Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Lace" making tutorial

I don't know about you, but I'm bothered by the vast amounts of thread I discard: every time I have to take all the thread off a bobbin in order to wind on a new color, for example, I just hate it that all that beautiful thread goes in the trash.  Or all those lovely serger tails. . . surely there is a way to use those things instead of throwing them away?

So, here's my solution: make "lace!"   Once made, you can shape it into delicate bowls or use it as embellishment.  Great on crazy quilts!

1. Materials:  water-soluble stabilizier, threads taken off bobbins so you can wind a different color on (What?!? Don't tell me you wind OVER thread already on the bobbin??)  (Yes, I know my mom did it, but it unbalances the bobbin and can cause jams), serger tails, thread that's too old for sewing, small scraps of fabric, scraps of ribbon--well, you get the idea.  You'll also need a sewing machine with a full bobbin (and a new needle, but you already knew that).

2. Lay out a piece of stabilizer on your work space (Photo 1). Add your raw materials (Photos 2 and 3). Spread out the bits of thread and other materials so it looks nice.  You don't want everything all lumped together, like in Photo 3.

Photo 1. 
Photo 2

Photo 3

3. Add a second piece of stabilizer on top, to form a quilt or sandwich (Photo 4)
Photo 4
4. Start to stitch.  You don't need to drop the feed dogs or use a darning foot for free motion.  You can just turn the piece.   I like to start with a straight stitch and go around the outside and then diagonally across the piece to hold the sandwich together. (Photo 5)
Photo 5
5. Then I just go wild with the stitching. (Photos 6, 7, and 8)  I tend to stitch in a spiral, but you can do it any way you want. You just want the piece pretty well covered in stitching. (Photo 9)
Photo 6
Photo 7
Photo 8
Photo 9
You can see in this series of pictures that I started out with blue thread and ended up stitching with a coral thread in the top and bobbin.  

What if you don't have all these fancy stitches?  It doesn't matter.....use whatever utility stitches you have, the result will be beautiful!  (Photo 10)
Photo 10

6. When the piece is as fully stitched as you'd like, it's time to rinse out the stabilizer.  You can see both pieces in my sink.(Photo 11)  Keep rinsing under warm running water until the stabilizer is totally washed out and the piece is soft and flexible. (Photo 12)
Photo 11
Photo 12
7. If you want to make a "lace" bowl, drape the piece over a bowl and let dry.  (Photo 13)
Photo 13
Or you can let the piece dry flat and use it in (or on) something else...
like the embellishment piece I added to my new purse (Photos 14 and 15)
Photo 14

Photo 15

Isn't that just too beautiful ?     I want to try to use the small piece I made today in a bound buttonhole or something like that. . . .once I decide, I'll post pictures of that, too!

Keep stitching!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Singer Genie Continued

Ok, good news is I have a downloaded manual for this baby and a source for a power cord/foot control. Bad news is that the power cord will cost me $35.00 + shipping.  MORE bad news is that the bobbin case cover is no longer available.

I'm caught between a rock and a hard place, dear readers.  I can't test the machine to see if she even RUNS until I have the power cord--but I don't want to spend that money if I can't get the bobbin case cover.....even if she runs like a champ, she's gotta have that cover.

I'm headed over to ebay to see if anyone there has listed parts for this machine......

Friday, April 11, 2014

Singer model 354 Genie

I found this cute little Genie at a local thrift shop and thought she would be a good machine for the kids in my 4-H sewing project to learn on. (I'm always looking for machines as most of the kids don't have their own.)  The Genie gets really good reviews on patternreview.com so it's worth a try.  I found a place to download the manual for free (http://www.singerco.com/uploads/download/698_354.pdf) so now all I need is a foot control/power cord and the metal plate that slides over the bobbin compartment.

I took all the covers off and took photos of her innerds..............overall, I think she's in decent shape, fairly clean.  Of course she was dry and needed lots of oil. I'm looking forward to testing her out and I think the kids will love her!

Front view
All the covers that I removed

back view

underside view

close up of bobbin area

head on view

top view
I can't do much more until I have a power cord and the bobbin case slide cover, so I'm going to put her all back together for now.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Kenneth King

Kenneth King was in Houston Friday and Saturday, courtesy of the Houston Chapter of the American Sewing Guild.  (Yet another great reason to join ASG!)  On Friday he gave two hands-on workshops (Cool Tricks and Son of Cool Tricks) on pockets.  Saturday he lectured on Embellishments and Trims and the Creative Process.

