Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wrapping up 2009

We have held our final Sewing Cafe for 2009!  So much has been accomplished this year and so much progress has been made by everyone.  You might want to grab yourself a beverage for this post, as we have a lot to cover.

Kathy completed this chenille bath mat.  Karens Quilt Corner offers a class on this, which Kathy participated in, then one Saturday she joined us to finish it up.  You can also make scarfs, jackets and lap quilts using this fun technique which layers cottons or silks ( 4-8) which are then stitched every 1/2".  After stitching you use a rotarty slashing tool to cut the fabric between the stitching.  After washing you get this wonderful dimensional effect.

To learn more check out  chenille tools and tutorial.  On the right here we
a close up of the fabric after it has been cut.

Heather wrapped up her year by making presents for her family and friends.  Of course we can't really talk much about that in case any of them read the blog.  I am looking forward to having Heathers daughter in my Learn to Sew Classes which are beginning in January.  Please keep those classes in mind for anyone you know who might be curious about sewing.  They are a half day class, and I do have some machines available for any interested, but they will need to contact me to reserve the machine.

This project is what we refer to as a "maverick".  A maverick project is any project not done in class.  Elizabeth made this adorable crayon apron which can hold fat crayons, or 2 regular crayons in each pocket.  She found a pattern on line, followed the directions and then added her own personal touches.  Isn't that what sewing is all about?  I found two different versions of this apron on line which you can check out here and here.

Lee has been a quilt making machine!  I am impressed by her approach and fortitude.  In Nov. Lee cut out 4 quilts...yes 4 right after the other.  Now I don't know about the rest of you but I cut so that I can sew, so that I can see how cool all my little pieces look reassembled.  The cutting is the job that just has to happen first, so the thought of cutting 4 of them out with no sewing in between seems to me to require incredible discipline.  At any rate she did quickly move on to sewing them up.  This one on the the right can be found at this quilting site where many of the instructions are free.  Lee is making this quilt as a gift, and these bright batiks were chosen by the recipient.  I am looking forward to hearing how it is received, with squeals of delight, no doubt.

Liz made some matching corduroy jumpers for her granddaughters. This fun and simple project can also be embroidered if using a solid fabric.  Jumpers are always a good idea for growing girls as they can wear then for many years, and there are few fitting issues.  Nice work Liz...and I will hope to see pictures with girls in these jumpers.

Paula finished this blouse and has started another.  The pattern is vogue 8194 The fabric is a wool challis.  Paula used french seams and a chiffon hem finish.  A chiffon hem is obviously not just for chiffon but does require light weight fabrics.
  1. You begin by setting your stitch length to 2. 
  2.  Stitch 5/8" from cut hem edge on wrong side of fabric.  
  3. Fold the seam allowance to the wrong side along the stitch line and stitch again right next to the 1st line of stitching.
  4. Trim off seam allowance right up next to the stitching line.
  5. Turn seam one last time to wrong side and stitch again.

This technique gives a a soft fluid clean hem and handles the bias edges beautifully as you can see here on Paula's hems.

Last but certainly not least  is this incredible point board hand made for us by Chris.  Chris very, very generously made these point boards, 6 all told, for his fellow classmates.  It is sanded to a "fare the well", soft as a baby's bottom, with a long narrow throat.  Point boards are used for pressing into tight little areas, like collar points, or pressing seams where you don't want a "shadow" created on the face.  Liz has found it invaluable in pressing quilting seams, to keep her from "mucking up" the ones she has already pressed.  These beautiful boards were a free gift from a generous fellow.  This is the finest point board I have had the pleasure of pressing on.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Chris.  Your board will be put to good use for many years to come in my studio I can tell you, and like every hand made gift will be a nice reminder of the gift giver.

 I guess that finally wraps it up for this year, of course we are already making plans for next year.  After all there is all that fabric that was purchased at Mill End to be made up.  Men's shirts, wool jackets, jeans, quilts, winter coats, shirt designing, stuffed animals, not to mention a few repurposed garments being just a few of the projects already in the works!

Thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to share my love of fabric and sewing.  I have enjoyed every moment of sewing with you all and I am really looking forward to 2010.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Surviving shirt making

For this project I feel like a drum roll is in order.....can you hear it?  Our new student Chris has completed his button down shirt!  I am most impressed with his progress, his work ethic, and his focus to name a few.  This shirt is by Kwik Sew #2000 and because a picture is worth a 1000 words just take a gander at these:

This is his first shirt ever and he did some very smart things to insure a successful garment.

