-active imagination...  The red plaid skirt is nearly finished, so I should be posting again by the weekend with a new outfit!

Giveaway Results!!!
Thanks to all of you that shared your comments on whom you would follow!  Family was definitely the number one response, but I also enjoyed seeing your silly (Robert Downey Jr.) and sewing (Sandra Betzina) responses!  Using the random number generator website, the lucky winner is Sewing Mama!  Congrats, and email me at with your pattern and fabric choices (and mailing address), so I can get them in the mail to you!  Remember, pick 2 patterns, and 2 fabrics!  Thanks again to all of you for your continued friendship and support!  Just Keep Sewing!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


When I started this blog in July 2007, I never guessed that over 100 people would check in to see what my latest sewing project is.  In the last 2 1/2 years, I've learned so much from sharing my frustrations and successes, from your honest feedback and cheers of support.  If you've ever taken a moment to post a comment, thank you.  If you've ever taken a couple minutes to send me an email, thank you.  And if we've actually met, isn't this so much fun???

Since this is a celebration of my "followers", I want to know, "Who would you follow anywhere?"  It can be silly, serious, or sewing related.  You must leave your response as a comment on this post by midnight on Sunday, January 17 (my 36th birthday) to be eligible for the giveaway!  If you don't have a blog I can trace your comment back to, please include your email so I can tell you if you're the winner!  Winner of what?  The randomly selected winner will have their choice of 2 patterns and 2 fabrics, shown below.  You can make your picks when I contact you, if you've won!

7 Patterns to pick from in various sizes...

Butterick 4723, sizes 16-22
McCalls 5630, sizes 8 - 14
Simplicity 3750, sizes 8-16
Simplicity 3754, sizes 12-20
Simplicity 3797, 6-14
Vogue P948, sizes 14-18
Vogue 8419, sizes 14 - 20

7 Fabrics (all 58" wide, 2 yards long)
Blue Cotton Eyelet, mottled like a tie-dye

Silky Black/Green print (blend)

Silky Navy and Cream stripe (blend)

Black Linen Blend, crinkle/gauze feel

Grey Striped Suiting

Black/Grey/Pink Suiting (small plaid)

Brown/Burgundy/Gold Striped Wool (*1.5 yards, not 2)

So, thanks again for all your kindness and friendship!
Now, "Who would you follow anywhere???  Here are mine...
Seriously: My husband and kids, I am blessed with a wonderful family.
Silly: Tim Gunn & Heidi Klum
Sewing: Susan Khalje, Sandra Betzina, Kenneth King

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sewing Burns Calories!!!

Hoop a hat, run downstairs...
Run Upstairs, do miscellaneous housework while listening to the baby monitor stationed next to the embroidery machine.  Hmmm... it shouldn't be stopped yet!
Run Downstairs, re-thread the needle/replace the bobbin, run upstairs...
Clean up the last hat and get the next hat hooped while listening for the machine to finish...

Run downstairs, swap finished hat for next hat.  Run upstairs, and repeat.

This is how I spent my weekend doing 50 knit caps for 2 local fire departments!
Each hat is supposed to stitch out in 13-15 minutes, but it took longer because the white thread keeps springing up when it's cut, slipping out of the needle and requiring me to tend to it.  That's how I managed to log in some extra exercise hours climbing about 100 flights of stairs!  Fresh needle, fresh thread... I should probably take it in for a tune-up, it's overdue!  I got all my supplies (stabilizers, needles, and thread) from All Threads, who never charges shipping, and it arrives fast! I've used their stabilizers for the last year, and am so happy with them.  Their clear water soluble topper pulls out so cleanly, I really like it better than the Sulky I had been using!  This time I tried an adhesive tear-away, which keeps the hat nicely in place.  I still use a few pins to lock it down, but it's great because it keeps the hat from shimmying anywhere during stitching.

I hooped the stabilizer, and scored an "X" with a screwdriver across the center of the hoop.  I gently scraped up a corner and peeled back the paper, revealing a sticky surface.  Then I just laid the cap down on it, secured it with a few pins on the far, far edges, and added a layer of water soluble clear stabilizer over to keep the stitches from sinking into the lofty knit.  I've never been a fan of the spray adhesives, so I use pins outside the stitching area to keep that clear layer put.  Then it's into the machine.. and, voila!

A snazzy warm winter hat to keep our brave guys and gals warm!

And, thanks to all of you followers, I'm currently at 107!  Woo hoo!!!!  I hoped my blog would reach this point, but never really thought it would happen.  Thanks to all of you for following my projects, and for leaving so many wonderful comments of support.  And, as promised, there will be a GIVEAWAY!!!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to run downstairs again to pick out some goodies for you...
See, I told you!  Sewing does burn calories!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I wish...

My kids call these "wishing flowers".  I miss summer...

I wish I had a great picture of the fabulous new outfit (knit top and pants) that I made last week, but I don't.  I wore it to work Monday, but didn't have time to snap a picture.
I wish I had another week of vacation from work, but I don't.  It was a wonderful 2 week break!
I wish my daughter, son, and husband hadn't all gotten sick in the last 5 days (strep, cough, flu), but they did.  Thankfully, they're all on the mend now!
I did wish for a good embroidery order to boost business, so now I have 50 (fifty!) knit caps to stitch.  All the stabilizer is cut and I need to edit the design and stitch them up by the end of the weekend.
I also wished to see "Nine" over break, and I did! I really enjoyed it, and can't which number was my favorite: Fergie or Kate Hudson?  Penelope Cruz's number was pretty cool, too...

So, please be patient with me.  I have lots to share with you, and I will... as soon as life lets me!  Meanwhile, I'm waiting for 5 more "followers" so I can celebrate and have a giveaway! 

My wish for you is that you are all having success with your New Year's resolutions (another wish I'm failing at), and having lots of fun in your sewing spaces.  I hope your wishes are coming true, and will see you later this week!