Sunday, June 29, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 6/29/14

Mayhap the season of staying at church virtually all day on Sunday is starting to wind down a bit and I'll be able to post photos in a more timely fashion.... But in the meantime, I'm just getting it done when I can.

I do realize this is almost the same as the last Choir Wardrobe post I managed to get up.  But I have a new t shirt under the scarf and Jalie pleated cardigan, believe it or not.

I've managed to get a couple of gray knit tops done from the SWAP plan, in a nice silky feeling rayon blend knit.

It was AFTER I made them that I remembered I wanted to make just one top from this, and replace my much-worn silver Jalie cardigan.  But, as it turned out, a cutting mishap probably meant I didn't have enough fabric for the cardi anyway.  So its a a couple of tops instead of a top and a cardi...

Anyway, they're Jalie 2566 cap sleeve T, a pattern that I still haven't reviewed for the T shirt (it's the twinset pattern...I *have* reviewed the cardigan) and one of my favorite sleeveless tops, Jalie 2682 .  This *is* a replacement for a virtually identical top that just fell apart about a year ago; I wore it to pieces.  I think this is a better quality fabric...hopefully it will last a little longer.  I did add a pinch of fusible interfacing right where the center front seam ends and the neckline begins; I've had problems with the knit tops wearing out right there  and have had to retire two or three tops because of that.  We'll see if that helps.

And I'm making a little progress on the SWAP... I've about decided to change the plan just a bit.  I don't think I've got enough khaki fabric to make pants, so I think I'll use that for shorts and do a different pair of pants.  I've already got two pairs of khaki pants that are still holding up, so I don't really need another anyway.    Thinking....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 6 08 14

Choir colors for June are yellow, coral and gray.  Just for grins, I pulled out the Jiffy Pop Top (Vogue 8669) , being as how it's silver gray and all, and topped it with iteration two of the Jalie Drape pleated cardigan, #2919, which is still going strong.

Can't tell you which jeans those are; I think they're Lees.  I just grabbed a clean pair. ;-)

Bonus photo of the kitty being friendly!  Took this photo in the evening after she'd been home alone all day...

Friday, June 06, 2014

Indy Expo Report, part 4 -- Oh, the irony...

I went to the cutting table and took a photo of the patterns I picked up;  my pattern purchasing has really dropped off of late.

Which makes sense, since I have nearly filled a second hand Simplicity pattern cabinet.  I mean, how many patterns does a girl really need?

I'm pretty much looking for details I don't have...or trying to save myself alteration new patterns.

Or, in the case of Cutting Line Design patterns, I'm looking for great detailed instructions that I can use for other garments.

I actually purchased 3 patterns; the Eureka top and skirt came with the class.  Anyway:
I put the ruler in the photo, too.  I won the original version of that ruler...w/o the straight a blog giveaway and I love using it so much that I snatched the enhanced version when I saw it in Kathy Ruddy's booth.  It makes working with Burda Style and Neue Mode  patterns so much easier I can't even say.  Adding those seam allowances is a piece of cake with that baby.  Really.

I wanted a good skinny pant, and the Helix looked good...besides, there's that great t top.  I think I'm going to have fun with it.

Cynthia's jacket has a collar stand that you can't see and shoulder princess seams; the photo on the front has actually been modified a bit.  I have plans for that involving some stashed silk suiting..I really hope I can get to it in time to wear it to the next Expo...whenever that might be... ;-)

But I did make one other...minor...purchase at the Expo.  A bit ago, I mentioned that, for the first time in about 20 years, I had spotted a sewing machine model that actually interested me.

I did a little research on price and availablilty and such and found that the Janome dealer about an hour away had the  2013 model of that machine, which is virtually identical, for about the same price as what everyone seemed to be paying, and including a $50 voucher good for additional accessories.

One of my main motivations for wanting a new machine is that I'd been told by dealers here in town, who sell a hodgepodge collection of brands, that I could not get a straight stitch plate/foot for my old New Home, since it was such an ancient model, so I had plans for the voucher.

And I thought I'd look at the machine while I was at the Expo, if they had one.  They did; about 20 minutes before my last class on Saturday I sat down and sewed with it a bit and asked some questions and liked how it sounded when it was running and how nice the stitch looked.

I deliberately did that with just a little time before class so that I had to leave before I got that strong sales pitch.  I really didn't want to buy it at the Expo.  The price there was 11 dollars less than the price at Ken's, but with the voucher at Ken's that really wasn't an issue.  The only real difference was that this was the 2014 model instead of the 2013.  But, as I said, they looked to me to be the same, just a different color.  I was just getting more information...trying to decide what I wanted to do.

Now, the last class of the day was over at 3, but the Grand Prize Drawing for the day was not till 4:45.  And, as I said, that class was a pivot point.  There were only about 9 people in the class, so Cynthia just had us all come sit around the teaching table and she went over details on attaching convex curves to concave curves...think princess seams and collars to necklines.  And it all hinges on exceedingly precise stay stitching.