  1.  he took the class - ha ha,
  2.  he did on-line research as well as purchased and read shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. 
  3.  3rd he practiced techniques that he thought might prove difficult, for instance, the collar, sleeve placket and buttonholes.  

By taking the time to do these things he not only improved his sewing skills but it allowed him to understand the steps prior to working on his "good" shirt.

  So what all did he learn on this one shirt?

  1. How to choose the correct pattern size
  2. How to alter the pattern for his desired fit
  3. Tracing the pattern
  4. The importance of grain line
  5. Correct pinning, marking and cutting
  6. Shirt yoke
  7. Collar and front placket
  8. Patch pockets
  9. "flat felled" seams
  10. Sleeve plackets
  11. Cuffs
  12. Narrow hem
  13. Buttons and buttonholes                                                     

Its not to surprising that Chris was such a fine student, after all he is a teacher himself.  His desire to learn shirt making stems from his need for suitable outdoor clothing for his job teaching survival skills here in the North woods.  His next shirt will be from wool, that is after he has "tweaked" this pattern to his complete satisfaction.  Apparently due to the many layers worn out in the woods the fit of each layer is critical to comfort and survival.  I am looking forward to his future projects.  Great work Chris!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recycled Wools

Liz who is a cheerful retired grandmother, and self proclaimed bed and breakfast manager has been much inspired by wool.  Liz recently took a class by Judy Kingsbury(through Nicolet) called Recycled Woollies in which Judy shows you how to make many wonderful items from old wool sweaters and such.  She has been making many wonderful wool goodies in class and sharing what she has learned.  Her passion for all things wool led to the purchase of a felting/embellishing machine!  One Friday this month she spent experimenting with the different ways to dry felt using her new machine.  She found it very soothing and thinks her grandchildren will really enjoy "coloring" with felt.  he next Friday she made some wonderful mittens and hats also made from old wool sweaters and embellished with buttons and wool pom-poms.

The items shown here are Liz's work as modeled by our never bashful Betty.  In the Spring Nicolet is offering: Mittens from Sweater, Purses from sweaters, Recycled Woolies, Stash jacket,Painting with wool, Felt making techniques, and Machine needle felting classes!  To learn more check out your 2010 schedule or go to Nicolet's website here 

As always you are welcome to learn many of these techniques during self-paced sewing as well, or continue your education there as did Liz.

Let me just take a moment to clarify the terms in regards to wool felting.  Felt unlike fabric is generally not woven but a "mat" of fibers(often wool) which creates a soft, pliable, moldable material.  Hats for instance are made from felt.  Wet felting is a process by which you combine wool fibers,called roving with water, soap and agitation to create material for different projects.  You can also felt a wool garment by washing it in hot water and soap in a washing machine.  The washing machine provides the necessary agitation to felt the fibers together.  This results in a much smaller garment, which is then cut apart and used for hats and mittens like you see pictured above.  It makes great slippers by the way as well.  Now dry felting is a process which requires barbed needles that you repeatedly punch through the fabric bonding the fiber on top with the material you are using as a base.  You can use a hand tool for this, or a needle felting machine.  My bernina has a needle felting attachment which is pretty cool.  The machine works exactly the same as by hand it just speeds the process up.  Below is an example of some needle felting I did on a wool skirt this past winter.

 So there you have it a rough overview of why wool is so wonderful to work with.  By the way you can also "felt" with silk,angora,cashmere,alpaca, etc.   My thanks to Liz for sharing her projects with us in class and reintroducing a useful and fulfilling craft.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scholarship Fund and New Class Schedule

  We have  started a scholarship fund for individuals who have been hard hit by our economy.  This last month we did a Tastefully Simple Party which netted us about $40.00 for our fund. If you know of anyone who is in need of financial assistance for the class please contact me.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to donate some funds to the scholarship as well.  We will continue to try to build on this, and would also be interested in other fund raising options.

There was much talk during class about the new schedule.  Please take note they are all listed in the right sidebar.

