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Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic
Did I leave you hanging in suspense about which was the lie in the list from my previous post? From the people who decided to guess, the results were pretty evenly distributed across the three choices.
The logic some of you used to make your choice was really quite good! I had fun reading your guesses.
So without further ado (and in no particular order), here are the rest of the stories:
I once won a three-legged race – without falling down!
Yes, I did in fact win a three-legged race. And yes, my partner and I did it without falling down… while running!
I was in 4th grade and we had a school track & field day, Olympic-type games & events, and competed as classes. We knew ahead of time which events we would be competing in, so my friend and I decided we would practice for the race during recess. I remember classmates being amused as they watched us casually walk around the schoolyard with our legs tied together.
The training really paid off because we could move together without thinking about it by the time we had to race. We got so good at it, the day of the race, we sprinted to the finish line only to turn around and realize everyone else was still at least half the field behind – and most of them were stumbling or already lying in awkward 3-legged heaps along the way.
I have no photographic evidence of that day (I can’t remember if we were even awarded actual ribbons) so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Batgirl is my cousin.
Surprised? You see, Yvonne “Batgirl” Craig is in fact my cousin. My second-cousin-once-removed to be exact. Stated another way, my mom’s grandmother and her grandmother were sisters.
I’ve never actually met her, but there have been a few emails back and forth between my mom/mom’s sister and some of the family on the other branches of the tree. I remember watching reruns of the Batman TV show as a kid and thinking she was so cool. Now when I watch the show, I wish I had all of Barbara Gordon’s clothes in my closet!
I love country music.
When asked what kind of music I would like to listen to, I always answer “anything but country or rap.”
I have very eclectic taste in music. I grew up listening mostly to classical and ‘50s & ‘60s Oldies. My music collection contains a little of everything – Big Band, The Beatles, The Monkees, ABBA, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Broadway musicals, movie soundtracks, techno, synthpop, and mp3s of miscellaneous songs from almost every decade up to the current year just because I like them or have memories associated with them. (Some of the songs in my collection aren’t even in English.)
I can listen to pretty much anything, however, if you make me listen to more than a couple of country songs in a row, I will become more and more irritated. The general whiny sound of modern country music and the style of singing that accompanies it just plain annoys me. There are exceptions, but very few of them.
The one artist I never, EVER get tired of listening to is Owl City. I can go for weeks playing those CDs and nothing else without tiring of them – Adam’s songs just sound happy and have such clever, poetic lyrics full of puns and double entendres that I’m surprised I can sometimes still hear something “new” when I’ve practically worn those discs out.
There’s even an Owl City song that mentions a sewing machine and sewing “miles and miles of thread… in navy and red” :
Hope you enjoyed this bit of blogging fun & games!
“It’s been fun, but now I’ve got to go”:
For many days I have been pondering my Two Truths & A Lie. (Gillian of Crafting A Rainbow started it at the end of this post and MaLora of Bird and Bicycle dared me to join the fun.) I find it hard enough to choose random facts about myself and then trying to come up with a convincing lie made it even more difficult!
So here you go. Can you spot the lie?
I’ll let you know if you guessed correctly in the next post. And now…
I’ve been nominated to join in another blogging “game” or blog hop by Karen of Fifty Dresses about sewing and why we blog about it.
What am I working on?
I’m currently trying to find the motivation to leisure sew (as opposed to hired sewing). I made the mistake of actually starting a written To-Sew list, and it has become a little overwhelming because it’s so long! I’ve been slowly trying to produce practical garments to put in my closet so I’ll have more than just church clothes from my portfolio to wear.
Why do I write?
I guess I write because I feel like more people listen to what I have to say when it’s in print. That way, they have the option of ignoring/skimming a text without feeling like they have to be polite to my face, and those who really want to absorb my meaning can. I find small talk awkward, and when I do join group conversations, I’m often ignored or drowned out by those who are louder and more charismatic.
I started my blog mainly because I was tired of answering the same questions about sewing/costuming over and over in real life. I feel like I’ve been able to write a handful of posts with really useful information that couldn’t easily be found elsewhere online. Google often seems to think so too. =)
Now I find my own blog useful because it’s a bit like a portfolio/diary that I can refer back to when I need to remember when or how I did something.
How does my blog differ from others of its genre?
Well, I suppose my blog is different because I am one of the few sewing bloggers who actually sews professionally during the day. It’s the actual blogging part of the sewing that is my hobby.
How does my writing process work?
