Saturday, July 31, 2010

Not much sewing....Other Crafts!

  I've been spending a lot of time at the Craft Center...and not sewing!

Before I was a sewer, I was and still am a crafter.  I've dabbled in ceramics, silk-screen printing, glass fusing, stained glass, wire jewelry, sandblasting, lampworking, computer graphics (aka photoshop fun), weaving, knitting, crocheting, fabric dying, bookbinding, and the list goes on.

Currently, I have a lot of sewing projects going on at once and nothing is finished.  I'm going to attribute this to the fact that I hate my sewing space.  I have poor lighting, very little storage space, and only a small space to actually work.  When I move back home, I'm going to have a nice dedicated space to sew, but it will most likely still be a mess.  Another reason I'm so far behind on my projects is all the crafts I've been working on.

First, my Dad asked for a b-day present of a sandblasted beer mug he will use to drink tea.  I designed what was to be put on the mug, and adhered the decal.  Two nights ago I watched some old Gilmore Girls and carved out the design by hand.  Today I blasted it! Here's the finished product (just don't show my Dad :-P)  The angle the picture was taken makes the lettering look crooked, but it is not.

It says "Carpe Intestinum" (Seize the Intestine)...apparently General Surgeon humor...

He also asked for a set of fused glass dessert plates.  Both my mother and I have no idea why he wants them, but I guess I have to make them.  I spent half my day last Saturday getting them ready to be fused.  I hate glass fusing and these plates made me really cranky.  I forgot how much I hate cutting and grinding glass. I had shards in my hair, they whacked me in the face (I was wearing goggles!), and I even found a couple of small chips down my bra later.  Ugg.  To make things worse, I forgot how difficult it is to cut irridized glass.  Only two pieces cut correctly and the rest I had to use to make frit (frit is tiny chunks of glass).  So I have a set of 6 hopefully. Today  I re-ground all six pieces and prepared them for slumping.  I will post final pictures.

Lastly, I decided to take a Beginning Precious Metalsmithing class!  I'm having a great time so far.  I decided to make a ring similar to this one:

By Lake on Etsy.

I brought this picture in to my instructor thinking I would in no way be able to make it, but he said I could.  I was apprenhensive about recreating someone else's work, but my instructor assured me that if I put as much effort as I am into making the ring and not selling copies, then it is okay. What do you all think about the taking inspiration from Etsy?  So far I have just made the band part.  I'll keep you all updated when I finish my first real ring!

I have ugly veiny hands!
On the sewing front, I'm at a stand still with the black and white batik silk blouse.  I instead cut out a pair of shorts from Simplicity 3849, View E.

And a silly pair of PJs (my only TNT pattern, haha!) from some cotton baby Mickey Mouse and Friends fabric from 1984!  My friend was giving it away and I snatched it up because it was from the year I was born.   And I already cut into it! Go me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tutorial: One Thread Darts!!

~One Thread Darts!!!~

This is my first tutorial so bear with me.  I am no expert at this technique, but I understand the concept and have had success with it.  Yay!

Here's what you do: 

1)  Start with the bobbin thread coming out of the throat plate and no needle thread at all.

Notice looong piece of bobbin thread and no needle thread.

2)  Pull up 12-14" (longer for fish-eye darts!!) of the bobbin thread and start by threading it from the WRONG side (backwards essentially)  through the tip of the needle.

Thread needle from back to front.

3) Guide the thread up through all the tension discs in the reverse order you normally do.  (In my machine, it feels like I'm fighting the tension discs if I haven't pulled a long enough length of thread from the bobbin.).

This is me threading my machine in reverse order.

4) Wrap the tail of the thread around the spool a couple of times and do not secure.

5) Sew! Start sewing from the point or tip of the dart and sew to the wider part of the dart.  Either tie the ends of the threads together or leave them as they will probably end up getting locked in a seam allowance somewhere.

Sew from the point of the dart to the widest part.

Hooray a tutorial.  Hope it helps!  Let me know what you think and how I can improve.  Sorry for the crap-tastic pictures. My apt. has the worst lighting ever!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shifty Slippery Silk: McCall's 5661 Progress

Finally making progress on my first silk blouse!

I have cut the fabric,started sewing and Man! is it tricky!  I layed out the fabric on a padded table and pinned it down.  It didn't shift too much while cutting, but when I started sewing, it started to shift everywhere.  I tried putting pattern paper (all I had at the time) under it, but it was too thick. I'm going to switch to tissue paper and see how that goes. 

I'm also trying a new technique and its working beautifully!  (or as beautifully as you can get with shifty fabric). Have you ever heard of or tried 1 thread darts?  One of the first online Threads articles I read was a tutorial from Kenneth King on how to sew these suckers to prevent puckering and any ugliness you would get from having to backstitch.  At the time I almost immediately forgot about the article, but then my fitting instructor recommended using them for this project and this technique was mentioned again in the most recent Threads mag.  It's a real pain to thread the machine, but the sewing part is easy.  I'm working on a photo tutorial for it.  The tutorial is really just practice for me, because there are better sources for this info out there.

