Saturday, September 29, 2012

Knits and a SERGER!

Guys, on Valentine's day last year, my buddy Devon texted me while she was back home. She asked me if I was interested in a serger her mom was looking to get rid of. WAS I INTERESTED?!  I kept asking her if it was a joke, if she was serious.

March rolls around, and there is a serger waiting at the post office. Her mom totally hooked me up, including multiple books, extra thread, a neat carrying case, the original manual, several extra specialized feet, tweezers, etc, etc.

I started to think about how I learned to sew/use a sewing machine and I realized I am entirely self taught in that arena. My mom showed me how to thread the machine when I was a teenager, but I started actually sewing in my early 20's and have never taken a class. How did you guys learn to use a sewing machine?

 I'll be honest, I was scared of the serger. It's got 4 threads! It has a bad wrap for threading! It's got a knife! I did what any reasonable woman would do and I put it in my closet. I pretended I wasn't drawn to the siren song of the serger.
Six months went by and I finally set a goal: learn how to use the thing by the end of September!

On Saturday (two weeks ago now, sheesh!), I went into Made Sewing Studio for a two hour private lesson, bringing my babylock with me. It was really wonderful and I am not afraid of it anymore. In fact, Sunday, I traced out M6319 and put it together using the babylock! I wanted the openings to have a bit of a "flutter" so I set the differential feed to stretch a tiny bit, and finished using the rolled hem and omitted the bodice lining. I finished the hem with a lettuce ruffle.  It was a super fast project and my first ever with knits!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quick cross stitch

My mom sent me this photo from a retirement community building that she works at. It was entered into a cross stitch contest. She called me to say she had sent the message, and said, "I think grandma won at this, but you could try for second place."

She hasn't seen the final "stack" (putting stack in quotes is better than calling at a mountain, right?) of fabric, but I bet she just senses it. MOM I PROMISE I HAVEN'T BOUGHT ANY NEW FABRIC! (I know she's reading this too!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mending Jeans

I get so bummed when my favorite jeans wear out. I've got a pair that are super saggy in the rear, are too long and I walk on the hems. I don't care though, these are my go-to pants on the weekends when I want to wear something super comfortable.

 For years, these sat with a broken belt loop. Eventually, I fixed it and it's held ever since. The seat wore out, and I sort of fixed it, but not very well. Then, these jeans were finally giving up the ghost when the mending job I did on the seat started to tear. And then the knee got a big ol' hole in it.

Sure, I have several other pairs of jeans in my closet, but I am going to get a little bit more wear out of these. I kept having trouble parsing the method for fixing knees, though, when you have feeddogs and you need to mend the fabric a certain direction.  Enter: THE FREE-MOTION QUILTING FOOT.

Bad crotch/seat mending from a few years ago, which I mended over again.
These don't look very good, but they're in the seat/crotch, so whatever!
Can you even see the knee hole? NO!
Oh hey, these jeans are mended. Yeah there was a hole in the knee.

I also have a pair of fancy dancy Seven Jeans, which I have only worn once. Ever. I won't even tell you how long I've owned them. They came with holes in them already (I heard my mom in my head as I bought them, saying "You don't buy pants that already have holes in them!". Luckily I got a very good deal on these, so I felt okay buying them.) A while back I *tried* to put a little patch behind the GIGANTIC hole in the knee, but again, that feed dog/directional sewing problem was standing in my way. I stowed the fancy dancy jeans in my closet and hid my shame from the world.


Okay, can we discuss something about "designer" jeans for a moment? I'm short. I guess 5'4" is average, and I'm 5'3" I have pretty long legs for someone my height, but you can only put so much length in the legs when you're only 63 inches tall. These "knee" holes in the designer jeans? They fall on my shins. MY SHINS. So even if I had left them open and hole-y, they would look ridiculous, because no one ever rips their jeans open on their shins. They just don't, trust me on this one.

I mended these all within 15 minutes of each-other, I was on a roll!! I dug deeper in my closet and located another pair that were eaten in the chain on my bicycle (about a week after I bought them, I was so mad about that one.), so those went under the machine again.


I was so excited about fixing all these pants that had been neglected, so I ran to my housemate, where she produced a pair with a big rip next to the zipper. FIXED.


In case you are wondering, I have amazon prime and I picked up this foot for 14 bucks.  If you are going to do any quilting, mend some jeans, sew lots of layers, just buy the thing already. It's amazing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tiny Sailorette!

I finally finished the tiny outfit and it has arrived to my niece!

The shirt is coming back, sadly. I failed to put the buttonholes in at the top due to so many reviews stating that you really didn't need them. FALSE. THIS IS FALSE. I am going to do vertical buttonholes so that I don't have to pull the entire sleeve off, but I'm hoping it fits her once they can fit it over her head!

