Thursday, December 30, 2010

I’ve Joined the Fun – 12 in 12 in 2011

12 Jackets in 12 Months. Too bad we’re one year shy of 2012! It’d be more fun to be 12 in 12 in 12. Ah well.

Many of the sticher’s of Sticher’s Guild have been inspired by Gigi, who sewed 13 jackets in 2010 (so far – there are two days left and this woman just may surprise us with a 14th!). Be sure you click the link to see Gigi’s wonderful collection.

I don’t know if I’ll meet the stated goal, being a new sewist. But I do aim to make at least a few jackets. And that’s okay because there are no contracts to sign and no obligations to meet. This is not a contest like the SWAP. This is simply a joint effort to get to know and sew jackets. Anyone can join at any time, so if you feel inspired, come and join us!

I have no need for blazers or fitted jackets. I enjoy less structure in my jackets and, since I live a casual lifestyle, something a bit funky might be nice. But not too funky so that I look ridiculous!

I have a head start with my Grey Wool Coat (and since there are no rules, I am counting a coat made just a couple of weeks ago towards my 2011 goals). The coat is not quite finished: I bought shoulder pads yesterday and hope that inserting them will finalize the shoulders and fix the way it hangs.

I have several patterns from which to choose my next effort. Yesterday I bought 3 new jacket patterns. I do have several others – many others – but nothing calling my name thus far.

McCall’s 9576 calls for something bulky and warm. I don’t have anything suitable in my collection and I’m not sure I’m ready for the challenge of bulk just yet.


McCall’s 6208 claims to be easy. I bought it for View D, a vest. I’m not sure I like the sleeved jackets for me.


Kwik Sew 3095 looks to be the winning contender. I like the seam detail and the pockets and side slit. It’ll be difficult to decide on one over the other – pockets or slits. It looks a bit boxy, but I’m okay with that for this particular coat.


My husband has this week off work and we are officially on a “staycation” so I’m refraining my impulse to spend hours in the sewing room in favor of spending quality time with him. I’ll have plenty of time next week to sew. There’s no rush to start the next project. I’ve learned the lesson well: slow and steady.

This week, even though I’ve been ill with a sinus infection (dang!), we’ve attempted to go out and do something fun daily. Yesterday we went to an hour away to the nearest non-quilt sewing store where I picked up the above patterns, shoulder pads, and a few yards of fabric on sale. And for him, we stopped at a Lexus dealership for a test drive as the lease on his work vehicle is coming due soon and he needs to finalize his choice for the next vehicle. He kept the visit short and sweet, if you want to call an hour at a car dealership short.

Meanwhile, I can prepare fabric and finalize my choices so that when next week rolls around, I’ll be ready to sew.

Friday, December 24, 2010


What a wonderful weaving of the Old into the New.

From the Old....

Micah 5:2 But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.

Isaiah 9:5 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.

Isaiah 50:6 He gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: he hid not hit face from shame and spitting.

Isaiah 53:4,5
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, And with His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:8b He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of thy people was He stricken.

Psalm 16:10 But thous didst not leave his soul in hell; neither didst thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

Zechariah 12:10 "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

Weaving with the New. You know the His-Story.

I am a Jew, a descendant daughter of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I know of Whom these Old Testament Prophets fore-spoke. Surely you do too?

O Come O Come Immanuel like you've never heard it before.

[Edited to update embedded link which was not working when I first posted.]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Year End 2010

Sewing in 2010 what a huge blessing!

I had learning seasons
And then there were productive ones

I've become a Necchi collector
There's just something about taking a worn out, dusty, rusty, frozen, unappreciated machine and redeeming it (sounds like my life - anyone else relate?)

I had disappointments (I looked over my wader pile last week, sigh)
I have had encouragements

Stitcher's Guild has been my A-Number One teacher
Other teachers are the many generous blogsters who post tutorials, photo and video
And everyone who posts photos on the forum or in their blogs are fodder for inspiration

I have purged my wardrobe (and my possessions)
I have gone on vacations where the majority of my wardrobe has been me-made

I have printed patterns from Russia
When Lekala offered them in my size for free (yay!)

I have sewn in my jammies but I have not sewn jammies
Or any other unmentionables but bra-seamstresses amaze me!

