Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sewing Goals for 2017

It's been a long 3 year break from this blog and I've missed sewing very much. Life has a way of taking over and we have a 2.5 year old bundle of joy that has kept us on our toes all this while. I kept reading really interesting sewing blogs written by enthusiastic bloggers and that kept me going that someday i'll be able to get back to sewing instead of just reading about it. That someday is finally here. Yayyy! 

I've identified 3 major issues that kept me from sewing the last 3 years. 
  • Not having an organized sewing area - especially a cutting table. My sewing area is upstairs in the home office/guest room/. Since there is no place to put a cutting table there, cutting or tracing a pattern was a pain and I'd just not end up doing it. To address this, I've now come up with an idea to set up a large table in the basement. I found a table that will work and will have to add risers to raise it a bit. 
  • Not having time or energy - Last pregnancy and life with new baby while working full time dealing with some health issues, kept me busy and tired enough to leave any time to think about sewing. Whatever time I got, I just wanted to veg out on the couch and browse sewing blogs. The baby is now 2.5 yrs and while I still have a long way to go with my health, it has so much improved from what it was. All this means that I now have some time and energy to work on my sewing. After reading the book '168 hours' by Laura Vanderkam, I see that I can earmark and use certain pockets of time on certain days of the week. 
  • Fear - There was some intimidation factor at play - all self imposed, which I've decided to face. I now realize that all great sewists started somewhere as a beginner. No one was this talented when they started. What they did was put in the time to sew, learn, push themselves and grow. I want that for me as well and have decided to just go for it. 
Here are the goals I've made for this year.
  • Sew 1 item every week - This will be a challenge, but doable. And I'm ready for it. 
  • Burda a month challenge to use my old burda magazines
  • Reduce my stash to a 4 drawer dresser. Right now I have about 7 boxes. If I sew every week, then yes, this is definitely possible. 
  • Learn to use my machines better- E.g. flat locking in serger, solve bunching problem in cover stitch machine, etc 
  • Reduce mend pile
  • Organize my sewing area better and keep it ready for action. 
  • Learn new skills
At the end of every month, I'll do a recap on how I fared that month towards each of these goals. 

I hope you all have a wonderful new year.  I can't wait to start sewing!!! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bye bye 2013, Hello 2014!

So many non-sewing related things happened last year and I've grown up a wee bit thanks to all of those. My sewing took to back burner and I have absolutely no regrets.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, they say! I found that to be true, to my amazement. 'Letting go' seems to be the general theme for last year. And I also discovered that I was not forced by life to 'let go' and that it was a choice. MY choice! I discovered the strength to stand up for myself and not put up with disrespect and the strength to let go.

Letting go did not create a void in my life, but some space. A generous breathing space. I guess, making that space in my life consciously, has brought some welcoming changes around here and we are thrilled.... I also owe 3 people, some love filled packages... It's coming sooooon. I promise!

As for sewing resolutions for this year, I have none! I'm going to practice being grateful for all that I have and to live in the moment.

Looking forward for 2014!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Elna Supermatic

I saw this beauty advertised for sale and left it alone... For a long time.

And now she's mine. Feel free to shake your head thinking "Incorrigible". Laugh all you want, but she's mine! All mine.

SSsshhh! We don't talk about the no-buy resolution in these parts anymore! Remember? I gave it up in June and not looking back.

All the machines I've tried in the past 20 years.. could never match up to the straight stitch from my mom's treadle. And now I've found one that possibly can.  I've read about vintage Elna's a bit and have found that they could make a stitch as good as vintage Bernina's. Let's see if she can rise up to the challenge. I picked her up yesterday. She came with just one accessory - the zigzag cam. I don't think I care about other accessories.. At least not at this point, anyway. I also found the Elna Supermatic manual online.

The good news is that she seems to work! Yay! Bad news is that there's some noise; The needle moves freely not hitting anything but there's some noise elsewhere. I've read that the pulley might be off and needs replacing every 50 yrs. The Youtube video that talks about changing the pulley in Elna Supermatic seems to have a different noise than mine. But first things first - she needs a bit of cleaning and a lot of oiling to see if the sound still exists. If it is the pulley, apparently it is easy to change on my own and the pulley can be bought online at RayWhite. But I might get it serviced as well.

A machine that was well used and care for at some point and put away for long time.  Needs a tiny bit of TLC before she can be back in full form kicking ass.

In case you are wondering if I am sewing at all, yes, I have finished a dress and wore it thrice already and love it! Just waiting for pictures before I post on that. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Connie Crawford's class - a review

It's been a week since I'm back from a class with Connie Crawford in June. And it has taken me this long to decide whether to post this review or not. Read on and you'll know why.

Fitting on my own has been frustrating... First comes selecting the correct size for the pattern, then knowing what adjustments to make. Followed by how much to take in or let out for each of these adjustments. And to do this on my own?? Yikes! Makes me want to go back to reading about sewing, instead of actually sewing! No, Not lazy, but just plain frustrated!