The Learn to Sew class is for adults or children.  In tis series you will learn how to sew on a machine, how to use the basic tools, the importance of grain line, sewing terminology, correct pressing techniques, correct pattern selection, hand sewing stitches, how to cut out a pattern, how to follow pattern instructions.  This is for first time sewers, beginner sewers, or those who would like a refresher course.  The instruction is informal and self-paced.  A variety of beginning projects will be suggested or you can bring a project of your choice.  Sewing machines are available for those who need them, but please contact me to reserve a machine

The Frayed Jacket class uses this pattern and can be
 ordered directly from their site.  Its a fun and simple
quilted jacket using 8 fat quarters.  It features a notched shawl collar, belted back and is reversible.  You can leave the edges to fray or clean finish them, its up to you.  You can see more images of this jacket by going back through the archives.  Betty, Michelle, and Peg have already made this useful jacket.  I know I wear mine quite a bit.

Intro to Shirt/ Pant Pattern Alterations - You will learns Lynne's technique for altering patterns to fit you correctly before you sew.  You will learn how to select the correct size pattern, how to make bust cup adjustments, crotch adjustments as well as length and width adjustments to achieve a perfect fit.  You need a basic understanding of pattern terms and pieces for this class.  

Build A Better Wardrobe - Whether you purchase your clothes, sew them or both you will learn an economical and efficient way to create a wardrobe wher all the pieces work together.  Eliminate the frustration of not having the right thing to wear, or having a blouse you love but nothing to wear with it.  Join us for this lecture/discussion and never waste money on the wrong clothes again.

Find Your Style - /stop wasting money on clothes you like, but that don't like you.  Discover and define your personal style.  In this class you will learn how to determine what colors and shapes are best for you and your body type.  You will look and feel happier and thinner when you wear clothes that flatter your shape and personality.  You will leave the class with an understanding of the elements within a garment that flatter you.  

Painting on Fabric - Do you have fabric or garments that are plain, tired, or even stained?  Using paint sticks, fabric paint and some fun tools Lynne will show you  how to jazz your fabrics up.  Bring a variety of fabrics and or garments to embellish with these fun and easy techniques.  You do not need any artistic ability just a willingness to try something new.

Learn to Crazy Quilt- Learn how to crazy quilt while creating a wonderful and useful tote/purse.  This is a great way to explore all those fancy stitches on your machine, and use up scraps of fabric and trim.  Kits are available from Lynne for $25.00 pattern included, or you can purchase the pattern for $8.00 and use your own fabrics.  You must be familiar with how your machine works.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lot's to talk about

For our final Friday and Saturday of October, class was at capacity! 10 people sewing, 9 machines a going, some rippers ripping and lets not forget the eating. Its difficult to know where to begin so I suppose I will start with.....who showed up first....well that would be Lee who is always so punctual.

Lee is a retired beginner sewer with a hankering for quilting. A lovely lady with a large fabric stash just yearning to be sewn together. She has made a few tote's but this weekend was working on some table runners that she had pieced, but then was having some difficulty quilting. I had her hand baste her layers together, and then she learned how to stitch in the ditch, and sew on her binding. She also learned how to use a stencil to mark her quilting and is looking forward to stitching what she marked. Lee has an older machine that has one flaw...the needle will not hold it center position, so I let her borrow my machine and then added the magnifier that comes as an attachment to the Bernina machines for good measure. It sure helps to see where you are sewing! I think Lee agrees.

Pam is our other always punctual person. She is making a "Frazzled Franny" doll. A project she wanted to do for a family member. After making the doll body, she started in on the clothing, hair, and soon to follow accessories. The instructions for this doll were a bit hard to follow but Pam showed her usual patience and pushed through all the questions. Now she has a doll as sweet as she is although certainly more frazzled looking then Pam ever is. This picture just shows her body, but we are looking forward to seeing her dressed shortly.

Judy was back to work on her Thimbleberries quilt. This quilt started as a block of the month project and the center of each block has a different printed panel. Judy's mother enjoys embroidery and so she embroidered each of the blocks using the printing as a guide. How special is that. Judy has 24 of these blocks in all and so was able to make 2 quilts. The one shown here is for her mother and Judy plans on making one for herself using a slightly different color scheme.

Judy also worked on some pillow covers for her couch from some lovely decorator fabrics she picked up on her last trip to Texas.