I usually start with the photos.
I take a lot of photos during and after a build. (Many teasers end up on Instagram.) I weed through the overabundance of pictures and choose the best ones to edit. Then I try to connect the photos with words.
Once I have my thoughts down in a somewhat logical order, my wonderful editor (aka ever-patient, non-sewing-husband) plods through my droning about things he’s mostly not interested in reading, and makes me sound so much better than I normally would. My readers have no idea how much to thank him! He is also the best blog post title composer – you know all those clever titles? Yeah, all him. My blog would read like a dry history book without him. (I’m actually really worried when he doesn’t fix more than a couple of commas in a post.)
Most of my posts end up being longer than I plan for them to be, but I think because I’m not posting daily, it sort of balances out. At least I hope it does!
I always feel a little guilty about passing these things on, but I would like to know what Catja of Gjeometry and Melanie of The Seeds of 3 would have to say about their process (including a lie!) if they are inclined to play along. I don’t think either of you have been asked, have you? =)
And Karen of Fifty Dresses, do you have Two Truths & A Lie? Thanks for giving me the push to crank out a blog post – I’ve been trying to find the incentive to write for days!
So who wants to guess my lie? Leave your guesses in the comments of this post! (And no, Dad, you can’t play.)
Since social media moves fast and things often get completely missed or quickly buried in the constant flow, I’ve decided to assemble some of the miscellaneous sewing tips I’ve shared on Instagram and publish them together in a single blog post. That way it’s a little easier for you to link, find, and reference later.
So whether you missed them before or just forgot about them (some of these are over a year old!), I hope you savor these quick tidbits! Enjoy! =)
You might recall that I like to trace sewing patterns (especially the vintage ones) to preserve the original. But I also like to use my printer to copy the pieces that are small enough to fit on a page or two.
You can sharpen any kind of metal paper-punch by punching through aluminum foil. Punching through wax paper also helps if a punch is sticking.
My friend discovered that fusible interfacing ironed to the back of a favorite and frequently used sewing pattern makes it much more durable.
When cutting fake fur fabric, cut from the back and cut only the backing. That way you aren’t cutting any of the long fur and you can easily cover the seams in the end.
After some trial and error, I recently determined that pins on the bottom help when sewing fur fabric. Sew with a zig-zag stitch so it’s easier to pick the fur on the front to cover the seams after.
Spray-n-Bond is my new favorite thing! It was the only way I could appliqué stretch crushed velvet on top of another layer of stretch crushed velvet without it shifting all over the place. It even made using a walking foot unnecessary!
Remove beads from the seam allowance by smashing them with a hammer. This will keep all the beading threads intact so the beads you leave on the outside don’t become loose and fall off as easily. (Protect your eyes! Wear safety glasses when pounding beads!)
Ease with pins. (You don’t need to use gathering stitches to help with easing!) I do this all the time and with all ungathered sleeve caps. Pin both ends, then pin the midpoint, and keep pinning the “middles” until you have the ease distributed evenly.
When you need to gather tightly or are using a thick fabric and you’re afraid of breaking a thread when you pull the gather, zig-zag over nylon or upholstery thread (or even dental floss!). You can then pull the stronger thread without fear of it snapping off mid-gather. Just be sure to secure the other end to the fabric or knot it to another row of gathering stitches.
If you have a presser foot with a hole for stitching over cord or trim as pictured above, it’s even easier.
Sew a stitchline to follow when seam allowances are different widths or uneven. This is especially helpful when attaching bias tape without pins. (Larger stitchline at far right was for basting two layers of fabric together.)
A domestic sewing machine rigged to feed cone thread without a cone stand. You can use a roll of tape or a mug to hold the cone.
Create a topstitching guide with painters tape for things like a fly-front zipper. (It took me until the third pair of pants to remember this trick!)
When you have a serged edge that isn’t crossed by perpendicular stitching or serging, tuck the thread tail under the serging using a large needle to prevent it from unraveling.
You can flatten curly plastic boning by ironing it and using steam. Just make sure to iron it in the fabric casing or under a piece of fabric to prevent melting.
Use a small knitting needle under a button when you need to sew a thread shank. Makes for an even and pretty shank once you pull the knitting needle out to wrap the thread.
Snaps have holes in the center for a reason! Mark a center dot on your fabric and pin straight through for perfect placement while sewing.
And finally, my favorite way to handsew, especially buttons – put both ends of the thread through the needle eye and catch the loop after making the first stitch. No knot!