So I signed up for this class with Connie Crawford at Ann Arbor. I know that Connie also comes to Toronto for the Creative Festival in Fall every year and teaches hands-on workshops and seminars but I have other classes in mind for then. So Ann Arbor, it was.

Know what was even more fun?? I convinced my family to drive to Michigan with me. :)

As for Connie Crawford's class, I'm double minded.

I did learn stuff from her - Watching her drape a knit top on a mannequin was a great learning experience. Learning about drafting, grading, watch her do it with a grading ruler was very helpful too. Her method of sewing lapped zipper was very different and quick and easy! Also, got some tips on drafting styles from a sloper  and balancing seam lines in skirts / tops etc.

For the "Fitting & designing for the girls" class, (No,  I don't like the name either), Connie had us try on multiple samples from her sloper pattern that is drafted for all sizes, all bust cups.

Fitting the bust first and then taking in the shoulder (no changes to sleeves) was her main principle in fitting. Which is totally fine - there are million ways to fit as long as the wrinkles are gone. But her idea of a well fitting garment and mine were not the same. She was ignoring the very obvious arm hole/sleeve wrinkles in many people she fitted.  And I could see that a lot of people needed their armhole raised - me included.  When I went back again and asked a question about the armhole and showed her what was wrong with it - yes, she agreed I needed to raise the armhole at least an inch.

Does that mean all were fit incorrectly? No! that's not what I mean. If you have a figure that fits into one of the multiple samples from her pattern, you lucked out and I'm really happy for you. For the rest of us who did not confirm to the body shape that the patterns were drafted for, Too bad!

One of the ladies tried on Connie's knit top samples (Which were not for different bust cup for each size, just regular XS, S,M,L, XL, etc) during a demo. There were very obvious wrinkles originating from the bust at all angles and somebody in the audience even dared to ask the question that many of us were asking ourselves - if it fit right - to which Connie said 'In my opinion, the fit is perfect!   Sorry! Nope!

What was very annoying to me is her repeated bashing / eye rolling at people who educate or make patterns for home sewing and making fun of 'choosing by upper bust measurement and asking how on earth will it fit the bust?' while she very conveniently ignored that an FBA was almost always done on the pattern when they have a bust bigger than B cup, while choosing by upper bust measurement.

Overall, I'm glad I tried this class. I might buy her books / DVDs in future or check them out in the library. But I don't think I'll take another one of her workshops, which is really unfortunate as I do think she has a lot to offer on drafting. I browsed through some of her books that were available for sale at the venue and those seemed good. I haven't watched her DVDs so can't comment on that but obviously it would not contain the repeated bashing 'what does home sewing say.....?'/ self adulation 'I'm the only one who has ...' / This person copied my pattern / that person copied my book... No thanks!

One person that got a lot of my thanks was 'Rosebud' - her assistant for this weekend. I had missed the 'Sew like a pro'  class since I arrived very late, driving from Toronto to Ann Arbor.. Rosebud offered to help me get caught up with the class. And she did sit with me for half an hour the next day morning before the class started and had me caught up with 'Sew like a pro' class material.  Those tips were very useful.

In all, I got a lot out of Grading / Draping / Sew like a pro class. None with the fitting.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

OOP Burda 8547 becomes a TNT and a quick catch up.

OOP Burda 8547
 This is an OOP pattern that I got ages ago. I love the cap sleeved sheath dress pattern, for knit fabrics.It also has a armhole dart. Not sure if I like that one but the fit is pretty good.

Alterations made:
  • Traced out 12 on neck / shoulders / armholes and gradually extended to size 16 at the hips.
  • Reduced the length at hemline by 5 inches to make it knee length on me
  • Changed neckline from crew neck to scooped neck
Muslin done on a double knit, bought eons ago from wazoodle! The fit seems good! What surprises me is the no FBA at all part. Maybe this pattern has been specifically drafted for a person with a large bustline? The muslin dress is waiting to be hemmed and pictures will follow. Maybe when pictures are posted, you can tell me if I need to go down a size and do an FBA after all. I have some yummy ponte all washed up and dried, eagerly awaiting to be made into this dress.

So, What happened to the short term goal (4 tops, and 2 dresses before mid June)? 
It's still on... so far, one black top and 1 grey dress (needs to be hemmed) done... Even though these were muslins, they turned out decent! The rest will be made. I will extend the date to June end (or even July!) but it will get done! HAVE TO. I've purged my closet way too much. And we have a vacation coming right at the end of June. Need clothes big time!

