Monday, September 30, 2013

Finished my first PDF pattern last night.

Between the laundry, housework, cooking and packing for my trip, . . . I managed to finish a blouse and sew up this "Crossover Capelet" yesterday. Naturally, I had to take sewing breaks! This is the pattern that I downloaded as a PDF earlier in the week. First of all, I really love it! I chose a very nice herringbone wool in a soft gray/blue and paired it with a dusty navy lining; both from the shop. The buttons came out of one of my button boxes. A very nice glass button with a metal shank; actually Victorian. I love buttons!
I had to restrain myself from making any changes to the project as I wanted it to be just as the pattern designer intended. Well, okay, I did make one change: I eliminated the interfacing as I did not think that the collar needed it. I tried! I will make just a couple of changes on my next one though:)
So, what are my conclusions regarding the PDF pattern idea. Well, I made a list of Pros and Cons. 
On the Pro side:
  • The pattern is FREE.
  • You get instant gratification downloading a pattern; no need to order.
  • This is great if you don't happen to live near a "nice" fabric store!
  • This type of pattern costs the designer very little to produce; less profit, but far less risk of investment.
On the Con side:
  • To me the printing, taping the pages together accurately and then cutting was too time consuming.
  • I do not feel that it is truly free as you need to own a printer, have ink in printer, have plenty of paper and tape. Naturally, most people do own printers, but how much is it really costing??? Hmmm....
  • I prefer pinning through tissue rather than printer paper. Perhaps I should have traced the pattern off first like I usually do with my multi-sized patterns. More time....
  • Storage: There is no envelop to store your pattern in. A large manilla folder or a ziploc bag works, but it looks messy with my other patterns. I know, I am picky!
  • And, on a more "personal note" as a retailer, I cannot sell these patterns, so what incentive is there for me or my personnel to "test" the pattern for our customers. (I know that as a store owner it is considered to be in poor taste to mention $$$, but I do want to stay open for business:)
I'll show these Capelets off in my upcoming class in Ft Worth, "Vintage Effects on Modern Clothing" at the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo TEXAS debut!

Today, I have travelled all the way to Fredericksburg, Virginia to teach for the same Expo. I'll be sharing my love of Ruffle Fabrics AND hopefully inspiring others to sew more for the holidays!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sewing with my 1st PDF pattern!

Are you familiar with Stitch magazine by Interweave Press? It IS my favorite sewing magazine! They have great projects with great instructions and photographs that always make me want to go home and create something. But do I? Well, I must admit that the magazines do stack up with plenty of "dog eared" pages. I do look at them over and over again - does that count? 

So, I finally have picked a project as seen to the left here: The Criss Cross Capelet by April Moffat, featured in the Fall 2013 issue. Since I am teaching, Vintage Effects on Modern Clothes at the upcoming Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Ft Worth next month, this project fits right in. I would have already made it but what has held me back is that the pattern is available only as a PDF which is downloadable on their site, SEWDAILY.COM

I do not have a problem with PDF patterns at all, however when the project involves printing out more than 20 pages . . .  which you then have to tape together (very carefully matching up the dots) and then cut it out of the "stiff" inkjet printer paper (rather than the tissue paper that we know so well) well, need I say more? I know that it is FREE, but is it really??? I do not know what it costs per page on my printer, but we all know that the ink is not cheap. Paper; not too bad and neither is the tape very expensive. BUT,  do you know how long it took me to do all of this? Probably a little over 30 minutes! Hmmm . . .  I am not sure about this after all. Maybe I should change my opinion about these PDF's . . . . what does everyone else think of these? I think that I personally would rather have a pattern on tissue all printed out, with directions all inclusive. I would gladly pay for this service But wait, haven't we already been doing for decades!

Wow, I never thought that I would say this, but it must be my age! I must be getting "old"!
Okay, I am going to cut this out today and start sewing it up, so follow my progress and comments right here:)

Here is what the cover of the magazine looks like if you want to check and see if you have this issue.

PS Has everyone already ordered their tickets for the show in Ft Worth? If we want to have our own fabulous sewing show in north Texas, here is our chance to get one and keep it!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Guns, Ammo & Fabric?!?!

This is just too funny! 

While on my vacation in Colorado, I visited with a customer of ours (who moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado a number of years ago) if they had any fabric stores in town, fully expecting her to say, "no." But to my surprise, she verified that there was indeed just one in the back of the gun store! I could not believe it and HAD to go check this one out. 

