Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Challenges

Boy, I didn't realize that it's been so long since I wrote a post. A lot has happened. For my birthday in October, I got 5 new to me sewing books - Butterick's Ready-Set-Sew which is a copy of the first sewing book that I ever had. I also got the Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques, Ready-Set-Serge, Shortcuts to Sewing by Edith Bryte Bishop, & The Serger Idea book. I am enjoying these new editions to my sewing library. My daughter gave me Roberta Carr's sewing DVD "Couture Techniques" & my nephew gave me tickets to my first NBA game. DH took me out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse & sent me a dozen roses. It was a great birthday.

Two weeks later I injured my left thumb while trying to make the bed. At first, my primary doctor thought it was a torn tendon but the MRI showed the tendon is stretched out of shape at the base of my left thumb & osteo-arthritis has set into the basal joint that was chipped. This is the same hand that was so badly injured in the car crash last year. It cannot be repaired so I must wear a hand brace indefinitely which is awkward sewing. Knitting is extremely painful. So for now, I'm trying to learn to sew with one hand. I've faced many challenges over the past few years & have learned to cope. I will with this one too. Earlier this week I used the serger to try to construct a top but had to stop after about 10 minutes as it was too painful. Typing with one hand takes longer too. I will figure out a way to keep sewing as it is in my blood.
Happy Sewing Everyone!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Seam Ripper Anyone?

These past few weeks has had me busy ripping seams. I have had to replace a zipper, take in 3 tops & sleeves, plus hemming more pants. Taking apart a Nike jacket to replace the zipper took me over 3 hours. I feel like I have a close relationship with my seam ripper. Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it is how it goes. I think I need to get a new seam ripper as the 4 I have all seem to be dull. All of my personal sewing is on hold at this time. I've also been busy making pillowcases, Christmas stockings & ornaments for ASG projects. Our ASG chapter is having its' annual fund raiser by having 2 craft fair booths in November. This is a busy, busy time of the year. Happy Sewing!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Shopping

Thursday night I went to another trunk show with Peggy Sagers, owner of Silhouette patterns at Hancock Fabric's. She had some new pieces this time which were geared more for the cooler weather of fall. I ended up buying the Yoga Pant pattern #115 & Alesha's blouse #875. I plan to use it as a jacket instead of a blouse so I purchased some black, brown,& dark gold short fake fur. I may line it although the pattern doesn't call for lining. I found the perfect buttons but at $8 each, it was a little pricey. I also bought some new dressmaking scissors (Mundial) for the UMNC along with bobbins & needles. However, I was pleased to find out that I got a 40% discount on all that I bought. All in all, it came to about $50 which was well within my budget. So with 2-1/2 yards of fabric, 3 WOW buttons & my new pattern, I should have a great jacket for those cool days in Memphis. Note: Peggy's measurements on her patterns are all the finished garment size with about 2 inches of ease. She has designed the patterns to be made up quickly on the serger as most people are very busy with little time to sew. I like the fact that all sizes come in each pattern & she has incorporated bust cup sizes in her patterns. I do believe that they can be used in home sewing businesses. If considering that, I would suggest that you call her 800 number to verify. One of my friends who was with me on Thursday night has already made up 3 versions of the Ralph Lauren pant pattern. LOL! She loves them. If you haven't tried Silhouette patterns, I would recommend that you try them. Peggy did say that if anyone had problems with fitting to call her 800 number & she'll tell you how to get a good fit.
Happy Sewing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Sewing Month

My fall sewing is on hold until I get thru the ASG craft fair sewing & new alterations that came in. I'm trying to figure out a plan to be able to sew for me as well as keep up with ASG projects & my sewing ministry. The last two weeks have been stressful for me & I have not been able to have any time to sew. I need to be sewing so I can relax. Anyway, I've thought that maybe I can try sewing ASG items on Mondays & Wednesdays; items for church members on Tuesdays & Thursdays & then sew for me on Fridays & Saturdays. I'm hoping that this will work for me.

I did finish knitting a third prayer shawl while waiting in doctors' offices but forgot to take a photo of it.

