9/28/2014

{Links} Sewing::14.09.28

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Back


Another week, another round-up.

1. As if we sewists need another reason to sew and avoid fast fashion. {Medium}

2. Mise-en-place. A phrase associated with chefs and their insane organizational efficiency. Can sewists take a page out of that set-up to become more efficient with our practice? I know I definitely could (*goes looking for those shears and chalk pen and ruler I was JUST using*) {Organize Like a Chef//NPR}

3. Charlotte's post this week had me re-thinking the term "handmade" among a handful of other topics. The discussion in the comments is equally good (and I discovered more great sewing blogs!) {Seam Ripped}

4. My head was spinning while reading about all of Brooke's freelance gigs. Costume design sounds so exciting! She also linked to a video "what's in a ballet shoe". I did pointe for one summer when I was 9 or 10 just to get a taste for it. I never would have been able to hack it as a pro ballet dancer, but I've always been incredibly fascinated by ballerinas and the very personal and methodical relationship they have with their shoes. (Custom Style}

5. Ok, not sewing related, unless I can tie this into the sewing construction of tutus, but speaking of ballerinas, this video showcases the process three ballerinas go through to break-in their pointe shoes. I first watched it without sound and I still thought it was beautifully breathtaking. My mom always said dancers have the most injuries behind NFL players. And I bet that doesn't even take into account the destruction of their toes and feet. {The Australian Ballet//YouTube}

What articles/blogs have you come across that piqued your interest this week?

9/23/2014

{Finished} Ohio Star Block/Hourglass Block Baby Quilt

quilting, quilting, quilting......I don't know what to think about it anymore. I really enjoyed quilting when I first started (maybe because of the newness of it all), but now that I'm really into apparel sewing, quilting has kinda lost its luster. That's not to mean that I don't want to do it ever, but man oh man, there is so much repetition in quilting and it really takes A LOT of patience.

Baby Boy Quilt Top

Anyway, onto the quilt. You may not believe it after what I just said, but I really did want to make this quilt and I am so glad I did. This quilt is for a very good friend of mine from high school. High School! ....that was so long ago! When I found out earlier in the year she was expecting her first child, I immediately knew I wanted to make her a quilt. Then I found out she was having a boy and I was able to start shopping for fabric, probably THE BEST part of quilting! And seriously, there are some ridiculously cute fabrics out there.

Baby Boy Quilt Backing


I subscribe to Sew Modern's email newsletter and as soon as I saw the white New York City fabric I knew it was going to be the backing. My friend and her husband lived in New York together for years before recently relocating outside the US. Even though this quilt is technically for the baby, I thought my friend would appreciate the nod to NYC. I considered doing some embroidering along the building outlines, but I was worried it would look weird. {ok, I'll be completely honest. I was also running out of time to finish the quilt and was concerned about how long the embroidery would take.}

Hourglass Blocks

While I knew what the backing would be, I had no idea what I would select for the front of the quilt. I walked around Sew Modern looking at every single bolt of fabric until I saw a quilt hanging in the store with a rocket theme fabric and instantly knew I had to have it! The fabric would probably play a bit better on a larger scale (which it did on that sample quilt), but I kinda like being able to read and see bits and pieces of it all over the quilt.

Hourglass Blocks

I had a difficult time selecting what quilt block to make. While I really like the "plus" design I made last year, I didn't want to make it a second time. {I also realized this is the third baby boy quilt I've made. My friends need to start having girls.} After looking through the archives of some of the quilters I totally admire, I ended up being inspired by Rita's (of Red Pepper Quilts) Ohio Star quilt, which uses the hourglass block with a plain square. I used her tutorial for making the hourglass blocks and changed the sizes to accommodate the finished quilt size I wanted to make {36"x42"}. The finished blocks and plain squares in this quilt are 3"x3".

Hourglass Blocks

I kept things simple {and easy} by only quilting in a simple grid. I didn't want anything to distract from the city print in the backing so I used white thread in the bobbin and navy for the top. I made the binding on the cross-grain using this tutorial.

