Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Past and the Future

It's the time of year to look back at 2008 accomplishments. While I did a lot of positive things related to my sewing passion, I did not start the year very well. I copied goals from one of the amazing seamstresses in blogland. What was I thinking? Did I think that would make me sew as well as she does? I do know better. Now, they are good goals but they were not good goals for me. I did a good job of ignoring them. Here's a review so I won't repeat that mistake in 2009.

1. I will sew mainly from stash. I will allow myself to purchase 1 yard of fabric for each 5 yards that I sew up. I helped the economy with my extensive fabric purchases. I even know the psychology of this goal. It's like a diet where someone vows not to eat pizza (or something else they love) for an entire year. All they think about is pizza and are likely to eat lots of pizza. Portion control is the answer, not denial or unrealistic expectations. This was not a good goal for me.

2. I will test drive all my sewing machine feet that I have not used in the past year. I did use 3 of the feet that I hadn't used in 2007, but only because I needed them for projects. I'd like to think that I would do samples, exploring multiple uses, and put them neatly in a notebooks. That sounds nice but it is not likely to happen.

3. I will use patterns more than once and develop some TNTs. I did use several patterns that are now TNT. I actually sewed one of them twice.

4. I will sew at least every other day, paying attention to details. I did that one with very few exceptions. This is a silly goal for me. Of course, I sew as often as life allows. I might as well say that I will get at least one hour sleep per night.

5. I will sew at least 5 basic T-shirts for me and sew at 1 T-shirt, long sleeve shirt and p.j. bottoms for hubbie. I did sew 1 basic t-shirt for me and one embellished t-shirt. I really would like to sew t-shirts for hubbie. He wears them all the time - a quick easy project once the fitting is done. I need to be able to sew a quality long sleeve woven shirt for myself before I venture off to sewing for others. I don't know where the p.j. bottoms came from but, yes, sewing pjs for hubbie would be a nice thing to do - donno if I'll do it.

6. I will sew 12 BWOF garments. I studied the magazines and picked out many garments that I would like to sew. This one will probably happen in 2009.

7. I will sew 8 vintage designer patterns. I bought the patterns - 'nuf said.

8. I will embroider at least one garment. The embroidery machine is still packed away. I'll use it when I'm ready. I've made numerous embroidered quilts and some embroidered garments. I believe that I still know how to use it.

9. I will learn the basic functions of My Label. This goal is mine. I did it. I have ML tunic and pants patterns. The pants pattern was worth the price of the program. The blouse and jacket patterns simply do not compute even though my Bernina dealer measured me twice. Yep, my top does not compute. I know that I entered the measurements correctly after checking them numerous times. I'll just have to do blouses and jackets the old fashioned way.

The actual number of garments completed is embarrassing - only 24, using 56 yards of fabric. Also, there are a lot of UFOs that are almost complete. (I'm the queen of "almost done".) Actually, I have done better in the UFO area - most of them are frustrated wearable muslins. A few I stopped working on because I entered a contest or the season changed.

There are lots of positives in the sewing area from 2008. I feel very comfortable sewing with knits now and even used my coverstitch machine for hems. I can fit pants and skirts with minimal effort (There'll usually be some fitting issues with a new pattern.). I have a fitted shoulder seam princess blouse muslin and a fitted side-dart blouse muslin. I've done fly front zippers and a lapped zippers that look respectable. My bound button holes and welt pockets are okay but need work for the professional look that I want.


Each season I will make at least 4 co-ordinated garments from my current stash. For winter, I will finish the planned 11 garment SWAP (in process) by March 31. I figure the best way to handle my fabric buying addiction is to work on projects from my stash.

I will check that I have enough run-around clothes (go to the store, soccer game, etc.) and fill in the gaps with mostly easy to sew garments.,

In the beginning of the year, I will focus on polishing basic skills and progress with new techniques. By the end of the year, I will make at least one tailored jacket and/or coat. I really want to make a coat and won't feel like a real seamstress until I do.

I will play Tim Gunn: clean out my clothes and make some basic black and white garments.

