Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Warning: a post in which I mostly whine about a sewing slump

I've been in a bit of a sewing slump lately.

I have lots of beautiful fabric, and I know exactly what I want each of them to become, but I can't bring myself to start anything because I know I can't finish it.

I need zippers and buttons, and maybe some wooden poles. I also need matching thread. And probably other things I'm forgetting. Which is sort of the point: every time I go out, the stores either don't have what I want or I forget to purchase it.

I know you're looking at this and going, "Psh. Just go to the store. Stop whining."

But look. It started with this:

I have this beautiful lilac jersey. I drafted a dress pattern and it all came together beautifully. But then I went to the store to get matching thread, and they didn't have any. No worries. I got thread that would make a nice contrast. I had a scrap there to compare it to. And then I tested it on scraps when I got home. It looked beautiful.

But then... then I topstitched the collar and it looks awful. Awful!

I don't know what to do with it. Unpicking it isn't an option. (Long story.) I guess I should get some bias tape, but does that work on jersey? What color should I get? Black and brown are too limiting, and I feel like another pink or purple would be too match-y.

Anyway, I know this sounds terribly obnoxious, but this is the first time I've really screwed up on something and I'm not entirely sure how to proceed to salvage it. As a result, I cannot proceed on anything else.

Anyone else had this happen? How do you get out of your slump?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Finished: Baby Shower Gifts

(Don't forget I have a giveaway going on! Enter to win a handy sewing book!)

Baby Gifts!
 I'm going to take a break from my usual posts about dresses and curtains and post today about babies! Specifically, my amazing friend Rachel from Layer, Stitch, Repeat is having a baby in the next few weeks, and last weekend was her baby shower.

Knowing very little about babies, but also knowing I wanted to make something, I consulted my sister who suggested I make baby gloves (to keep them from clawing their faces), a baby bag (which I pictured as a bowling bag that had a spot for the baby's head to stick out), and a few other weird things that I thought she made up.

Turns out they're all real.

The first thing I decided to make was a baby bag. I was very insecure because aren't baby blankets more popular? Can't they use them when they're older? Don't some people still carry around fragments of their baby blanket? According to my scientific sources sister, blankets are terrible because babies kick off the blanket, and apparently a couple babies have also somehow been killed or suffocated by them.

My faith was renewed in the baby bag. I found darling fabric at my local fabric shop. It has a bunch of dragons doing the silliest things.

This is Franklin's favorite.
The fabric is cotton, and I found the softest jersey to line it with. None of the seams are exposed, so everything touching the baby should be soft and comfortable.

Initially I found a pattern online, but after a chat with my mother, who also had baby sacks for us growing up, I ditched the pattern and drafted my own. I made it based on the onesies I purchased for babies 3-6 months. It's also ridiculously long because I wasn't sure how long a baby's legs were. Most baby bags had zippers down the front, but I added one at the bottom so it could just go over his head easily, and also so you could change the baby easily and without undressing him totally.

The one problem I realized when I was almost finished was that the neckline didn't stretch. Initially I had scoop necks, and I liked the scoop neck, but I switched it up and made a v-neck on the other side so the baby could actually get in to. (That zip in the front would have been useful!)

I was really upset about the v-neck, but it worked out perfectly that his head would pop through on top of the dragon body, so that's kind of cool.

I also made this adorable bow tie. The pattern said it was made for toddlers, so I figured he could grow into it.
Pacifier holders were another thing I didn't realize existed. But they're amazing! The whole idea is that when the baby spits out his pacifier, if it's hooked on to his clothing, it won't fall onto the floor. Perfect for when you're travelling in cabs or subways! I used suspender clips to easily hook onto whatever the baby is wearing, and I used jersey as a loop on the other end. Jersey is stretchy so it can easily loop onto a pacifier.

And finally the onesies! Oh my gosh, baby clothes are so tiny. It was so difficult to not only cut out, but then to pin on and sew on. Here's my initial sketch:

Inspiration Source

Unfortunately it didn't turn out that great. Due to size issues and general sewing problems, nothing turned out exactly like I wanted, but generally it looks fine. 