NYC Fabric

I have always made bias binding, but after reading a couple arguments for cross-grain binding, I decided to give it a try. And then I machine-sewed the binding on by stitching in the ditch. I think this method will provide a more secure binding than if I hand-sewed the binding on {oh and it was easy and quick}.

Hourglass Blocks

After procrastinating for over 4 months, I rushed through this quilt in a couple weekends. I think in order for me to really enjoy quilting, I need to not rush myself. Seems pretty obvious, huh? I had a lot of fun learning how to make hourglass blocks, which is something I had wanted to make for awhile, probably for a year or two.

Finished Quilt for a Baby Boy

Here are the details in case you're interested. I bought most of the fabric in Spring 2014, so it's possible some of it isn't available anymore or has limited availability. Instead of linking to a specific online store, I included the designer's website and the full name of the collection and print so you can search for it and buy from your preferred vendor.

Fabrics
Timeless Treasures - Great Gotham Cityscape
Riley Blake - Rocket Age - Captain
Riley Blake - Rocket Age - Ads
Sarah Johnston - Mod Geek - Molecular Impossibility
(I didn't realize until I was searching online for the proper names of the fabric collections and designers, that this particular print was part of Sarah's winning collection for the Spoonflower/Fabric8 Geek Chic Challenge)
Andie Hanna - Fox and the Houndstooth - Dashing Bowties
Kona Navy Solid
Geometric Print (bought at Jo-Anns)

9/21/2014

{Links} Sewing::14.09.21

Bias Tape and Piping
Bias Binding and Piping from Momen+
I'm going to try something new here. A weekly round-up of sewing related blog posts, articles, and snippets from the internet.

I know a lot of us subscribe to a ton (ok, hundreds....maybe thousands??) of blogs and we don't always have the chance to read through every single post. And some of us carefully curate our feed to a select few as not to be overwhelmed. I follow a bunch of blogs through Feedly and I like the "saved for later" feature because it allows me to easily select blog posts that I want to reference later. I know there are so many blogs out there that I haven't heard of so hopefully I link to something new that you may enjoy!

1. Ever seen Spool Blocks and thought, 'how the heck do you sew that?' Well, check out Rita's tutorial on spool blocks and nine-patch blocks. Every single one of her posts, and especially her tutorials, always makes me want to dig into my stash and get quilting. {Rita//Red Pepper Quilts}

2. This isn't entirely sewing related, but I know a lot of sewists use Twitter so this might be of interest to you. Apparently Twitter changed something recently about how your page looks, so here's a tutorial for adding a background to your Twitter Status Updates. {Dana//Wonder Forest}

3. This article/review about The Fabric Store and its LA location is from March, but I just recently came upon it when I was trying to find additional info about the store to send to my mom. I was very surprised to read about how they come about acquiring their fabric. Regardless, that store has amazing fabric that I haven't been able to find anywhere else. {The Fabric Store//LA Times}

4. Another LA Times article to share, but this time about highlighting a garment broker.....what the what is that?! I was incredibly fascinated by this article. There's so much business related stuff that I just can't comprehend. Like, how does somehow even know how to get into that sort of stuff? {Garment Broker//LA Times}

5. Here's a tutorial for installing a metal zipper. As I was reading this I realized I have never used a metal zipper in any of my projects. I shall have to try it soon! Another thing to mention in relation to Chase's post, is that she showcases a lot of projects that use small scraps. I have a bunch of scraps laying around, mostly because I can't bring myself to throw them away, but I never know how to incorporate them into my projects. I should take inspiration from Chase and start making some scrappy projects! {Chase//1/4" mark}

Hope all of you had a relaxing weekend. The temps have finally dropped here in LA from the 90s to the low-mid 80s so I was definitely much happier this weekend. That may not seem like a big deal for most of you in locations where 90s are the norm for summer. However, in LA most houses don't have central AC because you really only need it for maybe a week or two out of every year. But ohhhh shiiiiiit, when that week hits, you wanna die.

