Behind The Seams

Ramblings of a sewing fanatic

My Photo
Location: Fashion Hell, Florida, United States

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hot Patterns Sunshine Tops

As soon as I saw this pattern from the new Hot Patterns Weekender Collection, I knew I had to have it! One can't have too many tees here in south Florida but I do get tired of the same old styles. I just love the gathered neckline and the neckband is just begging to be beaded!

I'll be blogging about my embellished version of this top over on The Sewing Divas blog but, before I start on that I want to whip up a quickie version to test the fit. I've traced off a size 10 which is what I used for my Hippy Chick Dress last winter.

The fabric I've chosen for my test is a beautiful, royal blue Austrian cotton knit from Josephine's Dry Goods in Portland. I had picked up a few short lengths of Austrian knits when I was there last, forgetting that they weren't 60" wide. I have just enough to make the cap sleeve version of this top - and I mean JUST enough.

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Horror of horrors 2

I'm sorry, I know this has nothing to do with sewing but I just cannot resist showing you this. For the woman who has everything, a pair of white denim shorts custom painted to match your favorite LV bag - the Cerises monogram canvas, in this case. I wonder what the seller would come up with to match the Horror of Horrors bag I posted a few days ago? It boggles the mind. Back to the machines!

My fabric stash!

I recently took down my website - I just have too much going on and hadn't been maintaining it anway so..... However, several people have asked about the picture of my fabric closet so I thought I'd put one up today.

A couple of years ago, Leslie in Austin mentioned that she had rolled all of the fabric in her stash. I thought this was such a great idea that I spent an entire weekend reorganizing and rolling all of my fabric. Rolling makes it easy to see every piece of fabric and to remove a piece without causing an avalanche. Because you can stack the rolls higher than flatfolds, I was able to fit all of the extra fabric from the linen closet into my sewing room closet as well.

As you can see, I try to keep my fabric separated by color. This makes it much easier to find what I'm looking for.

The wire baskets in the center hold linings, ribbings, lingerie fabrics and stretch linings. Like any good sewer, I have a few fabrics still in bags on the floor. :-)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pool table cover - Final

Woohoo! It's finished! This is certainly not a project I am anxious to tackle again anytime soon. The sewing was easy enough but trying to control so much (nearly 6 yards) heavy vinyl was very tiring. My shoulders, neck and arms are killing me! In a real workroom, the machine's power stand would be inset into a large work table. I'm not that lucky so I had some of the cover resting on a chair next to me and the rest on my lap.

I wanted the finished cover to have plenty of ease - this is just a large cat bed, after all. ;-) A snug cover would have turned it into a cat trampoline. I somehow miscalculated the length, not allowing enough ease for the center of the cover to lay flat against the table. Rather than remove the sashing strips (ugh) I borrowed yet another idea from my quilting friends: double sashing strips a la the Log Cabin pattern. I simply cut down all four sides and added a second set of strips. The ones on the end are a wee bit wider to make up for my mistake. Not perfect but not bad enough that I'd want to start all over. It's a pool table cover, after all. Besides, none of my friends carry a tape measure with them.

I'm very happy with the way the corners turned out. I used the same technique that I used on my son's tailored bedskirt. I sewed the side pieces on first then added a 9" wide piece underneath. I hemmed the underpiece but left the sides unhemmed to reduce bulk.

I think one of the hardest things about a project like this is figuring out what to do as you go along. I can tell you how much ease I like in a straight skirt (2") or how much ease I like in a pillow cover (-1") but I'm a bit lost when it comes to pool table covers so I had to wing it and really exercise my sewing brain. It will be easier next time. Just let me rest for a few years.

Last, but not least, I have to praise Connie, my wonderful walking-foot machine! I am sooooo glad I bought her. She sailed through this project with flying colors, every stitch as perfect as the last. Mwa!

I was a bit intimidated when I first brought her home. Knowing that the foot could walk right over my finger was a little scary - especially when you take a look at the ginormous needle (I think this one is a 22). After two big projects and a couple of purses, we're old pals.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Horror of horrors

I want to know what in the heck is going on over at Louis Vuitton. Honestly, I have no words to describe this bag. It's just so.....hideous. It is the antithesis of all that is elegant. I like each of the elements - the monogram canvas, the metallic snake and the leopard - by themselves. Putting them all together in one bag is just plain nauseating and I wish it would stop assaulting me every time I open a fashion magazine. I am terrified of setting foot into the LV boutique lest I come face to face with this beast.