Any other news?
 Well, the darn no-buy fast!! I slipped...... right into the shopping cart at Fabricmart Fabrics. It was midnight... I was stressed out about something else and what's a girl to do? Whip out her credit cards and order stuff of course.... 50% off on Ponte fabrics. That too ponte without polyester. I lucked out with some Rayon double knit and wool ponte. These have been shipped to a friends place in upstate Newyork and I'll be picking it up when we visit her this year.

And then happened some drama in personal life, which translated to more fabric from Fabricland and an online order at You know how that happens, don't you?

Latest enlightenment:
No buy fasts aka Self imposed fabric bans are dangerous... When it ends (or when I break it), it can make me go whole hog! Very important note to self:  Do NOT commit to fabric fasts anymore.. Never ever! Why torture self?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Whatcha gonna make? (I am making plans)

One month into the challenge and I haven't made a thing!! I haven't bought a piece of clothing either, but the goal here is to get me sewing...So I'm going to do what I always do - make plans. But this time around, I'm going to declare it to all the lovely sewing people out there just so that you can feel free to give me a kick in the rear, if I don't make it.

Now that's established, let's talk more on the plans. The more I see my previous patterns related to plans and carrying them out, I realize that long term plans don't do much to me.. I lose sight of the goal real quick.. but short term goals, quick ones, small ones work well.  Sooooo.....

In the next 4 weeks, I'm going to make 4 tops and 2 dresses.

There! I've said it!

After a big purge in the last 2 months, I'm finding that my wardrobe is seriously lacking in the tops department and summer short sleeved dresses. Time to do something about it.  And it will also help me tweak the minor fit issues with sleeves.

Now isn't this too many garments??  I chose this number, only because my almost TNT knit top pattern is ready and I think I can do it. At least 4 of the fabrics have been prewashed too!  Now I just have to cut up and sew.

Writing that was easy! Posting it was nerve wracking. Let's see what comes out of it!

Meanwhile, I'd love to hear from you..... What's your plan for the next 4 weeks?  Do plans work for you? Short term plans? Long time plans? What helps you carry out your plans?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Creative Festival - Spring 2013

Having lived in Toronto for 8 yrs now, I've never been to the Creative Festival until very recently.  Adrienne and I met up at the Creative sewing Festival on Friday and took some seminars together. We also bumped into Reethi and her mom on that day. Seraphinalina and Debbie joined us on Saturday for more fun.

  1. Meeting up with fellow sewing bloggers of course. It was so much fun going to the expo with them.
  2. The fitting seminars by Lorraine Henry -  FANTASTIC!!! (insert many many light bulbs here!) Lorraine uses the book "Fitting and Pattern Alteration - a multi-method approach" by Judith Rasband, Elizabeth Leichty. Out of her 6 seminars, I attended 4. She showed us how to make a crotch curve and how to use that template on the pattern, how to take proper measurements and how many of those to take (plenty!)  and how to use those measurements on the pattern. She also showed the order of alterations - what goes first and what next. (Length before width and in a certain order). All of these were before we even brought out the scissors for pattern alteration. The book that her fitting principles for pattern alteration are based on, has been on my wishlist for a while now ever since I read glorious reviews (It will continue to be, at least till next year!). And even without the book, I can work on my fit issues based on what she taught us. I also loved the fact that she wasn't doing a sales pitch for her products during the seminar. I bought the ingenious 'Two easy Measuring tape" that she designed herself.  Now got to put that all theory that I've learnt, into practice. for anyone who is curious about her alteration methods, you can check out, this Threads article for back alteration and this one for full bust (FBA) and swayback.
  3. No, I did not break my resolve of not buying stuff. The measuring tape is a nifty notion.Other than that, I bought some beads for my 6 yr old DD, who is not a part of my No buy resolution, for this year. She uses her stuff, unlike her mommy!And I bet it will be used up in a week or two.
  4. Seminars by Johanne Brousseau - While Johanne is not a fitting expert, I learned some  practical tips on machine maintenance, needles, sewing swim wear, serger basics etc. I found it very funny that she measured my torso diagonally (crotch to shoulder tip) and proclaimed that I have a tall torso. Lol! No, just have too much squishy factor that she didn't take into account. When measuring bodies, there's length and width and then, there is depth that most people ignore! I practically drown in most of my tops and have to buy petite tops and bottoms. So, no, not a tall torso by any means!
  1. The expo was not targeted at the younger sewing crowd. Not even a teeny tiny bit.
  2. No demos of sewing techniques - there's so much the organziers could have thought about. Easy breezy welt pockets, Bagging a lining with the machine, Attaching lining with zippers with no hand stitching, Sewing with leather  .... Why save these techniques demos only for fall?? All demos can be done with one machine and using a video projector to project it on a huge screen. Come on, guys! Use the darn technology!
  3. Allowing the internet ticket buyers to go in early and check out the stores before the crowd comes in, was a good way to promote online buying and to reduce the long lines. But starting the seminars early? So NOT cool! I bought my tickets online, but those that bought the tickets right at the door were not amused!