Thursday, January 2, 2014

The final days of sewing through my stash

The Year is Complete...365 days of sewing

I finished my year of sewing through my stash with a darling baby coat.  When I set my goal, I thought my closet and sewing room drawers would be empty at the year's end.  I expected that I would be counting down the days until I could purchase some fabric again.   Yet, I found that the year did not unfold in quite the way I expected. 
My sewing has always been a source of great joy for me, but in 2013, my very survival depended on it.  There are years like that, years where we have to remember just to breathe.  I stitched myself back together after every bit of me fell apart.   I am not sad about the way it all went.  I needed to fall apart. I didn't realize just how tattered I had become. 
Sew...... that brings me to 2014.....
"Creating a Beautiful Life" will be the title of my new blog with a sort of "how to" on creating a beautiful life.   I have learned so very much about life, it seems like sharing is just the right thing to do. 
My first post is coming soon.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Math Rebel Trigonometry Skirt

 A very simple skirt that I made using the fabric that I designed and had printed at Spoonflower.  The skirt is a simple a-line design.  Instead of including the yoke and a zipper, I made a facing to encase a wide elastic band.

The trigonometry fabric is knit, so I stretched it slightly along the bottom edge and tightened it a tad at the upper edge to accommodate the a-line shape.  I finished the hem with bias tape.

The skirt itself is a smokey gray cotton.  The trig fabric is a faded black, so the two together work nicely.  I added a little pocket with the sine graph, which is convenient for holding mechanical pencils and other such mathematical things.  
 My next project will be to design more math fabric but with a bit more color and more useful equations....I'm thinking the quadratic equation and a collections of graphs with their functions.  I am getting my inspiration from the successes and struggles of my Math 3 class at SHS.  Love that class!!!!

Yes, it's nerdy...but being a math teacher, it is how I roll!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Classic Plaid

Classic Plaid

I love, love, love this fabric.  It took a long time for me to cut it because I enjoyed dreaming about the possibilities.  The fabric is grey with light grey, black, and lavender plaid.  I chose a vintage vogue pattern.  I loved the v-neck and slight v in the back as well.

Matching the plaids was simple as the repeat was symmetrical and regular.  I simply made sure the notches were placed at corresponding part of the repeat.  This is made easier when the hem and waistline are placed on exactly the same lines for all of the pieces.  I also made sure that the center fronts and center backs of both the bodice and skirt were aligned with the enter of the plaid design.  

I made a belt as well.  I bought a buckle and some mesh belting material.  I melted the end of the material before covering it.  I made one hole with an awl and stitched it with embroidery thread according to the pattern instructions.

I did need to add loops to hold straps in place.  I never like to fuss with the straps of undergarments when I am in front of a classroom of students.  It is not unusual for me to sew these straps in my sleeveless dresses.

  As you can see, the bodice is lined in a beautiful piece of lavender charmeuse.  I had just enough of this scrap to use for this project.  I am very happy about the lining.

The kindest thing that I can do for myself when I sew a garment, is to finish the inside beautifully, with lovely linings and fine finishes.  Only I see these, so they are my way of saying to myself,
"You are special and you deserve this."  It is good to be good to ourselves.  :-)

Next project.....more plaid......

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Feelin' Groovy

Feelin' Groovy

A fun little corduroy mod dress. 

The first challenge was in matching the pattern across the back seam.  This was not simple since the chevron design is not symmetrical.  So I cut out one side of the back and laid it on the fabric in a place where it matched perfectly.

 I ran a chalk line down the seam allowance of the piece that I had cut.  Then I chalked the edge of that piece.  I knew that my new seam line would have to be 5/8' from that line and it was underneath the seam allowance of the piece on top.  Sounds complicated, but then I marked the seam allowance on the uncut fabric.  I could place the pattern itself on the fabric with the seam allowance matched up.  This insured that it was in proper placement.  

I also pinned it together before sewing and folded it back to check the pieces.  I adjusted them and pressed a crease at the place where I would stitch.    

It is a tedious process for one seam, but the finished garment is so much better.  I use this technique when making Hawaiian shirts with large print designs.  

 It was quick to make but I wasn't quite ready for how loose it was.  It looked a little like a sack.  So I reshaped the back and I love it.  