Yep, there is was, Eagle Mountain Mercantile

Mainly they sell guns, ammo and hunting licenses. But the owner's wife, has her own quilt shop in the back of the store. Oh, and they sell pet supplies. What a crazy combination! But, I have to admit it was not too bad. Certainly better than no fabric at all! 

                      As you can see in the picture here it is quite nice. I bet that she does not have more than maybe 300 square feet of space, but it is nicely arranged with some great samples and surprisingly a very ample supply of fabrics, some patterns and a nice selection of books & notions. Although, she did not have a belt for my Featherweight Singer machine that I brought with me on this trip:(   Oh, well, I really did not expect to find one, but one can always hope!

I am posting a few more pictures of this rare retail store for everyone to enjoy. The first one is a view of her small knitting corner; note the deer antlers hanging from the ceiling. In the next picture is a great juxtaposition of quilt samples with gun holsters! Maybe you could store a quilt in those! And, in the final picture you can see the pet supplies with the fabric bolts in the back. 

I'll leave you with a great picture of the gun/hunting portion of the store which is the majority of the shop - at least 1000 square feet! Hmmm . . . who is getting the most out of this shop? Well, at least you would probably not have any trouble talking your husband to going to the quilt shop with you! That is, if he is a hunter! Of course, if you have never visited Sew It Up Studio, you need to know that we do have a hobby shop next door to us that sells radio controlled everything (Hobby Town USA) AND we have a fabulous woodcrafting store on the other side (Woodcraft). I hear that we are getting a breakfast cafe on the other end of our center (Bacon's) as well as a really big salon (Salon's on the Hill). Most recently I have heard that a great gift shop is moving in on the other side of us, Apple Annie's! But, alas, no guns or ammo!

P.S.  People here keep asking me if I have any intention of opening up a fabric shore here in Pagosa Springs, where I hope to retire to in a few years, and the answer is NO! One shop & one website is quite enough! I do hope that I can continue to manage them :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

No Bears Sighted Yet!

A few years ago I blogged about my summer vacation in Colorado at the family cabin, complete with even a bear event! (August 2010) No sightings this year - thank goodness! At least so far. . .

Naturally, I brought my sewing machine with me to "play" on vacation.   Doesn't everyone? I decided this year to bring my little Singer featherweight; my plan being to finish my first BIG quilt! So, I packed extra spools of thread, extra needles, bobbins, the oil (as I never can remember the last time it was lubricated), seam gauge, etc. I even remembered to check and see if the foot pedal and electrical cord were in the case! But what I failed to check was the condition of the belt. All sewing machines used to be powered by a belt that went from the little motor to the hand wheel to make it go. Well, .  .  . about half way into my project, I noticed some dirt literally piling up under the left side of the machine. It did not take me long to discover its source - the belt was disintegrating:(  Oh dear, was I going to be able to finish my project(s)? I prayed that the belt would make it through the completion of the piecing of my quilt. I do not know if you can see the belt in this picture where it is fraying beyond belief ~ well, I do suspect that this is the original belt on the machine, so that would make it over 70 years old!

Well, believe it or not, it did and then quit!!! I had only filled one bobbin. I do not think that the belt would have allowed another one to be readied for the task.  I checked to see how much thread was left ~ there was only about 10"!  I really could not believe it! Wow, the sewing angels were looking over my shoulder! I can't sew anymore on this trip, but that is OK. We will be heading home in another couple of days and, after all, I did complete the one project that I had hoped to finish. Allow me to share with you my first really BIG modern quilt!

This Quilt is out of Modern Quilts Illustrated, Vol #4, COVENT GARDEN, using Weeks Ringle's new line of fabric "Vintage Modern" for Andover Fabrics. Of Course, Sew It Up carries the fabric and magazine:)

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's KID'S WEEK @ Sew It Up!

We had the most delightful group of girls in all last week for our second session of KIDS SEWING CAMP for beginners. They were awesome! Very focused, enthusiastic, productive and polite! Their Mom's should be proud! Here they are with their headbands on!
 They also made pillowcases, tote bags, their very own skirt and a little zip-up wristlet bag!