I have gone on a fabric spree at the garment district in NYC
And shopped black Friday (okay, it was Saturday) at G Street in Rockville

I am developing preferences for finer fabric (less is more)
And have chosen to slow down and be more deliberate in design and construction

I have beaded
I have fringed
I have top stitched
I have made fabric flowers
I have made a front fly (which came out backwards, but ah, well)

I have made:
17 skirts
20 tops
2 jackets
3 cardigans
1 hooded sweatshirt
3 cozy satchels for my neighbor's sugar glider (google them)

2011 - Goals
I plan to make 12 jackets in 2011 with the Jacket-a-month sew-along at Stitcher's Guild
Even though I'm experiencing a set back with a wrong-sized pattern (reminding myself that this is a minor setback)

I plan to figure out my shoulders
Do they slope?
Do I have a broad back?
Just how forward are they?

I also hope to leave more comments on your blogs instead of merely thinking about them
So if you are thinking about a comment now, please leave it! Smile.

Ironing Thread - No. Really - Ironing.Thread.

I thought I was doing well in using the beeswax.


Turns out that one must iron the beeswax into the thread.

I'm a believer now.
You ever try it?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Move over Mondo

Well, not really. But this was certainly inspired by him.

LOVE this fabric!

Large houndstooth was on my wish list for my Thanksgiving trip to G street so I was thrilled when I spied this.

I used a poly fabric cut on the bias for the cording. It has a wee little check pattern, but I don't think you can see it.

I used Simplicity 9825 for the basic pattern, but I tweaked the pattern last year for another skirt and I used that tweak for this as well. The Simplicity has one seam down the front and back (with a back zipper). This version has two seams front and back with a side zipper.

I still need to hem the skirt and lining, and sew on a hook and eye.

I'm having a casual day so no photo of me modeling it until later this week.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Introducing Thirteen and a Wool Coat

Purchased at auction Friday night. For $13.13, could YOU resist?

Original Condition. Almost totally frozen.

After an afternoon of cleaning.

I oiled her yesterday and after soaking up the Teflon Tri-flow oil overnight, she runs smoothly and silently without any rough patches when I turn the handwheel. I have yet to sew with her because she needs a belt but I don't expect any surprises.

This brings my Necchi collection to 3:
1. My Beloved pink Nora.
2. The SN Automatica my son brought me from NY. I think I'll call this one Arlowene after the kindly lady who sold it to me. Arlowene did not sew; this was her mother-in-law's machine.
3. This SN Automatica which I've named "Thirteen."

Grey Wool Coat Butterick 5400
As for actual sewing, I started this jacket before Thanksgiving. I prefer casual jackets to blazers. I am aiming to make some unlined, comfortable wool jackets.

I had such a difficult time fitting this. Between forward shoulders, sloping shoulders, trying to avoid a bust dart by doing a neckline alteration, broad back alterations and the corresponding front shoulder adjustment, I got myself thoroughly confused. It still is not quite right but I'm at a loss to know exactly what is amiss. I added fish eye darts to take out some of the width in the back under my shoulder blades.

I was going to leave it unfinished, but I finished it this afternoon - it just needed some finishing touches (hems and seam finishes). I will probably wear it - at least once - to see how it feels for an outting.

Okay. It doesn't look too bad in the photos. But I picked the photos I liked. Smile. Side views are horrid.

Most edges are raw (except for sleeve hem and hem) and finished with a triple top stitch. I picked out the loose threads (this wool ravels, unfortunately!). I like the effect and will likely use it in the future.

Even though I'm not thrilled with it, I have decided I like adding subtle artistic flair.

I added small scraps at the points of the fisheye darts and behind the buttons for added support.

Next up: A black and grey houndstooth wool skirt which I have cut to include a bias panel front and back. Fingers crossed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Black Friday 2010 at G Street

Not interested in Best Buy or Walmart deals. Not me. There is really nothing that I want or need and I'm not interested in acquiring more stuff, especially since I've just recently purged my life of the majority of my worldly goods.

But I had one store on my radar for my Thanksgiving weekend in DC and not much time to make it happen. Actually, I didn't get to the store until Saturday morning so I was expecting slim pickings.

I chose these off the back wall after a quick perusal:

This is a knit which I think will make a great cardigan or light jacket for spring. I like the floral motif.

The large dotted will be a simple layering shell. I only bought a small amount of the black with tiny dots - thinking that it might make a good accent for something. I bought too much of the white, but thought it might make good muslin for knits, besides, white is always classic and I like the texture.

After that, I made my way to the lining and this is when my shopping trip turned into a private sewing lesson.

Lucia's first lesson was a suggestion on which interfacing to buy. I chose three colors. I also chose three basic lining colors. Boring but necessary purchases.

Does Bemberg need to be pre-washed for shrinkage? (Bemberg at the top, interfacings below.)

