Sunday, October 27, 2013

Christmas is kicking my butt.

Seriously. Come on. It's not even Halloween yet.

It's been an up-and-down day. Baby Sam got shots this morning, and she's been sad off and on today, but for some reason a nap was nonexistent. I'm hoping this means she'll sleep well tonight! I promised myself I'd get some ornaments done for the church sale coming up this week, but instead I was gone most of the day. On the plus side, I went to S.R. Harris today, for the first time! I've lived here most of my life and yet somehow I've gone this long without seeing it. Huh. Anyway, I got almost two yards of some nice dark stretch denim (I'm thinking Peek-a-Boo's skinny jeans for the girls) and two almost-a-yard pieces of minky (a blue dot and a purple star) - all for only $10.50! The minky was only that cheap because it's "damaged" - the back is a little marked and sticky in some spots, I'm hoping washing it will take care of that. If not, it's not all over the back. There'll be plenty of salvageable material there!

But then I come home and end up with these. It seems like with each successive one, I got the last step right, only to run into another snafu! And they're all obvious fixes, really. I just wasn't thinking it through before I started, and now - well, I've just given up for the night. It's 1:30 in the morning, and I'm just done.

I'll try again tomorrow. Maybe I'll be smart and write myself a tutorial first! ;)


(Ahem. Coming back here a month later just to say - I never did figure these darn things out. Well. I never came back to them. I found other projects to do instead, projects that behaved themselves and treated me well - take that, ornament things. Maybe I'll try again for Christmas :P. )

Exhibit A: Don't try to stitch up the cuff last.
Exhibit B: Add trim before turning.


Exhibit C: Make sure the trim and cuff line up.
Exhibit D: CLIP YOUR CURVES, WOMAN!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I've been afraid to claim my blog or post the link on any of the big social media sites, because up to this point I haven't felt able to hold my own (see this post). But I'm now on Bloglovin, and I can be found through Facebook as well.

Someday I would like to have a business. I am uncertain as to what exactly that business will entail, and that's why it's not running yet! I've gone back and forth on children's clothing, and I just can't decide if I'm ready to take that step. I do really enjoy making things for my own daughters, but would I enjoy it as much if I had to? I don't know.

Pattern-making both intrigues and frightens me. I've read all the tutorials I can find, and I still don't feel as though I have a proper grasp on it.

I don't know anything about registering and/or running a business. I know I have a lot to learn, and if you can help me, please let me know. Any links, books, or personal tips are welcome!

My aunt recently asked me if I could make doll clothing, similar to an outfit her daughter is coveting from an American Girl catalog. I told her I'd try, but I've never made doll clothing - with a proper pattern, I feel confident that I can replicate it. Doll clothing is definitely an avenue I'd like to explore in my business, and I do feel that I could grasp pattern making on this smaller scale. Certainly the models are easier to deal with. ;) I guess I'm considering her my first "customer" and going from there! Hopefully not too long after Christmas there will be a new Facebook page up and running, but I can't make any promises at this point!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

They're giving away Knits!

Not nits. Knits. Knit fabric.

I am afraid of both nits and knits.

But I am willing to try working with knits. In fact, I have to learn, because I have some special orders coming up for some doll clothes (read: my aunt asked me to make some. I will try.) and I need to conquer knits. I can do it. I WILL do it.

Are you afraid of them too? Just go look at some of the prints here, at Organic Cotton Plus. Then go to Whimsy Couture Boutique to enter to win $100 toward some beautiful organic cotton interlock fabric!


So, sew crazy. A word-filled Wednesday ;)

I've been sewing more in the past two weeks than I have in the past six months combined, I think. That's a good thing. I really do enjoy it, and it keeps me from getting bored (usually). Plus, I have the machine, may as well make it work for me! There is a church fundraising craft sale coming up, and I've been working on a few projects for that; then I joined a sew-along with Candy Castle Patterns Facebook group. (I fell miserably behind, but I did finish my dresses! Just a couple days late.) :) Plus I'm still (yes, still) working on that cross-stitch stocking for my baby, haven't touched those ornaments yet, and a baby quilt for my six month old. Someone give me a kickstart, please.

The princess dresses here I'm particularly proud of. They are what I consider my first "real" sewing project, being clothing that my daughters can actually wear. The seams are finished, the buttons are functional, and if the trim isn't my favorite or the pattern on the fabric perfectly lined up, well, that's okay. They're wearable, and I think they're beautiful. :) So thankful for a great pattern!

Sooo many ruffles.
This one I got smart and bought pre-ruffled trim. That will be done again.
My time would be better spent sewing than blogging, I think. So I'll just post a few pictures and go!
Finished baby dress front. That skirt print is so fun!
Finished toddler dress back. Love covered buttons, so so much!