Candy now, has completed this bright green corduroy jacket. It has a fun and contemporary style collar, and 1 button closure. Due to the size of the button Candy learned how to make a "Spanish Snap" This button hole is featured in "Couture The Art of Fine Sewing" by Roberta Carr. Its a simple technique that gets you spectacular results and a technique I have found useful on many other items. Grass does not grow under Candy's feet let me tell you, and she is already well into another corduroy jacket, this time in Periwinkle.

Then we have Betty's inspirational Apron. I say inspirational because we all liked this vintage apron pattern so well, we were all inspired to copy its functionality. The key is facings along the bodice side edge which allows the tie to adjust easily over the head so that no matter our height the apron will serve to protect. Love the little chicken print. Rumor has it this is a gift project. I dare not mention for whom lest they be lurking.

Elizabeth finished a new dress in the most amazing shade of rose silk. She promptly set in then on a leaf green cotton dress. This is a pattern I developed for her which she calls "perfectly plaid dress" because up to this time this dress has been made in many wonderful plaids. Some of them by Peg here in the studio but now Elizabeth has decided to cut her teeth on this pattern. It is a very comfortable style due to a smocked midriff section. The smocking is achieved by putting elastic thread in the bobbin, using a long stitch length and then sewing every 1/2" across the cut midriff sections. Elizabeth really enjoyed this step. She also learned how to bias bind her neckline and armholes using bias made from her dress fabric. She made wonderful progress on this dress and I expect we will have pictures soon.

Kathy Chester also returned to our growing group for a day of pattern work. She wants to make herself a winter coat, and purchased a dark teal/grey wool from Karens Quilt Corner for the project. She is off to The Cutting Edge to purchase a light weight flannel to use as an interlining, but in the meantime she spent the day tracing and altering her pattern pieces. The Coat pattern is by Neau Mode and therefore does not have seam allowance added. This is wonderful for the alteration process but requires patience to add that after your alterations are figured. Personally I think this is a nice project for class time as you are appropriately distracted from what can be a tedious task. It was nice to have Kathy back, we have not seen her in awhile due to family and work issues.

Liz has been working on a Dresden Plate quilt in blacks,browns, and golds. This project is something she picks up and puts down as time and patience allow. She is making good progress though, and I believe all of her plates are pieced and she is now appliquéing them onto her background blocks.

Our 2 newer students Chris and Heather are both making button down shirts for themselves. Heather spent a few classes altering her pattern, making muslins to check fit and then was excited to actually get to cut "real" fabric. In the meantime Chris goes out and buys Kwik Sew pattern, no muslins, but some pattern fussing as he wants to learn how to do a flat fell seam and the pattern only allowed for 1/4" seam allowance. On a shirt really? Rather odd I thought, but we did do some additional pattern work for him as he has a slim but athletic build. We went with a smaller size and then added the width at the chest where he needed it. He learned about pattern layout, the importance of grain line, how to make a perfect pocket using a freezer paper template, edge stitching and accomplished his first yoke....put all the layers together,twist it up and through, sew it, pull it through and Voila' a miracle has been performed. All seams neatly encased within the yoke!

Paula has returned from her wedding, which was marvelous, and we know because we of course saw the pictures. Beautiful bride, amazed groom(grooms always look so amazed to me) a well dressed wedding party, and a lovely location. What a nice celebration, but I digress. Paula enjoyed sewing up a quick purse with the new large grommets and once that was done decided to make a Sandra Betzina top. The one that looks like its 2 shirts, a tee shirt with a shrug over it, but in reality its just 1 top. Simple enough and a good quick project after the months of making the silk dress for the wedding.

I think that is all the current news for now. Just a note about the upcoming classes though. The schedule is posted to the left as usual, but they are filling quickly now, and I do want to remind everyone that there is a maximum of 10 students allowed. I will post again soon about the Spring schedule. I have added some new classes, and some evening classes. We will certainly not be bored this winter.

Sewlong for now.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Silk Charmeuse

Here is Paula's completed silk dress. She is at the wedding today and no doubt looking even lov
elier. I will post more later, but wanted to show this off! Drink some champagne for us

Here we have Paula's dress unadorned. She learned how to make a foundation corset complete with boning and how to do a hand roll hemmed. As mentioned in a
previous post she started with a muslin, altered her pattern based on the changes to the muslin and then went to work on the silk. This is only her 2nd time working with this lovely but tricky fabric. She no longer hates Silk charmuese I am happy to report but plans on something quick and easy for her next project. Great job Paula!