I will improve my computer skills. At a minimum, I'll figure out what going on with my Sewing Reviews and complete a storyboard.

I have a whole list of things that I'd like to do (scrapbook, home dec, knitting, crocheting, etc. etc.) just in case my goal list doesn't keep me busy (lol)

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fitting and Fabric

Well, I'm on round 3 of fitting my two blouse garments. They are getting there - slowly. At least I'll have lots of sewing practice by the time I get to fashion fabric. To ease the tedious task of working out these puzzles, I'm playing with my fabric instead of buying (How's that for discipline?). These are the two pieces of knit fabric I bought from Fashionista Fabric. Originally, the larger piece was planned for a dress and the smaller one for a top. Now, they don't know what they want to be when they grow up. IMO, they look so good together. Any ideas?

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy New Year! Here's wishes that all your sewing, crafting, and other activities turn out wonderful!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Having Fits!!!

Fitting muslins is about all the sewing that I have been doing lately. Since I've never sewn in a sleeve that looks professional, I decided to sign up for Sarah Veblen's class on set-in sleeves and armholes at Pattern Review. I have drafted a sleeve to my measurements but all the rest of my effort has been on fitting a bodice. I keep making muslins that are getting there but still have some traveling to do. Now, I thought that I could fit a bodice. Once I really looked at my attempts, I saw that I really can't. I even used the My Label fitting program patterns as a base. I am doing a blouse with a side dart (Muslins are not awful.) and a blouse with princess seams (so far nothing but disaster muslins). Thankfully, I have Sarah to help but she has to use photos for her suggestions. Sarah maintains that one has to have a good fitting bodice before one has a good fitting sleeve. That makes sense and probably is a major factor in my sleeve problems. Once I get muslins that fit (pleassssse), I'll post photos along with photos of my earlier attempts.

So, what do I do when I get really frustrated with muslins (having major fits!)? Well, I did stop and cut out a pair of pants. I didn't want to get back to sewing the sweater knit cardigan because I wouldn't want to stop. That worked pretty well. Then, I started having more fits on Cyber Monday. I made it through the Thanksgiving weekend fabric sales without buying anything. Unfortunately, (according to DH) or, fortunately, (according to my wardrobe plans), Fashionista Fabrics and GorgeousFabrics were having incredible sales. I was not strong enough to turn off the computer. I love what I bought!! I'll see if I can get some good photos and show you. If you are not familiar with these sites and want some eye candy, go check on what they have. Both companies have reasonable prices for high quality fabric. Now, I must get those muslins to fit! I don't want to ruin these fabrics!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Red for SWAP

These pants are S4275, made from red cotton twill. They are the second completed item for the SWAP contest (sew-along for me). So far, I'm up to date with my plan to complete a minimum of 2 items per month for the contest. The first item was the brown knit top that I showed in an earlier post. These pants fit and I like them, but I probably won't make them again. I really like the fit and comfort of V1051. I chose this pattern because I wanted to do a lapped zipper. That's my new learning for this garment. Surprisely, the zipper went in very easily. I thought that it would be very difficult and procrastinated doing it. Love those kind of surprises - doesn't happen very often! Here's a picture of the zipper:
Actually, all the lines are straight - just hard to photograph flat.

I imagine that most people who read this blog are familiar with SWAP but maybe not. SWAP is "Sewing with a plan". The idea started with Lynn Cook in Stitches Magazine. This contest is sponsored by Stitcher'sGuild . BTW, that is a great sewing group on aritisanssquare. Membership is necessary but it's free. For this contest, 11 garments are required - sewing occurs between November 1, 2008 and April 30, 2009. The garments include a jacket (can be a cardigan), 6 tops, and 4 bottoms. The jacket must work with all garments and the tops must work with all the bottoms. For me, it's a great way to add to my wardrobe, have garments that can be worn together, and learn new sewing techniques (my own requirement). Here's the fabric that I am using:

Speaking of SWAP, I'd better get busy sewing. It's a new month. Wow! December already!!! I have 2 garments to make this month along with all the Christmas fun.