Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New bloggers, New Friends

This year has seen a big change for me in my sewing in several ways.

1. I have taken my skills to a whole new level by studying regularly with Sarah Veblen.
2. I have joined the ASG Chicago Chapter and have become a member of the Sew Chicago Neighborhood group. Finally!!! A sewing group of like minded peers all interested in garment sewing.
3. I have also joined the Haute Couture Club of Chicago. Meetings start in September and I think this will be another great group.
4. I have made sewing friends, not just acquaintances but actual friends! And it is nice, so very, very nice. 

Why have I made these changes... Well, frankly I was tired of store sponsored sewing clubs where a lot of the time was spent on advertisements and pushy sales. As well as there not really being a cohesive group. Yes, everyone was interested in sewing! However, not everyone is interested in the same type of sewing. I know you all get what I'm saying here, so I'm saying no more!

Suffice it to say, one thing lead to another and this year things began to change. It feels good to not be in such an isolated sewing environment anymore. No offense meant to the online sewing community!! The online sewing community is great. Offering inspiration and plenty of guidance to those who need/want it and sometimes it's just lovely to keep tabs on what's going on in our cyber friends workrooms! Helps,keep the sewing mojo in high gear :)

I have 2 new blogs to introduce you to:

Sarah Veblen
Sarah is an amazing teacher (and an amazing person!). If you ever have the opportunity to work with her I assure you that you will not be disappointed. She has so much knowledge to share. She has classes on Pattern Review, Taunton press now has several classes/DVD's to offer and be sure to check her website for her sewing workshops. 

Wendy Grossman
Wendy is a friend that I have made in Chicago. She is in charge of the Sew Chicago Neighborhood group, works on the Haute Couture Club fashion show, is a very talented sewer and now has started a blog. Stop on over and check it out she has some very lovely garments that you can just see the love and hard work that went into creating them!

I hope you will check out both of their blogs! 

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Stash, stash, stash

One of my plans for 2015 was to really try and use up my stash.
I have ALOT of fabric.... Some of it is really nice fabric and some of it has me scratching my head and wondering how it even ended up in my stash! Funny how that happens. 

I have done a fairly good job up to this point! I have used  77.25 yards and only have purchased 39.8 yards and the majority of that has been for linings, underlinings and interfacings.

However, I ran into the problem of searching for a fabric that I know I have.... But who the heck knew where it was 'stashed'??? I hate when that happens!
See.... Total mess!

My main focus is garment sewing. So there are yards upon yards of fashion fabric in this stash. I have the majority stored in a repurposed TV cabinet form the early 90's. You remember those big giant honking pieces of furniture with the doors that closed so you didn't have to look at that giant old TV? Well I had quite a nice one from Broyhill. Solidly built and well made. So last year it was repurposed into a fabric cupboard. My husband helped me to add shelves and lighting in the top part. 
This fabric cabinet is massive! Bonus that I was able to reuse an old piece of furniture.

It started out very nice and organized and not quite full.... 
Top shelf had silks, laces, rayons and other silky like fabrics
Middle shelf was all knits
Bottom shelf was wools, denims, corduroy and other wovens. 

Now these shelves are all mixed up and a bit overstuffed!... Hence why I m trying to use mostly stash fabrics for awhile. It's been working out pretty darn well for me. I have some nice fabrics in that cabinet!

One of the drawers hold lining fabrics and the other holds surplus sewing notions and expensive trims. 

The bottom cupboards have a mix of coatings, large fluffy fabrics, and specialty fabrics. Such as a small collection of silks a friend brought back from China. Shibbori type fabrics from Nepal and India. Some vintage textiles from my grandmothers stash that I inherited when she passed. At one point I literally had to put the fabric in with my foot so I could close the doors!!! So not an ideal situation. 

Now, I also have 2 big plastic bins. I with sweatshirt and polar fleece types and one full of various types of interfacings. Much of those interfacings are more for crafting and purse/bag making that I dabbled in several years back.