Friday, July 31, 2009

July's Sewing Cafe

It was nice to see familiar faces and a few new faces as well at our last Sewing Cafe. As we all appreciate, summer is a busy time in the North woods which can make it difficult for us to keep up with our sewing projects, but a valiant effort was made by all this past weekend.

Our new additions were both male, and both enthusiastic beginners. First to arrive on Friday was Chris who teaches north woods survival skills, camping, canoeing, tanning hides, etc. He wanted to learn the basics so he began by learning how to sew the different types of seams, and how to properly press them. Of course he also learned about the importance of grain lines.
He took copious notes and sewed up some fine samples to create his own" How to Sew" notebook. After mastering these, he moved on to making a pillow case to stuff grass into for camping.

We all enjoyed having Chris in class very much! Having beginners is such a good reminder for all of us in the basics. I did notice during instruction that the group was quieter then .....say usual.

Our other new student - James, a wonderful young man, who may at first been a little concerned with the masculinity of sewing, gleefully jumped right in. How could you be there and not want to make something?
James first task was to become familiar with the machine by learning to thread it, sewing on paper, experimenting with all those dials and observing the changes, and lets not forget the importance of speed control!
Once these details had been mastered he made the project you see here! A bean bag toss game.

He made 3 bean bags by ripping rectangles, sewing around 3 sides, filling and closing.

The target was made using a fun old fabric with stars. James chose a star, we cut a square around it and then he ripped some strips which were then sewn around the sides. Another square of denim was cut to match the top, then sewn around the edges to enclose all the seam allowance.

Here James is playing his newly made game. I apologize for the side ways viewing, still have so
much to learn about all of this technology.

Elizabeth made wonderful progress on a sewing surprise, which we cannot talk about much that it remains a surprise. But I did extract a promise from her that she would post pictures soon.

Paula - As you may recall Paula has a beautiful silk Charmeuse dress to make for an upcoming fall wedding. She finished her mock up. Alterations were then transferred to the pattern, and the cutting and marking of the foundation garment was completed. The foundation garment for this dress is boned and interlined to add support. Once her interlining ( a heavy sateen drapery lining I had about) was basted to her lining, the seaming began in preparation for the boning. I believe this is the first time Paula has done a boned foundation for a garment. It sure makes for a comfortable and beautiful fit. I would just also like to add that some of you may remember how much Paula enjoyed sewing her silk camisole(not) and I will confess to encouraging her to make this dress out of silk assuring her that the 42mm would be a little easier to work with then the 16mm. The 42mm being more then twice as heavy makes it more stable then the 16mm. Still fussy as it is silk, and it is bias cut, me when you see the completed dress you will understand that silk was the only option.

Judy - I am trying to take a page out of Judy's book, as she is patiently finishing previously started projects, or creating new projects by drawing on her stash. She sashed a quilt and then made pillows from some left over quilt blocks. Next she tackled this lovely fabric wallet for a friend. A very fortunate friend! I thought this made a nice gift. It was a quick 1/2 day project and used fabric from her stash.

Betty joined us which is when the fun always
begins. After passing out goodies and checking out every ones projects, she started sewing on a gingham house dress. Previously she had stamped little birds and butterflies on the fabric using an acrylic paint and setting it with a hot iron.

My husband also managed to get some detail pictures of her recently completed striped camp shirt.

Mary rejoined us this Friday as well. She brought her serger along and made some new bathing suits. Mary likes to stay young by swimming regularly, which apparently works quite well by the way, but the chlorine kills her suits quickly. That's not a problem for her though as she just sits down in class and whips out a couple of new ones in no time.

Well I believe that is all the news from Sewing Cafe for now, but stay posted you never know what could get added soon( I am sure I must have forgotten something)


Monday, July 6, 2009

Gift a Dress to Someone Special

Of course one of our favorite things to do with our talents is make beautiful clothes for those we love. Its a special pleasure to make a well fitting garment for someone. They have truly comfortable clothing on that helps make them shine, and we get to "look" at our work at leisure. When you think about it when you make things for yourself its like art work you don't really get to see, but when you make something for someone else your art work is displayed for you to further enjoy!

Elizabeth recently completed this dress for her mother to wear to a wedding, and I am told it was very well received. An added benefit was how comfortable the cotton was in the extreme heat. So while many of the other guests were melting in beaded poly satin (no doubt) Elizabeth's mom maintained her cool comfortable composure. A priceless gift indeed.