Here is the bodice so far:

All the darts are sewn and the facings are interfaced.  I used a fusible knit interfacing because it was light weight and the best I had.  My mom bought me a bolt of fusible interfacing from Joann's during the After Xmas Sale and the stuff sucks! It has destroyed everything I have attempted to use it on by immediately shrinking and wrinkling up the fabric with it.  It is awful!  I'm too lazy to pre-treat.  I think I'm going to start buying my interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I've only heard great things about their products.  

I also used a strip of the interfacing to stabilize the shoulder seams.

Lastly, I tried another new-to-me technique.  Hong Kong Seam finishing!  I used bias strips to finish the raw edges of the facings (I've only done the front facing so far).  I'm not sure if I'm using this technique for the right application, but it works for me.

I want to finish it this weekend (unlikely though because I'm slow!).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Maui and 2 dresses in action!

Pictures of Maui!!!  Pictures are much more fun than a bunch of words.  So I won't write anymore (until I talk about the dresses).

My favorite picture is on my dad's camera still.  It will become my profile picture as soon I get a hold of it!

And now the dress.  Here's a picture of my niece and I at the Plantation House. (I haven't asked my sister yet if I can show a picture of my niece, so I blurred her face.  Now she looks like a character in The Ring).  I'm wearing my Cynthia Rowley dress and she is wearing a strapless sheared dress I made for her over a year ago.  She saw one of mine (probably this dress) and wanted one of her own.  Isn't she cute (minus The Ring face)? 

Thanks to littleladybug706 for becoming my newest follower!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back from Maui...very little sewing.

I got back from Maui EAARRLLY Monday morning.  Of course, I got sick there and felt like crap for the last couple of days.  Didn't get any sewing done after the trip.  The only sewing-related thing I was able to do was wash my fabrics I got in Maui!  I got a few recommendations from some fellow bloggers (Thanks!) and ended up going to 3 fabric stores in Maui.  I'm lame and didn't take pictures of the store fronts, but I found some on the web.

(No picture of Discount Fabric Warehouse, but here's one of the beach instead!)

Right off the plane, my parents picked me up from the airport and we headed to Discount Fabric Warehouse.  The store was small, but jam-packed full of fabric!  There were two cute old ladies working there and they were very nice and helpful.  I ended up with only one piece of fabric, a few yards of a cotton grey and white stripe knit. They had a great selection of batiks, quilting cottons, rayons, and tons of hawaiian print fabric.  I wish I went back!

(picture from A Passionate Quilter)

(picture from this website

Sew Special was the second store I visited.  It is located at the Queen Kaahumanu Mall.  Literally, right inside a traditional mall.  It was very cute and the staff was very helpful as well.  They primarily had quilting cottons (all the good stuff:  Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, A.M.H., Kokka fabrics, etc etc etc.), and lots of Hawaiian print fabrics as well. I found a crazy cotton blue check 60% off for $3.20/yd.  The checks are woven, not printed, and the hand is really nice.  I want to make a Marc Jacobs inspired dress with it sooner or later.  I asked my dad if he wanted a Hawaiian shirt made for xmas so we picked up a Victoria Jones pattern at the store and some very colorful Japanese quilting cotton.  My dad has expensive taste.

The last store I visited was Fabric Mart.  It was not my favorite store to be honest.  To be fair, it was mostly because I wasn't feeling well and the store was not air conditioned.  It was hotter in the store than it was outside and I was queasy.  Despite the lack of A.C.,  fabric was piled to the ceiling in the store, but I couldn't find anything I wanted or liked.  Most everything I saw was so-so quilting fabric and polyester.  I'm cool with poly. sometimes, but everything I touched felt gross.  I was sick so I didn't spend much time there, and my parents couldn't deal with the lack of fresh air.  If you are in the area, check out the store because I'm sure there is good stuff in there too.  :)

Even though it is off topic, maybe I'll post some misc. Maui pics soon.  I got a cool picture of a chameleon and some pretty pictures :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm off to Maui!

Hi All!  I'm on my way to Maui.  I ended up making a few things for the trip:

My nautical strip knit vest, my beach cover-up/pjs, and another shirred skirt in a chambray.  I don't have pictures yet, but I should get one or two on my trip.      It was the quickest thing I ever made.  Only about an hr and 1/2 from start to finish and that is because I made lined patch pockets which I chose not to use.  I also am bringing my zig-zag dress.  Also, I refashioned a skirt that I had for at least 4 or 5 years.  When I lost some weight about 2 yrs ago, most of my RTW skirts didn't fit anymore.  I finally had the confidence to rip open the side seam without the zipper, take the skirt in about 2 inches, and then cut about 6 inches off the length.  It used to hit me at my high calf, now it is a few inches above the knee :)

Also a big THANKS to Faye of Faye's Sewing Adventure.  She just made a "wild" zebra-print jacket. Check out the finishing she did to the seams! Also, Roxy's Mum and  Mary K., Thank you!

This blog has been a big confidence boost for me.  I can actually see myself improving, and your comments are great.  Thanks for the feedback.  It's been a lot of fun to post the things I have made and I love being part of the online sewing community.