This is particularly helpful when sewing on net or loosely woven fabric when a knot won’t catch and stay.
Do you have any favorite quick sewing tips to add? Share and/or link to them in the comments!
I’ve had a couple of freelance costuming jobs this year that I haven’t really blogged about – partly because there wasn’t much to make a complete post and partly because I just never sat down to go through some of the photos I had already shared elsewhere on the internet. Y’know, lint balls of life.
Back in March and April, I spent time working at The Dallas Opera. (You may remember me mentioning my job at the opera because it was during this time I made my Easter dress.)
They did a production of The Aspern Papers, which was a complete costume build. (Yay! A period costume build!) Usually, they either rent the majority of a show’s costumes or pull them from storage, and then just build just a few key pieces for the leads.
There was lots of menswear and tailoring. But I did get to help with the construction of one dress:
Then I did some work at home (read: not personal projects) like pattern testing Disparate Discipline’s Avocado Hoodie.
In May and June, I once again worked for Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. This year’s summer shows were A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Pericles with costume design by Lyle Huchton.
I had way too much fun sewing Lyle’s designs with the amazing fabrics he bought! You may have realized this from all the photos I posted on Instagram. Here are some of my favorites:
At the end of June (actually the day after I finished Shakespeare), I met fellow costumer Deborah Lynn Dixon, of Colorado. She stumbled across my blog earlier in the year during a bit of random web surfing. We met for lunch while she was passing through the Dallas Area on business.
She has developed an amazing product and technique for embossing fabric with glitter and paint that can look like intricate beadwork.
You can read more about the embossing process here and here. I can’t wait until she starts marketing her embossing supplies and instructions – I want to try it! (psst! Deborah, you need a blog!)
And just before I started sewing for Shakespeare this year, I applied and was hired to work a part-time job at a local fabric store called Fabrique. It’s a nice little apparel fabric store and the owner is willing to work around my unpredictable freelancing schedule. =)
Fabrique has a website but not everything in inventory is listed for online ordering – you just have to ask (phone or email) if you don’t see something you’re looking for on the site. (Right now, there is Free Shipping on orders of $50 or more until August 14!)
So far, I have been pretty good about not bringing all the fabric home with me. I’ve only bought a couple things. One being some of this outer space print chiffon:
I have 3 sewing projects for others in process right now, and I start another long-term freelance costuming job this coming Monday. I’ll share the details of that job and the undisclosed projects as I can in future posts.
Well, enough lint balls. Let’s talk about that giveaway mentioned in the title of this post!
Since I now work part-time at a fabric store, I finally remembered to buy myself some silk organza to use as a press cloth. It’s my favorite type of press cloth because I can actually see what I’m ironing underneath it.
And I bought myself enough so that I could share!
I have 3 small and 1 slightly larger press cloth to give away to 4 lucky winners! (The small size is 18.5in x 13.5in. The large one is 18.5in x 18in.)
To enter to win:
Giveaway is open to all locations. Winners will be chosen at random for the smaller cloths. The large cloth will go to the submitter of the comment that…um…entertains me the most!
Deadline for entry is closed
11:59pm on Friday, August 16, 2013 United States Central Time (GMT -6). I’ll announce the winners in a post on Saturday August 17. See who won in this post.
Press cloths are neatly serged & standing by to be put in envelopes and mailed to new homes!
And one last thing that a lot of you might be interested in: the sale of vintage sewing patterns at Vintage Martini is being discontinued. They just uploaded a ton of new listings and they are marked down to almost nothing! Go check out the great patterns (after you comment of course)!
Just two days after posting about my Liebster Award, I was honored with another blogging award – the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!
Life has kept me rather busy (as soon as I’m able to get some better photos, I will post about my Easter dress!) so I am more than a month overdue for an “acceptance speech”.
Thank you so much for the nomination, Karen! I can’t tell you how honored I am to be on your list of inspiring bloggers! You were the first follower of my blog who I didn’t know in real life, and I am constantly inspired by your blog. You have amazing style, wonderful taste in fabric and patterns, and you teach me so many interesting details about fashion history with your posts! Thank you for the inspiration – I’m delighted that the inspiration is mutual! =)
The rules seem pretty universal for this award:
Okay so more facts about me. Umm…
(Okay, just two more! Come on randomness…I can do this! *pep talk*)
6. My favorite color is green (especially shades of lime and grass) but orange is a very close second.
7. I finally joined the 21st century and got a smartphone. So now when I’m not at home, I can take emails (the limited access to email was getting to be a career problem) and Twitter with me. And now that my phone has a decent camera, I got an Instagram account.