To a job well done Elizabeth!

And a beautiful fit from measurements only!

Sule's Silk top

The Pattern # is Vogue8155 and is currently out of print. Its rated easy and the directions were simple enough to follow. For more information go to the Pattern Review link at left.

I would also like to see this pattern done in a silk jersey, or rayon lycra which would create a heavier drape to the lower bodice accomplishing a closer fit to the body. I do love this fabric ( a silk seersucker) which reminded me of whipped cream. That image is furthered by the silk ribbon I placed in the hemline which supported the fullness at the hem so that the overall image is a dollop of whipped cream. I am hoping to make a high waisted pencil skirt to compliment this look which was made for my soon to be 20 daughter.

I am also thinking of making this as a neglige' for myself.

I would like everyones opinions on providing detailed pictures and instructions on my sewing process. I have thought about incorporating this in our class blog, or starting another for that purpose. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pegs Silk Ensemble

A number of you have heard me speaking about Pegs Silk suit she made for her sons graduation. Here finally are the photos you have been waiting for. Its very likely you were expecting better pictures then these, but as you know its a little difficult for me to focus on photography when excited about the completion of a lovely garment.

Peg originally saw this jacket in Threads magazine and was so inspired she became determined to replicate it. She ordered the Tussah Silk as listed in the article, but the braid and cording were purchased in NY during one of my recent trips. The blouse is made from a "tie" silk sold through Sawyer Brook and as such is printed on the diagonal. The Jacket and skirt are lined in silk crepe de chine.

The pattern for the jacket is a Claire Schaeffer produced by Vogue and I believe is called "The Channel" The wrap skirt is from a pattern Peg has made many times and altered to suit her. The silk has quite a lot of body to is and so she "controlled" the pleats along the front by stitching invisibly. For the blouse she used a favorite basic pattern of hers and changed the neckline by adding the attached tie.

This suit required a great deal of handwork, and hand tailoring which Peg really enjoys doing. She could not find buttons that suited her, and so decided to make her own by using rayon cord to make chinese knot buttons. She is not thrilled with this choice, but feels it will do for now while she keeps hunting for something more suitable.

I really commend her effort on this project. She did a beautiful job! Personally I like to do these rather intense long term projects. They are so rewarding. You might not have a lot of opportunity to wear something this fantastic, but your sense of accomplishment is profound. Also nothing fits as well nor looks better on you then these very carefully produced garments.

When Peg and I last spoke she was designing a jacket for a family member while making some " quick" tops. So we can look forward to seeing more in the near future.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Restyled T-shirts - Threads

Restyled T-shirts - Threads

These are some cute restyled t-shirts. You could make one for yourself, or as a gift.

Posted using ShareThis

Sewing tutorials: Introduction

Sewing tutorials: Introduction

Ladies check out this wonderful Blog/site! Lots of good information on all kinds of sewing issues.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teen Fashion Camp

As many of you know I just completed a week of teaching to young girls at Nicolets summer camp. I taught a Fashion Design class where the girls designed a "line" of clothing which had to include a wrap skirt. We spent 2 sessions learning how to develop a sportswear line, and how to sketch using Croquie's to produce proffessional finished design sketches. On the 3rd day we all began sewing our skirts. The girls were introduced to the machines, grainlines, proper pinning and cutting. They learned how to do a roll hem, straight seams with finishing, darts, and a simple ribbon waistband. Although they had 3 days to sew the sessions were only 2 hrs long! There were 2 sessions a day with 2 groups of girls, 12 girls in each group.

I am so thrilled that first of all we had 24 girls total who were interested in sewing!

On top of that the majority of the girls finished their skirts! I am so proud of their results! My only regret is that I could not spend more individual time with girls teaching, it was fairly chaotic what with only 2 adults, 12 teens, and 6 machines. Hopefully we will see some of them at Sewing Cafe as a number of them showed a geniune interest in learningmore.
I do regret that I did not get more pictures of the completed skirts, but here are some of them along with some of the sketches.
Enjoy and I look forward to reading your comments.

I would like to extend a very special thanks to Peggy Jordan and Sandra Bethke for assisting, as well as the Oneida 4-H who supplied the sewing machines. Additionally many of the girls were interested in entering their skirts at the Oneida County Fair, so please look for them when you attend in August.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pattern reviews?