While Lucia cut, she kindly pointed me to a couple of bins, where I found these silk jerseys:

This jersey is a tube shape and very narrow but oh so lovely.
(I'm using the spool of thread for scale reference.)

....and these wools:

Lucia suggested I make a bias cut skirt from this plaid:

Lucia instructed me to cut this single layered, to first cut one piece in a corner and then lay the piece (turned over) and match up the plaids perfectly to cut the second piece. This will give me a perfectly matched plaid. Sounds simple enough. But looking at this plaid, it does not seem to be a perfect bias print. Does it to you?

I think my favorite piece is this houndstooth. I had hopes to find one - and I'm thrilled to have located this piece. Mondo has inspired me to do something a bit special with it - though I'm certainly more tame than he.

I do like textured fabrics - those fabrics which have interesting patterns based on weave alone. Notice the bias in the weave of the gold. It'll surely be interesting using that piece.

Now here is a wool piece Lucia found interesting.

Can you see the interfacing which is already fused to the whole length? Ever seen that before?

Lucia suggested that I find a simple jacket pattern and use it over and over again, with artistic changes. She helped me choose this one with the instructions that I could cut off the lapels. I LIKE the lapels and I like the casual ease of the cut. I think I'll be working on fitting this to perfection!

Not such slim pickins' after all!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Darts in Knits are Evil, Aren't They?

As a full-b usted woman, I need darts. But I don't like them in my knitted tops - they pull, they get little holes (yes, I'm using proper needles). They look odd (it's not my technique). I just don't think they look good.

Look what I was able to accomplish this week on a knitted shell. I DID alter the pattern to accommodate my figure, but did not perform my customary Y shaped slash and spread.

Look: a nice fitting garment without a dart and no pull across the front.

First the photos:

And look at that armhole: no gaping!

I even managed to get the same effect on the matching cardigan.

Here are the three FBA adjustments I performed after my other alterations were done (broad back and petite):

1. I lengthened the center front by about 3/4 to 1 inch. I simply drew in a triangular shaped wedge, lengthening the CF seam grading to nothing at the side seam. I did not curve the grading line.

2. I drew a curved "bump" at the side bust area on the front bodice only. I curved it out about an inch (to the next size on this particular pattern). I graded back to the seam line above the waist shaping. This bump is just for the bust area. I pinned and carefully eased the excess which was quite easy on this particular knit.

3. I used Loes Hinse's FBA technique at the neckline: Working on the front bodice piece only, I inserted a triangular shaped wedge on the shoulder, increasing at the neckline. This seems counter-intuitive but has worked splendidly for me! Loes explained that this reduces the arm gaping, and as you can see from my photo, it works! You would THINK you need to pinch out the excess at the outer shoulder, right? Not so. Doing the opposite has allowed extra bust room in the garment. Here's how:

First, extend the neckline at the shoulder seam about an inch. To do this, I marked an inch above the neckline on the front shoulder seam at the neckline and extended the neckline. Note: do this on the front bodice ONLY and not on the back.
Second, I simply used a ruler to draw a line from this new raised point to the outer shoulder seam, grading down to size.

Pamela's Pattern's have the forward shoulder built into her patterns, so I did not need to perform that adjustment. I actually think it may be a bit too much forward and I might adjust it next time. I did have to petite the pattern at the armhole 3 inches!!!!!!! That's huge - but it worked. I'm learning to follow my body and not so much the pattern.

Three simple adjustments and no FBA dart!

I wonder how well this will work with other knits.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teal Skirt and Navy Knit Sweater Set

The Sweater Set: Pamela's Patterns The Versatile Twin Set
Pamela's Twin Set comes with an alternate front bodice with a dart for those with a full bust measurement 3 inches or greater than their high bust measurement. Even though I meet that criteria, I had no interest in putting a dart in this particular knit. [My next post will describe how I avoid darts in knits.]

I liked Pamela's instructions to zigzag the front facing interfacing. It set the facing very well.

Sleeve and hem are hand-stitched. This is a lovely knit with texture so I wanted it to have that invisible touch. I felt that machine stitching was unnecessary on this knit and would have caused it to appear more casual than I wanted for this particular set.

However, I decided to machine finish the facing after reasoning out that I was unsure if hand-stitching would be sufficient. I don't think this bit of stitching takes away from the finished look.

The shell needed quite a bit of shortening for proportion with the skirt but I left the cardigan the original length due to indecision. I reserve the right to shorten it later.

Skirt: Simplicity 9825

This beautiful tweedy fabric wanted to be a wrap skirt. Unfortunately, with only one yard, that was not to be, so I pulled out this tnt (tried and true). For the topstitching, I used gold topstitching thread in the needle with regular poly thread in the bobbin which my Necchi Nora handled beautifully. I am very happy with how this skirt turned out.

