Sunday, February 23, 2014

Teaching My Nieces to Sew

I am blessed to have two beautiful nieces who both have an interest in sewing.  How fun it is for me to sew with them!  We started by making pillow cases a few years ago.
They loved using my machines.
The older one made a pair of pajama bottoms not long after.  I matched it with a pajama top from OOP M5744.  She was a natural.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures.  However, she came back for another lesson -- a sleeping bag for her American Girl doll.
We used some vintage fabric from my childhood.  Does anyone else remember the "Smiley Face" craze?  It took more than one visit to finish, but she did a fabulous job.
The quilt on her bed is another project we worked on together when my quilting-aunt came for a summertime visit.  The quilt top was a family collaboration, but my aunt did all of the machine quilting. 

For most of last year, (2013) I was on a mission to find two good-working, used, sewing machines that were easy to thread for each girl.  By the end of the summer I had found one in a resale shop and one on Craig's List.  Niece # 2 (daughter of brother # 2) received her Janome Sew Petite for her birthday, and Niece #1 (daughter of brother #1) received her Singer machine for Christmas.  Their excitement made my year.  

The winter break provided an opportunity to sew a little with Niece #2.  She is using the same pajama pattern to make a pair of pants from the fabric I gave her for Christmas.  As the equal-opportunity aunt that I am, I made her a matching top from OOP M5744.  I really like that pattern. She hasn't quite finished the elastic or hem yet, but here is the top.

You may have noticed the picture at the top of my blog.  My sweet little guy is well loved by the nieces and nephews.  The print on this fabric looks a lot like him and was a hit.  

Sadly, the print was not done well, making it noticeably crooked on the finished garment.  I started the lesson on using a commercial pattern with the importance of cutting on the straight of grain.  How disappointing!   We lost more than a quarter yard of fabric by washing and straightening and had to go to the store for more.  I carefully explained that we would probably not find the fabric, but could use black for the bottoms and some white flannel I had for the bodice.  She decided she liked that idea, but could not live with the white bias tape I had in my stash.  It had to be black.  

Off we went to JoAnn's.  I was horrified to find that the store had only one yard of black flannel.  Panicking, I began to assure her that we could come up with Plan C just as I spotted the dog fabric!  She wanted both pieces made with "all dog."  I was a little disappointed because the straighter print on the new piece of fabric looks a little wonky with the crooked bottom piece.
I used my serger to finish the inside seams, but had my niece use the zig-zag on her machine for the pants.  She was very excited to see that her machine could finish the edge so nicely.

Can't wait to show you the finished set.  She is a natural sewist--just like her cousin.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sewing Room Reveal

I have been anxiously anticipating the winter break this year.  My sewing room has been a black hole for too long.  Last night, I was up until 3 a.m. working.  I was having to much fun and getting really excited about having a place to sew.  Sadly, I found items I hadn't seen in years, some I don't remember buying, and others I completely forgot about.  Sleeping was out of the question.
I just dumped everything in the middle of the room as you can see in the following pictures and forced myself to follow a few rules.
1.  Everything has to have a place.
2. Sort it or toss it now. (There won't be time later.)
3.  Get rid of the craft stuff. (I barely have time to sew.)
I am sure I should have gotten rid of more than what is in the bags to go to Purple Heart, but I am pleased as punch with the results!
 Somehow I lost the before pics of the sewing room.  These pictures are sort of in between.

New curtains made and hung.  New vinyl covers fitted and made for the table tops - then covered with crap clutter!
And now -- the after pics:

Though I tried, I couldn't avoid storing several things under the work table.  Fortunately, most of it is on wheels and can be accessed easily.  
I just have too much.  It is time for stash busting.

I like the cleaner look my brother's old entertainment center provides when I close it up.

The closet is also filled with stash fabric.  My pressing tools are in and on top of the white drawers.  That is the one glitch.  I purchased a new-to-me Bernina sewing table from a seller on Craig's list for only $50.  I love it, but it leaves little room for my ironing board.  I can set it up in front of the closet,  However, the pressing tools will be hard to get to.

This table provides a lovely surface, and I find it to be great for my back.
I could replace the serger/coverstitch machine with an ironing station, but I'm going to try this arrangement out first.

 This yellow thimble waste-paper basket is one of my favorite things in the room along with my Singer "Sew Easy."  I found the first a flea market and the machine at an estate-sale.
Finally, a peg-board is fabulous for a person like me who has trouble keeping track of her tools.  My grandfather would be proud.  I plan to paint it white, but haven't decided yet whether to trace around each tool like Grandpa did or something like this lovely pic over at Wit and Delight.

The idea of tracing around each tool is only appealing because I would know immediately if something was missing.  The family may be tempted by this display, but they should know that anyone using my scissors to cut anything but fabric is taking an unimaginable risk!  

Well, you now know where to find me now.  I plan to live in this room until the weather relents.  We are getting another 5 to 6 inches tonight here in Michigan. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I Am Still Here!

It has been 6 months since I last posted.  So much has happened in that time.  I took a break from my computer for a while, but came back to enjoy my favorite blogs.  The longer I limited myself to reading without posting, the more difficult it was to decide what I might write.
I have decided to start writing whatever hits me at the moment.
So this is what has been keeping me busy.
1. My sweet girl moved to Brooklyn!  I miss her terribly, but couldn't be happier that she is so happy and living her dream.

2. I got to go back to teaching kindergarten after a year in second grade!  Sometimes things happen for a reason.  My heart is in K, but I am newly refreshed from the change.  
3. My son decided to be a college student after all and moved back in.

4. My husband and I celebrated his 50th birthday, our 28th anniversary, and the New Year in Kauai.  We took our first vacation completely alone -- no kids, no parents, and no relatives.  It was fantastic!  I spent way to much time dreading the empty nest.  It is not so bad.
I was able to visit a few fabric stores in Hawaii. I will post about that another time.

5.  I am redecorating and revamping my sewing room.  More to come on this fiasco soon.

6. It has been at least 8 years since I decorated the first floor of my home.  I still love the choices I made, but it is time to move on.   My taste has changed, so the style needs to change too.  Scared yet excited, I made the first purchases today.  Here is a little sneak preview.

Thank you for inspiring me through your blogs while I have been away.  I'm not sure what the future will hold, but I am hoping that it will include a lot more sew-time.  In addition, I'll be sharing some of the past.