The newest member of my Bee-Zerk world.

 

Soooo, in 2006 I made myself a “Booty Ass Bee” costume for Halloween…and with the fantasy of riding my bike through Black Rock City (burning man) in my Bee Booty bloomers.  Alas, I did not make it to B- man last year, prolly won’t make it this year so it remains a fantasy.  In the mean time the Bee theme seems to bee very prominent in my life in the last few months.  It starts with the fact that I got in on the FREE Haagen-Dazs save the bees campaign.  The good people down there literally Two-Day aired me four pints o’ ice cream, some small ice cream bars, and bee promoting flower seeds over dry ice.  It was sweet as honey! 

Next, my day job decides to do a Bee themed window inspired (loosely) by a Selvage Magazine picture of some crafty birds.  We all made our own collage of a bees (from stuff from the shop).  I dressed a mannequin in my costume with a cartoon dialogue bubble that’s says “save the bees” and hung all the bees around.  I honey maker was so pleased with our window that he brought us honey from about two blocks away… Queen Anne honey, sweet!

Then my mother recently gave me some Creative Doll books from the by Patti Culea , so of course this mashed with the bee inspiration just catapulted me over the deep end of Doll/Bee world.  Now I have a stuffed Bumble Bee from the window as well as the costume and introducing. . .

Bee-a-trice a doll that I am finishing up.  She is eighteen inches of pure, sweet, honey if I do say so myself.   She is 100% cloth doll with wire armature and needle sculpted face.  She still needs wings… and jewlery… and maybe some nail polish.

 

This is all quite a lot of bee paraphernalia for someone screams running like a five- year- old when ever I see one of the little suckers!

Buying a sewing machine??? Here is my (humble) opinion.

Sewing Machines- Where would some of us be with out them?  Hell, we would all be wearing pretty much potato sacks with out them.  I know that I am not an expert but I sew everyday and I work in a place where I talk about sewing and trouble shoot sewing issues pretty much everyday, so people are constantly asking about sewing machine recommendations.  Here is my list.

1.  The golden boy of sewing machines is (currently) Bernina.  These Swiss machines are built with precision and durability giving them the highest resale value of any modern brand of sewing machine.  Their bottom end machine run about $1000 (might have to wait for a sale for this price) but I have seen Berninas for 8- 12 thousand dollars*.  I lust for just the $1000 model because it gives you every thing that you need to make clothing that looks like store bought clothing  and does very little embroidery.  Berninas also have TONS of accessories and feet, including pattern fitting software.  Again, if you have the means, this is the brand that you want.

I personally do not own one of these machines but it will be a fine day in the Flowers household when I purchase my first Bernina!

2. I think that Pfaff makes a good (more affordable) sewing machine.  These are German made machines that have just as many accessories (no fit software) as Bernina and are smooth running and solid built.  A bottom end model will set you back $200-300 and this is a GREAT choice for the beginner.  Again, top end models are ridiculously priced but I have helped many a friend find love in sewing because of this bottom end Hobby Line Pfaff machine right here.

3.  The Viking/Husqvarna or Husqvarna/Viking (whatever) is also a good Swedish built machine.  I own both a sewing machine (bottom of the line) as well as a Husky Lock serger.  Both have lasted through pretty regular use for about ten years now and there is no signs of quiting on me now.  I service both machines… semi regularly (meaning when they stop sewing or cutting, I take them in).  All ‘n all, these machines have payed for themselves over and over again with the work I do with them.  My one complaint- I hate the zipper foot and there is no narrow hem foot for my model.

4. WhiteKenmore (Sears brand) , Janome are all machines that I have heard good things about.  Good reputation goes along way in sewing machines, no name machine- I no go there.  As long as you buy name brand machines from an authorized dealer you should always have some where to go if you have questions or need parts and servicing- this goes for ALL sewing machines. When purchasing used machines make sure there is an authorized dealer/ service center near you.  Unfortunately when you buy some no name brand from Target or Macy’s you have a harder time finding somewhere to ask questions, get the right parts, and get good service.  All sewing machine are prone to get off time now and again so you will eventually need to get it fine tuned again.  I love this GIF from MaterialMama of the workings of a bobbin to illustrate the precision.

5. The Singer story.  I also own a Singer that I inherited from my Grandmother that I call my Big Bertha machine.  She is a brut of a sewer and heavy as hell.  I know it sound weird but in sewing machines-heavy sewing machine usually meant that the mechanical parts are all metal. This is a very important aspect of a good sewing machines because of precision and durability.  I would never buy a machine that does not have metal mechanical parts (always ask a saleman).   Singers were the Golden Boy of sewing machines since the industrial revolution but, thanks to globalization are now made in China out of plastic parts … allegedly.  So in my opinion only buy vintage or antique Singer sewing machines.  If you can get a hold of Featherweight Singers, these are worth money!  They were considered travel sewing machines during their hay-day (late 1930’s to 1964) and they are pretty darn cute!

*I have never done machine embroidery so I know nothing about these machines, and I have no interest in knowing.  Personally, if you are going to pay upwards of $2000.00 for a sewing machine it should sew the darn clothes for you!

Just finished- A new August dress… LURV this fabric.

O.K. so I really really wish that there was more fabric like this out there in the home sewing world.  It is a silk and cotton blended voile designer end from Anna Sui.  The pattern and color are subdue but intriguing… so I bought four yards of it at the Nancy’s Sewing Basket annual sale about a year ago and have been fondling it ever since.  I finally bit the bullet and cut into it last friday and wore my new dress to work yesterday.  I guess that technically makes it a July dress but who is being technical.  It is the basic shape of McCall’s #5435 with a twist.

I also got inspired by Angry Chicken blog  (she is quite hilarious) a while back and so I did a little hem decoration.  I used the rolled hem on my serger down both sides of a 2 inch strip.  Then I gathered through the center.  I attached it to the hem using a decorative wave stitch on the Singer Machine (affectionately named Big Bertha) that I inherited from my grandmother.

 

One of the things that I have trouble with when I find great fabric like this is that the possibilities are endless when it is fabric, once you cut it is more or less set in stone so you better like the out come.  Little things can be changed but the basic shape is what it is.  I really am happy with the outcome of this dress… but I also have a yard and half left so it was less final.  Not that this is totally applicable but my husband says “artist never finish their work, they just abandon it.”  With fabric it is like I abandon all the wonderful possibilities for the one that (in theory) I like the best,  but in actuality it might not be that which is in my minds eye.  Yeah, I really do get all geeked out on this shit!!  Sorry.