Also, I grabbed onesies in a bunch of different sizes so the baby can have something in the next few months. Hopefully he likes them!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Giveaway: The Sewing Answer Book

Hello, everyone!

Sorry I've been missing from here recently, but I've had a few things going on. One, of course, being my job. The other, unfortunately, being that my sewing machine kept breaking. And the third was that every project I'm currently working on is a gift for someone else, so I can't share it just yet!

Luckily, my boyfriend fixed my machine, all the while ranting that if he couldn't understand why he could just open up my machine, turn an allen key a few times, and fix it whereas a repair store would cost me $100. ("It's a racket! These guys live off the fact that you're women and don't usually know how to repair mechanical things! Those assholes!")

And tomorrow I'm delivering gifts so I can update with those as well! And then also move on to other projects I have and am very excited about.

In the meantime, I want to start another giveaway!

Some things to note about this one/the story behind it:

Have you ever been to New York and seen all the sidewalk vendors? In touristy areas, they sell art and t-shirts, but in other parts of town (like mine!) they sell books. So I found this book called The Sewing Answer Book by Barbara Weiland Talbert. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon, and the one negative review complained that it didn't work in eReader format, so it doesn't really count.

Anyway, I saw this sewing book, and I grabbed it, all excited, and when I heard the price, I grabbed two so I could give one away to one of you!

It covers everything from basic questions ("What should I look for in a sewing machine?") to more advanced questions, like "How do I insert elastic in a casing and join the ends?" and everything in between! To give more detail, chapters cover setting up the sewing room, needles and thread, stitching basics, working with patterns, fabrics, interfacings and linings, seams and seam finishes, hems and hem-edge finishings, shaping to fit, fasteners and closers, and waistlines, pockets, and sleeves.

Okay, the downside? Because it was found on the streets of NYC, the cover has some damage. Mostly it's just discolored. I mean, it's not really a big deal, but I wouldn't want someone to receive it and then be upset because it's not brand new. No one's used it and flipped through it, except me, but the cover was exposed to the sun and dirt and grime of the city.

Of course, you can always purchase your own new at Amazon (or wherever), but hopefully you'll want to enter my contest below!

To enter, leave a comment below letting me know if you ever stop and shop at street vendors or thrift shops and your favorite find.

Additional entries
(please leave a separate comment with link for each!): following my blog, tweeting about the giveaway, and pinning the giveaway on pinterest.

So you have up to 4 chances to win. Contest ends October 15th at 11:59pm. You must respond to my email within 2 days or I'll choose another winner.

Apologies for the delay! Cheryl won via random.org and said:

I love thrift shops....... I have decorated my bathroom in cats from all kinds of different thrift stores and yes I do street vendors......
My best find was a doll that was worth $250 a Bob Mackey Doll I got it for $25.00

Congrats! Send me your info and I'll ship it out to you (without delays!)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Make and Mend Sewalong 2012

So apparently, during WWII in Britain, there was a campaign for women designed to teach them how to make do with less. There's even a pamphlet that's conveniently online with lots of handy tips, like how to repair runs and holes in your stockings! I think it's a little advanced for me, but there's some good stuff in there. You can check out and download the pamphlet online at Cargo Cult Craft's page. (No clue if the US did that. Anyone know?)

Once you've checked that out, head on over to New Vintage Lady's blog because she's having a Make and Mend sew-along! This is basically her list of projects she hopes to accomplish, and I hope to as well!

Looking at this, I think I can do it. Mostly. I'm going to have two crafts made from scrap fabric done soon. Reworking a garment is on my list of things to do. Making an item for someone else is also on my list of things to finish this week. 

The two wearable items not meant for daywear might be difficult to pull off. I was planning on making yoga pants, but that's on my won't-happen-anytime-soon list. Not sure what the other one might be. Maybe a slip or some lingerie?

Also the embellishing one might be hard since I tend to make everything with zero frills. It also might be difficult because I have no idea what those examples listed actually are. Faggoting? Pin tucking? More research is needed, clearly.

Also, I don't know if I can do it without buying new fabric. Actually, the only thing I might need to buy fabric for is the slip/lingerie if I decide to go that route. I have enough in my stash for everything, and isn't the point of making do and mending to re-use what you've already got?