Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Exciting things going on in the Sewing Studio

I just can't talk about them! Sorry to be such a punk, but I'm not sure if a certain someone reads my blog regularly, but they might and that would spoil the surprise! But suffice it to say, this is a total family sewing project that we're going to work on together, and ain't that fun??? In other sewing news that I can talk about, my boss brought me a Coldwater Creek wrap top that she dearly loves and wondered if I could knock it off. Well, of course, silly rabbit! I have the pattern all made...I'm just waiting on the serger return to do the heavy lifting. I have several T-shirts cut out to whip up as well and the studio is actually tidy for the moment...three days off...let's see if we can mess it up!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My friend Caitlin volunteers at Camp UKANDU for children battling cancer. She asked me to make lion costumes for her dogs Palisade and Varakai for a skit she was doing. Caitlin is an amazing dog trainer and a great person. Here she is taming the "lions". This was a fun project and I think they look pretty cute, don't you?

There's a new baby in the house...

Yeah, that's right...I kicked my Brother out and brought home a new Baby...Babylock, that is. I have the best husband in the world. He lives by the motto "Happy wife, happy life" and indulges me. Not that I am one of these women that is a shopaholic or buys expensive things (except sewing machines). Most of the time I am very frugal, well okay, to be honest I am downright cheap. But sewing is my passion and it pays to have a nice machine. And it helps that my philosophy towards him is "Honey if the bills are paid and we have food to eat, if you want it...buy it!" So with that being said, on to the details about the new Baby! We returned to the store with the Brother and samples of why I was unhappy and I was greeted by the same tech who had teased me the day before. I showed him my samples and his comment was, "This is unacceptable" He looked at the machine and asked if I was interested in trading it in on a new one. Thank you very much...that's what I wanted to do in the first place!!! He steered me towards another embroidery combo machine, but since I have the EMP6, I didn't really need that. Next he showed me the Babylock Espire, which is a quilting type machine...I wasn't totally convinced and didn't want to be hasty. That's how I ended up with the Brother. I looked at a Pfaff and it was a nice machine, but I did not like it as much as the Babylock. I sat down and sewed a few seams with the Babylock and was hooked. I got a fair trade for the Brother and they threw in the Gold Standard warranty package, which sells for $349.00, so we brought her home. When I unpacked her, I discovered I got the Eleanor Burns 3oth Anniversary model, that came with a huge extension table and other goodies. Guess I better get out those quilt UFO's and finish them up. I am sew happy and relieved that I didn't have to sell the Brother to someone outright. Hopefully they can refurbish it and it will be loved by someone else. Here is the project that was the final straw. It was one of Tom's Fathers Day presents. It's a well known fact that firemen love to play with fire! Embroidery was done on the EMP6.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I Hate my Brother...

Sewing machine, of course!!! If you follow me, you already knew that my Brother ULT 2003D died last week. This is not a new thing for this machine. I took it in with hopes of trading it off, but they were not interested. The good news is the repair was still under warranty from the last death, so they would fix it at no charge. Yesterday I picked it up and after finishing my chores for the evening sat down to try it out. The test stitching they did looked fine, but was done on a stiff fabric. I sampled with a cotton. Straight stitching fine...Zig-zag drew up the fabric terribly. Put on the embroidery arm and attempted a simple embroidery...WTH??? It looks like there is little to no bobbin tension. I am sew annoyed! So back it goes...I just want to get it sewing correctly so I can sell it. But then again, my dilemma is...I have had so much trouble with it...can I really pass it on to someone else in good conscience or is it destined to be a boat anchor?

Monday, June 22, 2009

R & R

Three glorious days off together and a great place to go!!! We are heading out in the morning when Tom gets home from work to LaPine. Unfortunately the boat won't be ready for this trip, but Papa Jim is available to go fishing so we'll go in his boat and hopefully catch mad Kokanee! (note to self...pack the brown sugar!!!) The Brother is still in the shop and I think I will take my Evolve in for service when I go to pick it up...might as well consolidate my trips into the big city and be green about it! I cut out a couple of Jalie knit tops yesterday...I am morphing them from the Sweetheart top...Pics to follow when they are done. I am very backed up on pictures and pattern reviews...it's more fun to sew than take pictures!!! Toodles! See you Kittens on Friday!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Beat goes On...

