Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday Sewing Expo News

               Another very busy day here at the Expo! We have met so many wonderful sewing sisters here. This is an awesome event ~ I wish that everyone I know could be here! As I promised yesterday, here are a few pictures that I took today during a 5 minute break late this afternoon:

Here is Peggy Sagers booth from Texas!


And, the lovely ladies from the Martha Pullen Company!


Do you recognize the lady on the left in red? That is "Mother Superior" of Superior Threads!

And, the ever smiling and knowledgeable Louise Cuttings from Cutting Corners.

Here is Marta Alto of Palmer Pletsch - another wonderful lady.

And, here is my Newest Friend, Deepika of Pattern!
She is even lovelier in person that on her site! I know that all of you would love her.

I'm sorry that I am not too chatty this evening, but it has been a very long and busy day.
So, I am off to bed here at my little hotel in Tacoma, Washington.
More tomorrow . . . :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Reporting from the Sewing Expo!

                        It has been a super busy week so far. All  22 of our boxes arrived safely on Monday,  thanks to Fed Ex. What a relief! We (my cousin, Rose ~ who flew in from Idaho to help) got everything moved from our hotel in Tacoma to our storage facility in Puyallup. That felt so good to get that part done. On Tuesday, we travelled over to Bellevue (where Microsoft is based ~ see the buildings above) and visited my good friend, Judy Barlup, the "queen" of Japanese Tailoring. She has a beautiful article in the latest issue of Threads magazine - a definite "must read".  Here is a picture of the two of us. She is such a dear!

            The rest of Tuesday was spent "playing" as we tried to visit as many knitting shops as possible! And, naturally, we did find some goodies. But, Wednesday was definitely NOT a "play day". We were at the fairgrounds by 9:15am to get in line to unload. This is always the hardest day of any show. By slightly after 10, we were already wheeling the dolly back and forth unloading all of those 22 boxes. The process of unloading, setting up and arranging the booth took literally all day. We finished or should I say, quit at 7pm! Ugh! And, yes, by then we were exhausted! Here is a picture of Rose hard at work -the "before" picture-  and below is the "after" shot.


                       Our booth looked really great by the time we left. And, we had a fabulous location ~ across from the ladies restroom! Everyone has to stop there eventually - right?

After dinner and a hot hot shower, we collapsed.

                         Today was the opening day of the show ~ yippee!!! I had my first class ever at the Expo. It was SOLD OUT! Yes, and with 100 people. After a rocky beginning with a slight problem with the sound system, my seminar went off smoothly. I had a wonderful group of very enthusiastic sewers. Oh, what fun. And, as for the rest of the day. Well, suffice it to say, I only made it to the restroom once ~ so, yes we were extremely busy! I am a very happy lady tonight ~ and, once again, exhausted! 

                          I did get to meet with Deepika of Pattern today! What a delightful lady! We had a wonderful little visit. She even made her first purchase at the Expo at our booth ~ and this is her first year to come to the Sewing Expo. Tomorrow night, all of the Pattern Review members who are attending the Expo, will meet at our booth at the end of the day to all go out to dinner. Fun, Fun!

                         I promise that I will do my best to get out of the booth tomorrow and take some pictures of the Expo for everyone. Oh, and yes, I will take my wallet as you just never know what you will find!

Happy Sewing everyone!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowing & Sewing!

Can you believe that it is snowing here in Texas! And, it has been at it for hours and hours! Here is a picture out my kitchen window at my back yard. I think that there must be at least 5" on my diving board now ~ well, no swimming today! It is a great day to stay home, go without make-up (yes, no one is home today but me!!!), catch up on the laundry, mail and SEW!!!!

I finished my laminated shopping bag this morning. It took less than an hour from cutting out to finishing up with a little velcro closure. I am going to write up my pattern instructions today and we will start cutting some kits maybe by tomorrow at the shop. Provided that the roads have not iced over. You see, we do NOT drive on this snow and ice down here. No one would want us to as we have No experience!