To reshape the back, I put on the dress and pinned it with two darts at the waist...not an easy task on myself.  I then placed it on the ironing board to measure and mark the darts with chalk, making them symmetrical.  At first I just stitched the pinched out pieces, about 1 1/2 inches long,  and sewed a little band across, leaving the top and bottom of the tuck to fold loosely. 

It looked terrible.  

So I layed it back down and shaped the darts, then pressed them in place.  I top stitched them after pinning.  It gave the dress an interesting back and a nice shape.  

I hemmed it with a contrasting fabric because I barely had enough of the corduroy to make the dress.  I didn't want the dress to be any shorter.  The band gave the dress a tad more length and a nice sharp edge.

The final touch was the pocket with the big buttons.  The buttons don't actually match, they were the same size though.  

In the end, I am very happy with the dress.  I will wear it with black leggings and boots or flats.  In the winter, I can wear a long sleeve shirt underneath. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Two Dozen Dolls

Two Dozen Dolls

Having a nervous breakdown is alarming.  After I broke, I couldn't feel anything. After several hours, my teeth had stopped chattering but my heart had stopped feeling.  The world grew cold.  I was a ghost.  I didn't know what to do.  I felt profoundly alone.  So I started making dolls.  

Sewing had always made me feel better, so it was my first thought for therapy...but sewing didn't warm my heart.  I hoped that the dolls with their smiling faces might do the trick.  Three dolls later and I wasn't feeling any joy.  Then my husband said, "you have to give them away, that is the piece that is missing".   So the journey began.....

Eva received the first doll.  She patiently let me hold her for an hour while she held her little doll.  She reminded me that we all started out bright and shiny, a story just beginning to unfold.  We all end up on a path with twists and turns that we didn't expect.  And, we all get to choose a path with heart or not.  I am choosing the path with a heart.  

Eight dolls have found their way out into the world and 16 dolls are waiting.  With each doll, I feel the heavy darkness break free and fall away.  I feel lighter.  I feel brighter.  I am coming back to life.  
I am thankful for the path my life has taken.  It has been boot camp for my soul.  
Some people say, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" but it wasn't that simple for me.  So I say, "Remember who you are, deep in your heart, and find ways to bring it out in the world."  
Together we can light up the darkness.   
                                        We can refuse to have hate in our hearts.
                                       We can choose to be honest and loving.
                                         We can find good in each other.
                                        We can be as bright and shiny as we were...
                                           on the day we were born.
Together, we can light up the world.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Little Black Dress...Yay!!!

My Little Black Dress

 I have been wanting to make a little black dress for a while now.  It needed to be simple but classy with a twist.  I found a pattern from the designer section of Vogue patterns and decided to give it a try.

Famous last words "I think I will make something simple that doesn't require me to think too hard".

This pattern was a nightmare.  Every notch had to be numbered on painters tape but the tape kept falling off or sticking to other pieces.  Some of the seam allowances had to be trimmed and a strip of fabric sewn in its place.  Others just needed a trim.

I got totally mixed up, basted all of the pieces together and at the end....they didn't match!  One armhole was tiny, the other, huge.  That wasn't right.

Thankfully I had basted them together. My problem was the result of edging all of the seams with a shiny black swimsuit fabric for contrast.  This made the seam allowance wider than the pattern needed on some of the edges.  Once I figured out where I went wrong, I marked and numbered the notches in chalk, cut off and resewed the trims at the correct seam allowance and then celebrated when the pieces matched up PERFECTLY!!!!!

It is designed to be worn over the ball of the shoulder and should have additional straps.  They never looked right, so I left them off.  The dress fit just the way it should, thank goodness because I had no idea how to adjust the fit on a dress like this.

And of course it looks great with the Louboutins!

Give me a few seconds to make a sweater

Give Me a few Seconds to Make a Sweater

I had a yard of this sweater knit and an hour to kill.  So I copied another sweater by laying it on a piece of grid paper and tracing off all of the pieces.  I then cut out the sweater and serged it together.  There was a strip of fabric left that I used as a cowl collar. It was a narrow strip, so I lined it with fleece.  I decided that the edges of the front should be trimmed in fleece as well.  I used a hairband to make a loop to catch around a giant velvet button on the right side of the sweater.  There is a snap on the left.