Thursday, April 25, 2013

be nice

A few people that follow me on Instagram have already seen this in progress, but now it's all done!  I'm attempting to make a collage of embroidered pieces for the baby room wall that say "Be Nice".  The story starts with my Father-in-Law.  

in progress (sorry for the crap iphone photo)

He might be one of the kindest, most caring individuals I've ever met in my life, and I consider myself so very lucky that we are family.  Growing up, my husband and his two siblings would always hear him say "Be nice", but in a particular way, that comes out sounding like Be Niiiiiiiiiiice, Be Niiiiiiiiiiice, hehe.  All of us say it now whenever someone is acting silly or jerky, and then we chuckle.  But the truth is, it still rings in our heads.

father-in-law and husband

It's the simplest of concepts, yet so difficult to remember at times when we're frustrated, angry or sad.  If only the world could just "be nice" we'd all be in a better place, no?  Maybe, if everyday, we remind ourselves to be a little nicer to others, even when they are not, we can exact a tiny change.  It's certainly something I want to impress on my unborn son.

The embroidery...Anyone who is familiar with current trends in embroidery knows of Sublime Stitching by Jenny Hart.  I got a slew of patterns about 7-8 years ago, went on a mini-embroidery kick, then promptly dropped the habit.  I dug through my patterns recently, cause us crafty people can't throw anything away, right?  and pounced on this heart/sword/banner combo.  I think the design came from the old " Tattoo Your Towels" collection.  It looks as if she's updated that collection available here.

around the "gem", backstitch, filled with satin stitch

Let this be a warning:  if you've had some of these patterns for as long as I have, they may not work very well.  She uses a special type of ink that allows multiple transfers.  My first fabric was white, and during the iron on process, in which the hottest iron temp is recommended, my fabric turned yellow from the part under the paper.  The fabric clear of the paper was fine.  It did make a light transfer, but the fabric was ruined.

stem stitch

I switched to the red fabric, and the transfer didn't work anymore.  I had to put the pattern under the fabric and trace it.  Thank goodness I had chosen a cheap, thin quilting fabric!  To beef it up I sandwiched double sided stabilizer in between the top layer, and added another layer of red fabric, making it nice and stable to avoid stretch.

I used a combo of stem stitch-on almost all the outlines and letters.  Backstitch was only used on the outline of the gemstone.  Then I filled in the sword, gemstone and part of the hilt with satin stitch.  Normally with satin stitch, you use all 6 threads of the floss, but I found that way too thick so I used 3 threads for all the satin.  The only part I used 3 threads on was the heart.  I used a paler pink to begin with, but removed it and switched to 6 thread and a brighter pink so it would pop against the red.

I'm super thrilled with the way this turned out!  I've already started another one, and it may have guitars involved...

Monday, April 22, 2013

sew u home stretch: make #2

In March we went home to Florida for my FIL's surprise 70th birthday.  Which means I had to make a dress for the party!  I wasn't sure what the weather would be like, even in NW FL in March, it can get kinda chilly. 

Going back to the Sew U Home Stretch Book like my last sewn item, I tweaked the same "What a Waist" pattern again.

This time, I left the scoop neck, used the short sleeve pattern piece, omitted the elastic bound neck and used self-made bias instead.  And the most obvious, turned it into a maxi dress.  I cut two rectangles, gathered and serged them to the top pattern piece.  It is so perfectly comfortable.

I really like the mottled, dyed look

trying to convince him to join me

The fabric is superlight and another $1 yard find at FIDM.  In fact, it might be more see-through than I noticed after looking at the above picture, hahahahaha, whoops.

In fact, it's so light, without wearing the jacket, it's fine, but I noticed with the jacket, the weight tended to pull the neck down, allowing a sneak peek at the top of my bra.  I think the elastic would have given it added strength but apparently I'm too know-it-all enough to follow instructions.  Hopefully the "pregnant women are always hot" thing will kick in soon and I won't have to worry about it.

finally convinced him to join me

Thursday, April 18, 2013

sew u home stretch: make #1

If you sew knits or are interested in sewing them at all, you probably own or have at least heard of the Wendy Mullin (Built By Wendy patterns) book Sew U Home Stretch

I bought this book last year sometime and just got around to cracking it open in the last couple months.  I love it!  There are 3 base patterns, and instructions on how to alter those patterns to create 21 patterns in all.  For example, the crew top, one alteration shows you how to turn it into a boatneck by adding and subtracting from the pattern in certain places.  I for one, am one of those people that need very specific instructions to accomplish this, at least the first go round! 

Because of my impending need of stretchy clothes I decided to give this book some attention recently.  The first pattern I chose to use is the "What a Waist" shirt pattern.  It features a curved hem, scoop neck and elasticized waist.  

To accommodate my growing bump, I raised the waist to just under my bustline.  Other than that, I sewed the shirt as the pattern intended.  

making sad face at all the wrinkles

The fabric is a super thin ribbed jersey.  Back in February, I met Cindy from Cation Designs downtown.  After checking out the FIDM museum (film costumes), we hit the FIDM store.  It was my first time there and I scored a bunch of knit fabrics.  It's funny, she actually mentions in this post about what we become accustomed to price wise here in LA.  Most of the fabric was $1 yard, and I started balking at the bolts marked $5.  Five dollars!  What a little snobby snob I became!  Anyway, this purple knit is from that haul.  I got 2 yards of it (60" wide), and still have a bunch left over after this shirt.

I didn't check my differential feed, I was hurrying, so there is a little gathering at the side seams, but guess what?  I don't care!  This shirt cost a buck, muahahaha!  If it can take me through this pregnancy, sweet.