I recently found a web-site that invites members to write reviews of patterns, notions, machines, books, etc. I thought you all might be interested in checking it out.

Wondering if spending money on a new notion or gadget will be worth the expense? Go to this site, do a search of the item and read what members have to say about it.

Worried that a pattern will be to difficult, or having problems understanding the directions? Again go to the site, search for the pattern and read how members rate the difficulty level and their suggestions for constuction.

They also have on-line classes for beginners to experts, and when you register you get to take one class for free!

This site has over 181,000 members so you get a wide variety of opinions from around the globe and there was not a pattern company that was not represented. They also offer discounts to members from their merchant gallery.

I have posted their link on the toolbar at left under Pattern review.

Check it out - Enjoy! - and let us know what you think


Saturday, May 16, 2009

May's Projects

Liz has been a very busy lady completing projects before her busy summer begins. 

    She completed this Bright and Fun Quilt recently in class.


I love the top quilting choice she made using the loops and stars. She also opted for a thicker batting to help add some dimension.

With the left over scraps she made another "Spitzen Tote" from Williams Studio 2. Because the fabrics are so vibrant she didn't feel that it required much embellishment. I think the colorful buttons are a wonderful choice.
Liz recently returned from the Quilt show in Paducah, which she recommends whole heartily. She brought back a project...hmmm....imagine that...She is making a purse using scraps of fabrics and laundry line, yes you heard me right laundry line. In this project you take narrow strips of fabric and wrap them around cotton laundry line, which you then coil and zig zag into the desired shape. What fun! We are all looking forward to see the finished results. This is the same technique that Michelle used to make her delightful cat beds, which her cats actually sleep in and which you can see under an earlier post entitled Sunchelle's projects.

Next Mary brought in her scrappy quilt with Boxers that she made for a raffle. The proceeds will go the Boxer Rescue Society. Each block has a silhouette of a boxer fused and then stitched. I suspect that some Boxer fan will bid high to win this prize.

We only had Elizabeth with us a short time as she had a work commitment in the morning that kept her from joining us until late in the afternoon. But she made the most of her time, using our high cutting tables to cut out a lovely cotton wrap dress she is making for her mother. Elizabeth finds cutting and marking very soothing and relaxing, so while we enjoyed her company she did some productive decompressing.

Michelle has started on a summer tunic from a butter yellow embroidered cotton. After checking her measurements against the patterns she made a minor adjustment and proceeded to get her tunic cut and marked as well. As I recall she even began sewing and I imagine the next time we see her she will be wearing the tunic. But Michelle if you are reading this... no pressure.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fashion Camp

I am so pleased to announce that Fashion Camp for teens will be running in June! I currently have 22 students but there may be more. I am thrilled to see such an interest in our area for an art form I love. I am very excited to be given an opportunity to cultivate this youthful enthusiasm. Please stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hermes Bag Pattern

I just found out that you can go to Hermes website and download a pattern for their Kelly bag, which normally costs$35,000. The pattern is sized small. You can use it as is and make a gift bag with card stock or size it up and make your own Kelly bag.

I also found a cool blog...
for those who might want to check out the world of purses!

George and Michelle have returned!

Wow, Look what George has been up to this winter! He completed his Western Shirt. Click on the image to enlarge so you can really check out his top-stitching and stripe placement. I love the pockets on the bias and lets not forget the back yoke!

Great work George! and welcome back.

Now for our good friend Michelle who needless to say has been busy while she has been away. Babysitting her grandchild has cut into her purse production, but not by much. She made an adorable spring purse, which yours truly failed to get pictures of but I will try to rectify that ... But I did manage to snap a picture of a fun wall hanging she is working on. Hopefully she will add to this post so that she can fill in the details of the project more fully, but you have to love the bright splash of color this will add to any room.

p.s. you are not going blind my picture is out of focus...sorry.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer Dress

Want to make yourself an easy summer dress? I can recommend Vogue #8233 as seen here in a cotton/poly paisley fabric I picked up at our local JoAnn's. It does require close to 5 yards of fabric but this paisley was on sale for a $1.99 a yard! Quite a deal my $10.00 dress! The bodice is fully lined and its an easy fit due to the wrap front. The minor alterations I made to the pattern were a bust adjustment and shortening the ruffles so the skirt would end just above my knee. I also made an adjustment to the armseye shape making the shoulder an inch narrower. I will probably wear mine with this "uber" wide suede belt when I want to dress it up a bit, and plain for hot casual summer days.

