Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pettern Giveaway, Week Two and an Apron/Smock

Let's continue with cleaning out my pattern collection in week 2 of my giveaway.  Seems like the Sewing Workshop patterns continue to be popular so here are a few more as well as seasonal coat patterns that might interest some readers.  Once again, make a comment below with the name(s) of the pattern that you would like to win or email me janem1960@gmail.com.  Entries should be in by this Sunday, Dec. 12, for the drawing at 9pm.  Postage is on me this month.

Sewing Workshop Kinenbi Top
Before I learned about tracing patterns so this one has the top already trimmed to a size Medium and the pants to a size L.  

Another one already trimmed to size M
Both have lots of ease so don't let Medium deter you.

And now a pattern from one sewing friend to another to another....and now to one of you.



Maybe it's cold weather where you are and a new coat is on your project list:




I do have a seasonally sparkly sewing project in my sewing room to wear this weekend but this emergency request came in last week from my cousin three states away.  She sent me a text of her wearing an apron/smock asking me if I could make a copy.  Since she is a dear cousin and wonderful friend I said sure....and we all know that opens up a can of worms.  At first I just thought she wanted a new apron....and I have at least six different apron patterns in my collection. 
"Would you be able to copy this?"
But no, she really wanted an exact copy and thought perhaps I could just design it from the picture.  Hmmmm, I know some you of could do that in a flash.  Me, not my skill set.  So we discussed what she liked (the full frontal coverage, the no ties easy on and off) and what she didn't (needs a pocket or two and maybe a towel that she could remove and launder.)  She did agree, reluctantly, to send me the actual apron so I could copy it to the best of my ability.
The apron arrived two days later and one of the things I noticed was that it was most likely sewn from two old sheets.  They are very thin but very soft which does make it comfortable to use. She bought it at a charity holiday sale and has a sixties/seventies flowered sheet vibe to it, great way to refashion when bedding is damaged.
Single button closure. 

First step was to trace it (I used soil separator fabric to start this project.) 


First pattern
I pulled this soft cotton fabric from my stash hoard resource center and had enough to do a self-lining and also a front pocket, 10 inches deep along the bottom hem.  I decided not to do piping on this first version, I really want her to just try it on for size, shape and function.  
Front pocket
Two layers and front pocket but forgot to take a final picture after sewing the shoulder seams.
I did spend some time looking at tutorials and youtube videos for cross over apron styles today.  This delightful video reminded me how to sew up the apron and sew together the shoulder seams (leave a four inch opening on a side seam....reach through and sew front to back shoulder seam on each side.)  This particular video shows an adorable fully reversible child's apron and I bookmarked it for a future gift idea.

There are also lovely Japanese cross over and apron styles and tutorials in the virtual world.  I found this sweet site, Felicity Sewing Patterns with patterns for boys and girls and a cross back apron for an adult and child.  Crossback apron

I will be working up one or two other variations to send along to my cousin at a later date now that I'm understanding her priorities a bit more.  For now, since she is in the midst of holiday cooking and cleaning, I had to get a decent prototype made and in the mail to her pronto.  I was working on a deadline to get to the post office so I don't even have a finished picture to share.  I'm not thrilled with the final neckline which is most likely a shoulder slope issue as much as the neckline width.  But as I explained to her, the first version is often a "wearable muslin" that shows us what changes to make next for "good fabric."  As for me, I might go the crossover apron route this year as well.  I've made several aprons in past years Simplicity 3701 aprons
and they get plenty of use but just like in all fashion, maybe it's time for a new apron silhouette in my wardrobe.
Here's hoping you are enjoying some sewing challenges in your sewing room.  Now it's time for me to get back to that sparkly stuff.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pattern Giveaway Winners, Week 1

Hooray, four of these patterns have found new homes with these blog readers:

The Origami Blouse goes to Jiuan

The Bamboo Shirt winner is Pamela.
 Marilyn, you won the Vogue dress



And Paula, you are the skirt pattern winner.
And let's give a hand to our judge....waiting patiently before he selects the winner (of the Bamboo Shirt, I believe)


and making a selection:


Ok, winners, please email me with your mailing address and I will mail the patterns this week.

More patterns to giveaway this coming Tuesday so keep trying or try for the first time....just help me find loving new homes for as many as we can.  Wait, that sounds like a pattern rescue group.  (Wasn't there a group running a commercial pattern rescue site at one point but it got shut down, if I recall.)