'Now, you can't stay stitch at a 1/8" distance with that zig zag plate,' she told us. 'Too much fabric gets sucked down into that hole and you can't control it.'

The lightbulb dinged on.  After class, I told her, 'My machine's like, 20 years old.  I can't get a straight stitch plate for it.'  She looked at me and said, 'Well, I think it's about time you got a new machine.'

Yes.  Yes, it is.

Now I just had to decide where to get it.  The 2014 at Indy...or the 2013 and the voucher at Ken's. My buddy Miss A had gone to the expo half planning to get a machine, and she had found the Pfaff she'd been thinking about and taken the plunge.  When I left class, I saw a parking place right by the entrance, so I got the car and pulled it around so she wouldn't have to carry the box far.  Then I found her and our new friend Valerie sitting by the fountain in the courtyard.  Lovely day...we chatted for a while and, just in case, I texted my Sweet Babboo...'Would I be in trouble if I bought a sewing machine?'   He replied, 'No'

Eventually, we drug ourselves away from the fountain and the lovely breeze and collected the Pfaff and got it in the car, and I decided I'd go take one last look at the 2014.  Miss A headed to the Expo stage to wait for the drawing...which was scheduled in about 30 minutes. I started down the hall to the Janome dealership, thinking.  About half way there, I made up my mind...I had to get that throat plate and foot from Ken, anyway,  I might as well just get the machine from him.  So I turned around and headed back towards the stage area.

But I passed a little seating/lounge area, and sitting in one of those seats was one of the Janome dealers.  As I walked by, he looked at me and said, 'So, did you buy your machine?'

'No, ' I said.  'I've decided to get it from my local dealer when I get home.'

So he asked me where I was from, and who the local guy was, and which machine I was looking at.

I told him, then added, 'You're selling that for 11 dollars less than Ken, but he's got a $50 voucher with his and I need some accessories, so, you know, I think I'll just go see him.'

He looked at me and said, 'I'll sell you the machine that you were sewing on for [$109 less than we've got it marked] if you'll take it home today.'

I am no fool.  Behold the new resident:

Notice that it fits the same table as the old one?  How convenient.  I haven't gotten to sew with it much yet...just a wee bit finishing up the Eureka top and a little on the knit tops that are currently in  progress.  I really like the even feed foot...

Monday night, I ordered the straight stitch plate and foot from Ken; it arrived Wednesday.  Just for grins, I tried it on the old machine.

It fits.

Ah, well, I now have a much lighter machine to haul around for any costuming I might do...

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Indy Expo Report, part 3

I've been using a lot of 'I'm not buying fabric' willpower this year...first, no fabric until I finished the trench coat, and just right after I finished we started planning to go to the expo and I wanted to save my fabric dollars for the good stuff there.

So, you know, I totally used it all up by the time I walked in.

 I will throw this out as well...all those wonderful instructors make exactly NO money teaching the classes.  All their income from the show comes from product sales.  So I make a point to purchase SOMETHING from the booth of each instructor who teaches me during the course of the expo.

And this year, I had a bunch of instructors...

From Kathy Ruddy, I bought 2 rulers (including the SA curve ruler with the straight the 'just curve' I've got...the straight edge will make it perfect) and swedish tracing paper; they're not terribly exciting and I didn't take photos of those.

I came home with four patterns...and I intended to just put up links so I didn't take photos, and I JUST discovered that not all of them are link-able, so I'll describe them now and maybe put up photo next time...I got a jacket pattern from Cynthia Guffey (I also got her hand sewing DVD, but that came with the class),  Louise Cutting's 'Blouse Perfected', and two Sewing Workshop patterns...the Eureka top and skirt, which came with the class, and the Helix top and pant pattern.

So.  That leaves fabric.  And as I said, all my willpower was used before I got there...

Ten Pieces.  Doesn't this look like a SWAP to you?  I really didn't do it on purpose, but, wow, they all go together.  Maybe I'll use that for 2015...'Lisa's Expo SWAP'...if I don't get to it before then...

Black  and black/gray stripe bamboo/lycra, and a yummy   black/gray stripe/tan pinstripe tropical wool Vogue fabrics, who were there with a booth about 1/3 the size of their usual Atlanta booth.  The floral rayon challis in the middle is from them, too.  The white fabric is a pique cotton shirting...that and the large floral, which I think is a linen/rayon blend,  in the next to last spot came from Louise Cutting.  The other four pieces are a 'black denim-look' rayon blend doublknit and 3 yummy silks, which came from Nancy Erickson.

Detail of the silks; the gray is a rich crepe; the turquoise is a jacquard and the fuschia is stretch silk/lycra.  I got a yard and a half of each for a drapey top of some sort.  They are all frequent choir colors; I bet I will wear them to death.

One piece is going to be a challenge.  This is that (I think) Linen/rayon blend from Louise.  See that stripe on the selvege edge?  It is on both sides, but it's clearly not a typical border print.  The assumption is that it was printed with the intention of being cut for use as a detail on whatever the garment was.  I am not sure what I'm going to do with it, but it will be fun trying to decide.  Inserts between gores of a skirt?  Plackets down the front of a blouse?  Cuffs on sleeves?