Have a good week, everyone!

9/11/2014

Tis the Season of Broken Irons

I could sense my iron was on the fritz when the digital temp guide wouldn't stop blinking, indicating that it was still heating up. Unfortunately, my cottons never got very crisp in the past month or two.

Recently I noticed that whenever I pushed the button to select the next temp level the once loud 'BEEP' was now a feeble, barely noticeable 'beep'. At first I thought my hearing was going bad ('oh for the love of gawd!' I thought), but then I came to my senses and realized my iron was nearing its death. And at the worst possible moment. I was in the midst of making a quilt as a gift for my close friend's first born! A quilt requires many seams. A quilt requires much pressing. A quilt requires high temps to get those seams pressed open!



I lugged out my vintage GE iron that I scored for $5 at an estate sale a year ago. I didn't know at that the time whether it worked, but for $5 I figured it would at the very least be an inexpensive decoration. I found out soon after that it did work (with a slight smell of something burning!). However I didn't use it much after that first test, because hello, burning smell. don't want to burn the whole house down.

But I was desperate for an iron. Thankfully the burning smell eventually dissipated and I was left with a sturdy, heavy hunk of metal that heated up quick and stayed hot! It got me through the quilt and some lightweight blouse making. And then one day. Poof. The heat disappeared and I was left with a cold iron.



Around this time I saw Heather Lou of Closet Case Files write about needing a new iron. I saw either on my blog feed or instagram that another fellow sewist was without iron too. I read through all of the comments on Heather Lou's post hoping to find a consensus on what iron to buy. However, despite a resounding love of gravity feeds, which I am not in the market for, there was so much variety in the reviews of irons. It's a similar scenario on other review sites (Amazon, BBB, Target, etc.).

Funny enough, one iron that has a ton of reviews and a fairly high average on Amazon is the exact iron that felled me: the Black and Decker Digital Advantage. I never thought it was that amazing, but then I remembered that I bought it sometime before September 2008. (I was still living in Long Beach when I bought it and I moved out of LB in 9/2008). For simplicity's sake Let's say I bought it in 2007. That sucker lasted almost 8 years. I don't know what the median age is for irons in the modern era, but I think anything over 5 and close to 10 is pretty good. Sure, I couldn't put any water in it the last year of its life or else risk leaking water everywhere. But since I wasn't trying to win any ironing awards I did without any steam function and resorted to a separate spray bottle to get out tough wrinkles.

I've been putting off buying a new iron for about a week or two. But as any sewist knows, you need an iron! I finally sucked it up and went to Target during my lunch break this week. Target doesn't have a big selection of irons in-store so my decision was already halfway made at that point. Thankfully my cell service was working pretty well to help me find some reviews. The online reviews (from Amazon) of the three Black and Decker models offered in-store were terrible. A couple Shark models were available, but I couldn't find many reviews so I passed on those. There were three Rowenta models and, while Rowenta seems to be a love it or hate it brand, I decided to buy the most expensive one, the DW8061. I don't have any good reason for why I put down the $50 model and grabbed the more expensive one. I guess I'm just hoping that more money means better product.....*fingers crossed!*



90 bucks later (ugh!) and I'm the proud owner of a new iron. I partially regret not buying the cheaper model, but I'm going to submit this purchase into the Citi Price Rewind program (with which my husband has had good success) and see if the price goes down low enough to get some sort of refund.



I have no idea how this iron will work. I really just want something with steam (I really have missed this function) and an iron that will have reliable temperature, especially a setting hot enough to get my cottons and linens crisp! If I remember, I'll do a proper review of this iron in 6-12 months once I've had adequate time to discover any nuances.

What iron do you have? Are there any brands that you absolutely love or stay away from?

8/29/2014

Labor Day Sewing Plans


A 3-day weekend is upon us in the States! Yes!! I don't know what I'm more excited about: finally entering September or having an "extra" day to mill around.

