Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Binging on Sashiko

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Sashiko thimbles, leather and metal, on Olympus sashiko #12
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Olympus Sashiko thread and pre-printed designs

You saw a bit of my sashiko from earlier this year, but then I stopped.  During my vacation in July I picked it up again and I just LOVE it.    I’ve completed 4 more designs since mid-July and here they all are in one post!  I also took two of the designs I did earlier this year and made them into pillows this month (that will be the next post).

Why do I love sashiko?
  • I use the preprinted Olympus sashiko kits so I don’t have to worry about transferring designs.
  • I also generally use the Olympus sashiko thread (one exception is below) and Olympus needles.
  • Unlike embroidery, it doesn’t need a hoop.
  • I use a sashiko thimble. Though it is not totally necessary, it does make it easier.
  • It’s small and easy to carry around.
  • Absolutely no fitting is involved.
  • It is the perfect activity to do while waiting.  In the past month I’ve sashikoed in Port Authority in NYC, while waiting for a car oil change and while waiting in a doctor’s office.   Suddenly all that time spent waiting became incredibly enjoyable!! My blood pressure in the doctor’s office was 104/70—that’s how relaxing it is. (ok, maybe that's just about my normal BP but still, relaxing!)
I thought it would be fun to take these pictures outside in the grass and now I'm not so sure about that, ha ha, but here we go:
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Olympus Sashiko #201 above
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Olympus Sashiko #203 above
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Olympus Sashiko #204 above
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Olympus Sashiko #40 dragonfly, above
I had mentioned to Anne that I wanted gray thread but Olympus doesn’t make any gray sashiko thread and she recommended a seller on ebay.  Worked out great!!

For those of you who like the front to be as neat as the back, here you go:
(Note, there is another sashiko method where there are no knots at all, and I will try it on the next dragonfly design as those knots are evident when the design is turned into a pillow.)
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In the meantime, greetings from the mini-pumpkin patch:
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I'm on vacation again this week and loving every minute of it, hope you are enjoying life too!
Be well!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jalie Shrug Love continues on....

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I love love love the Jalie 3246 shrug pattern.
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This is my 7th shrug sewn from this pattern. Sewed it on Sunday.
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Is this French terry?  It's from Paron, purchased with ATP on 7/31.  I love the texture.
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Here you can see a bit more of the texture.
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The texture reminds me of stuffed animals, like this one.


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It is a fast sew, but it really depends on the stretch factor of your fabric.
My sixth one did not turn out well.  It's below:
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Here you can see a bit of the texture of this sweater knit:
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And when I had the band clipped all around before serging:
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So what's the problem?  The band is not snug against the back.  It's really sticking out.  I tried to redo it  by cutting off the band because hey it's only a quarter inch seam allowance, then tried with a smaller band and it came out worse.  Actually, pressing it with my Elna Press made it even worse. It's the first time I've ever had something turn out worse after pressing.  It's a very light sweater knit and I probably should have pressed the fabric before cutting it out, that might have helped with the second press.  I also think that I have not accounted for how stretchy the fabric actually is.  More stretchy means I can make it in a smaller size.  I'm going to think that one over.   Maybe it can be saved by putting elastic in the bottom band.  Something a la Debbie's Fixing a Gaping Neck After the Fact.

So because I had trouble with the 6th one, I basted the band for the 7th one on and decided to cut the band a little shorter to make it a bit more snug, then serged. Something a la Sarah Veblen and her Threads video on binding necklines because every knit has a different amount of stretch.

Every fabric continues to be its own universe.  Also, if I had used the fabric from the sixth shrug to make my first shrug, it is very unlikely I would have ever made another.  Interesting to think about that.   Through some kind of magic, the combination of fabric and pattern worked on the first attempt and as a result I wear a Jalie shrug every single day at work.     Pattern and fabric, it's a very tight marriage. Both partners must get along, must be suitable for each other.  It's also a lot like the key to enjoying group fitness classes at the gym.  You have to like the class format and the instructor.  Maybe you like one but not the other.  Maybe you like both but not together.   You need to like both together, or it will be very hard to find the motivation to work out (if group fitness is your thing.  Maybe it's not your thing.)
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I took Monday off to have lunch with a friend down the shore.  This is the view from the Sea Girt boardwalk gazebo at the southern end of the boardwalk.
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And here's a bit of the boardwalk and the beach.  But then I had to leave, to make it on time to my favorite group fitness class at the gym.

I love spring and summer.  And it's still summer, at least for this Jersey girl.

Be well!