Lots of possibilities, no?  Who has other ideas?

 I'll take a photo of the patterns and make that the last Expo post for this year.

And of course, I hope to get some sewing done sometime soon...

Monday, June 02, 2014

Indy Expo Report, Part 2

Aside from meeting up with cyber friends, the next most compelling reason to go to a sewing expo is the classes.

I had a full load...probably the most I've ever done at one of these.

 I had classes from Kathy Ruddy, Nancy Erickson (2), Sandy Miller, Louise Cutting, Linda Lee and Cythia Guffey.

Kathy, Nancy and Sandy were mostly inspirational...Kathy gave a talk on variations to a sheath dress; Nancy, of course, showed us jaw-dropping Chanel RTW and gave us tips on recreating it; Sandy talked about the history of sportswear and demonstrated building a wardrobe out of what was really capsules...using Cutting Line Designs patterns, of course.  I didn't take a lot of notes but I did see some really lovely things and picked up a couple of really good ideas.

Louise gave us just a ton of tips regarding interfacing, pressing, tools, matching stripes and plaids...she just started and kept going until her hour was up. She also told us a bit about how she buys the fabric that she offers to us; that was really interesting.

I actually had a hands-on construction class with Linda Lee.  After the last Expo I attended in Atlanta something like 5 years ago, I stated that the next time I wanted to make something to take home with I looked the options over and decided to take Linda's 'Eureka Top' class.  We had to split our time between two for cutting and prep and another for sewing, and we had to be precise about when we left the first room for the second, so there was some time that I kinda lost after I had the prep work done before we could go sew.  I didn't finish the top, but I did get it sewn together; I finished it after I got home last night and wore it to work today:

It's kind of a crepe-y knit that feels like a polyester; it's probably not a knit I would've chosen but I think I like it just the same.  I love the colors in the print.   I've got it on over a red Jalie 965 tank top and La Fred's Daphne pants.  I got several comments on it today, which was rather fun.

We only used sewing machines in the class; although I did come home and finish off the armholes with my serger.  It was a novel idea to me to sew a knit top with a regular ol' straight stitch.  I'm not sure I'm really crazy about the results, but as this is a very loose fitting top I don't think the straight stitch is going to be a problem.  I think I could have finished the top in the allotted time quite easily if I had access to a simple serger and regular machine.  The machines in the sewing class were TOL from a well-known brand that is reputed to be both wonderful and expensive.  I found it extremely frustrating, as EVERYTHING was controlled by buttons and electronics.  Even raising and lowering the presser foot.  'You'll save 5 minutes out of every hour of sewing by using the knee presser foot control,' the sales rep told us.  Well, my knee didn't hit the bar just right and I had to bat it with my hand to get the presser foot to lower; I had to push the button to get it to raise up.  And it took its sweet electronic time to do both.  I guess some folks don't have any trouble getting used to that, but I'd much rather have a machine that I can push around to do what I want instead of having to politely ask it to do something and wait for the machine to align itself.

But it was fun to actually sew at the expo and have something cool when I came home.

I had three classes with Cynthia.  The first class was supposed to be the Core Sewing - Next Step class, but there were so many people in the class who had never been in one of her classes before that she started with her discussion of grainline on cut edges.  I've heard it before, but it's been a while and I've learned a lot since then and I understood it better.  She encouraged us to take her 'convex to concave' class at the end of the day Saturday;   I thought it was a fitting class that I had taken before but she said it was about sewing a concave curve to a convex curve. Hmm....

I took her hemming class Thursday evening; I'd taken her handsewing class at the very first expo I attended and wanted a review, particularly of the rolled hem stitch after bailing on it earlier this year.  I think I was doing it right...I just need patience and practice. ;-).

The next morning I decided to sign up for that last class w/her and I'm ever so glad I did...that was the best class of the weekend.  It was stuff I hadn't heard her teach before and was altogether pivotal in a lot of ways.  Cynthia is a Teacher of my dreams would be to take her sewing intensive, although she'd probably scold me something awful for my costuming-inspired quick-and-dirty sewing techniques. 

Next:  the shopping...

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Indy Expo Report, Part 1

It's really cool to pair a trip to the sewing expo with a trip to the ol' stompin' grounds and a night at my parents.

My traveling buddy and I certainly did our part to support and encourage the Indianapolis venue.

She came home with a bells-and-whistles-Pfaff.

I came home with...well, a bunch of stuff that I'll be sharing over the next few days.

Anyway, one quick story before I fall into bed for a night that's going to be way shorter than I wish...

At the end of Cynthia Guffey's evening hemming class, a lady came over to me and said, 'I read your blog!'

She had driven over from Illinois and her name is Valerie.  And I was really surprised.

I forgot to take my camera over to the expo until the very end of the last day, but Miss A took a photo of me and Valerie while we were twiddling our thumbs waiting for the final Grand Prize Drawing (nope...didn't win anything...)
Meeting sewing of the best things about going to a sewing expo!

I've got lots more to tell...but for now, goodnight... ;-)