Finished baby dress back. I do like the decorative stitching on this one :)


Finished toddler dress front. I don't LOVE the ricrac, but what do you do?
Scrappy laminated cotton bibs for the church sale.
I bound them with bias tape - never done this before!

This one is my favorite. Love the fall colors.
All the scrappys cut out!
Two are finished...fully reversible! Love the prints, too :)
Cloth dollies. Slightly modified a pattern for peanut babies from http://www.imaginegnats.com


Target baby bibs with appliqued animal heads. I cut them from a great large scale animal print I had in my stash.


I apologize for the wonky placement of the pictures. I haven't yet figured out the HTML business - I know how to get them placed in theory, but haven't been able to successfully put it into practice yet! Anyone that can help me out reading this? :)


I need more coffee this morning. Eating chips and salsa with my toddler (yes, she likes salsa. Better than I was at her age, she'll eat almost anything! Good girl :) ) - she was having so much fun, she decided to take off with the chips. Suddenly I realize I can't find my salsa, and naturally I assumed she'd taken that, too. After about five minutes of frantically searching (I was afraid it was on the floor somewhere, and I didn't want the baby getting into it) and asking repeatedly "WHERE IS THE SALSA?!?" to a bewildered toddler, I find the empty bowl (yes, I emptied it) behind my coffee cup.

It was a small bowl and a large coffee cup, but apparently not large enough... :P

My toddler thinks I'm crazy now. She's probably right.












Saturday, October 12, 2013

The SSHHP

I realize that I never finished the mini saga of the Super Secret Hush-Hush Project, and I would like to quickly share it now...quickly because I'm not going to be around for the weekend, and I have things to do before I go! 

Anyway. It was blanket - a baby shower in a box! :) The idea came from something like this - having baby shower guests decorate squares for a blanket for the new baby, then putting them together in a quilt. 


Well, my sister was living across the country from everyone else at the time, and having her first baby! So I got ahold of family and friends in a couple of other states, sent them all a piece of fabric, and put them all together in a quilt for Baby -

Basting the quilt together w/ pins - I ended up tying it with yarn!
I think this picture actually got (a little of) every square. :)

Excuse the weird angle. I am NOT a professional or even semi-professional photographer, though once in a while I get a good shot by accident. This was not one of those times. I was trying to get the whole blanket. :) I interspersed brightly patterned fabric between the hand decorated squares. The quilt is very bright and busy and I hear that Baby loves it!                    

                                                            

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sewing Machine Review!

Sew Mama Sew is asking for sewing machine reviews! Can't wait to read some others and maybe find my next dream machine. :) So here goes... 


Sewing Machine Reviews

What brand and model do you have? I own a brother cs-6000i computerized machine.
How long have you had it? I've had this machine for a just under a year; bought it in January of 2013. 
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? It's inexpensive - mine was around $140 on amazon.com.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? I do crib quilts and carseat blankets, some baby and toddler clothing, stuffed toys, the occasional bag or pillow...a little of everything!
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? Before this month, I was sewing maybe a couple of times a week. Now that we're getting closer to Christmas, it's nearly every day. I sew during naps and after the girls are in bed, so maybe two-three hours a day actual sewing time. Most of my fabrics are quilting weight cottons, with a few flannels/fleeces thrown in, so the machine doesn't get worked very hard. I believe it could handle more than what I throw at it!
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I like it. So far it's been a steady machine, even stitching, consistent speeds. It's definitely better than my starter machine was, and I love the stitch options. I feel more creative just looking at them! No name yet! :)
What features does your machine have that work well for you? I really like the stitching options that I feel make me more confident in garment construction and decorating. The light is bright enough for me to be able to sew at night with low lighting in the room, and I love how easy it is to thread and install the drop-in bobbin.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? A couple of minor things: I don't like threading the machine (besides the bobbin). The take up lever doesn't come up past the top of the machine, so wiggling a piece of thread into the hole can get a little fiddly and complicated. I have to use a pair of scissors to gently pull the thread out of the take up lever to continue threading. Also, the throat on the machine isn't very large, so making any quilts bigger than a twin size (at the most!)may prove difficult. Not an issue for me personally, but I can see where it would be for others! 
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Yes, I would. Despite the threading issues (which you do get used to) I think the machine is a great value for the price, and an excellent machine for beginning/intermediate sewists. Maybe even advanced sewists, I'll let you know when I get there! ;) The stitch options, drop-in bobbin, large workspace and additional quilter's table, plus all the accessories that came with it (different presser feet, a double needle) make it a lot of fun to play with, and easy to make just about anything - at least in my range of expertise! I don't think that it would be good for anyone looking to quilt anything bigger than a crib quilt - maybe  a twin, rolled up tightly. The throat on the machine isn't very big. It works perfect for me, though, since I don't do anything larger than baby size!
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Making sure it has stitch options that you'll want, and big enough work space for whatever projects you do the most! For me, if I were to find another machine, I would look for one that also does embroidery - though I do hand embroidery, I would love to try machine as well. Finding a machine that does everything you could possibly want is the ideal, right? ;) 
Do you have a dream machine? I haven't found it yet, but I'm always looking! Until I find it, my brother cs-6000i is the perfect machine. :) 