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect.. . .I knew it was an opportunity to learn from a real master, but I was nervous.  Would he make fun of my cheap sewing machine?  Would be laugh at my choice of fabrics?  (I'd heard he was a stickler for using only top-quality materials.)  I went into the workshops on Friday wondering just how much someone like him could relate to someone like me.

All my fears and worries were groundless.....Kenneth King is a real class act!  He I had the wonderful fortune of attending the Friday workshops. While he demonstrated each step, he patiently answered all our questions, then went around the room making sure we understood what he told us to do. He spent as much time as needed with each attendee, to ensure we "got it."  My sample pockets weren't all that great, but with practice they'll get better.  But the BEST PART was meeting Kenneth.  WOW.  He's funny, tells great stories, and is a great teacher.    His students at the Fashion Institute are quite fortunate to have him as an  instructor. I'm quite fortunate to have met him!

Thanks, Kenneth!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I'm amazed!

Ok, my last post mentioned that I had FINALLY managed to get something listed in my shop on Etsy.  Then today I started listing my fabric postcards and within 20 minutes I'd sold TWO of them!

Probably won't last, but it sure does feel good right now...............

Here are a couple of photos of my postcards:


Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Etsy Shop

Well, I finally did it.....I FINALLY listed an item in my Etsy shop, Robbiesews. My first Etsy item is a small fabric bowl I made just before Christmas.  It's one of my favorites because I added a foot to help the bowl stand up straight. Here are a couple of pictures:

 See the pretty coil that makes the foot?

This is the smallest bowl I've ever made; it's about 4 1/2 inches wide and stands just over 2" tall.

I used an oriental-themed cotton and wrapped it around nylon parachute cord.  I'm not overly fond of using parachute cord since cotton cording is so much easier to work with, but the parachute cord was what was on hand at the time.

Please go on over to my shop on Etsy and check out my little bowl.  Who knows?  It might be exactly the special gift you were looking for!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Problems and frustrations

Time for a little rant......for WEEKS I couldn't post anything here in blogspot........and I got totally frustrated and more than a little angry.  So I started a new blog at robbiesews.wordpress.com........

But wordpress is cumbersome (to me) and is always asking that I upgrade to a paid account (which I won't do) and I did have my blogspot page much much the way I wanted it.   Now today I came back to blogspot to find something on my old blog and I can post again!!!!   Hooray!!!!!

So I'm back to blogging at blogspot and hope my frustrations are a thing of the past.  (At least THOSE frustrations.  Tomorrow will bring a whole new set, I'm sure)

Galveston County 4-H Fashion Show

Except for a little help from Nana (me), my granddaughter made this outfit herself.  Isn’t it great? Of course she won her category and is now going on to the District Fashion Show Competition in May.   The outfit is McCall’s 6732 (http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6732-products-46512.php?page_id=486). She left off the big flower in front and did a serged rolled hem on the top and pants instead of the lace in the pattern. I’m off to patternreview.com to review the pattern there.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Fashion Trends

I recently took two back-to-back 7 day Caribbean cruises and wanted to share my thoughts about some of the things I saw on board our ship. 

First, lace really is in style.  Lace inserts, lace sleeves, lace overlays—if there was a single trend I saw that caught my eye, it is lace.  From fancy dresses for the Elegant Evenings to bathing suit cover ups, lace was everywhere. 

Secondly, colors for evening ware were generally dark and/or muted.  I saw a lot of black, silver, and gray.  Next more popular color family for evening seemed to be the reds. There was a lot of bling, too, whether as clothing embellishment or jewelry, and not just in the evening. Dress lengths ranged from micro-mini to trailing on the floor. (And, believe me, not everyone who wore minis should have been wearing them!)  I saw a lot of fish-tail and asymmetrical hems.

For evening shoes, the theme was the higher and chunkier the heel, the better the ladies seemed to like it. (The most popular daytime shoes were, not surprisingly, flip-flops.)

We’re getting ready for another cruise in March. Among the things I plan to make for that trip will be lace-overlay tunics and a top or two with lace inserts.  I’ve about decided that skirts aren’t my thing, so will look to incorporate asymmetrical hems into my tops.   I don’t do heels anymore, but intend to look for a pair of fancy sandals with lots of bling.

What fashion trends have you noticed lately?