Then, on Saturday, we hostessed our very 1st TEA PARTY!!!
AND . . . .  it was a smashing success!
All of the little girls introduced themselves, their dolls and told us how their doll came into their life ~ it was touching. They and their dolls dressed up too! Some wore hats, some had glitter in their hair or pretty ribbons. It was refreshing to see so many happy faces. We had tea, for the grown ups, pink lemonade for the girls, lots of goodies to eat for all. For the dolls, the girls made them each a necklace with teapot and tea cup buttons.  It was a wonderful way to end our week with kids being turned on to sewing! I overheard several at the party saying that as soon as they were old enough they were going to learn to sew!

Today, we have a group in of sisters, cousins and friends from Texas, Oklahoma & Colorado sewing a laminated "Beach Bag". The bags look wonderful! They sewed most of the morning and took a break for a picnic with sandwiches from Honey Baked Ham - yum!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The allure of THE DRESS!

    This summer I have been making lots of dresses. One reason is that they are cooler! Also, you do not have to think what blouse, tee shirt, etc to put with it ~ its an entire ensemble! AND, I really do think that they can be so much more comfortable than just about anything - except maybe pj's. I love to study the fashions of the '40's and '50's. There was such an elegance to the fashions then. In looking around the shop at our patterns and our many different fabrics, I am struck with a thought ~ why can't we wear those beautiful dresses today? Well, why not! With minor changes to the patterns, the right fabric choices as well as the right accessories, we can do this! Well, maybe not the hat:(  

So..... I am working on this now - everyday and night. I am consumed with thoughts of beautiful dresses.

Yesterday, Kay Whitt was in the shop and I was thrilled to compare thought with her only to find that she feels the same way. I think that she may have some new pattern ideas coming soon!

I am already planning a class, "Couture Sewing Techniques" for the NEW ORIGINAL SEWING &  QUILT EXPO that is coming to Ft Worth this fall. I feel like this is going to be a superb show! Everyone put it on their calendar: October 17th thru 19th, the Will Rodgers Memorial Center.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sewing Circles

I was checking my email yesterday and saw one from my daughter "...Saw this and thought of you!"
          It was not the picture above (although I think it is pretty cool), it was a link to a database in the Massachusetts Historical Society titled 95 Sewing Circle Records, 1893-1961, 2 boxes, 4 cased volumes. If you did not know already my daughter is working on her doctorate hence the reason for her actually running across this bit of history. She was doing a search for "Women, Societies and Clubs, Upper Class, Massachusetts". I won't go into the details of why she was doing just this, but I wanted to share with everyone the description of just what was the '95 Sewing Circle:

"Meeting schedules, scrapbooks, photographs, and miscellaneous correspondence of the ’95 Sewing Circle, a club for upper-class Boston women begun in 1895. Most members of the exclusive club were born in the 1870s and "came out" in the early to mid-1890s. Although the title suggests a charitable purpose, it appears that most club activities were social in nature. Profiles of members, with photographs and vital information, are contained in the scrapbooks. Also included are 3 reels of movie film and miscellaneous club artifacts.

I have bolded and italicized what truly caught my attention. I love it! Women have been getting together for a long long time sewing and talking and sharing and laughing and sometimes crying. Sometimes we do sew for charitable causes, but mostly it is social. We inspire each other in our craft as well as support one another through the many trials of life. I know lots of women who are in "Quilting Bee's" and church groups that meet regularly. Here at Sew It Up Studio, we have been hostessing our "Sewist's Day Camp" this summer once a week in which you can come and go from 10an-5pm, working on your many UFO's!  Our "Sew It Up Club meets once a month in order that our customers may all share their projects with one another .  .  . and visit! One of our dear customers hosts a "Craft Night" monthly at her home. What a fantastic idea! I am thinking perhaps we need a "Lunch Bunch" this fall just to have an excuse to "talk sewing"!

I love our craft of sewing! And, it is so much more than just sewing! We should all try to introduce just one of our friends this fall to sewing. Just consider what they have been missing!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kids Sewing Camp - Summer 2013

Last week was our first Kids Sewing Camp for 2013! 

Even though there are only 4 new "sewists" pictured, there were actually five girls as you will surmise from the pictures of their completed projects. The classroom was filled with joy for 5 days from 10am until 2pm each day. They were learning, sharing, designing, forging new friendships & laughing. It was such a pleasure to be able to hear how much fun they were having! And, boy were they productive.