Next post, some surprising unselfish sewing.  

Friday, December 2, 2016

Holiday Ornaments and Giveaway in Progress

The holiday season is in full swing at the shopping centers but what I liked about one of my sewing group gatherings today is that we exchange handmade gifts.  We put a limit of $15 value and it doesn't have to be hand made by you but we do want it to be a handcraft.  
In addition to several jars of jam and jelly (apple caramel butter, made by Mr. Lucky this year, blueberry jam and red pepper jelly) my donation included this holiday pine cone ornament.  Thanks to two youtube videos and the generosity of people who know how to film and post instructions, one of these took less than an hour to complete and I would probably get faster with practice.
Fabric pine cone ornament
Supplies are quite easy to find:
 And the tutorials I used:
fabric pine cones:

and for the wire ribbon leaves:


I've said before that Mr.Lucky and I are reducing the stuff in our house for a future move so I won't be making these for our tree but they are a nice giveaway and for quilters they are a cute way to use up tiny 2 inch scraps.


My church is having an ornament and cookie auction this weekend and as one of the "crafty, artsy" people I was asked to donate an ornament or two.  Hmmm.  The fabric pine cone was a little too time consuming to make in any quantity for the deadline so I used a Pinterest idea and made these.  The only supplies were a bag of 100 scrabble tiles ....unlike the blogger who made the ones I copied who de-constructed an original Scrabble game for hers.  The challenge of course was to make holiday related words and I think they turned out nicely.

Thanks for your interest in the pattern giveaway that is going on.  You have until 10pm EST (too late for me to be up until midnight;-) Sunday, Dec. 4.  Comment on that blog post  Pattern Giveaway Week 1  or email me with the name of pattern that interests you.  Thanks for giving me the kick start to really look at my pattern collection with more realistic eyes.  You, dear readers, my local sewing friends and then the local college school of design will be the recipients of my over-buying.  Let the giveaways begin....

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pattern Giveaways

Back in the summer I made an informal commitment that I was going to work on cutting my pattern collection in half in one year.  At the summer workshop with Sarah Veblen she remarked to me that she thought it was time for me to do more design work with the TNT patterns I have and less with new patterns.  You'll see my slow, fumbling progress in that area in the coming months.  It was the opportunity to look at my huge pattern collection, see that I enjoy an element or two and realize that I could, with persistence and help, translate those elements rather than try out a new pattern from scratch each time.  I have friends who do this beautifully and consistently but that sort of pattern work has been a challenge for me.  I'm working on the process and am now ready to let go of many of the patterns that I will never in my lifetime even pull out of their envelopes.   I have not had a pattern giveaway for several years now so let's start on what is now being called "Giving Tuesday" in the US.  

Normally I simply take my excess patterns to my sewing groups and twice yearly sewing retreats.  But when I read in other sewing blogs about what many of you outside the US have to pay for patterns and shipping I thought I would broaden that offer to anyone in the world.  In December I will pay the shipping for any of these to go anywhere.

Each Tuesday this month I will post a new collection. Just make a comment by Sunday evening about which pattern you would like and I will put your name in for a drawing.  If no one bids for a particular one then I will put it aside for my local sewing friends and our January retreat.

Here are the giveaways for the first week:

Vintage Fitting Patterns

This is a size 14 fitting pattern for a time, I think in the 1960s, when Vogue made some changes to their sizing models.  If you or someone you know uses vintage patterns from Vogue then this might be a useful pattern.  
The next pattern says size 14 also and looks to be the same but does not have that NEW SIZING block on the front.  

Both of these came from a dear sewing friend in Florida and I must have been keeping them out of sentimental value.

Vogue Pierre Balmain Paris Original #2360

Isn't this a wonderful pattern.  Not a good look for me with that high neckline which only accentuates my scoliosis but the lines are classic.  
The Fashion Sewing Group #1964 Skirt 

I subscribed to Nancy Ericsson's newsletter for years and had all of her patterns.  This is a copy of her skirt pattern that I think I received with a fabric order.  I kept my original skirt pattern but discarded her jacket pattern since the armhole and armscye never worked for me.  But she, like Shirley Adams on PBS, was a master of using one base pattern and changing details to get a whole new look.