Overall, the pattern is super easy to follow, with great pictures illustrating the steps.  The only thing I noticed was missing was the length elastic to use for the neck, but no biggie, it's easy to figure out.

 I like to make funny faces at my husband

Also, you can see, my self-altered maternity jeans, huzzah!  I bought a few pairs of cheapo jeans, chopped off the waistband and removed the zipper, then sewed the zipper opening shut.  I made a knit tube of fabric and sewed it to the waistband of the jeans.  It can be worn up over my belly or folded down under it.  In the future, I would do a nude fabric, so it couldn't be seen under light colored tops. However, all I had on hand at the time was black knit, and I was too lazy/cheap to go buy any more fabric :-b 

There's a bunch of tutorials floating around the blogosphere on how to do this alteration, so I won't bore you with instructions.  Just google "DIY maternity jeans" if you're curious :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

serger and leggings learning

Back in November I took a Serger class at Sew L.A.  I know how to use a serger, but I never felt like I got it quite right, ya know?  The class was super helpful for a couple reasons.  The instructor had us thread our machine with 4 different colored threads, then tighten and loosen each one individually, making thread samples.  Ahhhh haaaa!  It was so, so helpful seeing each color and the tension changes.  Certainly makes trouble shooting tension much easier! 
Plus, I never really understood the differential feed thing, or how the right and wrong side of a fabric can affect the feed. 

Right after the serger class, I had signed up for a leggings class with the same instructor, Rebecca Prange.  Leggings seemed really simple to me, but I've had the most problems with simple patterns lately.  It seems the more simple they are, my fit issues glare at me.  Does anyone else feel like this happens to them?

The class was cool because there were all different sewing levels in there, and different reasons for taking the class.  From a lady making leggings for her daughter, to a very tall lady who could never find leggings to fit lengthwise.  And she had this awesome metallic silver fabric, wish I'd taken a picture.  They were like robo-leggings, ha!

The pattern we used was Jalie 2920.  The pattern is straight forward, with sizes nested from toddler to woman's size 22.  You'll certainly get your moneys worth out of the pattern if you trace.

Our instructor even had a handy little companion guide she made, with suggested knit fabric swatches for future reference.  How nice is that?

I found my fabric at Mood.  If I remember correctly it was $16/yard, and it was 60" wide.  I bought 1 1/2 yards to be on the safe side.  It's super stretchy and so very soft.  Everyone in the class was petting it, hahaha!  I have no idea what the fabric content is but I love wearing them!

you can see my sweet photoshop skills on the fence behind me, aww yeah.
There were old paint cans there, now they're gone, hehe

The pattern suggested we cut the elastic a couple inches smaller than the waist band, however, the pattern already had negative ease.  After attaching the elastic, but before turning down the waist I tried them on-too tight, ugh, will.never.wear.   I recut my elastic the same size as my pattern waist and reattached, much better and room for chowing down :)

One thing I'd never used before was Wonder Tape.  It's a roll of double sided sticky tape that holds two pieces of fabric together.  It's only about 1/4" wide and you just cut off how much you need.  Our instructor suggested it for the slippery knits before running our pieces through the serger.  You just put a tiny piece on at intervals along seam lines and it acts as extra reinforcement.  Plus it washes away.  I'm a new convert.  I think I got it at Joann's and I've been using it on all my other knit projects since.

She said be careful with the iron after using the wonder tape as too much ironing will kind of cement it in place and may not wash out well.  Because I don't iron my knit seams as religiously as woven ones, the wonder tape is perfect.

I LOVE these leggings.  Love them.  I'm going to be making more pairs, but I think for the pregnancy I'll lower the waistband a few inches.  Right now these are still fine, but I roll down the elastic top so it sits in a more comfy spot on my belly.


Monday, April 8, 2013

just claiming on bloglovin

Please ignore, just catching up on my blog duties

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hey, i'm still here!

I see people post how they're "bad bloggers" when they haven't posted in a week or two.  Um, yeah, it's been about 8 months here.  I officially win the bad blogger award, k?

As is expected with such a long absence, much has happened in those 8 months...

-we moved!  As my last post way back in August says, we closed on our house and officially moved in.  Glad to not have to move again.  I just love our house, we've been painting, refinished the floors, decorating, planting and much more.

In my succulent garden, my favorite, sempervivum arachnoideum "cobweb"

-I'm recently unemployed.  I work freelance, my job finished, the season is over, there is no more work for me :(  I'm patiently waiting for the next season to start and jump back on but of course it's delayed.  I really miss all my coworkers and actually having a job, but in the meantime, I'm working on numerous home projects and trying to find other work-just in case.

-and probably the biggest happening since the last time I posted:  our household is expecting!  Yes, another sewing blogger that's pregnant :)  I'm a little over halfway at 20.5 weeks, to be exact.  And it's a boy, which blows my mind.  For whatever reason, I was convinced I would only produce girls.  But a wee baby boy?  We're beyond excited :D

In other news, I'm changing the name of this blog.  It's been bothering me for a while that I don't actually host "sew alongs"  and the name is quite dumb if not.  (I naively thought I would do lots and lots of sew alongs in my new blogger career, bahahah).  The new name is and in about 24-48 hours, this blog should redirect...if I did everything correctly.  

I know everyone is switching readers right now (I went with bloglovin) and honestly, I'm not sure how the name change will affect that.  After the new name goes live, I would suggest just inputting it into whatever reader you use.

I'm glad to be back and hopefully my few readers haven't given up on me--I have been sewing!!  And, I actually have pictures already, so stay tuned!