They began with pillowcases as that is our proverbial "first project" - look at the wonderful prints and colors that they chose! I love them all! Their second project I believe was a tote bag, but unfortunately our picture turned out a bit blurry. 

They also made the cutest ever headbands which they all embellished with beads and sequins thus practicing some hand stitching!

Some of the girls made more than one; some for friends, some for relatives ~ so sweet!

To the left here are their little zip up bags that are perfect for anything small: pens & pencils, hair accessories, trinkets  etc. 

I am not sure if I have left out any of their projects, but their final one was a skirt which they all finished and modeled as you can see in the first photograph above. Don't they look confident and proud!

I do hope that they will continue to learn to sew over the summer and that they will all attend the intermediate session which will be in August.  See y'all soon! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

TAKING A BREAK . . . I'm sewing!!!

What do you mean "sewing"? Don't I sew all the time? Well, sort of . . . I do sew many of the samples and kits for the shop, but occasionally, I just want to sew something that is just for me ~ not for the shop! Wow, can you imagine that?

In my collection, I have some wonderful really old pattens from the '40s and '50s. I made one a couple of weeks ago (see above!) with success (most of these do not have directions! and occasionally there is a piece missing). I love the styles of that time period and the fit. They are very feminine in my opinion, but what is the deal with the sizes! Gosh have we all gotten so much bigger than back in the 40's-50's???  I know that women wore girdles back then and they did not have drive thru fast food places as we do today! But honestly, has sizing for women's clothing changed that radically? Evidently so. A 30" bust was a size 12! I don't think that I was ever that tiny! I have had to cut out an 18-20 to get a bust of 36"-37"! Thank goodness we do not have to wear the size on the outside of a garment!

Towards the end of last week I tried another one. It is a maternity top, but I thought that it might just work for todays fashions. I made it up in a wonderful rayon batik so that it would flow nicely and not "stick out" ~ like a maternity top. BUT, well, it did. So, I decided that it would make a great bathing suit coverup.

That was last week. after studying it for several days, I decided to chance a few design alterations! I removed two of the side bows, edge stitched the side panels (to keep them from "poking out") and then added some inverted pleats to the front and back to create some shaping. I think that I have done it! - I believe that with some skinny khaki capris and flat sandals it can be worn out in public ~ that is the litmus test after all!

Just last night, I tried another dress pattern from the 50's and I love it! (See below.)
I might just have to draft this one for everyone to enjoy. I will post a picture of mine in a couple of days when it is finished.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Martha's Sewing Market

          This past weekend was the annual Martha's Sewing Market at the Arlington Convention Center. This was their 16th year I do believe and our 15th year to exhibit for the Pullen Company. It has always been the hightlight of our entire summer, but sadly this year, it appears to be the last one. F & W Media bought the magazine, Sew Beautiful and Martha's Sewing market about a year ago. They chose to combine the venue with their annual Scrapbooking convention; however they segregated us to a separate exhibit hall and reduced our classrooms from twelve to one!

        As you can see, their signage for us was kind of an afterthought - not a professional looking sign, just a hand drawn one! And, this only appeared on Saturday after numerous complaints that no one could find the sewing market!!!

         It was sad to see how small the show was reduced to and how few free seminars were offered ~ only one per hour. In years past we had as many as twelve per time slot. It is heartbreaking to realize that the show must surely "die" after this pathetic attempt. I am extreemly disappointed in how little F & W Media seemed to care about the show, the customers or the vendors. I suppose all good things come to an end eventually.

         For those of you who attended the show, I sincerely thank you for your support! If you wish to send your comments, in the form of an email, the show director's is Dana Groves:

         AND, for those of you who attended my seminar on Thursday, 
here is where you will find the pattern instructions for 
The Essential Shrug ~ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 and
My Diagonal Skirt ~ Monday, November 12, 2012

As always, I wish everyone Happy Sewing adventures!
. . . .   & please stay tuned as I do have a few ideas for next summer!
I welcome any of your comments as well!

Monday, June 3, 2013

will be in Booths #114 & #116
June 6th-8th
Arlington Convention Center

Stop by and say Hello!