This is the same dress made for my daughter. This fabric also purchased at JoAnn's is a heavy cotton with embroidered dots scattered all over. For her alterations I shortened the bodice as she is short waisted, but no bust cup alteration, then the same narrower shoulder which you can see real well here, and I also shortened the ruffles for her. I included the tie closure according to the pattern but made mine from a length of white ribbon with a red twill tape laid on top. I secured the two together by zig zagging in white along the edges of the red twill tape. My daughter is left handed so I also wrapped the dress in that direction for her.

Other options shown on this pattern include a small flutter sleeve and a single ruffle on the skirt instead of the double I chose. This dress can be completed in a weekend! No zippers! No buttonholes! No worries.

Versatile shirt pattern

I am loving this pattern from McCalls #5522. Paula recently completed this cotton voile print shirt using this pattern. Note the fitted lower bodice which provides a neat and comfortable fit to wear over your pants and skirt. Very Slimming!! She has made this shirt once before in the long sleeve version with collar(see earlier posts). This shorter puff sleeve is constructed like a bubble skirt so no elastic pinching your arm. The gathers maintain their fullness due to the shorter narrower sleeve lining. I am thinking of making this pattern for my daughter but modifying the sleeve to make it quite a bit shorter.

What I like about this pattern is:
1) Its flattering meaning slimming due to the fit under the bust.
2) It has 4 versions with different sleeve lengths, collar options,
and even tuxedo ruffle.
3) And this is probably my favorite it has different bodice front patterns
for different cup sizes eliminating at least one common pattern alteration.

This pattern looks great in this voile, but would look good also in a pin wale corduroy, cotton broadcloth, Rayon or wool challis, or a double georgette.

A note about voile. Voile is a lovely lightweight fabric with a crisp hand. Its most commonly seen in a cotton but can also be found in silk. It is used for heirloom dresses, light summer blouses or as an underlining where some crispness is desired with out adding bulk. It used to be used a great deal for children's clothing because it can yield very delicate details for gathering, lace insertion and faggoting.

Nice work Paula

Nancy's Roman Shades

Nancy completed her Roman shades recently for her living room. Now here is the really neat part...These shades were made from some existing curtains that were given to her. The curtains were originally made for larger windows than Nancy's and she had often thought of cutting them down. Instead with a little guidance from yours truly she made these wonderful soft pleated roman shades. She already had the fabric/curtains so she had zero expense in the fabric, even the lining came from the previous curtains. Then for about $100.00 she purchased all the necessary hardware, that and 2 days of sewing cafe and Voila! fabulous fresh new shades. Congratulations to you Nancy for a job well done.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Marches Progress

March proved to be a little quiet! The weather is just so impossibly depressing in March that motivation is hard to find. But needless to say we persevered.

Liz worked on a "Spitzen Tote" by yours truly, and enjoyed it so much she started another one!

Nancy completed her roman shades. Stay tuned for coming pictures, as I plan to go help her install them soon.

Ambitious Paula made the denim jacket you see here from a Sawyer Brook Fabric and a Vogue Pattern. I spoke about this jacket in an earlier post mentioning its 24 pieces, which always seems a bit overwhelming when you are cutting and marking. But what a payoff! All those pieces created a well fitted shapely fun and useful jkt. This jkt will fit in so well, with her other "Sew with a Plan" pieces. To refresh you memory you can refer back to the earlier post. Now we did find some mistakes in the pattern directions! As I recall they instructed you to sew the zipper in upside down, but once discovered not difficult to fix.

Paula also completed this jersey wrap blouse from a Sandra Betzina pattern. This is an unusual pattern but quite fun as it can be worn with the wrap in the front or the back. You see it here wrapped to the back. Another boon to this pattern is it can be completed in a day, a full day mind you. After sewing a 24 piece jacket a quick blouse is just the project Paula needed.

Our dear Elizabeth is going to have an amazing spring/summer wardrobe. She has made herself another lovely and practical dress. She has begun another dress from this same pattern, which we look forward to seeing soon.

Even I managed to finish a vintage houndstooth jkt which I am thrilled with.

April is off to a great start, we took a break over the Holiday but will return to duty this week.
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