This is National Sewing Month & I haven't been sewing. However, the United Methodist Neighborhood Center near where I live has a program to provide Refugee Economic Independence for refugees coming from all over the world. They offer a sewing program & was in need of supplies. Therefore, I sent an email to my sewing friends & asked for donations. Boy, did they respond. On Monday, I was able to take 2 large boxes of fabric & notions, 7 large trash bags of fabric,some sewing books & magazines plus a sewing machine. Since Monday, I have 2 more sewing machines & another couple of bags of fabric to donate plus thread, scissors & notions. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to help others to be able to sew. Tonight, I'm off to see Peggy Sagers again & shop some more. Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Silhouette Patterns

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet with Peggy Sagers when she did an event at Hancock Fabrics. Yes, Hancock Fabrics, will be carrying Silhouette patterns & Peggy is going around the country promoting her line of patterns. She is so charming & enthusiastic about sewing. Each of the 35 garments in her trunk show were made from fabrics carried by Hancock's & most were available to purchase in the store that night. She also offered a special of 9 patterns for $99.99 & her book "Dress to Kill ... Gently". There was a $14 pre-registration fee which entitled one to a Silhouette pattern. So, all in all, I bought 10 of her patterns, her DVD on "Basic Patternmaking" plus some fabric. The patterns are as follows:
#2750 Amy's Skirt #3100 Laurie's Pant
#1750 Robin's Jacket #3600 Ralph's Pant
#2850 Michelle's One Piece Skirt #175 Valerie's Top
#150 Dana's Top #115 Ann's Top
#1900 4 Button Jacket #195 Sweater Set

This will be my fall sewing. I already had her patterns for the Swing dress & the Stephanie Blouse. I like the fact that these can be sewn quickly on the serger with minimal fuss. While she doesn't use interfacing, I probably will because I like my garments to be stabilized. We will see how much I get done over the next few months since I have completed most of my alterations.
Happy Sewing!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stimulating the Economy

Since I last posted, DH & I have stimulated the economy to the tune of almost $50,000.00. Yep, that's right. In July, we bought our daughter a 2009 Toyota Matrix fully loaded for around $25,500.00 for her 21st birthday. In addition to the car, we bought her a ticket to see the Broadway Musical "Wicked" when it came to the Orpheum Theater & took her out to an elegant (ie: extremely expensive) dinner at Flemings. We also gave her spending money for 2 trips that she took even though she has a part time job. Two weeks later, my DH & I went to buy a new car for him as his 15 yr old Mercury Grand Marquis was in need of repairs that were going to be over $6,000.00. Thank you for the "Clunker" law as he qualified for the $4500.00 rebate. We bought him a 2010 Toyota Corolla "S" which has a lot of nice features including lumbar support seats. Very important as one ages. There went another $20,000.00.

Then, we took my Pfaff 7570 sewing/embroidery machine in to be serviced as it was getting sluggish. There went another $185. Then, it rained & the roofed leaked so cha-ching, we're putting another $2000.00 for home repairs. Yes, we have really stimulated the economy. Here are photos of the new cars that live at our house. Both are very pleased with their new vehicles & I'm happy that my Pfaff loves being cleaned of all of the lint that builds up in the innards of a sewing machine. It's running smoothly. Sewing wise, I've been busy mending clothes ... I shortened the sleeves on a jacket for one lady by removing each sleeve from the armhole & shortening at the top of the sleeve. Then I had to shorten the shoulder seam, sew the sleeve back in & then shorten the lining. It took about 3 weeks to do this as I'm very slow. I've also took up seams on a pair of pants to loose the clown look on the hips plus hemmed 2 dresses. I'm also making craft items for our ASG upcoming craft fair. Last week, I did manage to get a blouse cut out for me using Butterick #4659. I love wing collar & princess seams. I do hope to do some tone on tone embroidery on the princess panels before sewing it together. I think it will be very pretty when done. Hope everyone is doing well for the summer.
Happy Stitching!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sewing for the Summer

Most of my summer sewing will be community service projects for our ASG chapter. We are making pillowcases for the local Ronald McDonald House & stuffed turtle pillows for LeBonheur Children's Hospital. I do hope to get one or two items made for me. Also, our ASG chapter is sewing during the summer for our upcoming craft fair in the fall. We're making oven mitts, potholders, bookmarks, free standing lace bookmarks, Christmas ornaments & Christmas stockings. I hope we're able to raise enough funds to bring in a national educator for 2010. I did get to draft patterns for the oven mitt, the potholders, stockings & ornaments. We're using donated fabrics with the guild picking up the expenses for Insul-brite & 100% cotton batting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sewing ... Sewing ... Poof

Guess I am a bad blogger. I have been busy working on the formal gown which is still a work in progress & have been extra busy doing mending & alterations thru my sewing ministry as well as knitting prayer shawls. I just haven't blogged about any of it. This weekend, I'm shortening sleeves about 1-1/4 inches on a jacket from Talbot's for one of my church members as well as hemming pants for my minister. I did shorten straps about 3 inches on a club dress for my daughter plus repaired 2 of her bras. I would love to sew for me but haven't got the time right now. My student is progressing on her blouse. We have the darts in, the front plackets made & the collar ready to sew to the collar band. This coming week we will put the collar on & work on the sleeve plackets. In between all of this life has been very busy with DH & DD leaving this week for 5 days in Orlando, FL. They are attending our niece's wedding & doing some sight-seeing. I've been busy making the plane & hotel reservations, lining up a rental car & scheduling visits for them with family members who live in FL. I'm looking forward to the 5 days at home alone (with my dog, Max)while they are gone.
Happy Sewing!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sewing for Me

Thank you Loretta at Fitting Tips for nominating me for the sisterhood award. I really appreciate this. I would like to nominate Sew Paula as she sews for her children of which one faces physical challenges, Sewing in the City who shares her sewing projects whether successful or not, Angie at Wendy & her Lost Boys, a mother of 6 who balances family life with being the wife of a minister far from home, & Teri at Mermaids who enjoys teaching & sewing. Each of these ladies so freely share their sewing knowledge with others & certainly deserve this award.