Here is a picture of my shopping tote ~ isn't cute! Now, if I can just remember to keep it in the car for when I go to the grocery store!

Note "one" of my sewing machines in the background. Yes, I decorate my house with sewing machines; I have four antique ones that sit around making me smile & yes, they all do work! I also decorate with fabric; see the great woven wool on the back of the sofa - I simply zig zagged the two ends and frayed them. It makes a beautiful "throw" for my sofa, or a "shawl" if I am cold. And, if I ever decide what to make with it, I can cut it up! In the meanwhile, I just admire the great weave, color and feel!

My next project is the new "Stella" skirt by Lila Tueller.  I started it the night before last and am working on the layers of ruffles today. It is really coming along and is coming out so much more "elegant" than I had imagined. I am using four different prints from a collection from Basic Grey called, "Eva".  I am frankly a linen, wool, silk aficionado when it comes to sewing garments for myself ~ not as much just cotton prints. BUT, this is really cute and I will definitely be wearing it. I already have the boots and sweater picked out. Ah, such a "clothes horse".

I think that I'll make another one of these right away. I like to figure out a pattern and then, while it is fresh on my mind, make another one. It always is faster the second time around!

 Here is my next color choice! Springy, hug? I'll make the entire skirt out of just this one print. This will be great with a tee and a pair of sandals. Of course, I'll have to wait for the snow to go away before I wear this one.

See the fabric that is on the front of the pattern envelope? Well, I was straightening up the fabrics yesterday in our "cotton" room and found that we have that exact print in stock! Hmmm . . .  maybe I should make up one in the same print that Lila made her sample skirt out of - after all, it is from her own fabric line!

Ah, it is a perfect day for creating, relaxing, drinking hot tea and sewing!
 My dog is looking at me wondering if we are gong to play football today.
 I don't know . . . 

I hope that you are having fun in your sewing room today too!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rain, rain, go away! ~ "Sewing on Laminated Fabrics"

               It has been raining and raining, but its OK because I have been locked away in my studio learning how to sew on laminated fabric! I just closed the shades and turn on ALL the lights!!! 

              My education began as most do, I "googled"  ~how to sew on laminated fabrics~ . Much to my surprise there was not a lot to be found. Just basic little tidbits. So, I thought, well, here goes! I only have about 100 ids of this stuff to sell, so I better become an "expert" on the subject. 

 .    .   .   .    .I don't think that I have become this expert; however, after spending three solid days sewing with it and experimenting
on it, I surely do know a lot more now than I did! As you will see from the adorable little raincoat to the left here, I did conquer this fabric! Of course, this is going to be a brand new kit. And, what made me think of a raincoat ~ all the rain that we have been experiencing? Actually it is because I will traveling up to Seattle in a couple of weeks for the gigantic Sewing Expo in Puyallup. And, everyone knows how much it rains up there!

 So, here goes. I want to share with you what I have learned.

To begin with, if you have folded up this fabric to bring it home, it is going to have creases that need to be eliminated. Here is what I found:
  They say DO NOT PRESS this fabric! Well, of course, I am no dummy. You cannot iron plastic! But, I found that I could as long as I pressed the fabric from the back ~  by misting with water and using a pressing cloth, it worked!

I also found out that you can hang the fabric up in a warm room for a few hours (or lay it flat on the dining room table on a sunny day, it flattened out appreciably.   Or, here is another little trick - Use a hair dryer on the wrinkles ~ not touching it of course! I thought about putting the fabric in the clothes dryer, but I knew better. I would probably forget about it and "plastic coat" the inside of my dryer! Best for me, not to entertain this experiment!
      So, what about cutting out?  Pin your pattern pieces to the fabric sparingly and ONLY 1/4” in from the edges. In other words, only pin inside the seam allowances. Pins will leave holes if left pinned for very long.
      And, Keep it simple! Do not pick a pattern that calls for a lining or lots and lots of pieces! If it does have a lining, just eliminate it as I did for this little coat. It is very difficult, if not impossible to "turn" pieces so just sew them flat.