I am also sad to say that I have a cardboard shipping box from smugglers daughter that is full of more fabric. Eels!! It is kind of wedged sideways under my cutting table.

Then I have a rolling cart with 4 drawers. Top 2 drawers are full of sewing machine accessories. The bottom 2 house my collection of good interfacings. 1 with fusibles and 1 with non fusibles such as imperial batiste and silk organza.

And that's not it....
I have an entire cedar lined dresser full of cottons, mostly quilting cottons. Every once in a while I get the bug in my head to make a quilt as a gift for someone (mostly baby gifts or lap quilts). I don't really follow any patterns or rules just do what I want. It can be quite a creative process. I also use these high quality quilting cottons in my garment sewing. Usually as pocketing fabrics and facings and once I a while as a detail. 

What can I say!!! I really am a textile lover. 

This week I pulled out every yard of fashion fabric! 
I had some crazy notion that I was going to swatch and record every piece. You know, on one of those neat key rings with tags that show how much and what type... Ha! Like I'm ever going to be that organized. Besides it would have taken up way too much of my most precious resource, Time!

Knits: anything smaller than a yard went out. Any piece at around a yard I only kept if a, I really, realy like it or b, I like it and the previous garment I made has held up well. You know not all fabric is created equally and we all end up with some that just are very crappy. Stretching, snagging, pilling, etc..... All the crappy fabrics went into the trash bin.
I was able to fit all my knits on the center shelf of my cabinet.

Wovens: this was FUN to pull out and touch and play with. I have some extremely nice wools and it makes me happy to just touch it and dream of all the projects I want to make. I didn't have too many small pieces of my regular wovens and only got rid of a couple of things. These filled up the lower shelf.

Silks: (well mostly silks) another lovely group of fabrics to touch. This top shelf was a bit of a mess. There were also several polys or as one store calls them 'silkys'.  I wanted to make sure of exactly what I had so I took the time to burn test anything I was unsure of. This took a bit of time but was well worth it. 
I took all my slippery silks and folded them with tissue paper. I already had some stored this way and it keeps them crease free and keeps,them from being slippery and messy. 

In the plastic bins under the table I found a plethora of polar fleece. I took the majority of these out (mostly cheap ones from JoAnns) and repurposed them into new dog beds and blankets. The dogs were very happy!! This also freed up room in the bin to put my smaller cuts and free up some room in the cabinet so things were not so squashed. 

Tissue wrapped silks.

And now everything is so much neater and organized and less stressful when I open my magic stash cabinet! 

I'd love to hear how you manage your stash!

Happy Sewing
Happy grand baby snuggles :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer recap and time to get back to blogging!

My summer blogging hiatus has come to an end! I feel so energized after taking the break, now time to get back to writing and documenting!

Here is a quick recap of my summer. Still a couple weeks to go, but once the neighborhood kids start gearing up for school it seems like fall is not far away.

- spent lots of time with this little Princess! Celebrated her First birthday!! Holy cow that year went by fast. Visited the zoo and saw a baby zebra, had photos taken at the Morton Arboretum, and gosh, was she excited that she could climb up into her own little Darth Vader chair!! So funny!! She keeps me young at heart :) 

- celebrated my mom's 70th birthday, had a great big surprise birthday bash!! And dye REALLY was surprised!! 

- enjoyed some beverages ;)

- did a bit of sewing. 2  pairs of work pants, several shells, a summer top, linen crop pants and a jacket plus several other garments in the works! 

- a few sewing related things. Sew Chicago ASG meetings, visiting the Chicago History Museum and some pattern work. All great fun!

- started getting my butt in gear and going for power walks! Need to burn off the calories from all those yummy beverages! Know what I mean???

- and a bit of traveling! I've been to Miami,   Atlanta, Orlando, Philadelphia, Teaneck (NJ) ,NYC, Anaheim, Stewartsville (NJ), Boston, Hampton Beach (NH) and Greensboro (NC). Actually, on my way to Greensboro as I type!

Stay tuned for some more detailed posts on my sewing projects. 

I hope everyone else had a great summer or winter for those down under!