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.   

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"Am I Blue?"

Yes, I am blue in every sense of the word.  In the US that means I am a progressive liberal and it also means that the recent election results have made me blue and disgusted.  I won't say much more about politics since others have done so in very eloquent ways but I am working on mending my broken heart first and then continuing to work on mending the world one person, one interaction, one step, one protest  and one vote at a time.   
When the presidential election was over, my immediate consolation came in the form of three days at a sewing workshop with Sarah Veblen and more than a half dozen of other creative, encouraging, supportive, funny, always eager to learn women.  Somewhat ironic to say the least.  But it was the very best solution for my immediate pain and I focused my attention on fitting several new garments, discussing fabric choices with Sarah for some upcoming projects and most importantly starting to use my TNT patterns for new designs.  You'll be seeing the results in upcoming posts.  For now, here are two projects I have not yet blogged about, both from patterns that Sarah fit on me in August.
This sheath dress is a very old Burda pattern, #3247,...so old that the notions include a recommendation for shoulder pads.  But as Sarah and I did the fitting in August we could both tell that the pattern had good bones...a side dart, waist darts front and back and a slightly tapered hem.  Here's the first version in a print ponte from Fabric Mart.  I like the print but the fabric is already pilling so it won't be a long term garment in my closet.  I selected it to wear with this royal blue RTW cardigan and am quite happy with how it looks as an outfit.

Burda 3247

Burda 3247 as I will wear in in real life

I made the dress in time for a wonderful family anniversary party in mid-October.  My mother's younger brother and my aunt have been married for fifty years....and I was in the wedding back in 1965.  I was only fifteen years old at the time but look 35 in that teased hair (what we called "French curls in New Jersey.)  With high heels, my full 5' 8 3/4" height and Marge Simpson hairdo I tower over the rest of the bridal party.

My cousins and other uncles and my brother all gathered from around the country for the anniversary weekend and it was so wonderful to get together for a happy occasion.  

Since the election I am regrouping and part of that meant spending time in the sewing room making a top to wear for Thanksgiving with family again tomorrow and we don't necessarily share the same political beliefs. But as my minister has reminded our congregation for many years, we don't have to think alike to love alike.  So I will go and share that spirit of love but also with my own inside joke.

I pulled out a lovely heavy rayon paisley print from my resource center, a dark and dusty blue-grey-black.  It is soft and casual and comfy but I needed some details to make it feel more special.  The pattern is an easy tunic top, a new favorite, McCalls 7357, McCalls 7357 . 
McCalls 7357
I used black cotton lace fabric to add slot seams in two of the three sleeve seams.  
1 3/4" lace strip pinned on one sleeve seam
I cut 1 3/4 inch strips of the lace then pressed the blouse seams under 3/4 inches, not the usual 5/8, on both sides of the seam.  That means there is a 1/4" gap on that seam.  I pinned the strip in place matching the cut edges then topstitched it place. 

It's a subtle detail but I like knowing it is there.  I also put a small piece of lace behind the front curved neckline and wrapped the sleeve binding with the lace as well.  Yes, I am blue but it is a blue I am proud of in every sense of the word.
And my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow....Maryland blue crab dip.  I couldn't resist....

And if you don't know the song, here's the Linda Rondstadt version I listened to on a cassettte tape in the '80s.

 No matter what your mood or color is, I hope you too find renewal and inspiration in your sewing room.