       Sewing was not nearly as bad as I have made it out to be "in my head"! It was actually easy! Oh my goodness, did I just say easy??? Well, after you have had as many learning experiences as I did, you do get the problems worked out. So, lets just say that I did the work for you. 
       Use a #12 Sharp needle and regular polyester sewing thread - like Guttermann or Metroscene. Also, I used a teflon coated foot for all the sewing and it worked beautifully! I also read that you can tape "painter’s tape" -its blue- to bottom of your all purpose foot.
       A couple of more helpful ideas, use a pressing tool. Mine is wooden. It sort of looks like the blade part of a knife except it is thicker. And, my favorite little sewing "weapon" was. . . tada . . . Wonder Tape!  Try not to pin your pieces together as you sew. If you absolutely must pin - and there are instances where it is necessary - then pin inside the seam allowance; position the pins vertically rather than horizontally, OR use the wonder tape!
       For sewing all of my seams, used  a stitch length of 2.5 Do not serge seams; just “pink” them or do nothing. They are not going to ravel after all. And, Ironing? :Basically, do NOT iron laminated fabric. it is best to use that pressing tool like the one to your right or "finger press" you seams. 
         I used the triple stitch; the one that goes 2 stitches forward and then one back and so on and so on for all of my topstitching. It is the stitch that you would use to stabilize a crotch seam. This took more time than using a regular straight stitch, but the end result was so professional (i.e. -pretty!) Be sure and “hold” on to your fabric with a little more pressure than usual as you topstitch to keep it stitching perfectly straight. The laminated fabrics want to slide a little.
        Since laminated fabrics are “thicker” than normal, line the pockets with regular cotton; not another layer of the laminated fabric. In order to make the button tabs ~that you see on the raincoat above~ perfectly, one side is the laminated fabric, the other, cotton. Do not sew these together in the traditional way. Here is my best advise now. First, starch the cotton tabs and press them to make them “crisp”. Fold in the three sides that are to be “sewn” - 1/2” and press well. Next, using a double sided fusible type of tape (like Wonder tape), fold the the three sides that are to be “sewn” on the laminated fabric and stick them down with the double sided tape. “Press” well with your fingers. Lay down another layer of the same kind of tape on top of the laminated button tab. Now lay the laminated tab on top of the cotton tab and “press” well with your fingers. If you cut them out precisely and measured in exactly 1/2” to fold your seams in, they should meet perfectly. Topstitch them together. Repeat for all  6  button tabs. For the button holes, definitely make a few test ones!
After much testing, I found that the very best buttonhole that I came up with was when I did not use my buttonhole foot or the automatic buttonhole “button” on my machine. I sewed two adjacent rows of satin stitches (using my “zig zag” stitch). They were the length of my button + 3/8” and only about 1/16” apart. Then on the ends of each of these two rows, I “closed” the buttonhole by sewing a satin stitch (twice the width of each of the satin stitches “bars” of the buttonhole) and only 1/8” in length. Perhaps your machine will make a better automatic buttonhole than mine. My concern was that the buttonhole foot was not able to “hold” the fabric steady enough to make a perfect buttonhole. There seemed to be too much “play”. 

Both of the fabrics that I used are from Michael Miller and are sooooo pretty. The one to your left is the Cocoa Dumb Dot and the print is Carnival Bloom. So, you might ask if the coat above is all that I made? Of course not! I also made a raincoat for me! And, it is destined to be a kit as well.  We are waiting to get the buttons in stock to complete the kits. I used a very simple pattern from Indygo Junction, The Trench Topper. I'll post a picture of it when the buttons arrive. 
And, now I am working on a shopping tote. It will be very simple and quite useful - especially since I am traveling to rainy Washington so soon! 
      So, I encourage you to SEW with this laminated fabric. I did get some cool results. Feel free to send me your questions!