Monday, August 17, 2015

McCalls 6559: My first dress sewn since November

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As I finished up sewing M6559 yesterday I realized that I have not sewn a dress since November!  And look at this, it's a bona-fide print, from Kashi at Metro Textiles, sewn up a little over two weeks after I bought it (which surely must be a record).  It is somewhat spongey and totally synthetic as all get out so I love it because it does not wrinkle.
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 I had a serious "want to make a dress" itch that I needed to scratch and this fit the bill nicely.  The pattern is just a front piece and a back piece, and I sewed some strips to bind the armholes and neckline. I had made this dress once before in an ITY polka dot last September.  This took me about 5 hours to sew this time, but I am a very slow seamster and if I had not futzed a lot with the bindings, I'm sure it could go faster.  If I had serged the raw edges and then twin needle stitched the armhole and neckline, it would have been much speedier.  Binding looks nicer but takes longer, for me at least.
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I am not overly crazy about how I used white thread to stitch down the binding at the neckline. The white stitching blends into the spongy fabric  vertically at the armholes but it is really obvious at the neckline, as it approaches horizontal-ness, at least to me.  Maybe I should have stitched it in brown, or maybe it would still drive me a bit crazy.
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I am pretty pleased with how the print pretty much lines up on the side seams.  The way I accomplished that was by first superimposing the front and back dress pattern pieces and noticing that, from the armhole down, the pattern piece is exactly the same.   I cut out the front piece, and then placed the cut-out front of the dress right side to right side on the fabric, lined up the print at the edges, and then cut out the back piece from the armhole down, like this:
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Then I put the back of the dress pattern down and cut out the back from the armhole up.
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(Yes, I bought the pattern twice, and then taped it together at the fold so that I could cut single layer and not have to trace the pattern piece, which is the ultimate lazy thing to do but it works!)

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Close-up of the neckline, above.
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Above is the binding on the neckline on the inside....
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And above is a closeup of the binding on the armholes on the inside.  This fabric is kind of spongy, so it was much easier to bind the neckline by leaving the serged edge exposed instead of folding the binding in half first like I did with the armhole binding.  Basically it's 4 layers vs 6.

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As this dress has no darts, I used a belt for shaping, which creates a few lines but doesn't bother me.
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All in all this was a great dress to get back in the dress-making saddle again.
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One random pillowcase I made this weekend.
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And another random pillowcase I made this weekend too.
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Close up of hydrangeas from the Princeton Farmers Market

Be well!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

MPB Day 2015 recap

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With the man himself.  I'm wearing a Vogue 8571 pattern I picked up at the MPB Day 2013 pattern swap, failed to finish it in time to wear to MPB Day 2014, but wore it this year

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At Chelsea Flea Market: The early bird men of MPB Day 2015.  Peter, James from Craft Space Continuum, Enrique from EnriqueSews

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Modelling for Enrique, en route from Chelsea Flea Market to the FIT Museum
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Enrique says don't smile.  Peter with Lynn (who shared her birthday with MPB Day!) of You Sew Girl!
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Hoof it to FIT
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Right this way...on a bright, gorgeous sunny day
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James and the clever tote bag he made from a dog food bag.
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FIT Museum exhibit dress--white rolled hem on black fabric--I want to try that idea sometime--the white on black rolled hem, not all those appendages.
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Tomasa from Sew Much Fashion and me at Panera
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Peter outside Panera outlining the afternoon's agenda
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Crossing 33rd at 7th in midtown Manhattan
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At my favorite store in the world, Pacific Trimming, in my favorite aisle: elastic and piping!

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MainelyDad, his amazing shirt and I unite over our taking pix with our self timers in our back and side yards
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Tomasa and Anne from Sewing to Soothe My Soul rejoice over their finds in the free box at Paron's
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What's that, you say? Paron's has a free box?  Don't know if they have a free box every day, but they had one on Saturday.
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Petting Amanda's fabric on 39th. See the video Peter captured (with sound) here.
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Bryant Park.  MainelyDad and his fabric from....Kashi's was it?  That's a Kashi shopping bag....

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Checking out Lynn's jeans--that she carried around with her all day just so I could try them on--gold star to you Lynn!  Left to right:  Lynn, Tomasa, Claire from England, Anne

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in Bryant Park



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Say "sashiko!" (Pretend there's no "i" in it...sash-ko).  James said I have inspired him to try sashiko.  That's awesome!  (You can see my Butterick 6072 backpack hanging off my shoulder...)

It was quite fun to meet up with old friends and meet some of my blog followers like James!  My only regrets were not having a photo shoot with Enrique (whose immense enthusiasm for sewing inspires me to keep on sewing when I sometimes feel like giving it all up) and not having enough energy to see Kashi again, though I'm sure my credit card and stash closet are ok with that.  (He opened Metro Textiles on Saturday just for us, but I ran out of energy.  Kashi, that white leaf eyelet is still burned into my brain!)

Also if you introduced yourself to me, thanks for saying hi!  Can you please leave a comment with your blog name or other way I can reach you (twitter, instagram)?  Thanks!

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As darkness descends....
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The Empire State Building as seen from Chelsea last night....

Thank you Peter for bringing the sewing community together in this way for 5 years in a row!

Be well!