Friday, September 30, 2011

Self Stitched September

 September has been absolutely insane.  So, so busy.  Yet I kept my self stitched pledge!  I made it through the month with the exception of two days, though I did make sure to wear self stitched pj pants those nights.  I was worried about making it through the month on me made duds since most of my warm weather clothing is pretty casual.  But I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too difficult.  I enjoy these challenges so much.  I love checking out the flickr pool and seeing what everyone else is up to.  I think these months are so valuable because it's a truly accurate picture of what other sewists wear on a day to day basis.  The real deal.  And so much information on my own self stitched items.  What works, what doesn't.  I got rid of several things and tweaked a few, like my kindergarten blues shirt above.  I took off the old collar, which I was never happy with, and replaced it with just the collar band.

Anyway, I decided to just do a round up post at the end of the month.  Instead of posting a collage, I just picked a few favorites from the month.  Can you tell I had fun with Picnik?  Yep, I did.  The text and dates were inspired by a lesson I was teaching my fifth graders- combining text and images.  Anyway, once I started adding the dates I couldn't quit. 

A new pink tee, from my favorite Burda 2-2011 long sleeve tee pattern.

The photo assignment was to show yourself eating or drinking.
Polka dot tee from that same Burda 2-2011 pattern and the skirt is a rtw maxi dress I chopped the top off of and put some elastic in the waist.

Not an exciting self stitched item, but I love this photo.

I am in love with my Parfait.

And this photo makes me long for another trip to Beaufort.
Pink ruffled skirt made from my self-drafted skirt block.

If you'd like to see the rest of my photos, you can check out my flickr set here.

Also, I was featured over at the Be@Home Decor Blog.  There's a little blurb about me on their Best of the Web series.  I'm so flattered- thanks so much!
Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

For Nerds Who Love Words

I've been playing around with Tagxedo all day.  Have you seen this yet?  I thought I'd share.  It takes words and turns them in to a "visually stunning word clouds."    I was introduced to it at a teacher meeting the other day and I can't stop playing with it.  I love the idea of turning words in to a visual image.  It parallels quite a few things I'm teaching about right now- and I'm a big nerd who thinks words are really cool. (Obviously.  Don't we all, who blog?)  You can type in text, cut and paste or just enter a website address and it will pull all the words from the web page.  I entered my blog address and this is what came up.  Of course the word sewing is the largest.  Two that crack me up are totally and hours- apparently I'm a valley girl who talks a lot about how long it takes to sew something.  And where in the world did bubbles come from? You can also upload images and it will turn your cloud into that shape- hence the sewing machine.  So much nerdy fun.  Check it out.   

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cropped and Chopped

Something new for me!  
I wasn't willing to give up on this one though I'm kind of on the fence about it now.  I royally screwed up when I was cutting out the fabric.  Really.  Actually, I royally screwed it up several times during the making of.  This is a light weight, super soft cotton voile that I ordered online.  It was one of those last minute purchases to fill up the shopping cart for free shipping (curse you,!).   I was pleasantly surprised when I received the fabric.  The print is so large scale that the picture online only showed a small portion and I was psyched about the funky print.   I wanted to use a pattern that would showcase the print. 

I planned to make Simplicity 2245, the longer version with pockets.  This is obviously not what I ended up with.  I stared at the print on this fabric for several days, formulating a plan in my head of how to cut it.  It's a bit intimidating to cut a fabric like this.  I was a tiny bit short but I can usually squeeze patterns out with a bit less, so I totally ignored the fact that you need more fabric to deal with large prints.    I figured I had it all sorted and cut everything out.  Totally messed it all up.  I scrambled to use the leftover pieces to save the top.  The back pieces and center front pieces were fine, but the side front pieces weren't.  I tried to angle the print in because I was a little short on fabric and somehow I cut the pieces so the print was going the same direction. Ugh.   

I decided to piece it to try and make it work.  I treated the top piece as if it was a yoke and then I added a piece on the bottom that I was sure would be hidden within the pocket.  It wasn't.   It just didn't look right, especially on.  The voile is too light weight and it was really clingy at the bottom.  So I chopped it all off.

I should have just made the shorter version to begin with.  It would have saved me from the "creative" cutting job I tried to maneuver.  The cropped length was a little too short so I added on the border at the hem.  The polka dot fabric is heavier than the voile and it helps weigh it down a bit.  My favorite part is the pink and white striped button at the back.  The neck ended up being really wide so I closed up the back opening and just put the button and loop on the neck band.