This week I got a chance to sew for myself. On Tuesday afternoon, I cut out viewA of Vogue 8536 in a blue matte jersey while at the church doing my sewing ministry. When I got home, I serged all of the edges & then did the construction on the sewing machine since the top had side vents & gathers in the bust area. It is really a nice top. It is very close fitting & I would have gone up a size had I known just how close. However, it fits okay & the next one I make will be the next size up. It felt good to have an opportunity to sew for myself for a change. I still have to add the neck binding & hem the T-shirt. My next project is a formal for one of my DD's college friends. Will post photos when they are done. Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

38 Years & Holding On ...

Last Friday, DH & I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary with dinner at our favorite steakhouse. As we talked (amid the chaos), I reflected on just how special my life is. I am so blessed in many ways. Who would have thought that the skinny, scared 17 yr old, out on her own & alone for the first time in New Orleans, would grow to become a confident adult with a loving husband who has grown with her thru the years. Being married takes a lot of work, a lot of give & take, & sacrifice. Thru it all, my love & respect for my husband has grown immensely. I can honestly say that I love him more today than on our wedding day. How lucky can a gal be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Sewing Goodies

While my eyes heal from an infection, I've been perusing the internet for sewing goodies. Some of the things I have bought recently included a cable for my Pfaff 7570 sewing/embroidery machine, "Cool Couture: Construction Secrets for Runway Style" sewing book by Kenneth King, a Fashion Design Ruler from SewTrue plus a DVD by Roberta Carr on Couture Techniques from CD Universe. I believe that all of these things will help to improve my sewing/embroidery skills. Also bought some new serger threads from Atlanta Thread Supply. DH surprised me by renewing my subscription to Threads magazine for another 3 years plus 2 years for Sew News & ordered Designs in Machine Embroidery for me as well as Creative Machine Embroidery magazines. It's been a lot of searching the internet for sewing goodies. So, what new sewing goodies have you tried?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hemming Away ... by Hand

Business for my sewing ministry has picked up. I am becoming quite the expert at hemming pants for men & women who need this done. Because items are often dropped off for me to do with no real measuring of the person, I ask them to drop off something that fits well and I go from there. Recently, I have been hemming 5 pairs of pants for one person. All of them were different lengths and brand new. He brought in a pair of pants that fit him so I measured the inseam from those pants. I did note that the nylon hem from the blind stitch machine (probably a dry cleaners or alteration person at the store) had come out on one leg. I stitched those pants also. When I tried to put in a 3-4 inch hem, the fabric puckered so out came the stitching. I cut all of the pants down and then put in 2 inch hems. I don't know what the standard is for men's dress pants but this gave a smooth finish on the outside with invisible stitching. After determining the finished length and adding for the hem, I cut the fabric and then serged the edge, marked my 2 inch hem and then hand stitched the pants. So far this method is time consuming but it looks good. My DH approves. One of these days, I hope to become more proficient in using my blind hem foot where I can whip these out but I'm not there yet. Oh, one of these days I will be.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Weekend

This weekend was wonderful. DH & I attended a new church mixer as we are helping to mentor a new young pastor as he starts a church in the Memphis area. We don't plan to leave our home church but are helping out for the time being. This weekend was the first event. I worked the registration table, hubby worked security and our daughter provided child care. It was a family event for us. We did have a candlelight luncheon that was catered by Coletta's Italian Restaurant. Hmmm...good. The highlight of my day was watching my hubby line dance for about 20 minutes with our daughter. He did pretty good for his first try since he claims to have 2 left feet. When we got home, DH gave me a small container of my favorite chocolates. Couldn't be more perfect than that. Then on Sunday, DH surprised me by renewing my Threads subscription for 3 years. I would say that was a good Valentine's day present. All in all, it was a great Valentine's Day weekend.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard"