9/6/06: This monstrosity will set you back a cool $7,250 - yes, in American dollars.

Pool table cover - Part 2

I didn't get as far on the cover yesterday as I had hoped. I spent the morning in the vet's office with a very sick Winnie Pooh - 2nd time this week, sigh. We all know how these things can happen with pets and children. Hopefully, this is nothing serious but we will find out for sure when her blood work comes back today. So, I spent yesterday afternoon and evening rushing to finish my real work and didn't get back to the cover until last night. The top is finished, I just need to add the skirt - if that's what you want to call it. :-)

I really like black purses and shoes with white topstitching. I'm not sure why, I just like that look. I thought it might be a nice way to accent the cover - a way to break up the huge expanse of black. I'm very happy with the way it looks.

Here is the top before adding the sashing strips on the long sides. In the background you can catch a glimpse of my husband's pride and joy, a 1952 Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 jukebox. It is the jukebox featured in the opening credits of Happy Days and was the first jukebox to play both sides of a record. About 10 years ago, my son and his friend broke two of the mercury glass tubes on the front while playing pool, a sure-fire way to make a grown man cry. Luckily, I was able to find chrome replacement tubes. It's just not the same but then we all have our battle scars, don't we?

Here is what I'm trying to protect. It's no secret that I love ALL shades of red. I think every room needs at least a little bit of red. My husband doesn't mind and my son has happily inherited my love for red so I'm able to indulge myself as much as I want.

I probably won't get this finished today, it being Friday and all. Friday is usually a crazy work day for me so I'll get back to this tomorrow.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pool table cover - Part 1

My Hot Patterns Sunshine Top is all ready to be cut out and then, once again, I am distracted by my very demanding house! Way back, in the beginning of June, I had our pool table recovered. At the same time, I ordered a custom cover for the table - naturally, my table would have to be a slightly odd size - none of the ready-made covers will fit. Naturally. Well, here it is August and I'm still waiting for my custom cover. I called the shop two weeks ago. They can't find my order and will call me the next day. I'm still waiting. I am so sick of looking at the white sheets that have been covering the table for two and a half months. You see, we have to keep the table covered because my cat, Kanga, thinks the pool table is a really great bed. I don't have to tell you how difficult it is to remove cat hair from wool felt. I won't even tell you about the little hairball "accident" she had a few years ago. The table needs a cover, period.

While I would much rather have a cover made from a beautiful decorator fabric, I settle on vinyl simply because cat hair won't stick to it and any little spills can be wiped off with a damp cloth. I'm becoming very practical. The less I have to clean the more sewing time I will have. :-) I decide on marine vinyl because it is a nice weight and fairly thick. So, I measure the table. It is 56" wide. Of course, most marine vinyl is 55" wide so I know I will have to do some piecing. Just to make things more difficult and time-consuming, I decide to piece a design rather than just straight seams. Here is what I came up with (very quilt-like and I'm not even a quilter!):

Stay tuned. With a little luck, I will have this sucker finished today!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The nest is empty

Well, I'm back. My eyes are still puffy and I'm liable to start crying again at any moment but am trying to get back to normal - whatever that is. We worked really hard to get everything moved in and unpacked in a day and a half. I did leave the boys with a to-do list which I hope they'll pay attention to - nothing major, just a few things I didn't get to, like cleaning the freezer. And of course, Jess wants to paint his room and bathroom - he likes color on the walls as much as I do.

When the truck arrived Tuesday morning Jess begged me to please set his bed up right away. I guess he hadn't enjoyed sleeping on the inflatable bed the night before. I have to say that he did a really good job buying his bed linens. He was obviously paying attention when I explained thread count to him. He used this shower curtain as his inspiration for the color scheme.

I didn't make the duvet cover (I didn't iron it either! We had forgotten to buy an ironing board.). I just ran out of time and it was easy to buy one ready-made. I made a tailored bedskirt and the pillows out of Ultrasuede and upholstery-weight microsuede. We tried adding some green on the bed but it was just too much. I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's a nice cozy bed for a boy who loves his sleep. I was hoping he'd need some window treatments so that I could use up the rest of the fabric. Don't ask me why I bought an entire roll of it - I have no idea what my original plan for 20 yards of camel microsuede was. It must have been a good deal. The boys did ask if I'd bring my sewing machine next time and reupholster the dining chairs and bar stools - that would be a good way to use up the rest. Those cushions are currently upholstered in off-white linen-like fabric which should be nice and dirty the next time I see them.