Doesn't that conjure up a song in your head that you can't get rid of..."Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain....Ladi-Dadi-Dee...Ladi-Dadi-Da" Okay, sorry about the Sonny and Cher flashback. What I really meant to say is that despite taking the machine into the dealer, I am still cranking out garments in the sweat shop. I finished the skirt and top from New Look 6813. Is it my imagination or does the New Look sizing run big? This is the second New Look that I have had to cut significantly smaller than my usual size according to the measurements. I used a beautiful tropical cotton print for the skirt (double remnant score) and a poly knit that was 50% off. Yesterday we had some errands to run and bless my husband's patient soul...he took me to JoAnns. I knew that thread and clearance fabric was 50% off. The poly knits that I considered a great deal at 50% off was marked 60% off, so I snagged some more of that to make some more T-shirts. Speaking of T-shirts, I bow to the T-shirt Queen! Look at all the great T-shirts that Christy made...28!!! I would consider 14 awesome! But I digress...the skirt came out fabulous and I think the top will work...the neckline is a little wider than I prefer, but I know better for next time as I think with a little tweaking this could be a TNT-T. I also redid the hems in a couple of Jalie sweetheart tops I made way back...for some odd reason I tried using Wooly thread when doing coverstitching in the beginning and I ended up with a raised hemline. This would be great if that's the design element you are looking for, but I really wanted flat...so lesson learned. I have so many great ideas for new projects...can't wait for time in the studio. When I go pick my Brother up I think I will take the Evolve for a service. I've had it a little over a year and it is covered under the Gold standard. It's a great machine and I use her all the time, so I need to be good to her...Alas, she will be sorely missed while away...guess I need to start looking for a back up serger...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Brother is Dead!

Don't panic...none of my real brothers have been harmed in the writing of this post...My Brother ULT 2003D. That machine has been a lemon from the start. It has been in the shop more than all the other machines I have had in my lifetime...put together! I was just finishing a simple apron and the last 1/2 inch had no stitches...WTH??? The needle was still threaded but the needle was not moving! The part that links the needle bar to the gear has broke...AGAIN. This is the third time that has happened...it's been under a year since the last repair. Since I never use the embroidery feature on it anymore (I always embroider with the BMP6) I think I will see if they are up for "Let's make a deal". If I can get a good solid sew only machine I will be happy to get out from under that lemon! Although is is a big inconvenience to deal with today when I planned to sew all day, it is not the end of the world. Not to fear Kittens...I always have a back up sewing machine waiting in the wings (actually I have 4 now if you count the treadle which is still functional) The project was completed with my Singer which has moved up to the #1 position for now. Wish me luck...hopefully I will be bringing home a new machine today.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Clouds are Lifting...

Well, not the real clouds, but the clouds in my head. Maybe it has to do with the return of the mojo or maybe I am just in a better place now. Maybe it's the Premarin kicking in, who knows? Whatever it is...I am grateful. As for the mojo, I finished the Erin Old Navy tulip skirt knock off in one night. That was a great project because I took a skirt she loved, but was too short...copied the design and made it longer. I apologize for not taking any pictures of the process, but I have been so in the zone, there's no time for a photo shoot. I will try to catch Erin wearing it someday and then snap a picture of her! I'm sure she'd love to be featured in my blog...NOT! The skirt was a simple faux wrap done in a cotton knit. I made my version with a nice black jersey that is dressy enough that she can style it up or down depending on where she's going. The rounded shape of the hem give the illusion of tulip petals in the front. The front and back are gently gathered. I drafted the pattern by laying the skirt out and tracing around the hem edge. I moved it up 7" and pulled the gathers flat the best I could to guesstimate the waist measure. I cut out my pattern pieces and went to the cutting table...wait a minute...this jersey is wide enough to cut the front and back out all together...who needs side seams??? So that's how I proceeded...one large U-shaped skirt piece. I basted a 5/8" hem and then ran it through the coverstitch...worked like a dream. I overlapped the front pieces and gently gathered the front and back, leaving the hip area flat. The waist band on the Old Navy skirt was just a four inch strip of fabric folded over with this funky elastic sewn in that didn't even fit the casing size...WTH??? I measured and cut my waistband, experimenting with different ways to stabilize it. In the end I went with the fold over method, but opted to omit the funky elastic and used Lastin clear elastic in the waist seam to give it some stability plus stretch. It was one of those dream projects that did not require ripping out. I loved it! The next night I whipped a skirt out for me from a knit I picked up at the Mill End during PR Weekend using New Look 6901 The skirt whipped up super fast...about an hour, which was perfect for an evening alone after work. Then last night I attempted the T-shirt with the cowl draped neckline...total wadder! I think it was a combination of my fabric choice...a thin tissue knit with not enough body to support the style...and cutting too large of size. I went with the size according to the pattern back and it was GI-normous!!! Then when I tried to cut it down the serger decided it was hungry and tried to eat it...was not a pretty site! So I gave up for the evening and revisited the studio this morning. This time I pulled out a similar style that I had great success with and compared. I chose a knit with a little more body and cut the smaller size...Half hour I had a winner to go with the skirt. I still had a little time to kill so I started on the retro hooded caftan/bathrobe...project going well...I may make it an late-nighter to finish it. Pictures and reviews to follow...I promise!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's going on...

Not much me sewing, that's for sure. I finished the lion costumes for a friend at work and an embroidered T for my little man Hayden who is soon to be a big brother. I've been in a bit of a funk lately and hope that the clouds pass soon. Hope it's a sunny day where you are.

Project Dress a Girl

For the past couple of years, I have made dresses for Project Dress a Girl Around the World, in part thanks to the campaign launched by Mari...