Quite the ordeal for a top that should have been super quick.   Lesson learned that large scale prints take more fabric, not less.  That's just the way it is sometimes.  I'm on the fence about it because of all the piecing.  Does it look too patchwork-y, if you know what I mean?  Not that patchwork is always a bad thing.
I really like the pattern.  I do want to make the tunic version but next time I'll use a fabric that's a little more forgiving.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I May Have Lost My Mind

Things have been a little slow here on the blog lately.  But it's not for a lack of sewing.  Only that I've been sewing for someone else.  More specifically, a client.  An actual total stranger customer, believe it or not.  I made a set of crib bumpers from scratch, two pillows and a crib size comforter for pay.  Yes, I may have lost my mind.... 

 Here's all the loot laid out on my guest bed, minus one other pillow.

I got a call a few weeks back from a coworker of my friend I redid the nursery chair for. The call was to ask if I'd be interested in sewing some baby bedding for her. My honest-to-goodness first thought was no way jose. I didn't think I'd have the time nor the proper sewing skills for it. But then I thought about it again. I knew I could do it. And I knew it would be top quality when I was finished with it. And I knew I wanted to try out making things for pay to see how I liked it. A trial run as a real seamstress (in the professional sense of the word). I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and give it a whirl. And I'm glad I did because I learned so much.

All the fabric was already picked out and purchased.  It helped that I really liked all the fabric she picked out.  I like that it's not traditional little girl stuff.  My client (sounds so funny, doesn't it?) had some specific ideas of what she wanted, which was fabulous.  I snooped around some baby stores to take some measurements.  A local home decor fabric store had a sample bedding display which was what pretty much what she wanted-- just some minor changes.  The pricing to have it made there was steep.  I estimated how many hours it would take me and came up with a dollar amount based on that.

The crib bumper pads are cut from a one inch piece of foam and a layer of batting.   I covered the foam with muslin.  The pads can be removed so the bumper covers can be washed.   The cording goes all the way around.  Ties are made from bias strips of fabric.  The bumpers were the most time consuming part of the project.  The pillows are pretty straightforward.  Just a pillow.  Has an opening in the back like the bumpers.

 The comforter was my favorite part.  I was worried about making the comforter because it was something I had never tried before.  Two different fabrics with a layer of batting sandwiched between.  I knew I had to tack the batting somehow, so it wouldn't shift in the wash.  I used embroidery floss and made a little x every few inches to tack the batting to the backing fabric.  Then I stitched the top piece and cording like the pillows and bumpers.   I wanted to make little o's to go along with the x's, but J told me to slow down.  Not everyone likes super cutesy-ness ;)

And now for the million dollar question--- did I actually make the dollar amount per hour I planned on?

Nope. Not even close. But it's okay. I made a paper pattern for the bumpers so next time (yes, there already is a next time- for a friend) I will be much faster. When I estimated my hours initially, J said I better triple it. I thought nah, I've got this. Well, it wasn't quite triple the amount of hours but it was definitely more than double.  Live and learn.   It was a good experience and I'm glad I did it.   What about you? Anyone else ever sew anything for pay? How do you calculate your rate and the amount of time spent sewing?

After all this work sewing I'm feeling selfish.  Time to go sew something pour moi.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last Minute Addition

I waited until the last minute, but decided to have a go again.  I participated in Me-Made-March '11 and enjoyed the challenge.  The community aspect was my favorite part.  So much fun to see what everyone was up to and what folks wear on a day to day basis.  I was also pleasantly surprised that it wasn't obvious to people (in my everyday life) that I was wearing me-made duds all month.  I'm not upping the ante this time, though.  I'm still sticking with one item.  I did an inventory of my me-made things and I seem to have a lot more cooler weather items that I won't be able to wear this month.  It has been 95 degrees or hotter here with no end in sight.  I'm so ready for fall.

I'm determined to take photos everyday.  I found it really useful last time around.  I'll probably post some every week or so, though I'll try to add them to the flickr group regularly.  Or maybe just wait until the end of the month and do one big collage.  I kind of like that idea.  I'm shooting for easy and convenient.  Today I wore my back to school skirt.  I may have to make another pencil skirt as this one has seen lots of wear already.  Looking forward to this month!