Today I cleaned Jess' room here at home and moved one of my cutting tables in. Once I get my emotions under control I think I'll enjoy working in there. :-)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Moving Day

I can't believe the day is here. The day that I take my only child to college, seven hours away. While I've been crying at the drop of a hat for the past several weeks, part of me is relieved that the time has come. For several months, my house has been an absolute disaster with extra furniture, boxes and household items everywhere. So, I guess I will cry the seven hours back and then try to enjoy the serenity of home. I suspect that even being allowed to set up my cutting tables in his room won't make me smile for at least a week or two. My best friend's husband suggested that I get another cat and name him Jess. Naturally, my son thinks that is a crazy idea. Yeah, well, that has my name all over it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back to Basics

I've had the blahs lately. You know, sort of like a bad hair day all over, every day. My favorite garments just aren't exciting to me anymore. You've had it too, haven't you? Last night, with both of our husbands working, my best friend and I decided to go to one of our favorite little Italian places for dinner. I was in a red shoe mood so I decided that plain black pants and a black top would be easy. I put on simple silver hoop earrings and grabbed my favorite red bag. When I gave myself a final mirror check I realized that I looked more chic than I had in many months. While none of the individual pieces were spectacular, together they were perfect. I've been concentrating so much on making stand-out pieces that I have neglected the bones of my wardrobe, those go-to pieces that are always right. It's time to get back to basics and fill in the blanks.


I am so disgusted with Blogger. The Divas and I seem to constantly have trouble posting images to Blogger. This used to only happen occasionally. Now it's a regular thing and it is keeping us from posting as often as we'd like. As soon as things settle down a bit I am going to be making a move! Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

No more flying snips!

My friend Greg gave me this really strong ceramic magnet to use as a seam guide when he was out of the regular magnetic seam guides. Apparently, he removes them from broken industrial motors. When I wasn't using it as a seam guide, I had pushed it off to the side of the machine bed and discovered an even better use for it: to hold my thread snips! Now, when I sew really fast my snips won't go flying onto the floor. I already added one to my serger and hope to eventually have one on all of my industrials. It goes without saying that a magnet should never be used on a computerized machine, but you already knew that.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

New bobbin winder!

About five years ago, my friend Greg over at Azar's Sewing Center (Davie, FL) made me a stand-alone jumbo bobbin winder for my Brother embroidery machine. For the most part, I use prewound bobbins but it's good to have a bobbin winder for emergencies or when a special color is needed. I don't use it very often so I put it somewhere out of the way and now, naturally, I can't find it. I really need it to wind bobbins for my Consew 206! You are supposed to wind while you're sewing but I'd need duplicate cones of all of my 69 nylon threads in order to do that. A separate winder is the perfect solution!

I mentioned this to Greg when I was in his shop this morning and, voila!, he produced this jumbo bobbin winder. Apparently, he had made it for another customer who never came to pick it up - lucky for me! This one is even better than the original one he'd made. Always trying to improve upon things, that guy!

Many of you may not know that industrial stand-alone winders are very expensive. I paid about $650 for the winder for my 6-head embroidery machine some years back. Prices easily go over $800 today. I paid under $100 for this one. If you're handy you can probably make your own for about $70 worth of parts.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Time flies

I have a favorite pewter plate on my coffee table. Around the rim it says "Salud, Amor Y Pesetas Y Tiempo Para Disfrutarlas." Translated, it says "health, love and wealth - and the time to enjoy them". It's that last bit that's a toughie but I'm working on it.

I must apologize for posting so little this month. Summer should be a lazy time of year where I accomplish incredible amounts of sewing! Instead, I have been busy working, helping out at the DH's restaurant and trying to get my son ready to head off to college next month. The summer is flying by! That's not to say, dear reader, that I'm not thinking about sewing. Oh no, thoughts of sewing still consume my every waking moment. This is often a problem because it always leads to too many new fabric purchases - or machine purchases. I took the plunge and ordered another coverstitch. This time it's a flatbed - the Kansai Special W8103-D. My dealer things I'm crazy. Now, how to get the machine inside without DH realizing that yet another industrial has joined the family..... Hopefully, it will arrive before DS leaves for school! He'll roll his eyes a bit less than DH. ;-)

I'll be keeping my other coverstitch set up for binding and use the flatbed for all of my hemming. The best part is that I'll be able to use a downturn feller and a beltloop folder on the flatbed. Don't you just love sewing toys?