The Sewing Workshop Bamboo Shirt


Sixteen or seventeen years ago I was so impressed with several wonderful sewing friends who took these patterns and made them the backdrop for gorgeous, artistic garments.  Then I tried and I looked like I was wearing a shroud over a refrigerator.  Now, much of that was because my lack of experience had me selecting wrong fabrics and I did not know how to adjust a pattern for my priorities.  But I will say that the patterns themselves have superb instructions, creative details and I hope one of you dear readers is interested in making it work for you.
The Sewing Workshop Origami Blouse




Make a comment below by Sunday, December 4 and I will post the winners.  If you can't comment below, then email me with the pattern you'd like to win...janem1960@gmail.com
I don't have a huge number of blog readers so your chances are darn good for this round.

Now off to the sewing room to complete an unfinished project before starting a new one tomorrow.  Once I retired I had to find a new daily routine balancing the freedom I now have with my interests, health and responsibilities.  One thing I like to do is make sure I start each morning doing something "healthy."  Sometimes that means taking my daily walk or doing my shoulder physical therapy exercises first, sometimes that means working for ten minutes in my sewing space or journal writing or meditation....all mental health things for me.  Sometimes it means getting a head start on dinner plans and today it meant starting up a pot of "Mineral Soup." 

 A wonderful gardening friend turned me on to a gardening blog (because I don't read enough blogs already:-)  awaytogarden.com by Margaret Roach.  In addition to terrific gardening advice and encouragement she features other authors and introduced me to this new cookbook by Rebecca Katz.  I'm making up a half batch of soup right now and the house smells wonderful.   Magic Mineral Broth Rebecca Katz  The recipe is on her website and it forms the basis of many of the other soups that will be on our table in the coming months.
Here's hoping that your day includes time for doing something that makes you feel healthier in some way.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Holiday Gifts?

Maybe you are out today braving the US shopping day known as "Black Friday."  Or maybe you're sitting at your computer doing your shopping online to avoid the crowds.  Or maybe you're like me and not doing any shopping but are itching to get into your sewing room and start a new project.  
Mr. Lucky and I have the reached the age where we are doing more downsizing than gift-buying for one another and our immediate friends and family are phasing out or in most cases eliminating gift giving among the adults.  Last weekend my neighborhood garden club had our annual luncheon and we decided the month before to stop a gift exchange and just enjoy the time together.  If I do exchange with a friend or two it is usually something consumable...an edible (I'm a jam making fool) or drinkable treat, or an experience together.  
But sometimes it is nice to share a little something more lasting and here are some of the gifts that I have offered from my house and sewing room. 

These reusable snack bags are so cute and clever.  I gave them to my cousin's daughter last year and she said it was fun and practical for school snacks,
Here's the free tutorial from a generous blogger, Aubrey, who took the time to write up and photograph great step by step directions.  re-usable snack bag  And here are my versions:
Reusable snack bag
I bought the PUL fabric at Joanns's and the quilting fabric is from a Fabric Mart quilt store buy out and year or two ago.  It seemed little girl-y without being childish.
It's not the easiest thing to do to topstitch that PUL fabric but I have teflon foot that made it easier.

This one seemed school snack appropriate

A lovely Japanese cotton print
Since these little stand up bags have that slippery PUL fabric inside, they would also work as a nice thread/scrap bag for a sewing friend.

I've written about this next pattern years ago but it too would be an easy gift to make up in fleece for a friend.  I'm one of those people who is continually chilly so a little wrap is something I have posted in a number of places around my house.  Marsha McClintock created a clever cape like, vest like pattern that I love.Saf T Pockets Pattern 2011  Take a little more than 1 1/2 yards of fleece and in five minutes you have a lightweight but cozy little gift.  I donated one to my church auction in Florida and it was popular with the winner for a lightweight winter topper and in summer air-conditioning.  My first versions were in fabrics that I had to bind but my latest is from a Fabric Mart fleece sale last winter...


my first vest/cape post
dressier cape/vest version

Last holiday gift idea for this post came from Rhonda's great post about a Spoonflower tea towel offer.  tea towels for Christmas  I'm not going to show the full collection of what I bought at this great on-line sale but will show you the two that I am keeping in my house....

Can you see the sewing machine....?

Here's hoping your gift making has gone smoothly and you get to enjoy family, friends and the changing of the seasons where you live.