Had read a bit about this book in our local newspaper and thought the title was intriguing so I ordered the book from Barnes & Noble. It is a fascinating look at the early 20th century and the development of Los Angeles along with Hollywood. Young girls flee their families and farms in search of a dream. The main character is a young girl named Nell who is unhappily married at a young age (17) with 2 infants. She has worked on her parents farm and then on her husband's family's farm in rural Kansas. It is a hard life. Her only skill is sewing in which she excels. A visiting preacher tells her about California and she dreams of a better life for herself. Sewing for the town folk, she saves enough money to buy a train ticket to Los Angeles. Then she runs away from her husband and children. The story continues for the next 20+ years as she marries again and has another child. She sews for the high society ladies of Los Angeles and ends up with a job at Universal Studios where is a costumer. Just when her future is the brightest, her 2 older daughters turn up on her doorstep and turns her world upside down. The story does not have a happy ending. In fact, it leaves you wanting more from this author. According to the excerpt, the story is based on the author's grandmother's life. The author is Erin McGraw. I loved the book and read it over a weekend. Maybe there will be a sequel. I certainly hope so.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Crooked Sewing Adventure

As an active member of my ASG chapter (and president) it seems like most of my sewing is craft projects to learn new techniques or reinforce old ones. While I long to spend more time on garments, in reality, it is craft projects that actually make it to the machine. This week, I made my first quillow. When I started this, I had no clue as to what a quillow was or what one does with it. I went out and bought 3 yards of black fleece, packed my travel sewing machine & supplies and headed out to our meeting spot. Wouldn't you know it, I forgot black thread and had picked up navy blue by mistake. Duh!!!

Fortunately, one of my friends had a large spool of black quilting thread so I used that. Wound the bobbin, threaded the machine, and then read the directions over & over but they didn't compute. Must have had brain freeze or something like a senior moment or who knows what. Anyway, I just sat there trying to figure it out. Fortunately, one of my friends recognized my dilemma and offered to help me out. We folded the fleece, cut off the amount for the pillow, and started trying to even up the ends. Oh yeah, a quillow is a blanket with an attached pillow for those who do know this. We measured, lined up, and using a yard stick to guide me with a rotary cutter, I cut crooked. We tried again. Lined up, measured carefully, and then I cut crooked. For some reason, I've never mastered cutting straight lines even with yardsticks, lined mats, etc.

Grrr... Then my friend tried cutting the fleece and it was still crooked. We laughed and figured out that the fabric was off grain and would not cut straight. Oh well, since I see crooked, I cut crooked. This quillow will go to my DD and she won't really care if it is perfectly straight or not. Well, I went to the sewing machine to sew this quillow and the fleece would not feed straight which resulted in crooked seams. Took them out muttering under my breath. Tried this again and felt like it was done even if it was a little crooked. As we got ready to turn the quillow, found out that the fleece had slipped and one section of the pillow was not sewn to the blanket. I need a walking foot for my travel machine. Muttering again, I started to frogstitch the pillow. By then, the day was half over and all I wanted to do was go home. Trying a third time, I finally finished the quillow to the point that it was acceptable. Then I started stitching the edges in a red decorative stitch. Maybe I should have done that before attaching the pillow (ya think???). Got 2 edges done and called it a day.

When I got home and looked at it, I realized it looked like a first grader's project. It was not something I was proud of or would want others to know that I made. So, I put it away. Today, I'm frogstitching the decorative stitches as well as the pillow. I figure that if I sew it on my Pfaff with its IDF, maybe the fabric won't slip and my seams will be straighter. Also, I decided I want to add some embroidery to the pillow part and I'll need to frogstitch it to do that. Whether this quillow will be finished or not remains to be seen. For now, I'm going to go back and re-read some sewing books. Happy Sewing!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Farewell 2008 ... Welcome 2009

Happy New Year everyone. The first week of 2009 is almost over and I keep wondering where the time went. For Christmas, I did a flurry of sewing projects - pillowcases, ornaments, baby bibs, pillows, napkins, etc not to mention some embroidery projects. DH surprised me with the Embird Software w/Iconizer so I hope in 2009 to do more projects with embroidery. Since I seldom make resolutions (as I never keep them anyway) I won't bore you with my goals for this new year. I am thankful for my health, my family and my sewing ministry.

Over Christmas, my youngest sister came for a few days with her family. We enjoyed our time together which is always way too short. We got to meet our niece's fiance and hear all about her wedding plans. While I won't be able to attend her wedding for health reasons, I am happy to share in her joy and excitement. The wedding is over Memorial Day weekend. DH & DD will go to Orlando for the big event and I'll get a DVD of the ceremony. I love that she has created a website to keep family and friends updated on her plans as they are finalized. offers a lot of options for building a site.

To add to our joy, my younger brother, Steve, and his lovely wife, Theresa, had a healthy baby girl named Heidi Elizabeth on December 12th. Of course, I had to come up with special gifts for this precious little one. That's 2 boxes of gifts off in the mail for them. Big sis, Savannah, is so excited over her new little sister.

All in all, the future looks bright. Happy Sewing!