And now for the easy list – my blogroll (in no particular order)! Many of the blogs that inspire me already have the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, but if any of the following bloggers don’t have it and would like to claim one for themselves, consider your blog nominated and do with it what you will. =)
Blogs I’ve followed for a year or more because they inspire, make me think, and/or teach me things I did not know:
Fifty Dresses by Karen (My nominator who also inspires me.)
Three Dresses Project by Leila (Sewcialist extraordinaire who introduced me to the Twitterverse)
Cation Designs by Cindy (Queen of the geeky bedsheet dress!)
The Vintage Traveler by Lizzie (If you love vintage clothing and fashion history, this is a blog not to be missed!)
EPBOT by Jen (DIY craft geek who is also the first blogger I ever followed regularly when a friend sent me the link to her hilarious Cake Wrecks blog just a couple months after she started it. EPBOT quickly became my favorite when she started it as her second blog.)
A Girl in Winter by a self-taught seamstress (who’s an amazingly FAST learner!)
Drawing Saudade by Saudi (I’ve followed her for almost a year now)
Blogs of some of my inspiring friends that I actually know in person (and many of which I helped setup):
Down by the Ash Tree by Ashley (my sister’s food & various domestic pursuits blog)
Purple Powder Puff by Marlene (my professional makeup artist friend)
art-T-dolls by Traci (friend and fellow professional costumer)
The Life and Times of Athene by Athene (who I’ve known since 8th grade and always writes stuff that amuses me)
Barbara Knits by Barbara (my amazingly talented knitting friend, who I have more to write about in a future post)
Blogs of some of my inspiring new Sewcialist Twitter friends:
Love-Teach-Sew by Stephanie
Bird and Bicycle by MaLora Ann
Thimble & Cork by Kacie, a fellow Texan
Disparate Disciplines by Mari
Gjeometry by Catja
Sew Exhausted by Laurie (and her cousin Kerrielee)
A Make It Yourself Mom’s Diary by Laura
Sparkly Super Nova by Nova, who “lives on a cloud with her unicorn” (best location description ever!)
Kadiddlehopper by Katie
Sew and So by Becky
Musings of a Seamstress by Sarah
Crafting a Rainbow by Gillian
Sew Little Time by Joanne
I know I’m leaving out blogs that just haven’t made it into my reader yet. (I have so many wonderful conversations with those of you on Twitter, I sometimes forget to read your blogs if I don’t catch a link when it’s tweeted.)
Just look at the profiles of people I follow on Twitter if you want to find more blogs! Or look at the blogs of those who regularly comment here – I often spend time reading theirs. =)
The online sewing, crafting, diy-ing community is always inspiring! May we continue to inspire and encourage each other!
I’ve recently been bestowed a blogging award… twice!
While I was busy sewing cheer uniforms, I was awarded a Liebster Award by Julie of ParyMoppins.net (you may remember her vintage hat that I restored).
And before I had a chance to “accept” it, my new blogging friend (via Twitter) Stephanie of Love-Teach-Sew also awarded me the Liebster!
I am doubly honored. =)
I do have to say that a lot of these blogging awards confuse me. I think I’m just too logical to completely understand them, and the rules always seem to change as they get passed around from blog to blog.
Case in point, the rules from both my nominators were completely different when it came to passing it on. I’m so bad about passing awards on (sorry!) because a) it seems that half of the blogs I would nominate already have the award and b) the rules usually disqualify the other half.
Anyway, to show my appreciation to my sweet nominators, I will combine their questions into a list of 11 and share 11 random facts about myself. (The number 11 is inexplicably the one consistent thing about all the versions of the Liebster Award rules.)
I hope everyone enjoys the randomness… with pics! =)
Okay, your turn! Share something random/funny/interesting in the comments. =)
… or do other people also see a dinosaur head when they look at a modern sewing machine?
No, I… I don’t smoke. Why do you ask?
Anyway, I’ve been looking at sewing machines with a different eye this week, and I’ve always vaguely thought they look like dinosaurs. But since I’m usually only looking at the needle area of whatever machine I’m using, I haven’t really “backed up” and consciously studied the overall shape in a while.
Today, I drew this random sketch:
Can you tell I’ve spent a few days sewing machine shopping? I think I need to clean up the sketch (maybe add a bow tie) and put it on a t-shirt, hehe.