Bonus: Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! I feel like my machine just kind of fell into my lap, figuratively speaking of course. I was sewing on a simple brother from Walmart, the cheapest one they sold, and I was finally getting good enough where I felt it was time to move up. I'd been drooling over computerized machines with all the beautiful stitch options, but none of them were in my budget - money was rather tight. Browsing around through review sites, and suddenly the cs-6000i popped up! A few of the things I mentioned were brought up in negative reviews, but by and large the machine got rave reviews and when I went to look on Amazon, it was so cheap! It still was a tiny bit of a stretch for us, but my husband and I found a way to make it work and I'm so glad we did. I feel like the machine has paid for itself several times over since January. 

I hope this helps someone find their new machine - and I hope, if you do buy one, you enjoy it as much as I do! The pros outweigh the cons, and the fact that it's computerized (you don't even need to use the presser foot!) just makes it that much more fun, IMO.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A public apology, and an epiphany.

Wow. I really did post and run, didn't I? A little too far...

Now that it's been over two months since my last post, I will try to make amends and not excuses. But I do have two (very good, I think) reasons for jumping ship. They contradict each other, but they're both true.

One: I didn't have enough to post! Starting out, I wasn't entirely sure what this blog was going to be for, and I'm still not. My sewing and crafting wasn't consistent enough to provide me with enough material, and I still have the nagging feeling that I am just one of a billion other crafty people. I don't feel actually good enough to make anything worth looking at, and since I don't create my own patterns, I feel somehow inadequate. All the insecurity made me really pull away from blogging.

But here's the thing.

I don't need a follower/fan base of millions. Sure, it'd be nice, but that's not what this is about. My sewing and crafting isn't for getting me fans, fame, or money. It's for me. For my daughters. For my family and friends who receive and appreciate the things I can make, with my hands, out of love. 
So I blog for the same reason I create. Because I love to, and because I can.  And maybe, just maybe, someone will find this and follow me, not because I'm popular, but because - they like me. 

And even if no one does, I'm still writing. ;)

Reason Two contradicts the first one, but it's just as true. I've overextended myself.
I know I just said I wasn't consistent enough, and didn't have enough to post about. But in the past few weeks, that's really changed. I started making a list of all the projects I have to get done before Christmas, along with a few patterns I bought that I really want to try, and then I was asked to make a few things for a church fundraiser. *whew*

I am not the faster sew-ist? Sew-er? I don't like that, because it makes me think of sewer, like where the Ninja Turtles live. Anyway. I'm not very fast. It takes me a while to cut out patterns, and a while to put them together, and I work late at night (when the kids are actually leaving me alone) so I'm tired and a little sluggish besides. Not even two cups of coffee can disguise the fact that it's three a.m. sometimes.

Also, I'm easily distractable. I'll get on the computer, meaning to find a pattern that I'm picturing, and instead I'll be on Facebook...and then reading blogs...searching for giveaways...and before you know it an hour has gone by, and I still don't have that pattern! And it's two in the morning, and I reallllly need to go to bed...oh, just another quarter hour. I need to look at Pinterest still. (And we all know...

Maybe you know that story.

Anyway, with my slow pace (which I'm really working on improving, I mean it!), distractibility, (which I'm also working on), and my laundry list of projects - I just felt like a blog was one more cog that I couldn't keep oiling. So I walked away, because it was the easiest to drop.

But it keeps calling me, and so here I am. I can't promise I won't drop and run when the going gets tough, but I can promise it will not be for two months again. Maybe two days. I might not have a post every day, and that's okay. But I definitely have material now, up until Christmas anyway! 



And if you're wondering what happened with the tablecloth raincoats...well, one never made it to production, because the first one died before it really could go anywhere. I had it alll put together, ready to wear, and I'd even tried it on my toddler - and it FIT! 

But then the seams started tearing. Just little bits here and there, but the tablecloth just wasn't strong enough to withstand the sharp needle and the thread holding it together. Each of those little thread holes was suddenly a weak spot, and the first time Nat climbed up something and snagged, or fell down, the whole jacket was going to fall apart. So I threw it away, said "better luck next time"...and now I know. I won't sew with tablecloths again, unless it's - well - a tablecloth.

But I do love that jacket pattern! I'm thinking my baby needs a corduroy version...

here we go again.