Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Monday night poker dress

My friend Keith just gave me 2.5 yards of this fabulous fabric, can you believe it?! He inherited it from someone who was going to make a dress for a 52nd birthday party (hah hah, 52nd birthday, 52 cards in a deck), but never got around to it, so now it's MINE ALL MINE BWA-HAHA!!!

wrapped up all cute!

I'm thinking it'll be a fitted bodice dress with black piping somewhere (of course!), black Peter Pan collar and turned back cuffs. Maybe I'll go a little wacky and use the 3D dice buttons I found at the El Cerrito Mystery Button store!

Any other suggestions?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Apron Class

Well, a long-held dream of mine finally came true as I taught my first sewing class yesterday! I've always hoped to have a space to teach others the fascination with needle and thread, and although using my dining room isn't a long term solution (read: kicked my family out of the house for four hours!), it was a fantastic start.

Here are a few shots of my setup - sample garments to be perused, sewing books and magazines, vintage patterns, and Matilda the dress form proudly modeling the class project. Pity I didn't get a photo of the goodie bags, as they were pretty dang cute if I do say so myself. Each student had a commercial pattern, sample fabrics and pins of different sizes, freezer paper squares, and an eight page booklet I made specially for the class.

Look at them working away. So cute! Everyone had different levels of experience coming into the class, and I think everyone picked up at least one new skill by the time they left, plus they had completed (most of them!) an adorable apron. And look at the fabrics they picked out! Do these ladies have great taste or what?!

I have another class coming up on March 3rd, which will focus more on household sewing. You know, curtains, hemming pants, making pillows and the like. Now to dream up a fun class project!

Also, in other news, my bestie Susannah and I are heading to Carmel on Friday to have the experience of a lifetime! We scored the last two spots at the Asilomar Sewing weekend with Gretchen 'Gertie' Hirsch and Heather Ross! As a longtime fan/stalker of Gertie's, I can't believe this is really happening, but I'm trying to overcome the heart palpitations and instead focus on packing an awesome project so I can utilize my time with these sewing goddesses to the fullest. Plus, I'm making a fabulous blouse from Gertie's book to wear while I'm there. Is it creepy to ask her to sign it?!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Needed a fix

So it appears I may have a slight fabric hoarding issue going on here. No intervention needed, thank you, spring is just so tantalizingly close and I guess I hope that it will come faster if I have a bunch of pretty new frocks to wear!

It helps that my friend Stephanie kindly passed on a box - a WHOLE BOX - of her mother' s vintage patterns and I'm just dying to make some of them. It also helps that I meet some of my sewing idols next week and I want to have a slew of lovely new things with which to impress ( I can admit it!) . But mostly, I'm just feeling creatively on fire right now and it's awesome!
How about you? Anyone else have peaks and valleys of inspiration? What helps to pull you out of the dry times?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dumpster Diving for Sewing Machines

Ok, not really , but I saw this lovely item shoved into some landscaping around the side of a fabric store today! I took it to the repair shop and bought a power cord/ foot pedal and a few feet (piping, Teflon, invisible zip, between $6-$10 each) and it's good to go! Nice stitch definition, hums along powerfully, and the repair guy gave it a quick free once-over. It's a Singer Merritt 3314 and seems to be of the late 80s/early 90s oeuvre.

I'm especially thrilled, as I had an appointment to look at a vintage Bernina later on today, which I promptly canceled. It seemed a pretty clear message from above, right?! When the powers that be pop a handsome cast iron, made in Brazil, fully functional machine in your way, you take it and run!

Call me crazy, but I'm thinking of painting it a nice robin's egg blue...

Also, while in the repair shop, I saw an ADORABLE Singer Genie. Have you seen these things? Here are some images I found on eBay, below.

So perfectly 70s, its case just slides right on from the side. Groovy baby, yeah! I sure don't need another machine, but let's just say I'll be eyeing the bushes by JoAnn's with vigor, hoping the ghost of Isaac Singer sees fit to drop one of those babies my way!

Friday, January 18, 2013

And she's on a roll!

Whipping up something for my niece Jos and her 9th birthday tomorrow! I found Simplicity 1927 on sale for $1 at my trusty JoAnn Fabric store located just a mile away and this fun cherry gingham print for 40% off. I cut the 8 in the bodice and 10 in the length for my little beanpole. It ended up being a trifle snug on my test model, but thankfully the actual birthday girl is quite a bit more slender.

It came together pretty easily. I cut and sewed all in one day with time to scrub my house in the middle, and am just finishing tacking down the facings. Hope she likes it! I'm giving it to her tomorrow when my second dad takes the whole family to see the Harlem Globetrotters in Oakland with a Fenton's chaser.


Just got email confirmation from Heather Ross that I scored the LAST FREAKING SPOT in the sewing workshop that she's teaching with Gretchen Hirsch in two weeks. I think I just peed my pants I'm so excited!
I'm such a big fan of them both, I remember grabbing 'Weekend Sewing' hot off the press in 2009 and skipping off to work my way through Heather's projects. Also, I used her pj pants pattern when I cranked out 11, yes count'em 11 pairs as gifts this past holiday season. It's like the magic fit that works on everyone! And Gertie, well, let's just say that she's at the top of my bookmarks for a reason! I love the bow tie blouse I made from her book and just bought and washed some lovely floral cotton to make another.
Anyway, my friend Susannah and I are heading to lovely Carmel to stay at our kind and gracious friend Kelly's vacation house during the workshop, since all the spots at Asilomar were booked (hello, late to the party!). We are considering which HR/GH patterns to make in the coming weeks so we'll have something fun to wear while we're there, too! NOT the pj pants, I'm juuuust a little over those for now!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

More Cambie

Ok, so I installed the zipper and lining and now I love the cut of this dress! Once I realized I could fluff out and tack down the sleeves to cover that oh-so attractive bit of armpit pudge, I was on like donkey kong. Here's a crap photo, taken by a nine year old so no hating! :)
Also a close up of how *perfectly* aligned the piping is on the back, cause a girl's gotta brag sometime!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cambie Time

Yeah, so I finally had to jump on the bandwagon and make a Cambie. I've had the pattern for a few months, but it never really felt compelling enough to set aside my known tried and true patterns for an unknown.
So, here it is thus far. I have to brave our arctic Northern California cold snap to try it on sometime! Seriously, it stayed in the 40s all day and I'm freezing my butt off. I can't deal with removing my 47 layers to check the fit, but I'm dreaming of spring enough to want a cotton dress.
As far as the pattern goes, I cut a six and removed a lot of the volume of the version B full skirt. I've had three yards of this fun print in my stash for awhile and didn't nearly use it all. Not sure how well I like the finished product, it's a little twee for my usual style. Might have to rip out the piped waistband and shorten the bodice. I flaked out on lining fabric though, so If i stick with this, I might just have to draft a sleeve and collar facing instead. Wish me luck!