Sunday, November 29, 2015

Falling Behind So What Do You Do?

I've fallen behind in posting and this is definitely not a good thing if you are a blogger.  So to catch up on my latest sewing escapades of which I will post pictures soon, let's begin.  I've been totally enamored with Pinterest which I've come to believe is a very addictive thing.  There are so many projects that you could be on there for days, weeks, and months and still not be able to possibly decide which ones to pursue.  I have pinned so many ideas that I've become completely overwhelmed and have just stepped away from the site for a brief moment.  One night I found myself on it well into the wee hours of the next day.  I knew this was a problem.

So I have partaken in sewing a project or two or perhaps I could do my whole 365 just from Pinterest.   I've have created a tissue cover.  I thought those might make cute little gifts.  I mean who can have enough tissue covers to keep in their bags and purses right?  A very easy project I might add and it takes less than 10 minutes to make.  I messed up the first one so I had to use the handy seam ripper ( A sewer's best friend!) and then redid it and it came out great.

The next set of projects were pillowcases for my youngest daughters.  Well it started out as a mom and daughter sewing bonding thing for the first pillowcase and then wound up being a just me thing for the second one.  The "burrito roll" method makes doing these a snap and they can be completed in about  90 minutes if you are not teaching someone.

I finally sewed the over-sized fleece blanket for my husband.  Who knew that over-size fleece was so incredibly warm and fits a queen size bed very nicely. Unfortunately football season is over for my son because they lost their last playoff game.  Touching moment because he's a senior so all you football moms with senior sons you know what I'm talking about.  Because it doesn't get really cold in my part of Texas until about now, having the experience of hot cocoa and a warm blanket in the stadium is out for us at least until next year or if we are lucky enough to go to a UT Longhorn  or Dallas Cowboy game.... well probably not for now.  None the less it will still get used because I forsee many more cold nights a comin'!!

Now I do like to quilt as well and I haven't really done much quilting in a good while.  There have been several blocks I've been wanting to test out and so I finally was able to sit down and give it a try.  The block is called the Lemoyne Star or Eight-point star.  It looks complicated because you are using 45 degree diamonds but after watching this wonderful tutorial put out by The Fat Quarter Shop (an online Central Texas grown quilt shop) several times over, I finally got up the nerve and gave it a shot.  I'm not completely done with the block yet but I will post the Star that I have completed thus far.  I'm so proud!!  This is my first attempt at this block but I figure after I make several more I should have it down pack.

Well, yes I've fallen behind but as they say........fall down and then get back up.  Thanksgiving is over and I'm very grateful for the nice break and of course I can't wait for December.  I'm really getting in the spirit of sewing gifts.

For now my friends I must sign off.  Pictures of my projects coming soon as this post will be updated.


Sincerely,

The Sew Stormer

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Maxi Skirt Adventure

My First Maxi Skirt.  Pattern by Simple Simon and Company at SimpleSimonandco.com
This was my first attempt at making a true genuine Maxi Skirt.  I have always wanted to make one of these skirts but sometimes working with knits can be tricky.  However, when I saw this live tutorial on my favorite Youtube channel " Missouri Star Quilt Company with Jenny Doan, I just couldn't resist giving it a shot.  Now a couple of things that I've not done before and that is work with a garment pattern that I had to download and put together.  This was challenge number one.  You will see more and more these days pattern makers (especially independent pattern makers) giving you the option of downloading the pattern.  The plus side of this is that you  save some money. However, the downside is that it can be a lot of pages to print on your printer.  What I loved about this pattern is that the tutorial was online the creators offered it for free and also offer the paper pattern of which you can purchase from their website.  Since I wasn't quite sure about tackling this project although it is a VERY SIMPLE project to attempt and a great one for beginners, I opted to go free and download it.  This challenged me to try something new and reminded me of my challenge that I made myself as part of this yearlong journey that I was to GROW in my sewing.  I'm glad I did.  Now I went to my local Joann's and purchased about 2 1/2 yards of knit fabric when it was on sale for 40% off.  This particular fabric runs about $14.99/yd regularly.  So getting it at about almost half price, that wasn't so bad.  I decided to go with something for Fall because more than likely I will wear this with boots.  I loved the hounds-tooth print.  I'm a petite lady and so I don't wear really long skirts too often other than with boots during the cold months.  I haven't done this during the summer yet so I suppose I'll  try it this upcoming spring.  The designers also have a knit fabric collection that they designed for Riley & Blake.  The prints are really nice.  I will be purchasing some at a later date.  You can purchase them from the Missouri Star Quilt Company for a very reasonable price.  You can also purchase a sample bundle collection from the designers at their website (5 yds of 1 yd of the prints from the collection).

  The beauty of this pattern is that it runs from a XS to a 2XL so just about anyone can enjoy wearing this skirt.  Thank the designers.  My biggest challenge was working with the elastic.  If you look at the picture you will see that the elastic is attached directly to the skirt. You may see more and more easy projects where you just attach the knit elastic to the material to make thes easy skirts.  The 1"- 2"  knit elastic comes in a variety of colors.  It is very soft and does stretch very nicely without losing its shape.  My challenge was stretching it to get a good fit to the skirt as I was attaching it.  I'm going to keep making some more so that I can get this down a little more efficiently.  Now some things I attempted while trying to make this skirt.