I don't know about you, but August has felt so freaking long. It's the same number of days as July, but for some reason July seemed to fly by. Despite taking a vacation in early August (see photos above and below....I Miss You, Seattle!!), I feel like this month has been lingering around for way too long. It's time to kick August to the curb and get around to Fall.


There is some house stuff I want to accomplish this weekend, but I mainly want to tackle some sewing projects! The past several weekends were devoted to sewing a gift, but now that's it finished I can go back to selfish sewing. I made a trip to the FIDM scholarship store during my lunch break this week and oooh boy, it felt good. I had a self-imposed ban on shopping there until I finished the gift I was making so it's probably been a month since I've been there. Somewhat disappointingly, there was nothing there that made me think "omfg I have to have it!", but I did purchase a couple items.


The blue safety pin is a silk fabric that was $5/yard. It looked to be about 45" wide so I got 1.5 yards. I'm not sure what the other two fabrics are; they're silk-like, but were only $2/yard so probably not silk and most likely polyester. Both were about 60" wide so I only got 1yd of each. Difficult to tell in the photo (due to the flash...sorry), but the polka dot fabric is a bit sheer so I'll need to wear a camisole underneath whatever blouse I end up making, but no biggie.

I want to make another Sewaholic Belcarra blouse (with a few modifications to fit better) and another version of a really simple McCalls blouse that I just recently made (and will share soon!). If you can't tell, I'm on a mission to make simple blouses. Tops that I can easily throw on and pair with slacks or a suit to wear to work. I'm sick and tired of paying up the wazoo for silky-but-not-really-silk blouses at Ann Taylor and BR. It's about time I make some myself.

I also stopped by Mood this week on my way home from work one day. I almost had to call an audible because I couldn't find parking on my first drive-by. But I persevered and found a spot on my second try. I forgot that during weekday rush hour you can't park along the street and a nearby open lot is filled with office workers in the area so available parking is significantly reduced. But in the end, my trip was meant to be! If you find yourself in a similar situation, just circle around a couple times and look out for permit parking restrictions.

My main reason for shopping at Mood was to get fabric for my husband's vest! I recently made a muslin of Simplicity 4762 Version C and it fit pretty well (look beyond the hokey pattern cover!). Honestly, the pattern seems so freaking simple because there aren't any frills. The flap on the front is just that. A flap. Welt pocket fake-out! I offered to make actual welt pockets, but my husband said it wasn't necessary......but I might try my hand at it. I mean where else is he going to stash his monocle and pocket watch?

The main hangup in finishing this vest was just a matter of finding the right fabric. Mood has a pretty good selection of suiting fabric, although the first 10 fabrics I cooed over were in the $60-$80/yd range! yikes! I eventually found a couple Georgio Armani fabrics for $20/yd, which seemed like a steal at that point. Gah, Georgio Armani is a steal?! wtf. Luckily the pattern only calls for 1 1/8, but I got 1 1/4 just in case. I also needed a lining and oh man am I terrible at selecting lining. The lining I liked the most based on touch unfortunately had a Balenciaga logo all over it. Since the vest has the lining fabric used on the right side for the back bodice, I didn't think my husband would appreciate such a distracting logo. I ended up getting an inexpensive Thakoon acetate lining for a whopping $2/yd. It's my first run at making a men's vest, so I'm not going for pure luxury here.



I also threw in a yard of an Anna Sui poly at $10/yd. Umm...hello, look at those stars! How could I pass it up!? The black is a bit faded looking, but whatevs. Again, the flash ruined everything, but I wanted to get these photos and post up before the weekend....sorry! Unfortunately I couldn't find any of these fabrics online....sorry, again!

Along with all the fabric I picked up at The Fabric Store back in June during the LA Sewist Meet-up, I'd say I'm well stocked for a full weekend of sewing! What sewing or non-sewing plans do you have for Labor Day???