Our Free Seminars:
One Seam Wonders     - Noon/Thursday
Quiltilng - The Next Generation     - 4pm/Thursday
Hexagons: More Than You Ever Imagined     - 9am/Friday
Slow Down! - Curves Ahead!      - Noon/Friday
From Paper to Fabric: A Refreshing Transition      - Noon/Saturday

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I am amazed that our very own "Martha's Sewing Market" is just around the corner! I have been working on my seminars, new kits and other goodies. We, that is, Sew It Up have been a vendor for Martha for 15 years now ~ yes, that is hard to believe! Every year has been so much fun! We get soooo excited getting ready for the show. It is always great to see those customers who travel far and wide just for this event. Our own local customers attend in great numbers and we meet lots of wonderful new sewists!

Last year was a bit of a disappointment in the number of vendors. Granted there was another big sewing venue premiering on the very same weekend on the east coast. Many vendors live in that part of the country so it just made sense that they not travel all the way to Texas. Still, we missed them and the show seemed so much smaller. Another reason that the show lacked its usual luster was that Martha's company had just been bought by another. Yes, Hoffman Media had purchased them about two years prior. Now, it is F & W Media who owns the magazine and company. They had not owned it long enough to orient themselves to the personality of the show. They did not know the vendors and were a little clueless as to what exactly Martha's Sewing Market had become over the years. I know that many attendees were disappointed in the show.

This year will be different! What is this about combining Sewing with Scrapbooking? Frankly it is a matter of simple economics. The show has evidently not done very well in the money department for quite some time. A big company like F & W Media is not going to support an event that generates little or  no profit. They have been producing this very same scrapbooking event for a number of years. So, we are actually quite lucky that they did not cancel OUR SEWING SHOW! So, they have combined the two. It just makes sense. There are fewer vendors interested in being a part of a small sewing show. So, here is the deal: if we do not support this show, it will likely be our very last one. Yes, we do have the Houston International Quilt Festival in the fall, but, for most of us, it isn't enough. We like having a sewing convention right here in our backyard! 

So, I am asking everyone a big favor. Please spread the word and attend the market this year. If we can make it work, we will not loose the show! I am confident that this show CAN be built back up to what it used to be! I know that the tickets are $15/day at the door, so, here is what I am offering to everyone: 

Shop with Sew It Up anytime between now and the event and I will give you a coupon worth $5 off of any purchase - made in our booths - at the show. This really means that Sew It Up is paying for one third of your ticket price! How about it? That sounds pretty good right? Well, here is one more "gift". If you come to the show and shop in our booths, you will receive a coupon worth $5 to spend anytime either in the shop or on-line! Now your ticket to get into the show is $5!

I am committed to making the show a success this year so that we can have it again next year! I hope that everyone else feels the same way that I do:)

Friday, April 26, 2013

A real SEW-IN!

       This past weekend was Sew It Up's annual Spring "Sewing in Southern Comfort Retreat" in Mineola, Texas and, as always, I was totally in awe of the creativity, productivity and expertise in attendance!  I love to see the way that fabrics are combined as well as the wonderful attention to detail in embellishing stage of the project. Look at this precious little pants set using two different strips, in three ways: vertical, horizontal and diagonal! This is actually the "All Set" pattern by Anna Marie Horner and if you are familiar with this pattern, you will note the variation in the bodice! Lets just say, that sometimes, an oversight in the cutting out stage can lend itself beautifully to a "design opportunity"!!!
         Here is a baby ensemble that began with the gifted monogrammed diaper cover which begged for a coordinate. Hence the baseball fabric; however upon completion, the gray chevron fabric side (originally intended as the lining) was voted the "cutest" side!

Below are just A FEW of the more crafty side of the projects that were coming off the assembly line! The center purse is The Madison Bag by Kay Whitt. Several attendees had this on their list to make and two people totally finished theirs. I made one too to bring to the retreat. I must admit, that after watching two people use Soft & Stable rather than the recommended Deco Fuse, the first is definitely the easier to work with and the end result is perfect!
There were several sewists making ladies garments, but the kids clothing is always the cutest! So, I am including a few more pictures (and believe me I did pare these down substantially!) From left to right, the patterns used were: Claudia by Mod Kid, The Sophie Shorts Set by Kati Cupcake Patterns, The Ruby Ruffle Dress by Cottage Mama and the last is my own ruffled Skort from my new Sewing with Ruffles book! ALL PRECIOUS!

Now to wait for the next retreat! 
I have decided that we definitely need more room for our retreat so that more of our wonderful customers can be a part of all of the fun, so that is what is one of my next big projects! 

In the meanwhile, our BRAND NEW WEBSITE will be opening very very soon!