You can make this skirt either with a regular sewing machine using a stretch stitch or with a serger.   I also had a serger cutter attachment foot which performs like a serger but on a regular sewing machine.
I got a bit frustrated and so I just went back to using a regular stretch stitch and everything turned out just fine.  I guess my next set of challenges are to go get out my serger and do a few projects on it so I can get better at using it and probably make these skirts a little faster.
The designers of the pattern estimate that the skirt is a 20-30 minute project.  How cool is that? Well with that my friends I will go ahead and sign off.


I encourage you to give this project a try.  Post your  comments and photos.


Sincerely,

The Sew Stormer

Friday, October 9, 2015

Scraps..........What to do with them? Using my imagination

    Okay, so I've now been able to really start sewing and I guess if I were a perfectionist, I would consider myself way behind but I will not allow myself to put that kind of undo pressure on myself because that would defeat the purpose of this being a sewing journey.  I will get the projects done one at a time.

So today or rather last night and into the wee hours of this morning I focused on some quilt blocks.  Rather than go out and buy more material,( an addictive sewer and quilter habit) I decided to utilize the huge fabric stash that I already owned.  Now I'm so glad that I had previously taken the time to actually cut some of my fabric stash of scraps into 2 1/2 inch, 3 1/2 , and 5 inch squares.  This was an idea that I got from the book Scrap Therapy Cut the Scraps: 7 Steps to Quilting Your Way through Your Stash by Joan Ford.


Now she recommends 2 inch squares but I love 2.5 so much I chose to go that route instead.  I have to say that utilizing this method with your scraps or quilting fabric in general has been very efficient and really does allow you to just jump right into sewing.  I put my squares into those clear plastic boxes.  Now this first stash of squares  I cut up a long while back so I saved a lot of time.  I'm so glad I did.  I can't begin to tell you just how much this handy method has saved.  My only problem was what was I going to make because nothing really matched .




So rather than mull over it anymore, I opted to just jump right in and I'm glad that I did.  It gave me an opportunity to practice my quarter-inch seams. Needless to say many of the blocks that I created were very simple.  Just a plain 4 patch block.  I came up with a few variations and color combinations of solids, prints, and batiks.  I even did some upcyling of old jeans and mixed them with some flannel and cotton fabrics. I have to now figure out how to post my pictures so that you all can see my creations.

I can't quite decide what I'm going to make so I'm just going to go with the flow. I'm so glad I have a  1/4 in foot.  It has worked wonders with keeping my seams straight.  I love that foot.  So I'm thinking what do with these blocks?  Another day for another time......................


Sincerely,

The Sew Stormer

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The 365 Day Sewing Journey

     It's October 1st and I've decided to challenge myself to improve my sewing and quilting skills by taking on personal journey of sewing or quilting a project a day.  At the end of this journey I will have created 365 projects by October 5th of 2016.  One might ask what gave me this crazy idea and why do it?  Well actually I got the idea from that wonderful movie "Julie and Julia".  I thought to myself if someone could do it with cooking, what would it look like if you tried it with sewing and quilting?  Now mind you I don't have a great deal of time as I am a doctoral student, full-time teacher, mother of five, and wife to a wonderful man of twenty years.  By no means am I trying to be "Superwoman", actually I reject the title, notion, and the thought.  I give myself and any woman who is trying to balance a family along side other endeavors that she might want to do permission to do so as well.  However, I have committed myself to carve out time in my 24 hour day to create.

   I've always found being behind a sewing machine and listening to the ultimate sound of it's humming as I stitch pieces of fabric together to be one of the greatest forms of therapy.  It's calming, yet challenging to the brain.  The joy of creating something from nothing as thread, machine, presser foot, and fabric join forces together as no other set of tools can do.  They become unstoppable, they are magicians in actions.  The director behind the magic is the brains with the vision, she or he is "The Sewer".  I hope to accomplish a few things while on this journey and they are to 1) become a better skilled sewer and quilter. 2) Have absolute fun with this even if a project doesn't turn out as expected. 3) Persevere and Persist even if a time comes when I may not feel like being behind the machine. 4) 365 different projects that will challenge and allow me to grow as a "creationist" who might actually have some talent in the end.

    Today, since I just came up with the idea will just merely be an introduction to the journey.  Thanks to Pinterest, Youtube, and other wonderful sources out there I'm guaranteed to not run out of possibilities for potential projects.  Thank you social media for without you in this 21st century of crafting where would we be?  Since this is also my first time blogging, I've figured out that I have much to learn and grow at the same time.  First of all I have absolutely no idea if anyone will even follow me on this journey but I'll take the optimistic route that there is some soul out there in the world of social media and internet land that is just waiting for some good entertainment and may have pity and follow me.

    So any new followers that I make along this journey will be nothing but a blessing and let me be the first, if not the only one to welcome you to my journey and perhaps inspire you to join me or just come for "creative therapy" as an escape from the "real world".
Well this concludes today's post and as Carol Burnett often said at the end of her show ..." I'm so glad that we had this time together"  Sew Strong until next time.....




Sincerely,

The Sew Stormer




Sewing in the Spring and Summertime!!

    It has been a while since my last post and much has been going on.  I have been sewing a variety of projects working on different skil...