Next up: Skirt from this same navy knit so that I have an ensemble with options.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Selling Items Hoping to Raise Donations for Former Necchi Owner

First the story.

I decided to start looking for Necchi machines in August. Wonder of wonders, there was a lovely Nora (which I'm sure you're tired of hearing about) in the next city over. It took two long weeks of coordinating schedules with the former owner, but Nora finally came home to live with me on my birthday.

In those ensuing few weeks, I found a Supernova on Craigslook. searches all of craigslists in the USA instead of limiting the search to your geographical area only (which is what craigslist does). When I went to craigslook earlier this week, I found the site to be closed due to a dispute with craigslist. Here is the new address for craigslook.

The craigslook ad for the Necchi was misspelled as "Neechi." There was one photo. Of the cabinet. Closed. And posted sideways. All it said was "Neechi sewing machine." No indication of model. And without a contact phone number or email. I kept clicking on the "please contact owner to notify them to add contact information."

The interesting thing was that the listing was in my old hometown in upstate NY. I live 11 hours away, but....but....surely there had to be a way to get her if she was what I was looking for, right?

When I called the owner, she knew nothing about the machine. It had been her mother-in-law's machine. From evidence I've gathered looking at her things, I think the mother-in-law had been a seamstress. I had two questions about the machine - these two would tell me everything I needed to know: What kind? Where was it made? It took her 10 minutes to answer those questions. She had no idea where to look to answer them. I meant to ask both together, but once the first question was out of my mouth, she was gone to look. So she had to go twice. Poor dear.

I asked her to send additional photos but she said she'd have to pay someone to do that. So I imposed on my son's best friend and asked him to go take photos. He sent me photos of the label (Made in Italy) and machine (Supernova) and my heart was aflutter.

I asked the seller if I could pay her but pick up the machine sometime later. She said sure, she needed the money.

So I started scheming about how to get the machine. My son was going to NY for his best friend's wedding. But he would be busy doing best man things all weekend with nary a moment to himself to help his momma. Surely he'd be able to squeeze a bit of time? But that idea turned into a nightmare of logistics. Better not to stress the best man when his job is to de-stress the groom. Right?

So I had to cancel the idea. But the spark of hope never faded.

Finally, my son called me the Monday after the wedding [which was on 10/10/10 - cool date for a wedding], as he was driving out of town. He was post-wedding. Post-stress. I asked him to wait, pull over. Just wait. Please. Begging. I called the owner, no answer. Sigh. My son gets further down the road on his trip back here. Fifteen minutes later, the owner called me. Back to begging my son who had just reached the state line. It would only be 30 minutes of back-tracking. Begging. Look, Son, I gave you spending money. Surely you appreciate that....and haven't spent it all?!? [He did, he hadn't...we were in business...grumbly ...but in business.]

So that's the story. But while he was there, the owner spoke on the phone to a friend about a financial need. My son won't talk about it. He said it is too sad and he won't tell me anything.

When I started opening the bags and bags of tidbits and whatnot that came with the desk, I realized she had given me some things of monetary value, not directly related to the machine, but to sewing. It would be a huge blessing to sell a few of these things and send her the proceeds.

What do you think about wooden spools? If I counted correctly, there are 96(I found 3 additional spools after taking this photo).

These feet do not go with the Necchi. I am hoping someone knows what machine they go with. Perhaps they are rare and would be beneficial to someone with the machine type?

There's a collection of almost 100 buttons. I was going to keep them, but if they will raise a bit of money for her, I'm happy to part with them.

Misc collection of buttons.

New York and "FD" buttons. Could the FD buttons be Fire Department? The MIL lived outside NYC and could have altered shirts for firemen.

Cut out shapes with pattern. If you or someone you know likes to make dolls, perhaps this will speak to you. There is even additional uncut fabric. There are no doll heads.

Mystery Bobbins. Size unknown (narrower than the size 15 the Necchi uses.

Workbasket Magazine plus 3 smaller craft magazines

If you would like any of these items, please make an offer. I will take offers through Sunday, October 24, 5pm. If you have the best offer, I will notify you and we can work out a payment method. I'll have to see if I can find my paypal account (I haven't used it in about a year - but I think it is still available). Once I receive payment, I'll mail it to you asap. I hereby promise to send ALL proceeds to the dear lady in New York. Thank you. I hope I am able to send her a bit of money. It would also be a blessing to be able to tell my son we helped her out.