I think I've just decided this is my go-to pattern when friends or family are having babies, because this goes together very nicely and easily and is SUPER cute. A TNT for the littles, if you will.

Seersucker shirt with Grey accents
French seam and bias tape finish

Bad Auntie read too many reviews that said the buttonholes weren't necessary

I've been prepping for my fall and winter sewing. I found that one problem I keep running into is lack of motivation to do the dull, dragging task of cutting and tracing once I've finished a project. My ah-ha moment came to me when I realized, if I dedicated a week or two to these tasks, then I wouldn't have to hem and haw or think about fabrics and what not.

Since I'm also currently on a "NOT ALLOWED TO BUY ANY MORE FABRIC" restriction, I'm working through stash for these projects. I've also decided that with all the ease built into the Big 4 patterns, I won't be tracing those off. There's just no point. I am small and picked up those patterns for $1 at Joann Sales. I will be tracing independent designers so those stay intact, since their sizing offers less ease and are therefore far more realistic. 

My floor, covered in patterns to be traced.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sneak Peak

I'll be writing a full post tomorrow, but for today, here is a sneak peak at a project I finished earlier this week for my niece's upcoming 2nd birthday!

If you follow me on instagram, then you've already seen this. (username is @txristina, follow me for photos of my friends, monkey trees, sunsets from my roof and other fun things!)

I did finish the lonsdale, and I need to take photos. I've got a lot of fun things in store for fall/winter!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Technicolor Burning Lining

Look, we can't win them all and these photographs are no exception. When it's finished I'll take fancy photos!

The Lonsdale began as a quick and dirty project which has spiraled out of control. I made a size 2, but probably should have done the 0. I can take it in in the back, but the loops are already placed and I don't have any more of the fun fractal fabric. I am holding it shut in these photos, because otherwise there would be serious gaping in the front.

Each year at my house, we host a Paella party. It's a wonderful event and this year was extra special as we were celebrating two of my favorite people (pictured below) and their recent engagement. I was hoping to put together a new dress for the occasion, but I was out of town on that road trip, and enlisted to hem 90 inch pieces of muslin for table cloths... excuse, excuse, excuse.

They are so adorable!!!

That isn't all, though. See, I had a different fabric picked out for the skirt. It was a darker green corduroy. Combined with the cotton sateen, it just wasn't quite right. I had this great pea green (which incidentally is a great color on me, and one of my favorites, SCORE!) but it was pretty see-through. I recently told you guys about my *ahem* hoarding problem and I really didn't want to buy any fabric for this project. I've gone through my fabrics and sorted between useable lengths, scraps and potential facing fabrics. I had a light blue rayon that I could use to line the skirt. Perfect!

You know how at the beginning of most sewing instructions, they state you should read all directions and understand them clearly before embarking on your journey? I did do that, however, I have very little experience sticking my own lining pieces in. I cut the pocket shape on the front. I then realize the error of my ways, and try to insert a scrap to fill in the gap. Chaos ensues. I don't have enough of the light blue rayon to cut more front pieces, but I *do* have a really great kelley green leftover from my Minoru. I cut the front on the fold, since this is the lining. So I have an amazing technicolor lining.


I was pressing and I burned a small hole in my lining. I laid down on the floor in a ball. The hole isn't that bad. So you know what? I trucked onward, and I'm going to finish the dress. I will cut out the burny bits and stick some fray check on there, and aside from the fact I've just told the internet, no one will stop me walking down the street to ask me about that hole in the lining of my dress.

I inserted the zipper last night and found out I need to take it in quite a bit. I really should be making muslins, but I also don't mind flying by the seat of my pants. Tonight's goal: finish removing the zipper, baste the back again, insert zipper (again), hopefully find it's wonderful and HEM!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wiksten Take 2!

I made a second Wiksten Tank, and it was part of a surprise package I sent to my internet friend Jiordan! I was in such a hurry to send the package out, and I left town for an epic 1,500 mile road trip that I only took a couple of photos of it. She happily snapped a few so I could show you guys the finished product. I am in love with this pattern. Seriously, and doesn't it look GREAT on her?!

This came together very quickly, and was made from some cotton I've had in my stash FOREVER. Like, I got this fabric from my mom, forever. I love the floral print, and blue is Jiordan's fave color, so, win-win!

I finished this one with white bias tape peeking out.
I added the pocket for this version. Love it!
She also included these stats when she sent over the photos:
Model: Jiordan
Eyeballs: Courtesy of my mama
Room: Messy as hell (...)
City: Colder than an iceberg, foggier than that scene in Pirates of the Carribean (AKA San Francisco)

I'm also mere steps away from finishing my first Lonsdale!! Stay tuned!
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